What to Expect When You Adopt a New Puppy
Everything a new puppy parent needs to know; training, tips, tricks and more
As any dog parent will testify, the day you adopt a new dog is the day your life changes for the better. Not only have you gained a devoted new family member, but you have also found yourself a four-legged best friend.
We could talk about all the reasons adopting a new dog is a good idea, but if we are being honest, this list is never-ending.
Image 6 Photo by Pexel
Dogs are fiercely loyal companions and they add so much joy to your life.
Chances are, if you are reading this, you are about to embark on one of the most exciting adventures yet; adopting a new puppy.
In exchange for the unconditional love, nose-boops and all-round cuteness, dogs need us to take care of them. We are their pack and as such, we have a responsibility to provide them with the best possible care.
The responsibility of being a new dog parent may seem daunting but fear not!
We have put together a go-to guide on everything a first-time dog parent needs to know about adopting a puppy.
Things to Consider Before Adopting a New Puppy
Before we dive in, there are a few things to bear in mind before you decide to adopt a new dog.
One of the biggest factors to consider is which dog breed is compatible with your lifestyle.
Dogs come in all different shapes and sizes and just like humans, they all have their own unique personalities. A dog’s breed plays a huge role in determining their personality and lifestyle needs.
For example, some dogs will require lots of exercise where others are content with a short stroll around the block.
So, how do you know which dog breed is right for you?
We recommended putting together a list of your lifestyle factors such as, how much space you have, how much time you will be spending away from your dog, the personality of your other pets, and whether you have young children.
From there, do a little bit of research on which dogs meet these requirements. You can also take a quick quiz here (https://www.dog-breeds.com/) to help you narrow down your search.
This should help you find your perfect match.
Another important thing to remember is that adopting a dog is a commitment.
If you have plans to move or your living situation is temporary, perhaps consider fostering a dog first. This will help determine whether your lifestyle meets the needs of a dog.
Adopt Don’t Shop
Did you know that there are thousands of adorable dogs out there that need new homes?
Before buying a puppy from a breeder, consider visiting your local shelter to see if any of the dogs stand out.
You never know, it could be love at first sight for you and your new pup!
There are so many incredible organisations working to rescue and rehome dogs, like RSPCA (https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet/rehomeapet), Blue Cross (https://www.bluecross.org.uk/rehome-pet and Dog Trust (https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/rehoming/) to name a few.
By supporting these organisations, you can help give a dog a second chance at life and find your new best friend in the process.
How Old Should Your Puppy Be When You Bring It Home
Alright, now that you have chosen your perfect furry-friend, how quickly can you bring him or her home?
If you have chosen to adopt a new puppy, it is important to only bring them to their new home once they are ready to be away from their mom.
Experts recommended that the best time for a puppy to leave its litter is at 7 weeks old. It is around this age that they are ready to be weaned from their mother and start their new journey with you.
If you are adopting an older dog, they should be ready to come to their new home right away.
Some shelters may require a home check first and in some cases, your dog will need to be sterilised before leaving the shelter.
Everything Your New Puppy Will Need
As a new puppy parent, you may be asking yourself ‘what will a new puppy need?’
The main thing your new puppy will need from you is a whole lotta love!
There are however a few things that may help your new pup settle into their new home.
We have put together a list of essentials your new puppy will need:
1) A vet in your neighbourhood
If you are a first-time dog parent, it is a good idea to find a veterinarian in your area that comes highly recommended.
Puppies need regular vaccinations and de-worming treatments throughout their first few years. Having a vet nearby that you trust, makes this process much easier.
You should also have your new puppy micro-chipped and registered with your local veterinarian. This way, if they ever go for a stroll by themselves or get picked up by a stranger, they will be able to find you.
You will also have some to call in case of an emergency, which will help to put your mind at ease.
Pro-tip: vet visits can get costly, especially in cases of unforeseen emergencies. Be sure to look into a few different pet insurance options. This will help to make sure both your pet and wallet are covered in case of an emergency.
2) A balanced diet
Puppies love nothing more than a bowl (or two or three) of good food.
Most puppies will be food-obsessed! This means they will try to eat absolutely anything they can get their paws on.
This is great because it means you won’t have a fussy puppy to feed. But, just like with children, it is important that your puppy has a wholesome, healthy and balanced diet.
Basically, you have to make sure they are eating their veggies. Puppies need the vital nutrients that come from a good diet to grow and develop.
It is a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about which food is best for your dog. Your dog’s breed will be an important factor to consider too.
Also, if you are using kibble (https://www.t-forrest.co.uk/our-treats/dog-food/chicken-rice-working-dog-food/), be sure to buy kibble that is recommended for your puppies age.
Maintaining a regular feeding schedule will also be important for your new puppy.
Some pet parents will choose to feed their pet home-cooked meals. This is something that your puppy is bound to love, but you need to be careful.
Chat to your vet before feeding your dog home cooked meals to ensure they are still receiving all the nutrients they need.
