Do you remember way back when you first brought home your puppy? It starts off with pure joy and happiness! Puppy pickup day is one of my favorite days as a guide dog puppy raiser. However, things slowly start to change as you bring home your new puppy.
It’s been a while since I brought home a new puppy and after a couple days with Toby, an 8 week old guide dog puppy in training I figured out the following math equation: Puppy = Mischief
Puppy = Mischief
It usually starts with a little accident in the house…that’s okay no biggie we’ll have our puppy potty trained in no time.
Next comes the mouthy behavior and you realize your puppy has little vampire teeth…OUCH!!!
A few moments later he’s chewing on your favorite pair of shoes…
Then he jumps on your favorite dress with muddy paws…ICK!!!
Finally, it’s night time…YAY, time to get some sleep…NOPE! Your puppy decides he’s going to cry, bark, howl, yelp, scream all night and you end up with only a couple hours of sleep.
Toby thought we were playing a little game when putting on his new dog costume
If you haven’t raised a puppy recently then you may have forgotten some of these things. Since I brought home Toby I’ve been lucky enough not to have experienced all of these joys of puppy raising however, it did bring back some special memories including Stetson screaming in his crate, Linus chewing my sister’s shoes (glad you got hers and not mine), and Dublin’s mouthy behavior…oh and I can’t forget Derby’s unmatched exuberance for life (he was a high energy pup).
Don’t get me wrong I love puppy raising, but thank god our pups are so cute because those first few days/weeks can be brutal.
The Puppy Pass
Stetson gave Toby the “puppy pass”
Even Linus and Stetson are none to pleased with puppy mischief. I think they forget that they used to be annoying little puppies too. I seem to recall Stetson buzzing around Linus like a gnat. Toby was lucky because Stetson gave him a puppy pass and pretty much let him do whatever he pleased from chewing his ears to jumping on his back to biting his tail. Linus on the other hand wasn’t as forgiving and put Toby in his place every time he got out of order…Good boy Linus!
We had Toby for 2 weeks and a couple days ago we brought him back to the school so he could go home with a new puppy raiser. He and his new family were happy, but I’m sure he’ll cause at least a little bit of mischief in his new home.
So, what kind of mischief has your puppy caused in your household? Do you agree: Puppy = Mischief?
Yes! It’s definitely very important to puppy proof your house before you bring home a puppy. In fact I have a 7 point checklist for puppy proofing my house that I go through every time before I bring home a new puppy.
When I rewind back 7 years and think about bringing home my first puppy, Linus for the first time I was ill-prepared. There were many things I should have done before making the final decision to bring home a new puppy. And this is from someone who did do some preparation including reading the Puppies For Dummies (affiliate link) book…twice! Also, I did not bring home the first adorable puppy I came across and I actually did a ton of research on different breeds before picking Linus. I also had a veterinarian and a puppy trainer already picked out for my new puppy.
By the time I decided to volunteer as a guide dog puppy raiser I made sure I puppy proofed my house before my home interview. Every time I get a new puppy I go through the short ritual of crawling around the house and yard on my hands and knees looking for potential dangers. I even mention this in the Dublin’s first Puppy In Training TV Video:
You probably already know that it’s extremely important to puppy proof your home for your puppy’s safety as a puppy is liable to pick up just about any and everything off the ground and eat it or chew on it. Here’s a step by step guide on how I go about puppy proofing my house before bringing home a new puppy:
The Basics – My first round of cleaning is just the basics. Clean the house. Pickup everything off the floor. Vacuum. Mop and clean the floor (make sure you don’t use harsh chemicals that might irritate your puppy). Dust the house…you know the basics!
Crawling the Floor – After the basics I get on my hands and knees and crawl all over the house inside and out to see from the same perspective as my puppy. You can often find hidden dangers this way. Keep your eye out for anything on the floor. Also watch out for electrical cords and wall sockets (your pup may want to chew on these).
In Home Workers – If you have workers who come over (cleaning people, gardeners, pool men, etc.) make sure to check that they didn’t inadvertently drop anything or leave doors ajar.
The Garage – there’s lots of dangerous stuff in the garage. Be very careful with antifreeze. Pets like the taste, but it’s absolutely deadly. I’ve had several friends lose their cats to antifreeze. Always check for leaks. Other harmful things for your puppy commonly found in the garage are pesticides, fertilizers, snail bait, batteries, cleaners and solvents, motor oil, gasoline, craft glues and cement mix.
The Bathroom – Do not store dangerous items like medications and chemicals under the sink. Move anything like toilet and drain cleaner up and away from the toilet. Keep the toilet seat down, put trash up (or get one with a lid), and close shower/bathtubs. Some people often put cleaners in the toilet that turn the water blue. I never use these because even if it’s a rule to close the toilet lid not everyone in the house may follow through and I don’t want one of my pups or dogs drinking the chemical filled water on accident.
