From small children to experienced dog lovers, everyone looks forward to the day they bring home a new bundle of fluffy joy.
Puppies fill our lives with goofy humor, heartwarming cuddles, and energetic fun, but that's not all they bring. Once the overwhelming excitement wears off, you start to notice that your puppy isn't only an adorable plaything--she's a responsibility that comes with its own stress, frustration, and worry.
Your biggest concern when welcoming a new dog into your home is ensuring you both have an easy and stress-free transition. Here's what you can do to make your new best friend feel at home.
Prepare with Supplies
Your puppy's introduction to the family will go a lot smoother if you're prepared with the basic supplies that every pup parent needs.
Ask the breeder or shelter what kind of diet your pup is currently on, and find that particular kind of food. Because shelters are taxed with feeding several hungry bellies on tight budgets, you might not always agree with the kind of food given to your pup, but buy it anyway. With the added stress of entering a new home, changing your dog's diet could result in some messy accidents.
If you think it's in your pup's best interest to change her diet, help her sensitive belly adjust to her new food by mixing the old stuff with the new stuff in increasing ratios. A bag of tasty treats will also help you earn your pup's love and attention when teaching her new tricks and manners.
Puppies are essentially four-legged toddlers, and pet-proofing your house is an important step to accomplish before baby comes home.
Try to view your home from a dog's perspective. Look for anything potentially dangerous or fragile and move it out of reach.
It's best to lean toward the side of caution until you learn just how mischievous your new puppy will be. Start keeping your shoes in the closet instead of by the door, block off certain areas where puppy isn't permitted to go, determine if any of your houseplants are poisonous to dogs, and take those reports you've been working off the coffee table.
Have a Plan
Bringing home a puppy needs to be a family affair. Before you all pile into the car, host a family meeting to discuss each person's new role as puppy owner. Your family needs to be a unified team to ensure your pup grows up to be a well-trained, well-mannered, and well-loved adult dog.
Talk about the rules you plan to enforce, like no doggy slumber parties, no dog in mom's office, and your stance on table scraps. Everyone needs to be committed to training, care, and clean up.
Bringing Puppy Home
Once you've made a plan and gathered all your supplies, it will finally be time to welcome your new dog into your family. When you first pick her up, put her in her crate and load her into the car. Drive slowly and carefully to avoid motion sickness, and open the windows slightly to give her a breath of fresh air.
When you finally make it home, give puppy a chance to check out her new digs. Show her to her potty spot as well as the dog-friendly area you set up with her crate and toys.
This transition could end up being very stressful for your new family member, and it's important not to overwhelm her. Give her alone time and tell children to stay calm and quiet.
As your pup grows accustomed to her new surroundings, she'll show you her unique personality, and you'll be able to better care for her specific needs. Start training as soon as possible, and don't let those puppy dog eyes keep you from enforcing the rules.
Whether your new family member is only a few weeks old or you adopted an older dog, the first few weeks of pup parenting aren't always what you expect. But no matter how many "accidents" you clean up or how much sleep you lose, remember that with the right amount of love and care, you'll have a loyal and loving best friend.