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.
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.
Tip #9 – Get These Essential Puppy Products
A while back I listed a few of the must have puppy products all new puppy owners should have. The top 5 must have puppy products:
- 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.
Tip #5 – Read A Great Puppy Training Book like Puppies For Dummies (affiliate link)
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.