Puppy Love// Tips to Make New Puppy Parenthood a Little Bit Easier

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#NationalPuppyDay was last week and it had me reminiscing about my little darling boys. They have grown up so fast but they will always be my pups.  I can’t decide what I adore most about my two spotted rescue dogs.  Sometimes, I think it’s their seemingly endless energy and the way they look at me when they are ready to go for a walk. Sometimes, I think it’s the way their tails hit me in the face when their bouncing around, so happy that I’ve come home even if I have only been gone for a few minutes to check the mail.  Maybe it’s the way they find the patch of sunlight on the floor to roll around in, or maybe it’s when they lick the tears off my face when I’ve started to cry. I know I definitely adore that these two sweet pups have taught me patience and unconditional love. They love me in ways I never thought I could be loved. Some would say I rescued them but I think it was the other way around. 

Regardless of all these warm puppy fuzzies, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t quite prepared when I brought both Melvin and Henry home. The next few weeks were equal parts amazing and incredibly challenging. I had new besties who I loved more than anything, but at the same time there were so many things I didn’t know I needed, and also a lot of questions I didn’t have the answers for. It can be a pretty overwhelming experience but it doesn't have to be. 

Anyways, if you’re in the market for a new pup or you’ve recently brought one home for you, here are some tips to make new puppy parenthood a little bit easier. I have a few friends adopting rescues soon, so it was the perfect inspiration for this blog post partnering with PEDIGREE®.

-Puppy Proof Your Home.

Even if your dog is older, curiosity can get the better of him. Make sure your home is a safe place for him by putting yourself in his paws. Put yourself at their eye level: Crawl around on the floor and check out any potential dangers. Electrical cords, poisonous houseplants, and any item small enough to swallow are just a few of the things that should be out of his reach. Veterinarians perform more surgeries to remove strange objects that a dog has swallowed than for anything else according to my vet. So take a look around and be sure to dog-proof everything. Tuck or tape loose electrical cords to baseboards, be sure that household cleaners are stored on high shelves, as well as plants. You may also want to remove small rugs and pack up your breakables temporarily, or at a minimum, move them to an out-of-reach location. Have the gate and crate set up in their designated places, as well as the dog’s food and water dishes. You will also want to figure out what areas of the home the pup is allowed in. Will they be allowed or certain furniture or not and so on? 

-Get Your Essentials
You want to make your new pup's homecoming a smooth one so you will need to pick up some things.

  • Crates and containment. ... 
  • Dog bed. ...
  • Food and water bowls. ...
  • Food, treats. ...
  • Grooming supplies. ...
  • Identification. ...
  • Cleaning Supplies...(for you and your home..there will be accidents. )
  • Toys....
  • Collar and leash...
  • Poop bags...

I want to elaborate on the food and treats because I think it's really important with so many various options out there. 

PEDIGREE® Pouches make treating and eating on the go easier. These pouches come in a variety pack in a 18 pouch box too and my pups really love that. The beef, bacon, and cheese flavor is a huge hit as well as the other two flavors. I love this because the wet food can be served as a treat, a topper for dry food or a complete meal. And they are so amazing to travel with . I travel with my dogs quite a bit and it was always such a hassle to pack their food until these convenient pouches came into my life. Definitely makes eating-on-the-go super simple. The easy tear pouch is my favorite! There is zero mess involved too so perfection for road trips, long walks, and treats for puppy training. They even fit nicley in my smallest handbag. We actually just took a nice day trip to Carlton Landing the other day and these pouches were amazing travel companions for my sweet boys.

I also love PEDIGREE® Dry Complete Nutrition in the chicken flavor. It even comes in a 50 LB bag and that is so the way to go for us with two dogs. I like to mix the wet and dry food with "treat topping" (a helping of the PEDIGREE® Pouches food on top of a bowl of dry food) or mixing up your dog’s feeding regimen by switching between wet and dry! It keeps things interesting for them. I mean imagine how you would feel eating the same thing every meal...pretty boring, right??!

And just FYI: super simple feeding instructions...

You can give your pooch 3 pouches daily per 10 LBS. of adult dog or you can mix things up by adding in the dry food as well. I mix 1/2 cup of  PEDIGREE® Adult Complete Nutrition with one pouch of the wet food. The boys love this! You can find both at your local Walmart too in the pet care aisle which I just love. It's so convenient to be able to have a one-stop shop place for everything you need. 

