A Few things to know and do in the first couple weeks.

The First 15 Days with your New Pup

Are you adopting a new puppy or older pup? It’s been a while for our household and I know I would do things differently. Set off on the right paw with your new pup by being prepared right from the start. It can be a lot for everyone already in the home, two legged and four legged.

To help you start off in the best way possible, here are some simple tips I’ve learned about what to tackle on your first 15 days with your new companion:

Pup-proof your home. Anything you don’t want nibbled or peed on needs to find a new home off the floor or be tucked away. Cables are a favorite of many! Avoid the drama and keep everyone safe. Have toys at hand to distract your new pup from an early fascination with those wires or shoes.

Be ready to supervise. Celebrate the arrival of your new furry family member home with some vacation days and arrange (well in advance!) for a friend or pet-sitter to check in frequently if they will be home alone. Puppies especially need lots of outdoor breaks to set them up for house-training success. Do NOT let them have full access to the house. They should be allowed specific areas where you know they don’t get into anything they shouldn’t.

Schedule their first veterinary appointment. Your vet’s calendar is probably packed, so get your puppy’s first healthy pet appointment scheduled right away. This is especially important if your new pup that has not yet been vaccinated or screened for parasites.

Pay attention to poop. You know you’re a puppy parent when your “normal” chats are about their poop. While a change in diet might cause a young pet’s stool to be loose, don’t ignore diarrhea, mucus, blood, or poop that is very dark or very pale. Bring a stool sample to your pet’s first veterinary visit. (let them know, you’re planning to bring this with you!)

Set up an exercise pen or safe room. Small puppies need to be taken out to potty often. And there might be an accident or two, so don’t forget to have a good enzymatic cleaner nearby as well, like Unique Pet Care’s Pet Odor and Stain Remover products.

Praise instead of punish. Your puppy will learn more quickly – and love you more strongly – if you reward them when they do right instead of swatting or yelling at them for mistakes. If something goes wrong, look at how you missed the signs from your pup and make sure you are doing a better job of catching it before.

Be gentle but consistent with potty training. Frequently take your pup outside and praise when they piddle outdoors. Pups need a bathroom break at least every two hours. If you find your pup doing outside and playing instead of potty, place them on a leash when it’s only potty time. Don’t play or engage with them unless it’s after they did their business.

Create consistency with family rules. New pups thrive on consistency. Face it, so do most people! Everyone in your household needs to be aware of feeding times, potty breaks, and training cues, so as not to confuse your puppy or older pup as they learn to successfully navigate their new life.

I hope you’re feeling more prepared already. If you need more information, consider If your puppy is not fully vaccinated and you’re worried about socialization check out our Elevating Puppy (properly socialize your 8-13 week old puppy) online course.

Please remember it will take everyone time to settle in and feel comfortable.