6 Tips for Bringing a Puppy Home
As thousands of dog lovers will tell you, bringing a puppy home is one of the most rewarding experiences a pet parent can have. Their boundless energy, positive attitude, and adorable faces make up the perfect recipe for great memories and experiences to come, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always be easy.
Navigating the world of puppy ownership is filled with many trials and tribulations. Before you add a new little bundle of joy to your family, it's important to understand all the special care that goes into raising a puppy into a happy, healthy dog.
Evaluate Your Lifestyle
When you are bringing a puppy home, you want to try your best to ensure their personality and activity level meshes well with you and your family’s overall lifestyle. Do you prefer relaxing days at home where you can take it easy and move at a slower pace? Or are you more adventurous and want a canine companion to help you burn off some energy in the great outdoors?
The type of breed you choose can significantly impact how easy (or difficult) it is for you and your family to raise a puppy. If you bring a high-energy pup home like a Greyhound or an Australian Cattle Dog, they may act out through barking, scratching, and other bad behaviors if you aren’t able to give them the exercise they need.
On the other hand, if you are always on the move and want a dog that can keep up, accidently choosing a breed that doesn’t have great endurance can potentially land you in a dangerous situation. French Bulldogs, for example, historically can suffer from breathing problems, so taking them for a run could lead to serious health risks.
To make sure you are raising a puppy that complements your lifestyle, talk with the shelter or breeder about the dogs to consider. They can help narrow down what would work best for you and your family. You can also check out our Breed Library to help get started!
Introduce Family Members
Introducing your new puppy to the family is an exciting time, but it doesn’t come without challenges. Remember, meeting new people can be very overwhelming for your puppy! It is best to have a plan in place to make sure introductions are as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
One recommendation is to start on neutral ground, whether that be the backyard or a local park. This will help your puppy feel more comfortable. From there, introduce them to only a few calm and quiet people at a time so they don’t get worked up.
You can repeat this process a few times to build trust. From kids to older adults, people have different smells and attributes that your puppy can sense and remember as they become more familiar with the outside world.
Introduce Four-Legged Friends
If you already have a dog in your family, you'll need to introduce the new puppy to them. You can do this by first putting the puppy in a designated spot, like their crate. Next, let your resident family dog explore the house and find the new smell. This is a safe way to initially introduce a puppy to an older dog.
Next, you can head outside to neutral ground and let them pick up each other’s scent while leashed. Let the dogs smell around and learn about each other for a few minutes until the initial adrenaline has worn off. If that goes well, proceed to let your puppy off their leash for unrestricted (but carefully watched) playtime.
Make note, however, that it is never advised to leave your puppy alone with an adult dog unless you have supervised them for some time and have ensured they can safely cohabitate.
Choose the Right Food
Just like babies, puppies have special nutritional needs to properly grow and develop. That's why it's so important to start them off with a high-quality puppy food that provides vital nutrients for their critical first year of growth.
When you are stocking up on supplies before bringing a puppy home, look for a puppy food with a high-quality protein as the first ingredient. For example, Bil-Jac has three varieties of puppy food that all start with real chicken: Puppy Select, Small Breed Puppy, and Large Breed Puppy. For example, 25 pounds of real chicken is used to make a 30 pound bag of our Bil-Jac Puppy Select Dry Dog Food!
Build A Schedule
According to the American Kennel Club, dogs thrive on consistency. A reliable schedule can positively impact every aspect of your relationship with your puppy, from house training to managing behavioral challenges.
Before bringing a puppy home, decide where their water and food will go, where they will sleep, where they will play, as well as any spots in the house that are off limits to furry friends. From there, decide on the best times for them to go outside, eat, go to bed, and more. These steps will help create a safe space for your puppy by eliminating unnecessary confusion.
Be Patient During Training
Whether you are raising a puppy or teaching an old dog new tricks, training takes a lot of patience. It is important to stick to the basics first – learning the meaning of “no,” potty training, crate training – before moving on to more complicated lessons like tricks.
When used properly, dog treats are a tasty reward and training tool. Treats can be a great aid in training a new puppy, but make sure not to overutilize them in the training process.
When training, don’t overdo it. It is normal to get overwhelmed with your new puppy, so take breaks and do your best to stay patient. This will help strengthen your bond and build trust. If something starts to feel stressful, walk away and try again later.
At Bil-Jac, we want raising your puppy to be a pawsitive experience for everyone. As a result, we always recommend a well-rounded approach to training, nutrition, health and exercise – a regimen that will start your best friend off right on the right foot. To get more tips on raising a happy and healthy pup, join our Puppy Club! You’ll get helpful parenting tips and exclusive Bil-Jac coupons right to your inbox.