The Happy Puppy Site
Prepare For Your Puppy
what to do and what to buy
Written by: Pippa Mattinson
Before you bring home your puppy you'll need to create some puppy safe areas in your home. And you'll want to buy a few puppy essentials.
You don't have to spend a fortune, but it helps to know what you really must have, and what you can do without! And it helps to make some important decisions, such as where your puppy will sleep, before they arrive.
Puppy proofing your entire house would be a massive chore. There are also some very good reasons to restrict your new puppy to certain parts of your home for the first few weeks.
Let's talk about puppy zones
A puppy zone is a restricted area within your home that is adapted for a puppy. The puppy is contained inside the zone by the use of baby gates or similar barriers.
Inside the puppy zone you will need to remove trailing wires, precious chairs and possessions, and floor coverings that cannot easily be washed
What are puppy zones for?
Puppy zones serve several important purposes. They give your puppy a safe place to play where you don't have to watch them like a hawk every minute of the day.
They also protect your precious possessions from your puppy's sharp teeth. And they give children and other pets some respite from the puppy's boundless energy.
Most importantly a puppy zone has a washable floor that can easily be disinfected after puppy poops and puddles, so that the puppy is not tempted to pee or poop there again.
Where is the best place for a puppy zone?
The kitchen or another family room that is frequently occupied by family members is the best place for a puppy zone. The puppy zone should have direct access to your yard or area set aside for puppy toileting.
What about open plan homes?
If your home is very open plan, a play pen may be your best option.
Outdoor puppy zones
You'll also need a way to keep your puppy safe outdoors. If your yard is small enough and well fenced that may be sufficient. Do check every inch of the fence before the puppy arrives, some pups are very good at wriggling through small gaps.
If it's not practical to puppy proof your entire yard a play pen can work here too. Most puppy play pens are designed for indoor use but will survive quite well outside.
Pet stores are full of gorgeous puppy beds and blankets, and the shelves are heaving with sacks of puppy food in a vast array of different flavors and colors.
Most of it you will never use, and it's a great idea to make a shopping list before you go into a pet store, based on what you actually need to buy. You can also buy pretty much everything you need for a puppy online.
What Do I Need For A Puppy?
To Crate Or Not To Crate
Crates are controversial! Some people swear by them. Others swear at them. We'll look at the reasons for both viewpoints, so that you can make up your own mind
Are Crates Cruel?
Yes, they can be! Like so many tools involving animals, it depends how they are used. Dogs are not hamsters and keeping a dog in a cage for hours on end can cause distress and mental health issues for the dog.
It doesn't have to be this way. It's entirely possible to raise a puppy the loves their crate and goes willingly into it to rest and relax.
But if crates have the potential to be abused, why use one at all?
Why Use A Dog Crate?
Crate serve several useful purposes. One of the most important is that they help dogs adapt to short term confinement.
You may think that your dog won't ever need to be confined, but unfortunately there are a range of different medical procedures and conditions that require a period of crate rest in order for a dog to heal and recover.
You have no way of knowing if one of these conditions will affect your dog, and they will cope much better if they are adapted to being crated beforehand.
- Help dogs adapt to confinement
- Create a safe refuge
- Help with potty training
In a busy family home, a crate is an important place of refuge for a puppy. A place where they can relax, where no-one can step on them or trip over them. And a place where children and other pets cannot disturb them.
Where Will Your Puppy Sleep
In times gone by many household dogs slept outside in a kennel. As we began to include dogs as family members rather than simply watch dogs, or hunting and herding dogs, we started to move our dogs indoors.
Now most companion dogs sleep inside the family home, in a downstairs room. And some are even allowed to sleep in their owners' beds.
If you want your puppy to sleep in your bedroom, there's no evidence that this causes guarding issues or behavioral problems. But it's important not to give your puppy the run of your bedroom at night while you are asleep until they are fully potty trained.
The First Few Nights
If you want your dog to sleep downstairs in the long term, that's fine too, but its best if you make an exception for the first few nights.
Puppies generally settle better in their new homes if they sleep alongside a new family member. You can place a travel crate or box next to your bed so that the puppy can smell and hear you.
You'll find lots more information on caring for your puppy through those first few days and nights in our new puppy section.
More From The Blog
You'll find more information and tips on planning and preparing for a puppy in the articles below
Puppy Search – A Step By Step Guide To The Puppy Of Your Dreams
Where To Buy A Dog
Adopting Vs Buying A Dog Or Puppy
Which Breed Of Dog Is Best For Me?
Dog Temperament – Choosing A Friendly Puppy
How To Adopt A Puppy From A Shelter
Purebred Vs Mutt – Are Mixed Breed Dogs Healthier?
What To Look For When Buying A Puppy
Different Types Of Dogs: The Dog Breed Groups Explained
Is It Wrong To Buy A Puppy – The Adopt Don’t Shop Campaign
Dog Breeds – 8 Things to Avoid When Choosing Your Puppy