In April, our 14 year old beagle, Macy, passed away. It was a very sad time in our household because we’d had Macy before we had kids, before we got married….she was there for all our firsts. My husband and I had literally had her since the first six months of us moving in together. Towards the end, Macy had issues with incontinence and I vowed that due to all the messes we’d been cleaning up, I’d be unlikely to want another pet very soon after getting her, but turns out that once she passed we all felt the void that she left in the house. It was quieter…too quiet. And we missed hearing little paws running on the floors. So we endeavored to get a new dog to replace Macy, but turns out finding puppies during quarantine was hard! Today I thought I’d walk you through our New Puppy 101 journey including a new puppy owner checklist, new puppy tips, what to expect with a new puppy, new puppy care, and preparing for your first night with a new puppy. I’ll also share some puppy resources I have found along the way that I think can help you!
New Puppy Tips and Guide
How to Find a New Puppy in your Area
The hardest part initially was finding the new puppy. For me, I was perfectly happy with a rescue–we’ve rescued multiple animals in the past, so we started searching the local animal shelters and humane societies. But during a pandemic, it was very hard to go look for puppies and most dogs were being snatched up very quickly–especially the younger ones. I turned to a local Facebook group who directed me to other resources outside of the traditional animal shelters, which led me to a variety of non-profit animal rescues. The issue that we had was that the majority of the animal rescue groups required a fenced in back yard as a requirement for adoption. My home is on over 1.5 acres, so this was a barrier to entry for us in a big way. Despite declaring our intent to put in an invisible fence, most groups eliminated us from consideration right then and there based off that requirement. I do have to say that we found this quite discouraging and disappointing. After having raised a dog for 14 years without incident and knowing how many dogs need good homes, it was very frustrating that these organizations would eliminate good homes and good families based off one prerequisite. So for us, our goals changed a bit more after these discoveries. A good resource for finding adoptable dogs is PetFinder.com.
I should also add that my husband was a little wary about bringing a dog into the home when we didn’t know it’s background. He really was adamant about raising a dog from it’s first few weeks into adulthood so that he could train it and mold it the way he wanted. So we started exploring breeds and my husband decided he really wanted a Labrador Retriever. Labs are amazing family dogs, they are high energy, playful, and they train easily. I grew up with a chocolate lab myself. So the next step we took was finding out little lab pup.
We determined that we wanted a yellow lab, so we started searching online. I recommend using the AKC website to locate puppies and reputable breeders in your area. The AKC website helps you search for breeder based off the breed you’re looking for and your ZIP code and provides you with contact information about the breeder. It took us about a week to find a breeder in Ohio that had puppies available. Also remember that when getting a puppy, they typically don’t go home for 7-8 weeks after birth, so if you see a breeder that says they have “puppies expected in August” that means they won’t go home until 2 months later. Also, be sure to do your research on the breeders you’re looking at and make sure that they are legit. Read the reviews, if possible. Find out as much as you can about their dogs before committing. Most breeders require a deposit to hold your puppy and then the full payment at time of pickup.
Where to find puppies and animal rescues in Central Ohio:
- Buckeye Puppies.com
- Stop the Suffering
- Powell Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
- Buckeye Bulldog Rescue
- Rescued Ohio
- Freedom Tails Ohio
- Multiple Breed Rescue
- Franklin County Dog Shelter
- Delaware County Humane Society
What to Expect with a New Puppy
Oh boy–where do I begin with this one? So we picked up our new girl, Georgia, about 2 hours north of us and headed home. In the car you could tell she was very fearful. To start, I’d say that you shouldn’t expect your new puppy to be gregarious and outgoing right away. I had forewarned my kids in the car ride up that new puppies were full of energy and often teethed and bit a little bit, but that they weren’t doing it to be mean. Then we got Georgia and she just sat quietly in the car the whole ride home and finally fell asleep. She was pretty terrified. We kept waiting for about the first 24 hours for some personality to appear, but it didn’t. Finally after she’d been with us for about a day, she started coming out of her shell and we got to meet her full personality. So my advice would be to know that puppies, like humans, take time to warm up to you. This is their first time away from their parents and their first home, so they’re scared. Give them this time to explore your house (supervised), walk around your yard, and take the time to show her lots of love and cuddles so she knows she’s loved.
I’m getting to details on what to expect your first night with a new puppy below. But in general, having a new puppy is a lot like bringing home a newborn that can act like a toddler all in one. It was a huge adjustment for our family to say the least. You need to have eyes on your new puppy at all times. We have newer furniture, so chewing on furniture and rugs just isn’t going to fly. Also, they have sharp little nails, so you have to be careful with where they are jumping. New puppy tip: I recommend finding a place where you can kind of corral your new puppy until you feel comfortable with them more. We shut bedroom doors and keep her confined to our main living area as much as possible.
New puppies have to pee and poop A LOT. My elder dog would poop 1-2 times a day, but our puppy poops 3-4+ times a day now. Be prepared to be outside a lot with your new puppy. You should be prepared to take your puppy out when:
- She wakes up from naps or overnight
- 5-15 minutes after eating or drinking
- 5-10 minutes after playing
Other things you can expect from a new puppy:
- High Energy
- Playful Biting/Teething
- Not sleeping through the night right away
- Lots of play time followed by lots of naptime (our new puppy will play for 30 minutes and then nap for an hour and repeat that over and over again)
- Regular accidents in the house
I will add that I think it took us about 2 weeks to really get used to each other and our new schedule. Her breeder was getting her up at 5 a.m. each day before work to feed her, so we had to adjust her to a 6:30 wake up time and get her used to how we handle things in the morning. It does work in our favor right now that we’re both working from home due to the pandemic, so she has someone home with her all day right now.
