Getting a Puppy: What You Should Know

Pitbull puppy

Many folks over the last few months are getting a puppy or dog from a shelter! These past weeks and months have likely been fabulous and full of training and enrichment. Yet there are some challenges even with new puppies.

One of our fave trainers is Victoria Stilwell. Naturally, we wanted to refer to her posts when sharing tips on getting a puppy and living with them.

According to Stilwell:

“Bringing a puppy into your home is a 15-20 year commitment, so it’s important not to take the decision lightly.”

  1. Do your research: “Spend time observing a puppy in her environment and watch how she interacts with other pups, adult dogs, and people around her,” adds Stilwell.
  2. Puppy training: Socialization is key and introducing your puppy to the environments and situations she is likely to experience throughout her life will make a well-balanced pup.
  3. Vet visits and vaccinations! Talk to your veterinarian about all the essential vaccinations and what that will look like.
  4. Can I take my puppy out? Again, see the above! There are important socialization guidelines and it’s important to know when you can take your puppy out of the neighborhood but talk to your vet!
  5. Manners: You want your puppy to have good manners and to behave well so consider those puppy classes.
  6. Housetraining: Invest the time to make sure your puppy is house trained. This will save you a lot of headaches later on.
  7. Crate training: This is a great training tool for when your puppy grows up!  It’s a safe place and a great potty training tool.
  8. Mealtime: Try puzzle toys for your pup for all meals – food stuff-able toys are the best interactive toys as you can stuff these with a lot of healthy treats! And kibble!
  9. Teething: “Teach your puppy that mouthing or nipping a person’s skin or clothes at any time stops play and attention immediately,” adds Stilwell. (SO important to learn how to manage mouthy pups).
  10. Never use punishment! Ignore the whining! And a tired pup is a good pup! Just a reminder…

What about puppy-proofing your house! According to the American Kennel Club, there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to puppy-proofing your house:

Puppy Proofing

Your top priority needs to be keeping your puppy safe. Here are some tips for proper puppy proofing:

  • Look at your house from your new puppy’s point of view. Get on your hands and knees so you don’t miss anything at ground level.
  • Keep anything dangerous behind locked cupboard doors or stored up high, like cleaning supplies.
  • Tie all electrical cords out of your puppy’s reach.
  • Put everything valuable away. Knickknacks and cell phones can’t be destroyed if they’re kept in drawers or on a high shelf. Everything needs to be up high and out of reach.
  • Keep shoes in a closed closet. If you don’t want something to become a chew toy, prevent your puppy from getting it in the first place.
  • Switch to garbage cans with lids. Food smells will attract your puppy, so be sure he can’t get in your trash.
  • Use barricades like baby gates or exercise pens to keep your puppy confined to safe areas or out of unsafe ones.
  • Examine your backyard for hazards. For example, look for holes in the fence or toxic plants.

What happens when you getting a puppy and your cat isn’t happy? Read this post.