I often am asked, “what should I do before my puppy arrives?”
Setting up your puppy’s new home prior to their arrival provides them a space of their own. Creating boundaries and a puppy area is important as setting the stage sets a precedent. Puppies are extremely adventurous and curious. They will eat and put anything in their mouth. Puppy-proofing an area for your new pup is essential for their safety (and the safety of your furniture!). Keep the floor clean with the exception of a few toys and hide any cords or wires. This list covers the essentials that you should have ready when your puppy arrives. Many of these items are management tools like the crate or leash that help you to monitor your puppy while they are teething and building both bladder and bowel control. Preparing for your puppy at home will give you confidence and peace of mind when they take their first step into your home. So without further ado here are 8 essential items to buy before you bring your new furry friend home:
Using a crate for sleep from the first night you bring your puppy home teaches them that the crate is their safe spot. Crate training is incredibly helpful when housetraining because most puppies do not want to go to the bathroom where they eat or sleep. Try feeding your puppy in the crate to help them associate it with something positive.
Putting a thin, plush bed in the crate can help your puppy to fall asleep. The soft silky texture feels particularly soothing to puppies who have just left their litters. Some puppies who use wee wee pads may generalize to peeing on anything that will absorb their potty like rugs or pillows. If your puppy has accidents in the crate on the pad, try removing the pad for a few nights and feed all meals in the crate.
Having a collar and harness ready for your puppy is necessary for their safety. Puppies have fragile throats, so it is important to use a harness when working with a leash until the puppy has matured. Collars with your puppy’s name and contact information are important to have on your puppy should anything happen to them. If you want to know more about what collar to use, you can read more about them from our other trainer Lara here.
I recommend buying two to four leashes so that if something happens to one of them you have a back-up. Using a 4-6 foot plain nylon leash tends to work best for most people. Keeping a leash on your puppy indoors gives you a way to guide them without touching their body. The indoor leash is likely to get chewed on so it is important to separate the puppy’s indoor leash from their outdoor leash. If you want to know more about the different types of leashes you can use, check out this article written by my colleague at Andrea Arden Dog Training here.
Just like you, your dog needs frequent opportunities to re-hydrate. Pick a bowl that has a grip on the bottom to prevent spillage. It’s also important to pick one that is stainless steel as its the best material (be sure there are no colors inside the bowl).
Feeding your dog from food toys provides mental stimulation for them. Food toys extend your dog’s meal time which gives you a bit of time to yourself without having to worry about your puppy. There are many types of food toys. Start with one that is easy for your dog to encourage them to like the toy. The snoop below is one the most universal food toys I have found. To learn more about feeding and teething toys, click here.
Richell Paw Trax Mesh Training Pad Holder and Pads
Many puppies find the texture of paper products such as paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper to be incredibly tempting to tear up with their mouths. Puppy parents ask me how to deal with the wee-wee pads if their puppy likes to tear them apart and I always recommend the Richell Paw Trax Mesh holder. Using a pad holder like the one above prevents your puppy from being able to chew on the pads because the pad is covered by the top mesh layer. The holder is easy to clean and very effective.
Having toys for your new puppy helps them to learn what they can put their teeth on. Puppies need to have outlets for their teeth. Play around with different textures. Puppies tend to love squeakers and crinkly toys. If your puppy is particularly nippy, get a longer toy to help create some space between you and their teeth.