Fundamental New Puppy Tips for First-Time Owners

Getting a puppy for the first time and need some new puppy tips? We’re here for you. We’ve been through it and know how exciting yet frustrating it can be. 

There are many things you need to do before adopting or buying a puppy. Go through our article, and you’ll have no problem welcoming the new member of your family.

Three Things to Know Before Getting a Puppy

Before you adopt or buy a puppy, you have to prepare. These are some things you need to know.

1. It’s going to be difficult at the beginning

Puppies have higher energy levels than you might expect, go through a biting phase, and need training from the very beginning. This means that some adaptation will be necessary, which can be difficult if it’s your first puppy and you don’t know what to expect.

When it gets frustrating, the thing to remember is that with consistent training and patience, your puppy will grow out of the naughty phase. 

2. The first year is the most expensive

Getting a puppy is going to be pretty expensive, since there are quite a few things that puppies need. The first year can cost you $1,000 and more. 

Fortunately, most of the things you buy the first year, like the crate, bowls, and bed, are going to last for a while. So, you shouldn’t worry about your wallet too much.

3. Your life will change

When the puppy arrives, your life will change. It depends on you for everything, from food to affection, and you’ll often have to plan your routine around your new pet.

However, you will also get plenty in return. If you prepare well and put effort into training your puppy, you can rest assured that your life will change only for the better.

Essentials When Welcoming a New Puppy

Before getting a puppy, there are some essential things you need to do.

1. Find a good vet

If you know when you’ll get a puppy, it’s a good idea to look for a vet.

Research the vets close to you and ask your friends for recommendations. Finding the right vet is crucial. Once you find them, you should schedule the first check-up and discuss vaccines, food, and everything else you might be interested in. 

2. Research about training

The training should start the moment your puppy arrives. 

There are some basic commands that you can easily teach it yourself, like sit, lie down, come, etc. If you want or need more, you can enroll in an online training class, or you can find a professional to train your dog for you.

3. Preparing the family 

If you don’t live alone, it’s good to discuss everything related to the puppy in advance. Decide on boundaries, whether you want your dog to have full freedom in your home, or if some areas should be off-limits.

Also, it’s necessary to discuss the chores, who will feed it, walk it, etc. 

How to Prepare Your House for a Puppy?

Because small puppies are like small kids, puppy-proofing your house is a must. For a puppy not to hurt itself, there are some things you need to do. 

  • Conceal electrical cords. You should move the cables somewhere higher, cover them up with something, or protect them by using cord concealers.
  • Relocate anything toxic that your dog could swallow. You should put the cleaning supplies and medication in cabinets and on high shelves. Moreover, if you have any plants poisonous to dogs, make sure they are out of reach.
  • Put away small and sharp items. Small decorations, coins, needles, scissors, and anything a dog can eat or hurt itself with shouldn’t be within its reach.
  • Buy a pet-proof trash can. The trash can smell attracts dogs. They can eat something from it and get sick. 
  • Prepare a place where your puppy can go to the toilet. Finding a place where your dog can do its business is vital before it arrives, so you can start toilet training it immediately.
  • If you have a yard, putting up a fence is something that you have to do. You don’t want your pet to escape or get lost. 
  • Also, remove anything that can harm your puppy. Secure a pool if you have one, and maintain your greenery to avoid ticks that can infect your dog.

What to Buy for Your Dog

For new puppy owners, the biggest problem is what to buy when the puppy arrives. So, here’s our ultimate shopping list to help you be completely prepared.

New Puppy Shopping List

1. Food and water bowls 

It’s best to buy the ones made from harder materials because the puppies can and will chew through softer ones. Puppies can also be pretty messy, so you may even consider investing in a spill-proof bowl to prevent food and water spilling over all over your floor.

2. Leash

You can choose between regular leashes made of different materials and retractable leashes. If you choose retractable leashes, make sure they are made for smaller dogs or puppies. But of course, it depends on the puppy’s breed and size.

3. Harness/collar

Whether you should get a harness or collar depends on what you prefer. Some owners consider harnesses to be better because they are afraid a collar might choke their dog.

To avoid putting a lot of pressure on your dog’s neck, if you choose a collar, it must be comfortable, durable, and have an easy release option

4. Seat belt harness

If you plan to drive with your dog, a dog seat belt harness is necessary. A seat belt harness should be crash-tested, well-made, and secure but not too tight.

5. Dog tag

A tag with all the information about you can be helpful if your puppy escapes. They are very affordable and can even be homemade. 

However, they shouldn’t be a replacement for microchips. Dog tags should be just an additional measure that would make returning your puppy easier.

6. Food

It’s important to get food specifically made for puppies. If you have trouble choosing, you can always consult your vet.

7. Treats

Most new puppy tips will tell you that treats are essential for successful training. Choose the ones that use natural ingredients and are safe for puppies.

8. Toys

Toys are a must when you have a dog. Having something to play with makes dogs both calmer and happier. 

Experts advise that, if the breeder allows it, you should rub a toy against the other puppies in the litter. This way, your puppy will feel calmer when smelling the toy.

Chewing toys can also benefit you both, since puppies are less likely to chew your furniture if they have chewing toys.

9. Dog bed/crate

The bed should be comfortable and suited to chewers since your puppy will try to chew through it. If you’re crafty and don’t want to spend money on it, you can always make it yourself.

The crate should be big enough for the dog to move in it. Remember that your puppy will grow fast, so you should choose a crate that would fit your dog as an adult, not as a puppy.

Another good option is to buy a children’s playpen to keep your puppy safe when you can’t keep an eye on it.

10. Grooming tools

To properly groom your dog, you’ll need to buy brushes, specialized toothpaste for dogs or dental sticks, shampoos, and clippers. Even if you plan to be taking your dog to a groomer, you’ll need these products to maintain its fur, nails, and teeth in between the treatments.

