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A time may come in your life when you decide to get a puppy, adding a new addition to the family. But what do you do once you pick up that puppy to take home? How do you even prepare for a puppy? Where to start? What to expect?
I’ve grown up around dogs my whole life and cannot imagine living life without one. When I moved out and got married, my husband and I discussed eventually getting a puppy. We didn’t expect to get one so soon after getting married. Despite growing up around dogs, I was now the one to have full responsibility of raising and taking care of this baby. I somewhat knew what to expect from experience and knowledge, but I learned so much more once I officially had my own dog. Every puppy is different, and they learn in their own way and in their own time. It takes time and patience, but is so rewarding.
I made a list with some tips and advice for first-time puppy owners, so that you too may prepare and know what to expect when getting your first dog.
How to Prepare for a Puppy: What to Expect When Getting Your First Dog
Purchase Puppy Items Ahead of Time
If your spouse and yourself decide (and not spur of the moment) to get a dog, then it is best to buy toys, a bed, puppy training pads, and food ahead of time. You will feel and be more prepared and have everything your new puppy will need when he or she arrives.
Crying The First Few Nights is Normal
Your little fur baby will cry for a little while. Do not be alarmed and think something is wrong. This tiny baby was taken away from the environment he or she was born in and spent the first 2 months of their life. It’s scary being in a new home to them. Be patient, and give lots of cuddles and soothing words of reassurance.
We tried putting Shiloh in a little-enclosed area in our bedroom, thinking she would be comfortable since that’s what she was used to. She cried all night and wouldn’t go to sleep. The next night we got rid of it, and the crying ended. Something as simple as just letting your puppy wander and explore its new surroundings will make them sleep easier. Knowing and visually seeing you are nearby when they need you, will help them adjust and realize that they are safe.
House Training Your Puppy
The most frustrating and annoying part of getting a puppy is house training. There will be quite a few accidents for the first few months. In the meantime, try puppy pads, especially if you have to leave the house for long periods of time. It will take a while for your puppy to figure out that he or she needs to go outside to do their business. Once they do, they will have a routine down. Prepare to get up every few hours in the night, and try to stay home more often during the day to let them out. The older they get, the longer they can wait to go outside. Give it time, stay consistent and be patient.
Prepare to Wake Up Often
Getting a full nights sleep is out the window. It’s like having a baby, and then eventually a toddler, for the rest of your life. You will need to wake up every 2-3 hours to let them out in the beginning. Once they’re older and their little bladders expand, they usually need to go outside at least once in the night.
Shiloh has her routine down pat and usually indicates that wants to go outside by unlocking the patio door, every day, between 5:00-5:30 am. Either she needs to go, or she wants to patrol the property since it has been a few hours. Matt and I know that at least one of us will have to get up, let her go, and wait for her to come back in. It sucks, but it’s a responsibility you decide to take on when you get a dog.
Block Off Furniture
Your puppy will be teething right from the get-go, so try to cover baseboard corners, tv stands, coffee tables, anything with a corner or that a little puppy can get their mouth on. Unfortunately, we were not fully prepared for this, so I’m giving you a head start warning now. The teething will be unbearable for them, and they will bite anything in sight. Hide your shoes, books on the shelf, even things on your coffee table will no longer be safe. Anything they can reach, you need to place higher up. And watch out, your fingers and toes will be a target, too. Until their baby teeth are entirely gone, keep everything hidden and covered. You will thank yourself later.
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Set Boundary’s and Rules
Discuss with your partner or other family members the rules and boundary’s when raising the puppy. You don’t want one individual to be the disciplinarian, and the other to be the one the puppy runs to for comfort. It needs to be established right from the beginning when it is appropriate to be stern, and when to let things go. Being on the same page is an important factor when it comes to your puppy’s training. When he or she sees that both mom and dad are telling them what they can and cannot do, they will learn quickly.
Enjoy the Puppy Days
They grow up so fast! Before you know it, you have a toddler, and by the time a year comes around, they will be full grown. I’m already dreading that day, only a few more months until she is a year old. I cherish every moment I have with her as a baby, and hold onto those memories of her as that tiny puppy that I could carry in my arms.
Getting a dog is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. They bring so much joy, you won’t even remember what life was like without them. Dogs are like children, they are now family, so take care of this precious life as if they are your actual child. They are not to be given away when times get tough or you cannot handle them anymore. Be 100% sure that you are prepared and ready for the full responsibility of getting a dog. Good luck, and enjoy your little baby while you can.