First Night with a New Puppy
Our first night was rough. I equated it a little bit to bringing home a new baby and even questioned my husband as to what we’d gotten ourselves into haha. We were up every 2-3 hours letting her out and calming her down–it also didn’t help that we had a baseball tournament that weekend so we got home exceedingly late and had to be up early the next day to leave again. So tensions on our end were a little high because we were already super tired.
Our first night with our new puppy…she cried…a lot. I spent most of the night with my head under a pillow waiting for her to stop crying and fall asleep. The first week was like this pretty much, but each night got a little better. She calmed down a little faster, she cried a little less, and she slept for longer periods of time. We keep her in a small crate at night. They recommend a small crate that’s big enough for them to stand in and be able to turn around–it’s not inhumane, it’s necessary. You don’t want them to have tons of space right away because they will be more inclined to poop or pee if they have lots of space. You want to train them to be able to hold it for longer and longer periods of time. Our puppy, at 10 weeks old, should be able to hold her urine for upwards of 6 hours at this point according to what we’ve read online, but we still wake up once in the middle of the night to let her outside to do her business. We have woken up to messes in her crate on three separate occasions with 6 a.m. baths as a result. But we’re still working.
One of my friends who breeds mastiffs recommends playing music or white noise for your new puppy if they’re having issues. Believe it or not, on Pandora and Amazon Music there are options available for playlists to calm pets. You just have to search.
We finally ending up putting our puppy’s cage into a room towards the back of the house and shutting the door at night so that it muffles some of the noise. We read that you should let them cry it out because coming in when they cry only proves to them that you’ll come when they make that noise–so basically coming every time they cry encourages them to continue to cry. So fight the urge unless you think that she really needs to go out or hasn’t gone out in a long time.
New Puppy Checklist: What you need for a new puppy
First and foremost, do your research on good foods. There is a lot of debate surrounding dog food and whether or not to use grain free dog food. My friend from college is a vet and doesn’t recommend using grain free dog food. She recommended we use an established brand like Purina, Eukanuba, Hills Science, or other well known brand and get the puppy version of the food. We ended up using Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy food at her recommendation. Also, be sure to ask your breeder or shelter what she’s used to eating. You don’t want to make drastic changes to her diet right away–that can lead to diarrhea and puppy diarrhea is no fun!
Beyond food, here’s what to buy for a new puppy:
- Dog training treats (must have for house breaking)
- Dog toys (our dog likes things that crinkle and squeak-as well as indestructible bones)
- Puppy Bones (something to keep them busy and chewing for long periods–we like to buy the ones they can eat as well as the ones that they cannot)
- Harness (look for cheap harnesses at places like TJ Maxx or Homegoods–this helps them learn to walk on a leash)
- Small Crate
- Carpet cleaning spray / odor eliminating spray or this spray (This is important because if your pet smells urine somewhere they might think it’s ok for them to continue to pee there)
- Dog tag
- Dog collar (I got a cute tag and collar combination off of Etsy)
- Food and water bowls
- Dog food storage container
- Sour Apple Spray: spray on things you don’t want the puppy to chew on
- Dog wash
- Dog poop bags
- More New Puppy Must Haves…
Other new puppy considerations:
- Find a vet right away and get her on her schedule for shots and a wellness check
- Consider if you’re going to get your new puppy fixed and discuss with your vet
- Look into microchipping and a dog license in your area
- Consider things like an invisible fence for your yard
- Consider puppy training classes or agility classes
Introducing your New Puppy to Another Pet
We have a very shy cat at home, so introducing an energetic puppy to a hesitant cat was interesting. We tried to create a safe space for the two of them to meet. Our puppy definitely is a bit over the top with our cat, but our cat has done a good job establishing guidelines and letting our puppy know when she’s pushing it. We allowed them both to be near each other, with our supervision at first, to sniff and get accustomed to each other, but we still allow our cat a safe space so she isn’t constantly being tormented and chased by our puppy.
It’s been an adjustment, but they seem to be getting used to one another more and more.
Things to Do with a New Puppy
We wanted our puppy to immediately get accustomed to being on the road. We travel a lot for baseball. So be sure to get your new puppy accustomed to your lifestyle. We take her a lot in the car to get her used to traveling. We also started walking her around the yard (we live on 1.5 acres) so that she could get a bearing for what her boundaries were. Other things to do with a new puppy:
- Play with a ball. Teach her how to bring it back to you.
- Start teaching her basic commands like sit, stay, and come. Reward her with treats when she does well.
- Gently wrestle with her or chase her around the yard.
- Teach her to walk on a leash
- Take her out for a treat–our local ice cream shop does puppy ice cream parties a few times a summer and they’re really cute
Final thoughts on having a new puppy…
And most importantly from all of this info, just have fun with it. The first few weeks/months may be an adjustment, but your new puppy will grow fast! Our dog has grown over 5 lbs in two weeks since bringing her home. She’s learning her name, she’s learning to sleep at night, she’s learning to sit. House training is still a work in progress, but she’s getting there. But even with all the messes we’re cleaning up and the constant supervision we’re having to adjust to, she’s an absolute joy.
So take ALL THE PICTURES and just enjoy the ups and downs of having a new puppy. If you have kids, get them involved in her care from training to taking her out to walking her. This gives them an opportunity to take responsibility as well as teach them how to take care of a new puppy themselves. It’s a great experience for the whole family!
Enjoy your new puppy and drop any questions in the comments below!
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