New Puppy 101: Puppy-Proofing Your Life

new puppy

So you got a new puppy…

You saw him at the animal shelter or online or in the newspaper or in front of your local Walmart—and you couldn’t resist bringing that new puppy home with you. He was adorable. There was no way to walk away without him. I understand. I, too, brought home a new puppy recently. With their cute, smooshy faces and their floppy-woppy ears and the puppy breath  (oh, help us all—THE PUPPY BREATH!), most of us will, at some point, end up bringing home a new puppy.


We tend to forget that that adorable little ball of helpless fluff is actually quite a lot of work. For instance, your new puppy has no idea that electrical cords shouldn’t be chewed, Legos shouldn’t be ingested, window blinds shouldn’t be removed, and recliners shouldn’t be ritually sacrificed to the new puppy god, Nonono.

Here are a few tips to help your new puppy acclimate more quickly and painlessly into your household and routine:

Crate train your new puppy.

Seriously, whoever came up with the idea of crate training should be sainted or awarded a Nobel Prize. A crate gives your new puppy a place of his own to feel cozy, stay safe, and sleep uninterrupted, as well as easing the potty training process. It should contain his bed, a small dish of water, and a few toys. It should be just big enough for him to stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably. The crate should be used any time your pup can’t be directly supervised.

A crate should NOT be used for more hours than your new puppy can comfortably hold his bladder. To calculated the average amount of time he should be able to go between tinkle trips, take your new puppy’s age in months and add one. That number is the amount of hours—in general—he should be able to hold it. This will vary… get to know your pup and adjust his crate time according to his personal needs. A crate also SHOULD NOT be used as a place to punish your puppy. You want him to always feel safe there.

Pick up your stuff.

Your new puppy wasn’t born with a sensor that tells him what is safe to chew on or ingest. It’s his instinct to explore the world by putting things in his mouth. The process of teething will also give him the maniacal urge to chew on pretty much anything. To him, nothing is off-limits.  With this in mind, it’s important to pick up your stuff. Shoes, clothes, toys, books—pick them up. Move electrical cords and appliances up off the floor.  Stop reading this for a moment and pick them up right now. It’s that important.

Now that you’ve picked everything up, I’ll tell you an interesting fact. I have two dogs who’ve cost a combined $5,000 in surgeries to remove foreign objects from their stomachs and intestines. I learned the hard way. Pick up your stuff.

Give your new puppy something better to do.

Little Rover McFluffy is about to learn about the 10,000 things he isn’t allowed to do. Don’t chew on that razor. Don’t eat that cat toy. Don’t hang yourself from the curtain tieback.

Make the lessons he has to learn easier on both you and your new puppy. Give him something better to do. Offer him a Nylabone, a stuffed Kong, and a squeaky toy. Take him for long walks. Take him to an obedience class. Buy or make a flirt pole.

You got a new puppy for a reason—spend time with him, interact with him, and enjoy your best friend!

Written by Stefani Fortney

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