Puppy 101: Surviving Their First Month Home

Keeping sane when your little ball of fur becomes a little terror

By Catalina Barrios

How did you feel when your dog came home?

Finally the day has come. After talking with your family, you decide it will be a great idea to have a new member in the family, a puppy. The excitement increases as the “big” day approaches. You or your kids mark each day on the calendar as a way of knowing that day will be coming soon.

Are you ready? You may have asked this question a couple or many times. It is not like buying a chair and returning it if you don’t like it. Owning a dog is a commitment for many years, a journey you are ready to join with your family, your partner, or solo. I guarantee it will be lots of fun, one of the best experiences in your life.

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The first 30 days are very important as they define how well you will get along with your furry friend. Raising a puppy won’t be easy but don’t get discouraged as it will be very rewarding. 

The following tips will help you give your new member the best first month of the many wonderful years he will be spending with you.

1. Bringing The Puppy Home

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The first day is a great opportunity of teaching your puppy to love their crate. Make sure his crate has toys, treats, and a comfy blanket which will remind them of their mother and littermates. Drive carefully and take breaks if needed. You may also want to bring someone with you just in case your puppy cries or whines and you need to comfort them It is recommended taking your puppy to the vet within the first couple of days of having them home. You want to make sure they are healthy.

2. Toilet Training

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For many people, toilet training is one of the hardest parts of having a new dog. You can start training your puppy on day one. When you bring them home, make sure they pottie. Once they do, praise them and give them a treat. Take them out to pee after playing and after every meal. You can start setting a routine for them where they know that taking them out to potty is the first and last thing you do with them every day. Be prepared for many accidents, but remember that learning takes time and soon your puppy will be “potty” trained.

3. Eating

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Everybody enjoys eating but make sure not to overfeed your puppy. Remember as you are getting used to them, they are getting used to your family and yourself. Feeding is a great way of starting to get your puppy on a schedule. Start with the food you were given at the pet store or shelter. If you want to change their food, do it gradually by mixing in the new food to prevent them from getting an upset stomach. Measure their food so you don’t give them too much. You can also hand feed them. Hand feeding can help your puppy develop a soft mouth so they doesn’t bite you when they takes things from your hands. This will also teach them self-control and trust.

4. Sleeping

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Your puppy may whine and cry for the first couple of days when they go to sleep. Tell them good night and make sure they have a couple of toys and a comfy blanket in their crate. It is very important that you stay calm. You worry if they will be ok, but don’t sleep with them in your bed. It’s hard when you want your puppy always close to you, but this can be a bad habit. You want your puppy to be on a routine. They will learn that their bed is in the crate.

5. Puppy-proofing Your Home

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There are some precautions you need to take when bringing your new furry friend home. Cover electrical cords with cord guards. It is common for puppies to entertaine themselves chewing on the cords, which could lead to oral cavity burns. Child lock cabinets as this will prevent your puppy from accessing garbage and cleaning products. Keep any medications out of the reach of your puppy. The last thing you want is for them to get sick.

6. Learning

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Learning can start at an early stage. Your puppy will start by getting to know you and your surroundings. They will get familiar with your voice. Meeting new people is important for your puppy. Take them for a car ride or for a walk to the park. Help your puppy identify their things. For example if you are playing with a ball, repeat the word “ball” frequently so they get familiarized.

If you tell your dog to go outside, walk and guide them to the door as they don’t know what outside means.

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Tips:

* Don’t punish or yell at your puppy if they do something bad. Remember they are learning and don’t know if what they do is good or bad yet. Encourage more than discourage.

* Set them up on a routine. Take them out to pee in the morning, at night, shortly after playing and after meals.

* Give a puppy time. They need time to discover and get used to these new surroundings

* Reward good behaviors with a toy or treat.

* Spend time with your puppy. Take them for walks, play together, run around. Have lots of fun and be thankful!

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Share this article with new puppy owners. What is your best advice to survive a puppy’s first month home?