The Living Area – Do your best to hide all wires and cables. Make sure all paper shredders are unplugged. There are many toxic plants, make sure if you have any toxic plants they are out of reach from your dogs and puppies.
The Kitchen – Some of the major kitchen hazards include coffee grounds, spoiled foods, coffee grounds, bacteria and sharp objects. Cover all trash cans. Remove anything toxic from under the sink. Store all foods on high shelves out of the reach of your puppy. Keep your dishwasher closed. Know all the common food that are toxic to dogs ie. chocolate, grapes, raisins, etc.
That’s about it! If you’re about to bring home a new puppy I suggest you go through these 7 steps to puppy proofing your house.
What about you guys? Am I missing anything? Do you have a checklist you go through for puppy proofing your house? Please tell me about it in the comment section below.
If you’re on the verge of becoming a new puppy owner then I’d first like to congratulate you on your new puppy! The second thing I’d like to do is give you a list of the top 10 tips for new puppy owners.
I’ve been raising guide dog puppies for over 5 years now. Before I was raising and training guide dog puppies I fostered several litters of puppies and worked on their training and socialization. Needless to say over the years I’ve learned a thing or two about what to expect when bringing home a new puppy. Of course there is the bringing home of a new puppy, but you should also think about some of the things you should do before you bring home that new puppy and what you can expect once that new puppy gets to his new home and is anointed the latest member of your family.
Dublin - A New Puppy
Hopefully some of these puppy training tips will help you out when you bring home that bundle of joy.
Top 10 Tips For New Puppy Owners
Without further adieu…today’s top 10 list given in classic David Letterman style (descending order):
Tip #10 – Puppy Proof The House
I never had a chance to puppy proof the house when I brought Linus home over 7 year ago, but since then puppy proofing at the Morita household has become a bit of an art every time we get a new guide dog puppy in training. One of the easiest ways for me to determine if my house is puppy proof is to get down on my hands and knees so I have the point of view of a puppy then I check out anything that I can get my pup can get with his mouth or paws. Some places to keep a close eye on are electrical cords, wall sockets, coffee tables, table clothes, trash cans…basically anything low or hanging low that a mischievous puppy might be able to get into.
Dog Crate (affiliate link) – an essential item for crate training your dog. Make sure you get the correct size for your puppy. I like the one the metal crates with divider. The main benefit of this crate (check out the link) is that you can use the larger crate with a smaller puppy and let your pup grow into it. This crate also folds up for portability.
Durable Nylabone (affiliate link) – I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but puppies have tiny little sharp dagger like teeth. they are like little vampires when they are young. I always like to have several different dog toys with different textures and make sure my puppies learn to chew on the toys and not on my hand, furniture, or tv remote.
Bitter Apple Spray (affiliate link) – a great deterrent if your puppy is bent on chewing his leash, the leg on your sofa, or your arm. Just spray a little on the leash and most puppies will find the taste of the spray repulsive (for some reason some pups like the taste…hopefully this is not your pup). Keep doing this for a few weeks and eventually your puppy will learn that chewing on the leash is not a good thing.
Large Classic Plush Mallard (affiliate link) – as I mentioned I like to get many different textured toys and the plush dog toys are a favorite of just about every puppy. However, make sure you keep an eye on your puppy because some voracious chewers like to not only tear these things to shreds, but will also swallow the stuffing, squeaker, and all which could require a visit to the vet.
Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Remover (affiliate link) – finally, just about every puppy will have at least one potty accident in the house. Nature’s Miracle completely removes pet stains without leaving any stinky pet odor behind which is very important because puppy’s will often find the stinky spots and pee in the same place.
Tip #8 – Be Prepared For Some Sleepless Nights
If you haven’t already read How To Handle Your Puppy’s First Night At Home then click the link and check out my story and some of the other stories in the comment section below. Hopefully you get a puppy like Derby or Dublin who wakes up maybe 2 or 3 times the first night home and after about a week falls right a sleep in his kennel and doesn’t wake up until morning. If you’re not so lucky then you’ll get a Stetson puppy who didn’t allow me to sleep for more than 2 hours in a row for over 4 weeks. The good news is all of my puppies eventually got used to sleeping through the night and are all now happily crate trained and sleep well through the night.
Tip #7 – Take Lots Of Pictures And Video
I actually talked about this in detail just over a week ago when I talked about tips on bringing home a new puppy. Your puppy will grow up fast (seriously). Just keep snapping pictures and shooting video every chance you get because in no time he’ll be a full grown dog and all you’ll have left is your memories, the pictures, and the videos you shot of his puppy years.
