Welcoming a puppy into your family is by far one of life's greatest adventures.All of a sudden, you've got this tiny creature to care for and life is good- until you realize that you have no idea what to do. From how (and why) to set up a puppy perimeter to the importance of a routine, we've put together a list of lesser-known but truly key tips to making the transition to life with puppy a seamlessly sensational one.
Crate/Kennel TrainTo the uninitiated, a crate may seem cruel. Caging your sweet puppy probably isn't what you had in mind when you pictured welcoming him into your life. However, when used properly, crates become a safe haven for dogs, a spot for them to retreat when things get overwhelming and a comforting bed where they can relax and re-energize. Prior to bringing your puppy home, purchase and set up a crate that is size-appropriate. Several manufacturers offer customizable options which allow you to widen the space as your puppy grows. Add a soft pad, a few cozy toys, and you're good to go. You and your puppy will be grateful for this space, especially in instances when you can't watch him or need to step out.
Co-SleepEven if you don't plan on having your dog sleep in your bedroom, consider making the first few nights an exception. The transition to a new home is a tough one, especially if your puppy has only ever known life with his litter mates. Setting up the crate by your bed allows you to comfort your puppy if he's whimpering and gives him a sense of security from knowing that you're nearby. Once a level of trust and routine has been established, you'll find that you'll be able to transition your puppy to whichever space you've decided will be his. But don't over think it at first, just focus on easing the shift for both of you.
Establish a RoutineDogs, like humans, tend to thrive on a schedule. Having some sort of sense of what's coming next and an understanding as to what is happening at any given time tends to provide a sense of comfort and trust. While no one is encouraging you to become a slave to a prohibitively strict itinerary, it's always a good idea to try to establish a little consistency. For instance, start the day by bringing your puppy outside, followed by breakfast. He'll quickly realize that doing his business means meal time is imminent, making him less likely to dawdle. Aim to go on walks around the same time each day so that your puppy realizes that they're a guarantee and he doesn't have to worry. Soon you should notice that your puppy will start to develop his own routine and fall into more predictable patterns which tend to be beneficial for all parties involved.