The First Week: A Guide for First Time Puppy Parents

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Congratulations on your new puppy! Your little furball is going to be your new four-legged best friend for many years to come. The first week you bring your new puppy home is a tough one. You and your fur-baby are just getting to know each other, and they may not warm up to you all […]

Congratulations on your new puppy! Your little furball is going to be your new four-legged best friend for many years to come. The first week you bring your new puppy home is a tough one. You and your fur-baby are just getting to know each other, and they may not warm up to you all the way yet. 

They may also pee on the floor, cry often, or spend more time exploring with their nose (and teeth!). This behavior is normal for a puppy in its new home. To help make your puppy’s homecoming less stressful, make sure to be fully prepared. 

In this blog, we talk about a few things you’ll need when bringing a new puppy home. Refer back to this post as you’re getting ready to welcome your furry friend to its life with you!

What do you need to do when your puppy is home?

Once your puppy is home, it’s unlikely they’ll know the rules of the house. They might chew on the leg of a chair, do their business wherever they want, or wander into rooms they shouldn’t be in.  Your puppy will also depend on you for its food, care, and attention so it’s your responsibility to provide them with everything they need to be their happy, healthy selves!

Here is a quick checklist of things you need to do when your puppy is home:

1. Puppy-proof your home and backyard. 

The most important step is to puppy-proof your house…and backyard! Remove anything you don’t want your puppy to chew on that can damage valuable house items or hurt them. 

Puppies are well-known for being curious about everything and they’ll use all of their senses to explore the world around them. A toxic plant or an open garbage bag will entice your puppy to take a bite, making them sick.

If your puppy still chews on objects around the house, you can learn more about discouraging chewing in our blog: Here’s How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing.

2. Gather your new puppy checklist. 

Get your pen and paper ready…it’s time to start your new puppy shopping list! There are a variety of items your furry friend needs during their first week at home. Don’t bother purchasing complicated items or toys they won’t need until they’re older. 

Instead, focus on bringing home these puppy must-have items: 

  • Kennel/crate with a cover

A kennel or crate (with a cover) gives your puppy that wonderful, den-like habitat they long for. It may take a while for your fur-baby to establish their trait as their resting spot though. That’s where training comes in handy. 

Through positive reinforcement, you can teach your puppy to love their kennel or crate as their own personal and safe place—their “den”. The crate/kennel cover will provide privacy and comfort for your pup as they rest inside their personal safe place!

  • Bedding

Puppies need a lot of sleep for their growing bodies, especially during that first week. Going to their new home and meeting their families for the first time is so exhausting for a little pup! 

Having a cozy, comfortable, clean bed to sleep on is very important! You can read more about how much puppies sleep in our blog: How Much Sleep Does Your New Puppy Really Need?

  • Puppy toys

Puppies love playing, either by themselves or with you! Sometimes, you won’t have time to join them in their playtime sessions. As such, you’ll need to distract your puppy with lots of toys! 

Toys come in different sizes and shapes. Some are made from bone while others are squeaky. Depending on your puppy’s age and preference, you’ll have to find a toy that fits their individual needs. You can learn more about which toys you should get your pup in our blog: 5 Must-Have Puppy Toys.

  • Puppy food and treats

Puppies need food that is designed for puppies. When shopping for puppy food, the packaging should say which puppy life stage it is for. A puppy’s diet should always be carefully monitored to make sure they are getting balanced nutrition. Normally, the younger the puppy is, the more nutrients it’ll need to grow healthy and strong.

You can learn more about the right food for your puppy in our blog: Choosing the Right Food for your Puppy. Also, along with puppy food, don’t forget about treats. Treats are useful when you’re training or showing affection for your pup!

  • Food and water bowls

Your puppy can’t eat their delicious food or take a sip of water without a bowl! There are various types of dog bowls you can purchase, such as ceramic, plastic, and stainless steel. While you can customize ceramic and glass bowls, we recommend stainless steel bowls as your first choice. 

These bowls are very durable and easy to clean compared to the other bowl types! Check out our blog, Puppy Products for New Puppy Parents to learn about the different types of bowls for puppies.

  • Wee-wee pads

Does your puppy pee a lot inside of your house? Most puppies have little accidents as they settle in their new home. As you train them and your puppy continues to learn, they’re less likely to pee or poo in your house. In the meantime, wee-wee pads make it easier for you to clean up after your puppy! 

You can also use these puppy pads to train your puppy on where they should go potty. With enough practice and persistence, your little buddy will know where their pee spot should be. You can learn more about puppy house training in our blog: How to House Train Your Puppy in 7 Days.

  • Collar and ID tag

It’s easy for a puppy to run away and become lost. They may dig a hole under a fence. They might run outside when you open the front door. If your puppy has a tendency to do this (or you feel like they do), it doesn’t have to end tragically.

A collar allows you to keep your puppy safe from outside threats during walks. Similarly, an ID tag can help you find your puppy if they get lost. Your fur-baby’s ID should be updated with all of your information to ensure that they’re found and brought back home. 

Check out our blog, Why Puppy ID Tags are Important to learn more about dog ID tags and other forms of identification for our four-legged friends!

  • Harness

Although there are numerous leashes available online and in-store, we highly recommend purchasing a harness for your little buddy. A harness reduces the direct stress on your puppy’s neck that most leashes cause from being tugged and pulled. 

It also provides better control over your puppy when you go on walks or run around the park. At Petland, there are various styles and sizes of harnesses for your choosing. 

Also, if you’ve never taken your puppy to the dog park before, read our blog post, Introducing Your Puppy to the Park to make sure your puppy’s first experience at the park is a positive one.

  • Grooming supplies

Grooming is an essential part of your puppy’s hygiene routine. A well-brushed, well-cared dog is a happy and healthy one–and trust us, that’s exactly how you want your puppy to be!

Now grooming supplies include shampoo, brushes, and a toothbrush with puppy toothpaste. Grooming your puppy daily will keep their coat soft and healthy. It’ll also prevent knots and mats from forming, which are a pain to get rid of! 

Dental health is also very important, brushing your puppy’s teeth regularly will prevent the buildup of plaque and any dental disease. Read more about Puppy Grooming and Pet Dental Health.

3. Hold a family meeting.

You’ll need to establish ground rules for the new puppy and having everyone on board will make training run much more smoothly! We recommend holding a family meeting to set up all of your rules and needs so that your puppy becomes part of the family.

More than anything, your puppy needs to be taught the basic commands as soon as possible. The early you train, the more obedient your puppy will be as they grow into adult dogs Read our blog, Essential Commands to Teach Your Puppy, for some of our helpful tips.

4. Schedule a vet visit.

Vet visits are important to maintain on a regular basis, even if your puppy doesn’t warm up to your vet. Your puppy’s first vet visit should be when they are six to eight weeks old. 

Some breeders might start their pups’ vaccinations before sending them off to their new home. For example, at Petland, we ensure that every puppy goes home with up-to-date vaccinations and other health evaluations. Make sure to have the proper paperwork for your vet visit. Read more about vet visits through our blog, Your Puppy’s First Vet Visit.

The first week with your puppy is a challenge to get through but it’s worth it in the end. Your puppy will grow and mature into a special dog you can always call a friend! Make sure that you have everything ready before you bring your puppy home. 

Doing so ensures that your first week will be successful and smooth, giving you time to bond with your four-legged buddy!