Tip #6 – Bring Some Essential Things During Pickup Like A Plush Toy And Blanket
Another item that I deem essential is getting the scent of your puppies mother and littermates if at all possible. Make sure you bring a plush dog toy and blanket when you go to pickup your puppy and rub the 2 items all over your pups littermates and mother. When you get home put the toy and blanket in his kennel and when it’s time to go to sleep he’ll feel more at home with the scent of his littermates all over the blanket and toy.
I highly recommend reading at minimum the Puppies For Dummies (affiliate link) book before you start looking for a new puppy. It’s a great resource and even to this day I still look at some of the advice in this book. If you’re an over achiever I have tons of great articles on this blog and you are more then welcome to read the nearly 500 (probably more by the time you read this) articles in the archive.
Tip #4 – Find A Great Veterinarian And Great Dog Trainer
I’d talk to family and friends to see if they know of a great veterinarian and a great dog trainer. Lucky for me a good friend of ours is a great veterinarian and if something serious happens I call him with questions otherwise we visit the local vet. As far as a great dog trainer I’m lucky enough to be involved with our local Orange County guide dog group and anytime I have questions about dog training I’m able to consult with the great dog trainers at GDA.
Tip #3 – Train Your Puppy At A Puppy Kindergarten Class
Linus went to puppy kindergarten class with Sue Myles in Tustin which was a great experience for both Linus and myself. Stetson, Derby, and Dublin all attend Guide Dogs of America puppy kindergarten. Not only is it a great experience for your puppy and a good time for him to socialize with pups of different color, shape, size, and dog breed, but it’s also a great learning experience for you, the puppy owner.
TIp #2 – Socialize Your Puppy
A good puppy kindergarten will get you started on how to introduce your puppy to other puppies. Your dog trainer should also instruct you on some things you should be doing to socialize your puppy outside of puppy class. A few things I like to do with my pups early on is introduce him to some of my friends dogs who I know are properly vaccinated and friendly. I also like to introduce them to new people by giving people treats and having them feed and praise my puppy when he’s accepting of people. When my puppy is a little older I also work on taking him to new places especially my guide dog pups. I start introducing my guide pups to restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls, movie theaters, etc. Of course if you’re not raising a guide dog puppy then you might try some different socialization strategies just make sure your puppy is properly vaccinated and is at an age where these experiences will be beneficial to your puppy and not frightening.
Tip #1 – BE PATIENT, PERSISTENT, AND CONSISTENT with your puppy
This is my mantra whenever I bring home a new puppy. Be Patient, Persistent, and Consistent with your puppy. Puppies are cute and adorable, but just wait until you get one home. You need to be patient while you teach your puppy and your puppy learns. Persistent as your puppy will continue to test you. Finally make sure you are consistent with your puppy training as your puppy will learn much quicker if you and your family are consistent with his training.
There you go! 10 tips for new puppy owners! It can be a long, difficult road for the new puppy owner as your pup will test you every step of the way. However, when you have that well-behaved dog and your friends and family are complimenting him on his excellent behavior you can think back to the time when he was a little terror during puppyhood. I, myself love the puppy years because I feel like I form a stronger bond with each puppy as we’ve had the opportunity to work through the good, the bad, and the ugly (Stetson, I’m thinking of you and your crate training days when I say UGLY).
Those are 10 tips that come straight to my mind when I think about getting a new puppy, but how about you? Do you have any tips for new puppy owners? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
Today we’re going to discuss one of my all time favorite things to do and that is the actual pickup before bringing home a new puppy.
Tips For Bringing Home A New Puppy
Bringing Home My New Puppy, Dublin
While there are many do’s and don’t's when it comes to bringing home a new puppy. This is a list of things I learned from my experience bringing home my last 3 puppies in training from Guide Dogs of America.
Tip #1 Arrive Early
Puppy #1 – Stetson – The GDA campus is located in Sylmar, CA and just under an hour away from my house with no traffic. I left 2 hours before puppy pickup orientation began and arrived over an hour early to campus. I guess I was a little excited and over eager that day, but it was better to be early then late.
Puppy #2 – Derby – as I mentioned it’s a little under an hour to the campus with no traffic so this time I left about 1 1/2 hours before orientation. Unfortunately, I hit a ton of traffic and it took me approximately 2 hours to get to campus. Being late really puts a damper on your day I suggest you give yourself extra time to arrive early if you have an appointment to pickup a puppy.
Puppy #3 – Dublin – I left about 2 1/2 hours early. I planned on arriving early so I planned to grab a bite to eat and do some shopping near the campus.
