Preparing for Puppy: What You Need To Welcome A Dog
Preparing for your puppy is such an exciting time!
When preparing for your new puppy, there are SO many things to think about. We communicated closely with our breeder throughout the process. She really prepared us with checklists and step-by-step instructions. Thanks to her, we knew what to expect during the first couple of days. What’s even better is 90% of the items we needed were easily available on Amazon.
Shopping for your new puppy can get overwhelming, so I hope this blog post will take some of the stress off of your prepping!
For more of our favorite pet products and brands, click here!
Are you ready to be a dog parent? Read this blog post to find out!
If you’re a first time dog mom (like me!), you’ll want a checklist to make sure you get all the right things! The first few days (ok, months) you probably won’t get much sleep. Your puppy will cry and your patience will be thin (am I still talking about a dog, here?)
Don’t despair! It’ll be okay! Consistency is key, but remember to be kind to yourself first. Let me break it down for you, and hopefully by the end of this blog post, you’ll feel prepared for your new puppy!
Disclaimer: I am not a vet nor a dog trainer, I’m just speaking from my own personal experience, sharing what I’ve learned and what’s worked for me. Please keep in mind that some of the links included in this blog post are affiliate links and if you go through them to buy something, I will earn a commission. I link companies and their products because in my opinion, they’re good quality. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. The decision to purchase something is completely and totally up to you. If you do decide to purchase something, I thank you for supporting this blog!
This Checklist Will Help With Preparing For A Puppy
I’m the kind of person who can get easily overwhelmed with big changes, like preparing for a puppy! When I get overwhelmed, I like to make lists.
A new puppy requires a lot of time, care and attention. So, I broke down this post in different sections to help you with your planning.
Click on one of the titles to jump to that section.
Setting Up a Safe Space
Picking Up Puppy
Potty & Walks
Puppy Grooming: Getting Started Early
Puppy Play Time
Keeping a Clean House
Setting Up a Safe Space As You Prepare For Your Puppy
A couple of days before you go pick up your puppy, make sure you created a space for them in your house. This will be their “safe space”. If you’re opting for a crate, like these ones, make sure it’s a good size. You want to keep in mind how big your puppy will get. Our crate came with dividers so we could adapt the space as Henry grew.
You want your crate to be as cosy as possible: include some soft blankets, maybe a crate bedand something that smells like “home” for them.
Our breeder gave us a little plush toy that smelled like Henry’s family (as seen in the picture at the top of this post) so he wouldn’t experience too much separation anxiety.
There are several advantages that come with crate training that will help you so much in the future. In hindsight, I wish we would’ve been better about our crate training…
This Zak George video teaches you how to crate train your puppy.
If you’re more of a reader, you can grab his best-selling training book here on Amazon.
Dog-Mom Tip: You want to also make sure that you puppy-proof the main areas that you will allow your puppy to go. We learned this the hard way! Remove any books or breakables within puppy reach. Remember to always keep an eye on your fur-baby!
If you want your dog to enjoy their calm place, read this blog post for some training tips!
Picking Up Puppy
You might want to consider a pet carrier when going to pick up your puppy. There are several varieties available, but we opted for a soft travel carrier from Be One Breed. It looked like this one from Amazon:
[And if you’re flying, check out the NEW Global Citizen airline compliant carrier from Maxbone!]
On our way to pick up Henry, we packed blankets and a calming, lavender-scented plush Kong toy in his carrier. The breeder gave us some puppy food she was already feedinf him, so we used that as “treats”to get him in the carrier. We also brought some extra chicken Purebites with us. Our goal was to make car rides pleasant from the start, so we showered him with treats and praise.
Henry stayed in his carrier throughout the entire hour and a half drive from Granby to Montreal, but it took a little time for him to settle in. When he started crying, I remember the breeder playing Jazz music for the puppies during the day, to calm them down. I thought that might be soothing. To my surprise, it worked! As soon as the Jazz music started playing, Henry went to sleep almost immediately. We didn’t hear another peep until we got home. Like magic!
Dog-Mom Tip: If you plan on flying with your puppy, when you’re shopping for your carrier, make sure it’s airline approved!
Preparing For Puppy Potty And Walks
The first few days at home are probably the trickiest. My advice: get yourself a routine right from the start. With a puppy, consistency is key.
You might even want to take a couple of days off from work. Ideally, you’re bringing your puppy home on a weekend. Introduce your puppy to their surroundings as soon as possible.
Potty training was probably the most difficult part of puppyhood, for us. We started with pee pads inside, and a grass patch on the balcony (we live in an apartment). In hindsight, Henry probably would’ve probably had less accidents inside if we had gone the crate training route, from the start. Our bad!
