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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Beachy

You Brought Puppy Home - Now What?

Bringing home puppy is more than potty training, picking out the right food and gathering the greatest toys! How you set the stage will have an impact on how stressful and enjoyable raising your new puppy is!

Safety. Must. Come. First!

When my children were babies my mom told me to get on the floor and crawl. This way I could search for anything my babies could pick up, put in their mouth, and choke on. After all babies do explore the world through their mouths! This was great advice! There were often things I found on the floor that my vacuum had missed, or I just didn’t see until I crept down there. Do the same for your new puppy! Looking at the environment from their perspective, you may see something that looks shiny and eye-catching that you otherwise have lost sight of.

Puppies, and as they grow to be older dogs don't understand the many dangers out there! We need to be their advocates for safety! What might they try eating? What will they chew? Are my dogs toys able to fit in his mouth completely?

Thoughts for Safety!

  • Take a look at all your houseplants and do some research on their safety around pets.

  • What products in the house have xylitol, or other artificial sweeteners? This could be gum, mints, dietary supplements, food, or even in your baking cupboard. Be sure these are tossed or placed in a secure location.

  • Dogs will raid hampers, these are loaded with your scent - your dog’s most favorite scent in the world! Perhaps you will need to invest in some covered hampers. Drawstrings can be chewed off sweatpants and swallowed, so can pantyhose and socks. These are potential blockage hazards.

  • Razor cartridges, Qtips, cotton balls, and hair bands/ties/clips are all examples of items your puppy might find intriguing. These seem boring to us, but can you imagine seeing them for the first time and trying to figure out what the are? You puppy will explore its new environment and may find these worth a chew!

  • TV Remotes, and these have dangerous batteries!

  • Medications, vitamins and energy drinks. Don’t let a puppy full you, they can chew through a can and a “child proof” lock!

  • Lock up cleansers, and the dirty rags soaked up with supplies.

  • What about pest bates and traps? These may have poisons, or just hurt your pup from snapping on a sweet puppy nose!

  • Check screen doors, can they easily be pushed open by a growing pup?

  • How about the fence? Are there escape risks with a small hole in the fence or gap along the ground?

  • Moving forward, any toys that are slightly tattered or chipped, toss!

This is not a complete list. There are plenty of things that by themselves are not risk, but adding a puppy to it and a few minutes alone, you have a hazard. Never leave puppy unattended, just like a baby. Can’t watch them? Use their kennel or small play yard that you have completely puppy proofed!

Safety has been considered, now shopping for puppy supplies!

  • Baby gates. These may be chewed on, so look for most durable. Also, think about how tall your puppy will get. They seem to grow exponentially in the beginning. If a large breed, that tiny 8 week-old puppy will be able to leap over the gate if it is too short.

  • Kennel, sized appropriately for training(1.5x your dog's size minus the tail). If you have a large breed, this may mean multiple kennels to grow with them. If purchasing used, be sure to properly sanitize it.

  • Potty pads, and perhaps a potty pad tray too!

  • Puppy wipes.

  • Toys that DO NOT fit completely in your dog’s mouth and mind-engaging puzzles. Look for durable and be careful of stuffing.

  • Front leading harness. Save money and get one that can also work as a “seatbelt” for car safety. If you opt for a collar, please be sure to remove that collar when you put them in their kennel or play yard

  • 4’-6’ leashes. I like 4’ leashes for walks and going into public places. Even if your dog is friendly and happy to meet other dogs or people, there may be another dog approaching that isn’t. Great to give all dogs space.

  • Collapsable bowls for walks. Careful! Keep out of your dog's reach when not in use. Samson tore apart one I had filled while on a drive.

  • A completing liberating item I found, and belt to hold the leash and keep my hands free!

  • A stroller for then puppy is too young to walk on the ground. I found a clearance baby jog stroller and with minor alterations (I'm not handy with tools!) with carabiners, a cheap dog bed and 2' leash....It became a dog stroller.

  • Treat bags. Timing is everything. If you need to go find a treat to reward a behavior, by the time you are giving your puppy the treat, they are being rewarded for what they are doing at that moment - not the successful behavior.

  • High-value treats. Your puppy will be the judge here! Usually the smellier and softer the better! Save money, cut treats down to pea-size! This is more ideal for training anyhow.

  • Dog first-aid kit. These are actually different from the human ones! Check 'em out!

  • Good non-toxic cleaner that will eliminate urine odor to clean-up accidents.

  • Speak with your vet about the right food for your dog, as well as chews and bones that your are considering to purchase for puppy! There are a variety of factors to consider. In the Beachy house, we stay away from these.

  • **Training Tip** Wooden spoons and peanut butter! Do not give these to your dog to chew. You can start loose leash walking. Stick peanut butter on the back of the spoon and hold in front of your puppy while walking. The handle helps extend your arm and protect your back. Great for small breeds too!

I could probably go on....We spend a lot of money on our pups! Got ideas? Share them!

You have the puppy...You explored safety....You purchased supplies! What's Next....

The first thing I recommend to do when bringing home a puppy, or even a new, but older dog, it to schedule a health check-up with your Veterinarian! It's a little overwhelming to bring home a puppy, just look at your safety checklist and shopping list! Your Veterinarian will think about all the health needs and guide you with your new pup!

The next thing is spend time with your puppy! Bond with them! This will help for the moments they are driving you to insanity :) Porsche and Samson had this thing they would do, Porsche would poop, in the house, and it's like she said, "Samson, lets run through my poop! I bet mom will join in too!" And Porshce was write, I was quickly chasing after them to scoop them up and clean! What I was actually doing? Reinforcing the behvior. They THOUGHT that WE were having fun! Serious though, bonding with them will help you to link with them and that connection will be very helpful in training!

Finally, get your training scheduled! Beachy Dogs will offer "Puppy Social 101" with a new class starting up every two months. Not in the area? We can schedule an on-line consultation and I can help you find reputable trainers in your area! Also, keep following! There will be new ideas posted on activities you can do with your pup and build a greater bond!

Aloha, Barks, and Howls!

Melanie Beachy

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