New Puppy Care
Tips to make the transition easier
Bringing Your New Puppy Home
Bringing your new puppy home can be an exciting, joyful, and somewhat overwhelming experience. You want the best for your pup from the beginning, but often the excitement to buy matching collars and leashes overshadows the boring (but equally important) stuff. You don’t want to realize you forgot something after the stores are closed.
Before you bring your puppy home…
Before you even bring your puppy home, there are several things you should have waiting. These are the important things that every dog needs, regardless of breed, gender or size.
Food and water dishes. We recommend stainless steel or glass dishes. Plastic dishes can absorb the oils in dog food, eventually leading to permanent discoloration and a putrid smell. Keep in mind that puppies are little, so start with a shallow dish.
A crate. We recommend beginning crate training from day one. Our favorite crates are the wire ones. Puppies do better in a crate that isn’t too big to begin with, so you can buy a smaller one and upgrade or buy a larger one and use a divider.
A bed. Our dogs love their beds. It gives them a place of their own and can help keep them off the couches.
A few toys. Remember that puppies have tiny teeth that are quickly going to fall out. Puppy toys should be soft or specifically made for puppies.
Puppy food. We always send a small amount of food home with our puppies for new families to use for the first several days. There is enough to use it for transitioning, if you decide to switch to a different brand. There are so many different choices when it comes to dog food. Research has shown, due to heart diseases, that grain free foods may not be a good option for Golden Retrievers, so we suggest steering away from that. We do suggest a good quality brand such as Eukanuba or Nutrisource. Blue Buffalo and Merrick are good choices as well, but you don’t need to spend a fortune on dog food for a great quality. Lots of pet stores have a loyalty program, so make sure you ask about that. We’ve found chewy.com to be our favorite source for pet supplies.
Collar and leash. These are optional for the first few days at home. Obviously, a puppy needs a different sized collar than an adult. If you know in advance the size and style you want, then go ahead and purchase them, if not then your first trip to the pet store is a perfect time.
When you pick your puppy up…
This is the fun part. Bringing your new puppy home is such an exciting time! He's so little and cute, you'll want to show him off to everyone. While you may be eager to scoop him up and run to the pet store, keep a few things in mind before you do. Concentrating on bonding and housebreaking is more important during this time.
Puppies are babies, when you get your puppy he has just been taken away from his mother and siblings. He will be sad and lonely for a few days. Giving him plenty of love and attention will help more than anything.
Pet stores can be overwhelming even for a well-trained adult dog. The lights, the sounds, even the smalls. We suggest waiting a few days before making that first trip to the pet store. You want to be sure your visit is enjoyable for everyone and not a stressful event.
Let your puppy explore and get comfortable with his new home, as well as your family. If you followed the list above, you should have everything you need for the first few days.
Your first trip to the pet store…
Now that your puppy has had a few days to bond with you and adjust to his new home, the time for a trip to the pet store to get the rest of his supplies is now. You want your puppy exposed to as many places, people, and other pets as possible in the few weeks and months of their life. This helps develop a friendly, confident dog from the beginning. So, what’s left?
A collar and leash if you don't have them already. Like dog food, collars come in hundreds of sizes and styles. In the beginning, you just need a collar to get them used to wearing one and to hold their ID tags. You want a thin, comfortable, and light collar in the beginning. This is only temporary—they grow so fast in the first few months. You want a collar that can adjust as your puppy grows but fits two-finger snug.
Treats. Always look for high quality, limited ingredient treats that are all-life stage or puppy specific. As you start training, treats will be key.
ID tag. They make some super cool ID tags now, that can be personalized. This is one thing you want to get.
Grooming supplies. A good pair of nail clippers if you’re going to do it yourself and a soft brush, as well as a gentle, tear-free puppy shampoo. Get your puppy used to being groomed from the beginning, even if you’re going to have a groomer in the future (trust me, your groomer will thank you!).
A playpen. If you have a large house, a busy dog, or just want to contain your puppy for the first few weeks a collapsible playpen is a great option. It gives them the freedom to walk around and play but will keep them in a designated safe place. Make sure you get one tall enough that your puppy can’t jump over it!
The next few weeks…
Now that you’ve made the first few days and nights and you’re all stocked up, the real dog-ownership begins. The first days of excitement are past, and your sandals, socks, and chair leg have been chewed. The next few weeks are the most important in puppy development. These weeks will be the building blocks to the rest of your dog’s life.
Keep a regular schedule when training and housebreaking.
Stay consistent with discipline.
Expose your dog to a variety of surroundings. Many stores are dog-friendly, so bring them with you when you run errands. Walk them on a leash instead of carrying them.
Start training from the beginning. The earlier your puppy learns things, the easier he/she will be to train.
Crate them. Even if you are home with your dog full-time, there are going to be times when your puppy needs to be left alone. The safest place for him (and your house) is in a crate.
Playtime. Puppies learn so much from play. It is an important part of puppy-hood. Your puppy will want to play ALL.THE.TIME. So, get down on the floor and play—this puppy stage will only last a little while.
The most important thing you can do with your puppy is bond with him! You need to be his leader and he needs to love and trust you. Stay firm when he does something wrong but remember that puppies respond to praise. Be extremely lavish with your praise when he does the right thing. A dog’s love is unconditional. Be sure to return the same unconditional love to them.