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Lately I’ve been putting together a lot of short tips for bringing home a new puppy. In the future I’ll put together an all inclusive puppy training tip guide that includes all of my tips for bringing home a new puppy. Recently I wrote about Quick Puppy Training Tip, Puppy Vaccination Schedule, and Puppy’s First Day Home. All of these had some great information for the new puppy owner.
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
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)
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.
Top Picks For Our Puppies
- BEST PUPPY TOY
We Like: Snuggle Puppy w/ Heart Beat & Heat Pack - Perfect for new puppies. We get all of our Service Dog pups a Snuggle Puppy.
- BEST DOG CHEW
We Like: Best Bully Sticks - All of our puppies love to bite, nip, and chew. We love using Bully Sticks to help divert these unwanted behaviors.
- BEST DOG TREATS
We Like: Wellness Soft Puppy Bites - One of our favorite treats for training our service dog puppies.
Check out more of our favorites on our New Puppy Checklist.