When you’re preparing for a puppy, prepare for accidents! We still keep a Nature’s Miracle stain & odour remover handy at all times. It gets pee stains off the toughest places (plus it smells really clean too!)
Dog-Mom Tip: The biggest takeaway we kept from tour first trainer: majorly rewarding Henry after he goes to the bathroom in the right place! Celebrate their good behaviour with training treats, like these small, all-natural Crumps treats, and lots of praise immediately.
This is what we used for potty training and walks. Click here to see more of Amazon’s best-selling pet products. For more inspo, you can also check out my 5 City Walk Essentials here if you live in the city, like us!
Preparing Your Puppy for Grooming: Getting Started Early
Prepare your puppy for things you’d want them to be okay with in the future.
Good grooming, especially dental hygiene, is key to avoiding long-term health issues. Plus, you want to get your puppy used to being poked and prodded, like they would at the vet.
The whole idea is to create positive experiences around these activities—and of course, do so consistently.
These are some of the key products we use for daily grooming. If you do it often, grooming can become a nice, calm time to bond with your dog.
Dog Mom Tip: I had such a tricky time with nail clipping at the beginning that I brought Henry to the vet to get it done. When she did it, she suggested I get a small, cat nail clipper, since Henry’s nails were so smol. That and giving him something to distract him, like a LickiMat covered in peanut butter, has made it easy for me to clip his nails now.
Puppy Play Time
Almost every part of puppyhood is magical, but playing with your puppy is one of the best parts!
Nothing compares to watching a little chubby furball flail around happily! Playing with your puppy for a bit everyday will help to exercise them and strengthen your bond.
You’ll want to get yourself different varieties of toys (chews, plushes, squeakers, freezable teething toys, treat dispensing toys and puzzles, rope toys, etc.) to keep them engaged and stimulated!
I love this blog post by Proud Dog Mom who talks about dog puzzles, including one of our recent purchases by Outward Hounds, the Twister !
Dog Mom Tip: Put some of your pup chew toys in the freezer! This was a neat trick we picked up and it helped to soothe the pain of teething. I included all the toys we used for Henry in his Amazon shop here.
Keeping Your House Clean With A Puppy
Along with puppy-proofing, if you’re anything like me, you want your house to stay clean with a puppy! If you’re preparing for a Cavalier, just know that they shed a lot. We knew this from the start, so we got ourselves a robotic vacuum, like this one.
Along with the fur, there will be the occasional accident. You’ll want to get an enzymatic spray for when this happens. This spray will break down the enzymes found within the accident, so your pup won’t smell them anymore and won’t return to the same place to pee…keep an eye out if they find a new spot, though!
If you’re like me and enjoy a clean space, I created a whole section of cleaning products I use daily on our Amazon shop!Check it out here.
Dog Mom Tip: If your puppy does have an accident inside the house, it’s best not to get upset at them. They don’t really understand, as it is after all, an accident. Just take them outside and try to have them use the bathroom again. As soon as they do, praise them and give them all the treats!
You’re Ready For Your Puppy!
After reading this, you should have everything you need to prepare for your puppy! The puppy phase goes by so quickly, so take lots of photos and videos.
Some breeders require that the new owners get their dogs spayed or neutered at a certain age. I wish someone would’ve told me what a process it is! It felt like going right back to puppyhood. If you want to be ready for it, read this blog post.
Although it’s a lot of hard work, puppyhood is a wonderful time; enjoy every minute of it!
In the meantime, here are some more helpful resources to prepare for your puppy:
Zak George – Everything You Need To Be Prepared For Your New Puppy
American Kennel Club – Is Now The Right Time To Get A Puppy? How To Prepare During COVID-19
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- Do Cavaliers Bark? Tips For Quieting Anxious Barking | Henry The Smol - […] New dog mom? Here are some tips for getting through those puppyhood struggles.And if you’re bringing home a new…
- 5 Tips to Overcome Puppyhood Struggles | Henry The Smol - […] For a full list of puppy essentials, read this blog post. […]
- Dog Mom Talk: Puppy Training 101 with Ali Smith, Founder of Rebarkable | Henry The Smol - […] sure what to buy for your new puppy? Check out this blog post about how to prepare for your…
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tHANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR CHECKLIST! great way to make sure you dont need to think too much when there is little time to think or you are otherwise OVERWHELMED or too excited with a new puppy. I have saved your list on my desktop. although i am already a dog owner for a much older dog, who knows when and if i may decide to get another…..
love your blog!!
So glad you love it! Can’t wait for puppy #2!!!
Great Blog. Really helpful To US. I am in France and try to look for these products here.
Thanks so much!! So thrilled that this is helpful for you!
Getting a second Cavie, our Henry is 7…he’s a bit lOnely
So exciting!!! Congrats!