Friday, November 16, 2012

Puppy Love Pt 2: Bringing Puppy Home

Welcome to Part II of our series on adopting puppies. In Part I we took a look at the decision to adopt a puppy and the pros and cons of choosing a young animal over an adult. Today we'll discuss adopting the puppy, puppy-proofing your home, and what to expect over the first few days.

One of our sweet HSEC litters available for adoption!
It shouldn't come as a surprise that HSEC recommends adopting a puppy from an animal welfare organization or city shelter, especially if you are adopting a family companion, not choosing a breed for a specific purpose (hunting, herding, competition, or show). Many pet stores have ties to puppy mills, but even if they are above board, adopting from a store causes demand for the intentional breeding of puppies. (If you choose a breeder, the ASPCA recommends a small scale operation that does not sell to pet stores.) There are already many wonderful and loving puppies available at animal welfare organizations.

Before you head over to the facility, purchase the major supplies your puppy will need:
  • Water and food bowls
  • Collar and leash
  • Puppy food - not adult dog food. Like all babies, puppies have nutritional needs different to those of adults.
  • Number of a local vet
Other supplies will vary by circumstance and include:
  • Outdoor shelter (if your pet will be spending time outdoors other than walks and playtime, this is a MUST)
  • Carrier (for a small dog)
  • Crate and/or bed
  • Pee pads
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Grooming items like brush, nail clippers, etc. 
  • Puppy proofing supplies (see below)
If you don't have toys when you bring the puppy home, they will find something to play with. Don't let them chew or play on things that are off limits even once, or they will continue this behavior. Having acceptable toys at the ready is the best plan.

Also before picking up the puppy, make sure your home is ready! Puppy proofing your home is not entirely dissimilar to baby proofing. Not only are you looking to keep the puppy safe and out of trouble, the goal is to make it possible for the puppy to be able to be in your home without constant supervision.

For each room, ask yourself the following questions: What's dangerous? What's breakable? What's off-limits? Then act accordingly.
  • Place household cleaners and other toxic items out of the puppy's reach. Consider temporarily removing obstacles like swinging doors that could shut on a neck or tail.
  • Remove breakables or set them up high. Put chewables (like shoes) in closets with doors that shut firmly. Pick up small objects like toys that could be swallowed.
  • Ensure that the puppy won't be able to pull items down on itself (for example, pulling a tablecloth down with everything that's on it). 
  • Think about things like low windows and wide holes in decks or between stairs. Electric cords and dangling cords from blinds are other potential hazards.
  • Remove access to garbage cans or diaper pails.
  • Create a safe space where the puppy can play without concern. A baby gate is a great way to separate a room without shutting the puppy behind a door. 
  • We recommend that the garage and the bathrooms should be totally off-limits, at least when the puppy is young.
As the puppy gets older, smarter, and calmer, you will be able to relax most of these measures. For a full list of potential puppy proofing ideas, check out this site.

Finally it's time for the exciting moment when the puppy comes home for the first time. Remember that this can be scary and stressful for your new baby, so be patient and don't overwhelm them with too much all at once. Walk them around the house and give them lots of love and attention. Plan for them to sleep near you on the first few nights.

In all the excitement, don't forget to take care of important details for the puppy's health and safety. Call your vet as soon as the puppy is home and make an appointment for a check up. And purchase a dog tag that has your information on it, just in case the puppy is separated from you.

Over the first couple of days, you will get to know your puppy's personality and they will become more comfortable in your home. Problems like whining at night and nervous behavior should subside during this point. Now it's time to think about potty training, obedience training, and proper socialization.

And finally, enjoy this time and the new addition to your family.

No comments:

Post a Comment