How to Be Prepared for a Puppyby Kimberly DeCosta
When a new puppy comes to mind, you probably imagine hours of play together or your new pup snoozing on your lap after a busy day. What you may not realize is the amount of thought and planning that should happen weeks or months before your puppy's arrival. In order to ensure a smooth transition and to help your puppy adapt to his new surroundings, take the time before he arrives to set up your home and routine to benefit his health and happiness.
The Right Match
Choosing a puppy that suits your lifestyle is imperative and gives you the best possible chance for years of happiness together. Speak to breeders and rescue volunteers of the puppy you may be interested in to ensure the puppy will adapt to your living situation and routine. For example, a border collie may not enjoy living in a small city apartment, and a Chihuahua may not thrive on a working farm. Certain breeds require more time for play or work, such as herding breeds. Be sure that you have the time necessary to dedicate to training your puppy as well as playing with him.
Home Sweet Home
Your home will become your puppy's home, so advance planning helps to ensure an enjoyable start to your relationship. Before you bring him home, purchase necessary items and remove any items in a puppy's reach that may harm him, such as chemical products or small items he may choke on. Your puppy should have a crate and indoor fenced-in area for sleep and until he is housebroken. Buy a leash, collar, identification tag, food and water bowls, and toys that are safe for your puppy. Construct a fenced-in area outside for your puppy or plan to keep him on a leash whenever you take him out. Discuss feeding options and ask the breeder questions about nutrition.
A dog's health depends on routine veterinary care and reputable experts to assist in training, nutrition and health. Contact several veterinarians in your area to see if they are accepting clients and if they are an ideal fit for you and your future puppy. You can also visit the veterinary hospital to make sure it is clean and the staff is helpful and caring toward the animals. If you don't intend to groom your puppy yourself, research local dog groomers, and if your puppy may be alone at home for hours at a time, look for a local dog walker or canine daycare. Don't be afraid to ask for references from any potential caretaker for your puppy.
Boundaries and Routine
Puppies do best when there is a predictable schedule and routine that they can settle into. Keep familiar items in a location where your puppy can easily find them, such as his bed, toy box and food bowls. Feed and walk him at the same time every day. Decide what boundaries are requirements for your puppy, such as if he will be allowed on your couch or if he will sit calmly when visitors arrive. You can begin training your puppy simple cues such as "sit" and "stay." Dog trainers often offer puppy classes and can assist you in showing your puppy how to grow into a polite and well-mannered dog.
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