What did I learn from my 3 puppies? It’s not worth it to have the added stress of arriving late. You miss out on talking to some of the other puppy raisers. You also miss out on some important information at orientation. If you’re really late then you may miss out on bringing home a new puppy that day. By the time I got to my third puppy I made sure to arrive early and just spent the extra time grabbing food and doing a little shopping.
Tip #2 Bring A Camera
Puppy #1 – Stetson - I brought a camera and had other puppy raisers take a few pictures for me, but unfortunately, I only came home with a handful of pictures.
Puppy #2 – Derby - I grabbed a video recorder and 2 friend brought their camera shot some video and took some pictures. The video recorder ran out of batteries and the camera pictures got corrupted on my friends computer.
Puppy #3 – Dublin - I brought my phone for taking still pictures and a video recorder with a monopod for shooting video. I came home with some pretty great video, but not too many still photos. I missed a spot where I wished I had some video instead of pictures and vice versa.
What did I learn from my 3 puppies? Bring a video recorder and a still picture camera. If you have a DSLR camera and a nice HD Video recorder those would be the best. Make sure the batteries are charged and make sure and download to your own computer as well as backup to an external hard drive if you want to be safe. Also, if you want the best quality of video and images read more in tip #3.
3. Bring A Friend(s)
Bringing Home A Puppy Named Stetson
Puppy #1 – Stetson - I went by myself to pickup Stetson. It was definitely a lot more difficult by myself. I had to ask strangers to take a few pictures of Stetson and I that day. I couldn’t use the carpool lane. I had to get a crate so Stetson wouldn’t be running around the car while I tried to drive. Stetson cried while in the crate and also pee’d in the crate on the ride home. Lesson learned to bring a friend(s) next time.
Puppy #2 – Derby - When I picked up Derby two friends came along one was in charge of video the other was in charge of still pictures. This should have been the perfect setup, but my video recorder ran out of batteries and the pictures on the camera became corrupted. Lesson learned to bring friends and good video/camera equipment.
Puppy #3 – Dublin - I brought only my girlfriend to pickup Dublin. I brought my own video recorder, monopod, and cell phone for still pictures. The video turned out great, but I didn’t get many still pictures. Lesson learned to bring one videographer and one photographer. If you want to see some of the video from that day then check out this page from the day we picked up our puppy, Dublin.
What did I learn from my 3 puppies? The best option is to try and bring 2 friends. One to take still pictures and another to shoot video. If you have friends when bringing home your new puppy you do not have to worry about having a kennel during the car ride home. When I brought home both Derby and Dublin I just had the pups sleep on the passenger side floor boards near the passengers feet. It’s definitely worth it to have someone to help you out with pics, video, and during the car ride home.
4. Bring A Plush Dog Toy
All 3 Puppies – Lucky for me I was given a little puppy training tip by our group leader and that was to bring a plush dog toy to rub all over my puppy’s littermates. Why is this important? Your puppy’s first night home is his first night alone without his siblings. If you get the scent of his littermates on a plush dog toy then you can put it in his kennel which will make him feel more comfortable because he will at least smell his siblings.
I only brought a plush dog toy to rub on Stetson’s littermates, but when I picked up Derby and Dublin I brought both a plush dog toy and a cute little doggy blanket to rub on the siblings.
5. Bring Rags, A Roll Of Paper Towels, Plastic Bags
Puppy #1 – Stetson - I went to puppy pickup by myself so I had to put Stetson in a crate for the car ride home. I could have used some rags or paper towels because he did have a potty accident in his crate during the car ride home.
Puppy #2 – Derby - I brought only rags, but no paper towels. Derby vomited during the car ride home. I used the old rags to cleanup, but it would have been nice to have some paper towels, and a plastic bag to contain the dirty rags.
Puppy #3 – Dublin - I brought rags, paper towels, and plastic bags. Dublin didn’t have any accidents during the care ride home…figures!? At least I was prepared!!!
What did I learn from my 3 puppies? Bring rags, a roll of paper towels, and plastic bags. You never know what kind of accidents your puppy will have during your car ride home. Better safe then sorry!
There you go! Those are 5 lessons I learned on the first day of bringing home a new puppy. I’m sure as time goes on I’ll come up with new tips, hints, and tricks you can do when bringing home a puppy. If you are a guide dog puppy raiser I would make sure you follow these simple guidelines. After all you want to have the best experience possible on this special day.
What about you? Is there anything special you say when someone asks what to do when bringing home a new puppy? Tell us your puppy tips, hints, and tricks in the comment section below.
Do you have an adorable puppy who’s driving you nuts? Not long ago we brought home our first guide dog puppy and after the initial excitement wore off we soon realized we were in for an extreme test of our patience.
My name is Colby and I’ve been raising and training guide dog puppies for the past 5 years. Follow me and my pups on our journey from puppy to working guide dog.