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The puppy stage is exciting! You’ve just welcomed a new family member into your home, and everyone is getting to know each other. Your new pup is adorable, and you’re soaking up every last cuddle session you can get.  

The puppy stage can also be… 

Overwhelming.  

What can you do to prepare? What steps should you take to set your puppy up for success once they arrive home?  

Here are a few tips:  

  1. Puppy proof away! Keep in mind that puppies are babies, and they don’t come with house manners! Take a very close look throughout your house and make adjustments according to what your puppy may get into. Remember, they may find wires fun to chew, or perhaps your favorite pair of shoes. Make sure you have a designated safe place for your puppy to take a break if you have to leave them unattended, like a crate or pen. Puppy proofing is essential to keeping both your puppy and your personal belongings safe and sound. 
  2. Start with crate training right away. Introducing a crate to your puppy from day one will make everyone’s lives a little easier. Your puppy may not take to it right away but stick with it. Make the crate somewhere enjoyable for them to retreat, and always highly praise and offer rewards when your puppy shows the crate any attention or goes in it on their own.
  3. Make plans to explore! Once your new puppy is fully vaccinated, it’s time to socialize! Your pup can’t learn about the world without experiencing it, right? Schedule play dates with other vaccinated dogs you know, have friends and family meet your new addition, and go on adventures together! Socialization is especially crucial in the younger months of a dog’s life, so go for it! 
  4. Don’t get angry at accidents. Potty training a puppy takes time and patience. You probably already knew that when you decided to get a puppy! While your puppy is learning, try to keep the mindset that you will not get upset when they have accidents. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity! Did the puppy have too much water? How much time had passed since the puppy was last taken outside? Do you need to adjust their schedule in any way to set them up for success? Your puppy doesn’t want to upset you. Meet them where they’re at and adjust your plan accordingly! 
  5. Establish a bond. When it comes to training, a puppy will respond more effectively to someone they have built a bond with. That only makes sense, right? Start small by rewarding your puppy for simple responses to you. You call their name and they look your way? Reward. They show you affection? Reward. These simple moments are crucial in the beginning. They will set you up for a lifetime of trust!  W  

Whenever you have questions, whether it’s health-related or training-related, your veterinarian is always a valid resource. If you’re planning to bring a puppy home soon, keep in mind to do some research and find a veterinarian you feel comfortable with in your area. Starting your puppy with visits early will desensitize them to vet visits and ensure as they grow older that visits are less stressful, plus, you will have bonus support throughout puppyhood!