As much as your dog may love human-food, not everything is healthy or safe for your dog to consume. We know it is difficult to resist those puppy dog eyes, but sometimes it is in their best interest.
Check out this list for foods to avoid that could be harmful to your dog.
3) A comfy spot in the sun
Even if your puppy is going to be cuddling up with you every night, it is still recommended that they have their own bed.
This can be anything from a blanket, pillow, or a fluffy dog bed.
Having a space that is comfortable and all theirs will make your pet feel safe and secure. If this bed happens to catch some rays of sunlight, even better!
4) Food and water bowls
Make sure to get your new puppy a set of bowls for their food and water.
We recommend having an automatic water dispensing bowl for your dog if you are going to be spending long periods away from your dog.
Pro tip: dogs are creatures of habit. Find a good spot for your dog’s food and water bowls and be sure to leave them in this spot. This way, your dog will always know where to find its food. This will also help your pet feel safe and secure.
5) Leash and harness
Walk time will probably be one of your puppies favourite activities. Aside from eating, sleeping and playing that is.
Get your new puppy walk-ready by purchasing a reliable leash and halter.
We also recommend having a collar and name tag with your pet’s name and your contact details.
6) A designated ‘puppy place’
In the first few weeks of your puppy being in its new home, it is a good idea to have a place set aside for them.
Some pet parents may choose to crate train. In this case, the crate will be your pet's designated space.
Other options include a spare room or creating an enclosed area using a playpen.
Having an area for your puppy will help them settle in and adjust to their new. It will also make potty train much easier.
One of the biggest concerns for new pet owners is how their new puppy will cope with being left alone. Having a safe space that your puppy is comfortable in, will make this much easier!
Remember, this is just temporary until your puppy is comfortable and house-broken.
7) Potty-training essentials
Before you bring your new puppy home, be sure to stock up on some potty-training essentials.
These will depend on the potty-training method you choose. But, we recommend having some puppy pads on hand. These are great for potty training and will help ease your puppy into its new routine.
For walks, be sure to stock up on some biodegradable poo bags. Not only are these scented, but they also have handles, which makes cleaning up much easier.
To help make your potty-training journey easier, check out our step-by-step guide on how to potty train your dog here.
8) Treats, treats and more treats
You are going to want to spoil your new puppy. Why not make sure the treats you are giving your puppy are wholesome and nutritious?
Treats are also great motivation when you start training your new puppy. Be sure to check out our range of all-natural treats for your pup.
Dog toys are an excellent way to keep your puppy entertained.
They can also be great fun for the whole family. Playing with your dog can help strengthen your bond. Who doesn’t love a good game of ‘fetch’?
Like humans, puppies don’t like to be bored. This is when mischief happens.
By keeping your puppy stimulated with appropriate toys, you can help keep them out of trouble.
Certain toys can also help with teething and keeping your dog’s teeth healthy.
You may notice in the first few weeks that your puppy becomes especially attached to one of its toys. Toys can act as a security blanket for your new puppy, helping them feel safe and secure.
10) Grooming tools
Your new puppy is bound to need a bath in its first few weeks. Having the right tools will make your puppy's first bath experience a breeze!
First up, you will need a good dog shampoo. We recommend a natural shampoo with rooibos or tea tree oil for most breeds.
It’s best to avoid anything scented, and never use human shampoo.
You may discover that your puppy has sensitive skin or skin allergies. In this case, your puppy may require a specialised shampoo.
Next, you will need a good brush. Most puppies will love being brushed. It will also help keep unwanted loose hair at bay.
Generally, we recommended brushing your dog 1-2 times weekly. However, depending on your dog’s breed, your dog may need to be brushed daily.
Always brush your dog after a bath, it makes them super fluffy and gets rid of loose fur.
Lastly, a good grooming kit is a must-have. You may want to take your puppy to the doggy parlour for its grooming needs, but having an at-home kit always comes in handy.
Be sure to find a kit that includes a nail cutter. You will want to speak to your veterinarian before clipping your dog’s nails yourself to make sure it is safe to do so.
How to Train Your New Puppy
Now that you have all the essentials and you may be wondering ‘how do I train a new puppy?’
The good news is, puppies love learning. It keeps them stimulated and it helps build a strong bond between you and puppy.
Always remember the three Ps of dog training; positive reinforcement, practice and patience.
Positive reinforcement is one of the key things to keep in mind when you start training your new puppy.
Rather than disciplining your puppy for bad behaviour, reward them for good behaviour. This can be in the form of praise, affection, or treats.
Dogs learn through identifying patterns. This means that in order for them to learn new tricks or commands, you need to be consistent in your training.
In this case, practice really does make perfect.
Lastly, remember that this is all new to your puppy.
They are so eager to please you and love learning new tricks. But, sometimes this takes time and the best thing you can do is be patient.
For more tips on training your new puppy, be sure to check our guide on how to train your dog here.
Now that you have the basics down, you are ready to bring home your new puppy!
Be sure to soak up every moment together with your new puppy and take lots of photos.
This is such a special time in both you and your new puppy’s life, you will definitely want to hold on to these moments.