At Fit & Go Pets, we’re all about educating our pet families. So in our effort to bring more awareness and knowledge around all things pets, we’re inviting our community partners to share their expertise with you.
Our first community partner post comes from Crown Dog Training. They’re Miami and Orlando, Florida, based dog trainers who use positive training that will lead to long-lasting better behavior and obedience. They provide private, group, and online dog training classes.
Let’s get those tails wagging and dive in on what to expect (and not expect) when bringing a puppy into your home and family.
What do I need to do before I bring my puppy home?
1. Purchase all puppy necessities.
You’ll first want to make sure you’re prepared and have everything you need to help care for your puppy. Here is a list of basic items you will need:
Dog crate and puppy playpen (important for potty training, convenience, and safety!)
Food bowl & water bowl
Cleaning spray (for potty accidents)
A puppy harness & non-retractable leash
A variety of chew toys
Dog ID (tags or on the collar) & microchip with your contact info
Check out the blog, The 5 Best Products We Love for Our Dogs, for more information on these necessities.
2. Puppy-proof your home.
For safety and to prevent chewing, you will want to puppy-proof your home by:
Moving houseplants out of reach. Puppies tend to want to dig and chew on plants, and some plants are toxic to dogs.
Keep medicine and cleaning supplies in high cabinets or secured behind doors that the puppy cannot access.
Move electrical cords out of reach so your puppy doesn't chew on them.
Put a fence up around your pool and always plan to supervise your puppy in the yard.
Make sure your floor and low surfaces are clean, having no small items out that can be potential choking hazards.
Secure all trash cans with lids or put them in cabinets to prevent your puppy from getting inside of them.
3. Ask the rescue, shelter, or breeder important questions about your puppy.
There are things you need to know about your puppy, so ask:
What type of food is my puppy eating? How much should I feed per meal? Will you provide some food when I pick up my puppy?
What should I bring with me when picking up my puppy?
Will you provide paperwork/proof of the puppy's first vaccines or any other paperwork (like AKC, deworming, etc.)?
4. Schedule an appointment with a trainer.
Training is a great start to building a strong relationship with your puppy. Good or bad habits develop early, so best to start training early!
A professional positive-based trainer can give you guidance on how to start successful potty training, teach good manners, and provide useful tips on preventing unwanted behaviors from developing. Both Fit & Go Pets and Crown Dog Training offer positive-based training in the Miami and Orlando (Crown Dog only) areas and can help work through any troublesome behaviors.
What should I do with my puppy when I first bring them home?
1. Take them to go potty.
It's best to immediately show your puppy their potty area and allow them to relieve themselves before exploring their new home.
2. Allow them to get acclimated to their environment.
Your puppy may be excited or timid when first arriving at their new home. Allow your puppy to smell around and explore. You can then show them their puppy area (crate and/or playpen) with some toys inside. Feeding your puppy their meals inside the crate or playpen can also build a positive association with that area.
3. Schedule a vet appointment for your puppy's first checkup.
If you haven’t scheduled a vet appointment before your puppy’s arrival, it's best to quickly find a reputable vet in your area and schedule an appointment to bring your puppy in for their first check-up. It’s okay to call a few vet offices to ask about their clinics and protocols as well as read reviews before deciding which veterinarian is the best match for you.
What should I expect the first night with my puppy? Where should my puppy sleep the first night? Should I let my puppy cry at night?
Your puppy has just left their mother and litter-mates, so expect your puppy to be a little nervous when left alone. They may whine or bark the first few nights.
It’s best to tire your puppy out before bedtime so they can relax and fall asleep easier. Crate training is best so your puppy doesn't have accidents or chew anything in the house.
If your puppy is 4 months or younger, be prepared to wake up in the middle of the night to take your puppy out to go potty. Remember, they are very young and their bladders are not fully developed yet. Most puppies cannot hold their pee throughout the entire night.
What should I expect during the first week with a puppy?
It will take time for your puppy to learn where the correct potty area is. Take them there every 1-2 hours during the day as they learn and acclimate to their new environment.
How long does it take for my puppy to adjust to their new home?
Every puppy is different. Some puppies will take more time than other puppies to adjust to their new home and your lifestyle. It will all depend on your puppy’s previous experience in the breeder’s home, rescue, or shelter, and their personality and confidence level.
Daily play and training can help build your dog’s good habits and strengthen your bond.
When does having a puppy get easier?
Puppies are a lot of work.
Potty training and teething issues take time to resolve. 6 months of age is the goal for most puppies to be fully potty trained. At that age, most of their adult teeth should have replaced their sharp puppy teeth. So chewing and teething should start to decrease.
Your puppy’s behavior will also depend on you. Remember, puppies are not born knowing our rules and what we like or dislike. We need to be patient and practice short/easy training games, as well as provide exercise and enrichment for our puppies. If you struggle with any behavior issues or need help in potty training or obedience, contact a positive-based dog trainer in your area.
Two things I wish I knew to expect during the puppy months.
1. Puppies have sharp teeth, so expect plenty of play-biting and chewing.
Play-biting is NORMAL puppy behavior. Until your puppy changes out their teeth (around 5 months of age), they will look for things to chew and may play-bite with people.
It’s best to have plenty of toys on the floor and available for your pup to chew on. Make sure to either get a playpen or baby gate in the house to have a separate puppy play area or put your puppy in when they’re roughly playing with you.
You can also teach some mouth-control games such as “drop it” or “gentle.” This may teach your puppy to control their mouth in some situations. But as any puppy would, they will still get excited and want to bite to initiate play. Just know that the teething stage will eventually end!
2. Potty training takes patience and time.
No puppy will be fully potty trained in a couple of weeks. Their bladders are weak and small, so it will take time to fully develop strong muscles.
Just as we do with toddler children, we also need to practice taking them to their "potty area" frequently. Praise your puppy each time they go to the correct spot. Do not scold or shame your puppy for making mistakes. Accidents will occur during the learning period. It's mostly human error when your puppy has an accident since it means we’re not supervising our puppies well enough or that we stretched the time between potty breaks for too long.
And don’t forget to find a provider for other doggy services your puppy may need!
Bringing a new puppy home can seem overwhelming, but having all the essential items and services ready can help you worry less and spend more time enjoying all of those puppy moments!
You can find us at 711 NW 24th Street in Miami, Florida. We can’t wait to meet your new pup!