Bringing Home a New Puppy

The most exciting thing about getting a puppy is bringing them home! However, this can also be a scary experience as well. This is your puppy’s first car ride, as well as their first time away from mom and the rest of the litter. The best way to be prepared is by ensuring you have everything ready at home, from puppy proofing to general puppy supplies. There are things you should discuss with the people you are getting the puppy from and a few things you can do or have to make the trip home easier for you and your new puppy.

Shopping for Your New Puppy

When preparing your home for your new puppy, you will want to be sure you have all supplies ready to go. These items should be purchased before your puppy comes home and everything that needs set up should be done. Most likely the place you are purchasing your puppy from will have specific necessities, but here are some of the top puppy supplies:

Food - Most likely this will be dry food. Be sure to find out what puppy is eating and, if you choose to switch, have enough on hand to gradually switch them over.

Crate - Puppies need to be crated when unsupervised. There are a variety of crates available from wire to hard plastic and even soft crates, which are likely not going to be ideal for puppies. Talk with the people you are purchasing your puppy from about their thoughts on the best crates for the type of dog you are getting.

Food and Water Bowls - One of the first things you should show your puppy is the location of their water bowl, so having this set up before it gets home is a necessity!

Variety of Toys - Puppy will need a variety of toys, from soft toys to tough, chew toys for teething. Remember to supervise your puppy and ensure toys are appropriate for their weight and age. 

Collar and Leash - Have a collar and leash ready to go with you to pick up your puppy! Preferably have the collar ready with some form of identification.

Treats - Most people will want a variety of treats ready for their puppy from the beginning. You will need training treats immediately, as training should start the moment your puppy comes home. For any other treats, you will want to be sure they are appropriate for your puppy’s weight and age.

Pet Odor Neutralizer - Be prepared for potty training accidents in the coming weeks with a pet odor neutralizer and a stockpile of paper towels. 

Poop Bags - You will need to clean up puppy poop from the yard (and probably your house!) in the coming months. Have a stash of poop bags ready to go for cleanup duty!

Before heading to pick up your puppy, double check your list and be sure you have all supplies set up and ready to go! You will be using many of them immediately and don’t want to spend your puppy’s first day getting set up instead of bonding!

Picking Up Your Puppy

When you go to leave to get your puppy, do a quick walkthrough of your house on puppy level to ensure there is nothing dangerous within their reach. Then grab some supplies for your puppy’s trip home: some treats, a toy, a blanket or towel, leash and collar, poop bags, and cleaning supplies. Your best bet will be to have someone with you to hold and comfort the puppy during the car ride. This allows you to focus on the ride and they can focus on meeting its needs. If you are unable to have help, the safest option for your puppy and you will be a crate for the car ride home.

When you arrive to pick up your puppy, you should be given any paperwork, from registration to veterinary records. Many breeders will be willing to give you a sample of their current food, which will help if you plan on switching or forgot to buy food! You should ask about your puppy’s current schedule and try to keep them as close to it as possible to help with this huge adjustment.

Before leaving with your puppy, you should walk and play with them to wear them out. This will help keep them relaxed on their ride home. Be sure they potty as well to hopefully avoid accidents! You will need to put your puppy’s collar and leash on, as well. To ensure your puppy’s collar isn’t too loose, check by seeing if you can snuggly fit two fingers between the collar and its neck. This will seem tight, but it is just the right fit where it is not too snug and your puppy cannot escape.

Puppy’s First Car Ride Home

If you have someone to ride with you, the best place for them and the puppy is in the backseat. This way puppy is safest, as the front seat can be dangerous for pets, and less of a distraction to you, the driver. To encourage your puppy, you can give them a treat and speak calmly. Barking and whining are normal as they are going through brand new experiences. Do not encourage their fear by getting excited or too affectionate. If they are too uncomfortable, you can give them a chew toy as long as they are supervised.

If your ride is too long, you may have to stop for a potty and stretch break. You should avoid parks and rest stops until your puppy is fully vaccinated around 16 weeks, as you cannot be sure all dogs visiting have been vaccinated.

When you arrive home with your puppy, the first thing you should do is show them where to potty. Even if you stopped for a potty break, they will likely have to go again. After pottying, give them time to explore outside, then bring them in to show their area, including the crate and water bowl.

When arriving home, you should immediately begin setting the routine for you and your puppy. Whatever puppy would normally do at your arrival time, set them up for success by encouraging it now. Another key way to set your puppy up for success is to begin training immediately. By beginning training when arriving at home, you are establishing rules and keeping their brain busy, which is important for all dogs.