Bringing Your Puppy Home: Top Tips from Puppy Training Experts

Bringing your puppy home is a very exciting time! It’s also a huge change for you and your new pet, so putting some thought and preparation toward this time will definitely pay off.

We consulted with top dog trainers on their best tips on how you should bring your puppy home. From preparation to bonding and socialization, take some time to review our expert's advice before bringing your new puppy into your home.

bringing your puppy home

Bringing Your Puppy Home: Tips & Advice From Top Dog Trainers

 

Before you bring your puppy home, you will want to get some essentials and make sure your home or apartment is ready. 

You’ll want to stock up on supplies ahead of time, including:

  • Crate
  • Comfortable bedding 
  • A few chewy toys
  • Leash and collar/harness
  • ID tag
  • Puppy food
  • Stainless steel food and water bowls

You will likely see tons of options at your local pet store, and even more if you shop online. We asked the experts for some tips:

 

  • "Make sure to have plenty of chew toys and bones to keep them occupied and to help ease any teething pains. A great and inexpensive option is to wet a rope toy and freeze it. The cold will help to cool their inflamed gums."

(Natalie Youn, Founder & CEO of Bark Potty)

 

  • "Use very big and soft toys for games. Many puppy toys are too small, making it very likely that your puppy will accidentally bite your hand and arm while playing."

(Steffi Trott, Owner & Head Trainer, SpiritDog Training)

 

  • "Don't be surprised when your puppy bites at you and chews on everything in sight. No, they aren't showing dominance - they're just teething! Give them something appropriate to chew on (such as puppy teething toys that use frozen water to soothe your pup's gums) and cut them some slack."

(Meg Marrs; Founder, Dog Trainer, & Dog Care Expert; K9 of Mine)

 

Puppy-proofing your apartment involves much of the same work, but you will want to make sure that your puppy has a place to call his own in this smaller space. As you would in a house, you will want to secure all the exits to your apartment, particularly given that there are more people and animals potentially close-by to spark your puppy’s curiosity and cause him to wander.

Puppies are curious by nature and have a tendency to get into anything and everything. Puppies also like to chew just about whatever they can get their teeth on, which can be dangerous as they explore their new environment.

Puppies need some help staying out of trouble, so you will want to make your home the safest environment possible, both inside and out.

 

One expert points out:

 

  • "Prevention is half the battle. Set things up so that your puppy doesn’t have an opportunity to develop unwanted habits. Puppy-proof thoroughly and teach puppies to be comfortable in confinement (such as a crate, exercise pen or small room) so they don’t have a chance to potty indoors or chew the table leg when you aren’t able to actively supervise."

(Jessica Ring, CPDT-KA, CTC, PMCT; Trainer/Owner, My Fantastic Friend, LLC)

 

Here are some things to do to puppy-proof your home before your puppy arrives:

  • Remove electrical cords and wires from reach
  • Cover air and heating vents
  • Screen-off fireplaces
  • Move indoor plants out of reach and block off outdoor plants, especially hazardous ones
  • Close or add screens to doors and windows
  • Store toys and other small items out of sight
  • Secure trash can lids
  • Fence-in your yard (or close off a smaller area for your puppy)
  • Block off swimming pools, ponds/fountains and fire pits

This list might not cover everything, so you will want to do a slow walk around your house and yard and look carefully for anything you think your puppy might be able get into or that might be dangerous for him. Really try to see your home through your puppy’s eyes.

 

What should I do when my puppy first comes home?

 

Those first days are an adjustment for everyone, pets and people included! Be patient with yourself and your puppy and allow yourselves to get used to this new life.

Our puppy experts shared some of their best tips for those special first days at home.

 

Introducing Your Puppy To Children & Other Dogs

 

  • "Take “parallel walks.” Walking both your pups, parallel to each other, will help reduce tension and grow affection!"

(Shawn Hostetter, President, Keystone Puppies)

 

  • "Teach your children to act appropriately around puppies and dogs. Without proper guidance and supervision, kids tend to do things that unintentionally scare or hurt puppies, like grabbing, hugging, picking up, startling and pestering them, or bothering them while they’re resting, eating or chewing."

(Jessica Ring, CPDT-KA, CTC, PMCT; Trainer/Owner, My Fantastic Friend, LLC)

 

Bonding With Your Puppy

 

  • “Take 2 weeks off work when you bring your puppy home. Getting your new pup comfortable in their new home is made much easier if you were to take a couple of weeks off work to spend some intense bonding and training time with them.” 

(Ronnie Lawson-Jones, https://www.jugdog.co.uk/)

 

Setting A Routine For Your Puppy

 

  • "Keep your expectations reasonable! Remember that these guys are just little babies and they are going to make mistakes and misbehave, no matter what kind of training you do."

(Meg Marrs; Founder, Dog Trainer, & Dog Care Expert; K9 of Mine)

 

  • "Since there is no licensing of dog trainers, get recommendations from friends, relatives, or your veterinarian. If any trainer ever tells you to do something with or to your puppy that doesn't feel right to you - don't do it and find a different class or trainer."

(Hope Saidel, professional dog trainer, AKC Star Puppy program instructor, president of North Shore Dog Training Club, co-founder of 2-Minute-Trainer.com)

 

  • "Be consistent.  Establish a routine and keep it the same.  Try to wake up and take your dog outside at the same time each day. Make their feeding schedule at the same time each day."

(Sara Ochoa, DVM; Veterinary Consultant for doglab.com)

 

  • "Name your dog early on so it has plenty of time to get used to it. Some people delay too long, and the dog struggles to respond to its name later. Make sure you choose a name which ideally is short and has a strong ending (Jack, Casper, Winston); this makes it easier for the dog to hear."

(Cindy Kelly, Owner, Regis Regal German Shepherds)

 

Don't forget to have fun!

 

  • “The worst thing a trainer can do is get frustrated or aggravated at their dog. If you instead make it fun and engaging, your dog will love to get trained, look forward to it, be more dependable, and feel more at home.” 

(Sarah Rodgers, Brookside Pomskies)

 

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