Preparation for the Children
If you have children, involve them in planning for the puppy's
arrival . This involvement will be a good learning experience
for them and it will help them deal with their excitement about
getting a puppy. Also, begin to teach the children what they
can and cannot do with a puppy. Children need to learn to
respect a puppy and to give the puppy quiet time. Teach the
children that the crate or dog bed is the puppy's quiet spot and off limits.
Things to Bring when you Go to Get your Puppy
Either bring a person along who can hold or watch the puppy or a
crate with a thick layer of newspapers on the bottom.
Bring along a roll of paper towels in case a clean-up is needed.
Bring along a bottle of cleaner/odor neutralizer such as Nature's Miracle.
Bring along a leash and collar for the puppy.
To Top of Page
For a day or two your puppy may be lonely and miss his mother and his
littermates. It may help to provide the breeder an old towel
ahead of time to be left with the puppies. Bring the towel home with
your puppy so he has the smell of his mother and littermates.
After the first few days, he should settle into your home and your
During the first few days, be careful to not overwhelm the
puppy with attention. Do not overhandle him or stress
him by parading people in to see him. The children are not to
constantly play with him, even if it seems he wants to play.
Give him some quiet time so he can get used to you and his new
surroundings. Also, start out right by allowing your puppy to
settle. After he has settled for a while, then reward him with
attention, a play session, or a treat. Do not constantly
reinforce activity by only rewarding activity. If he is being
noisy and hyper, ignore this behavior and focus on giving attention
to him after he calms down.
During the daytime, it's advisable to confine your puppy to an easily
cleaned puppy-proofed room. The room should be a central room
in your house so the puppy is not isolated from family activity and
so you can easily keep an eye on him. It's best if this room
has easy access to an outside door. The puppy's crate should be
placed in this room and the crate door should be left open so the
puppy can choose to go in and out (when he's not closed in the crate).
If the puppy does something wrong when he is out of the crate, firmly
tell him "No" then distract him into doing something
else. Never hit the puppy with an object or with your
hand. This will only make him fear you. If distracting
him doesn't work, leave a short line attached to his collar when you
are supervising so you can give a light tug on the line after
you say "No" and then distract him into doing something
else (for example, give him a Kong toy stuffed with bisquits and
peanut butter to occupy him). Sometimes a bit of quiet
time in the crate helps - just calmly put him in for a nap. Do
not act as if the crate is punishment.
For the first few nights, prepare to lose some sleep - use ear plugs
if you must. It's important that the puppy sleep in a crate in
the room where one of his owners sleeps. Do not allow your
puppy to sleep on the bed until he is older and trained (this one's
up to you to decide, but only after he's older, obedient and easy to
Make sure he does his business before bed and do not allow him to eat
or drink for a couple of hours before bedtime. If he has just
gone to bed and he cries, ignore until he settles. If he has
been settled and cries, get up and take him out to do his business,
but do not allow him to play, do not play with him, and do not coddle
him. Take him out on leash and after he does his business, put
him right back to bed. To Top
Basic Equipment to Purchase in Advance
Two non-chewable, weighted bowls - one for food and one for
water. The bowls should be large enough to use when the puppy
Brush and/or comb and other grooming supplies. If unsure, ask
the breeder what you will need.
A nail cutter. Ask the breeder what type to use and have the
breeder show you how to cut the puppy's nails (hint: only cut one
nail at a time at first and then give the puppy a treat - do a
different nail every day, after several weeks, try two at a time
before the treat, then go back and forth between one nail and a treat
or two nails and a treat. Gradually increase to cutting 3 or 4 nails
before treating. When clipping more nails sometimes treat after only
1 or 2 so your puppy never knows when a treat might be coming).
A nylon or leather buckle collar for the puppy's ID tags (ask the
breeder what size to purchase). Never let a puppy or dog wear a
choke collar or other type of training collar unless you are in the
act of training due to the danger of strangulation or the collar
getting caught on something.
A leather or nylon leash. Get a leash you can easily handle -
not too wide to fold in your hands and with a snap that won't clunk
your puppy in the jaw. Do not use a chain-link leash -
they are hard to handle when teaching your puppy to walk on lead.
A crate for private resting, sleeping at night, and house training.
Some safe toys. What is safe will depend on the breed and the
individual dog. Be sure to get some toys that your puppy can
safely chew on since puppys do need to chew.
Information to Get from the Breeder when you Pick up the Puppy
Be sure to get a written record of the puppy's shots and wormings.
Be sure to pick up the puppy's AKC form (blue slip) and pedigree (ask
the breeder if you do not understand the form or the pedigree).
Be sure to have the breeder provide you with a written guarantee
regarding the puppy's health.
Be sure the breeder supplies you with clear feeding instructions
(Start the puppy on the same food that the breeder uses to avoid
upsetting his stomach and to make adjustment easier. If you want, you
can later gradually switch to another food).
Ask the breeder for training advice (although breeders are not
necessarily dog trainers, they know how to raise dogs and may have
some good advice for you to follow - however, if a breeder tells you
something that concerns you, please get another opinion. For
example, it's not a good idea to hit or slap a puppy's nose for puppy
mouthing. This can very easily make a puppy hand-shy.)
Also, ask the breeder for recommendations for training classes or
in-home trainers in your area. If your breeder does not know
your area, your veterinarian may be able to refer you to training
classes or in-home trainers.
Do not hesitate to ask the breeder any other questions that you may
have. The breeder should be more than happy to answer your
questions and to take phone calls (at a reasonable hour, please)
after you have gotten the puppy home.
To Top of Page
Puppy-Proofing your Home
Eliminate any exposed extension cords.
Clear food, knick-knacks, magazines, newspapers, and books off of low tables.
Put children's toys in a place not accessible to the puppy.
Relocate trash and garbage cans.
Put all shoes, socks, slippers, and clothes out of reach.
Put your head down to puppy level and relocate any items which the
puppy may get into. Remove or fasten down throw rugs.
Make sure to get rid of mouse poisons and ant traps.
Kiddie-gates should be used to keep the puppy away from rooms that
are not puppy-proof (an unsupervised puppy should not be kept in a
To Top of Page
Transporting the Puppy Home (possibly the puppy's first car ride)
Ask the breeder whether the puppy has ridden in a car. If so,
ask how far the puppy rode and if there were any problems such as
nervousness or car sickness.
Make sure the puppy has not eaten for at least three hours prior to
the car ride.
During the puppy's ride, avoid noise in the car such as loud music or
Avoid any unnecessary coddling of the puppy.
Do not respond to the puppy's whining or crying by stroking him - you
can give him a word of assurance or distract him with a small tidbit
or a marrow bone stuffed with peanut butter or spray-cheese. If he
continues whining or barking, firmly tell him "No".
The puppy may ride in your helper's lap (as long as your helper does
not continually coddle the puppy). Otherwise, the puppy may
ride in the seat or on the floor next to your helper. A crate
can be used if you have no helper. Whereever the puppy rides,
it's a good idea to have a thick pile of papers beneath him.
Do not punish the puppy if he gets sick or eliminates during the
ride. He cannot yet control it and punishing him could make him
nervous about car rides.
If you are traveling more than 20 miles, you may want to stop for
some breaks so that the puppy's stomach can rest and he has an
opportunity to get some fresh air and to eliminate. Drive in a
steady manner, take the least bumpy, curvey, or hilly route, and make
enough rest stops to try to get home without the puppy getting sick.
To Top of Page