13. Puppy pads

Non-leaking puppy pads are great for the training process. Buy the replaceable ones first. Later, you can switch to reusable ones or different potties, mats, and trays.

14. Urine neutralizing products

Accidents happen. Your pup will probably urinate on your floor a few times before it gets trained. That’s why you have to prepare and buy specialized products for neutralizing urine.

What Not to Buy

Some things are necessary for your new puppy, while some might be a waste of money. These are the things you should avoid buying:

  • Blankets — reuse your old ones. The puppy might feel stressed and urinate on them. After the training passes, you can buy new ones.
  • Expensive products — buy the regular products initially. Your pup will probably chew through them eventually. Once it grows out of the chewing phase, you can splurge on the necessities.
  • Too many products — your dog doesn’t need ten toys, three harnesses, and four different bowls. We know you’re excited and want your dog to have everything, but 1 or 2 products from each category are more than enough. You can always buy more later.

Puppy Tips for the First Week

You’ve prepared everything, and now that your dog is finally home, you have no idea what to do. Don’t worry — we’ll help you go through it. Read our tips for the first week to find out the answers to all the questions you might have.

First Car Ride Home

To take your puppy home, you’ll need a crate or a box with a blanket. If a puppy sits on the seat, it may become excessively distressed. 

It’s always recommended that at least two people stay in the car. One person can drive, and the other one can keep the puppy entertained.

First Hours in the New Home

When the dog gets home, it should be taken to relieve itself — either on the grass outside or on the puppy pads. Generally, puppies can hold their bladder one hour for every month of age.

However, anxious puppies might need to pee more often. So, take more frequent bathroom breaks in the beginning.

When the puppy enters your home, it will most likely want to sniff everything and check out its new territory. 

If you already have a pet, it shouldn’t be in the room when the new puppy comes. They should be carefully introduced later on. The same goes for toddlers

If it starts feeling sleepy, take it to the crate or bed. Somebody should stay near to check the puppy from time to time. 

Ask the breeder when the puppy would typically eat, and feed it then. Of course, you should adjust the feeding time to your own schedule, but for starters, make it more familiar to the dog.

First Night With a New Puppy

The first night will probably be somewhat stressful for both you and your puppy. 

At least two hours before going to bed, you should stop feeding it and giving it water. Just before bed, take your puppy to relieve itself. Also, play a lot with the puppy before sleeping to exhaust it.

Put your pup in the crate/bed lined with a toy and blankets. The crate/bed should be near your bed.

If your puppy cries, you should take it to the toilet and put it back in bed. Similarly, if it vomits from anxiety, clean it up and let the puppy sleep again.

Most trainers don’t recommend cuddling with your puppy or putting it in your bed if you want your puppy to sleep at night. Nights can be difficult in the beginning, but you’ll have to stay strict and consistent if you want your puppy to learn proper behavior. 

Other First Week Tips

As the time passes, your puppy should become calmer. It should get used to living with you by the end of the week. However, don’t expect miracles — every dog is different, and it’s a process, after all.

Additionally, there are some things you should do during the first week to make it easier for you in the long run.

Take your puppy to a vet

The first check-up with the vet should be during the first week. The vet will check the puppy for any diseases, treat it for parasites, and similar. You’ll also schedule the first vaccination and additional check-ups. 

Start your training

The best time to start the training is the moment you take your puppy home. Of course, you should take it easy and start with simple commands, such as sit, lie down, come, and similar.

Moreover, praise it when it does something good and give it a treat. 

Be consistent

  • Feed your puppy every day at the same time, three times until it is six months old
  • Take it to the toilet after each meal, in the morning, and before bed
  • Don’t cuddle your puppy at night
  • Don’t encourage your puppy to bite or chew anything other than its toys

It’s crucial to follow the same routine during the entire week because it creates a schedule for later. Of course, cuddling with the puppy and cradling it should be a part of your routine too. It has to feel love and socialize with humans. 

Be patient

Being patient is something you’ll have to practice during this first week. You have to take care of the puppy, create a schedule, and reinforce the behaviors you desire.

When you pass the first week, it will be a lot easier. And in no time, your puppy will grow, and everything will be much more straightforward.


Where should your puppy sleep the first night?

For the first night, your puppy should sleep in a crate or bed next to your bed. It’s important to keep it close because it might wake up a few times and get anxious. 

A crate is a better option since the puppy cannot escape from it, but a dog bed can also be safe if you close the room’s door.

Should I leave my puppy to cry on the first night?

Yes, you should let the puppy cry on the first night. Specialists don’t recommend cuddling crying puppies because it reinforces them to do it again. 

You can take your puppy to the toilet and leave it alone again. It’s hard to watch the puppy cry, but rest assured the crying will stop after some time.

How long will a puppy cry in the crate at night?

Some puppies don’t cry at all, some cry for a few days at night, while others cry only for one night and never again. Additionally, some might cry for only an hour or so, while some may keep crying all night.

It depends on your puppy, but as we mentioned, it will stop when your puppy gets used to its new home.

What should you not do with a new puppy?

There are many things you shouldn’t do, but some of the common mistakes are forcing puppies to do something, getting mad at them for bad behavior, laughing at something they shouldn’t be doing, and leaving them alone for too long.

What do first-time puppy owners need?

First-time puppy owners need a lot of patience. However, they also need everything for basic puppy care, from food to grooming tools. You can find all of those things listed in this article.

Final Thoughts

We know it’s hard when you get a new puppy for the first time. There are many things you have to prepare and buy. Now you know what to expect and how to prepare.

You only have to follow all the new puppy tips we gave you, and you should be set.

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