Raising a Puppy

Are You Ready For This?

In addition to being joy-spreading, frolicsome, heart-stealing little creatures, puppies are also a great deal of work, and preparation is key to making your puppy’s entry into your life a success all round.

Buy puppy equipment. At a minimum, you will need: Food (everyday meals, chews) and bowls. Puppy crate. X-pen or baby gate. Kong and treat ball. Flat collar, harness for walks. Long and short leashes. Canine toothbrush and toothpaste, nail clippers, dog shampoo, and brushes. A variety of toys.

Set up puppy areas. Create a confinement area (a cozy den for your puppy, despite the penitentiary connotations) for alone time and potty training. The area should be easy to clean and easy to close off with a baby gate. Think kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom. Furnish the area with a bed or crate, a water bowl, and several toys.

Decide on routines and responsibilities. Call a household meeting to discuss with other family members who has responsibility for what and when. Agree on set routines and procedures for consistency. For example: Who will be in charge of the puppy’s house-training routine? Where will the puppy be allowed—on the bed? The couch? Who will walk the puppy? Take the puppy to classes? Practice homework?

Find good dog professionals. E.g. veterinarian, groomer, dog trainer, daycare facility, dog walker, pet sitter, etc. Choose and register for puppy class or hire your private puppy trainer to make sure you get a spot with a top professional. Are you getting your puppy close to a holiday? Then plan well ahead for any sitting or boarding arrangements. The best sitters and facilities get booked up far in advance and you don’t want to risk your puppy having a bad experience.