Get to the vet.
Ask around for a vet recommendation. Reaching out to your face-book community is always a great resource. When choosing the right veterinarian for your dog, make sure that your vet’s philosophy is similar to yours. When you visit different offices, meet the veterinarian and their staff to get an idea of what they are like. Ask for a tour of their facility to make sure that you are comfortable with their standards. Prepare a checklist of things that matter most to you and be sure to go through those as you are researching veterinarians. Book the app as soon as possible. They will make sure your furry friend is  up to date on shots and make sure the dog is healthy and doing well. Vaccinations and preventing disease is so important.  Not only do you want to find a vet close by, but you’ll also want to locate a 24 hour pet hospital (in case your vet is only open during business hours) that you can take your pup to incase of an emergency. You want to be fully prepared . 

Microchip + Register.
This one is so critical and can be taken care of at your vet appointment. If your city requires dogs to be licensed, get this taken care of right away. Licenses can usually be purchased at the Vet’s office. Even if your city does not require a license, it’s a good idea to get your pup microchipped and also provide the dog’s name, your name and your contact information on your dog’s collar. If your pet is lost or stolen, microchipping will ensure his or her safe return. Collars can come off, but microchips are there to stay. This service is usually about $25 and can be done in the vet's office. 

Clear Your Calendar.
If at all possible, I recommend clearing your schedule for the next couple weeks so that you don’t have to leave town while you’re getting to know your new family member. Now, I’m not saying call in sick to work and never leave the house… but if at all possible, try not to go out of town on vacation and leave your pup with someone else during the first couple months. It is important bonding time, and especially for rescue pups, being around will help them get used to their new life and their new home. On the other hand, you don’t want to spend every single second with your dog, otherwise they’ll get used to having you around all the time. So make sure to keep your schedule as it normally is… just try not to leave your pup while you head out on vacation ’til they’re used to their new life. 

Training From Day One
 Getting off on the right foot is essential for a healthy, happy relationship with your new puppy. Training is one of the best ways to establish a strong form of communication between you and your new pooch. Before you bring your new pup home, decide as a family what training language you will use, so that commands stay consistent. Training should begin immediately so that your new pooch knows what is allowed, what isn’t allowed, where their food and water dishes are, where they’ll go to the bathroom, what areas of the house are off limits, which are his/her toys and what is an absolute no. It’s important that your dog quickly understands which behaviors earn them rewards and positive attention. You’ll want to determine which types of behaviors your dog exhibits to get your attention are the types that will earn a reaction or reward from you. Remember to be patient with your new pooch. Your new dog needs time to adjust to his new surroundings. By staying calm and being consistent with your commands and demeanor, you can help him adjust to his new forever home with comfort and ease.

Set Rules.
It can be tempting when you bring home a new dog to be a little lax on the rules, but resist the temptation now so you can avoid problems later on. It’s much easier to prevent a bad habit from starting than it is to break one. Not only that, but dogs, like children, would rather have rules and structure. It makes them feel more secure to know exactly what is expected of them and exactly what happens if they don’t follow the rules. It also keeps order in the household. If you have other pets that already know the rules, they can get quite stressed out by an unruly newcomer. Whatever you do, do NOT feel sorry for your poor little rescue dog. Nobody wants pity, dogs included. For your dog’s best interest, put whatever sad past he may have had behind him and live in the current moment. 

Introduce Outside.
This one is for those of you who already have a dog  in your family. If you have another pet at home, let your pet(s) meet the new dog before he comes into the house, if possible. Take the dogs on a walk together so they begin to feel like a pack and can start to bond without feeling territorial. Also, try to keep your other dog’s routine. That way, your older pup can adjust to the new family member without feeling like their world just got turned upside down.

Knowing How to Interact with Other Dogs

When other dogs approach your dog they typically signal how they feel about your dog with their tail. A jerky, high wag can mean they feel threatened, and a low, loose wag, usually means they’re friendly and curious about your new puppy. Pay attention to how a strange dog is approaching, and be sure to ask the owner how their dog feels about other dogs.

Before your new dog interacts with other dogs, be sure that he stays safe and protected. A leash is the safest way to keep a dog from becoming injured or running away, so leash training is important from the very beginning. The first few times you take your puppy for a walk, consider bringing a toy and some treats to reward him/her for good behavior. You're PEDIGREE® Pouches will come in so handy here. ( Grab these from Walmart immediately. )

Keeping a Regular Exercise Schedule

One way your dog may try to get your attention to let you know he or she is bored, is by exhibiting behavior you’re likely not fond of such as excessive chewing, digging, or barking. The best way to keep a dog entertained is by working their bodies and minds through exercise.How much exercise your pet gets should be based on your pup’s age, breed, and size. Consider what your dog was bred for, for example, sporting breeds will need considerably more exercise per day than a toy breed. No matter what, it’s important to stay on a regular schedule. Try to get in the habit of going for a consistent amount of time each day and at the same time of day. Your pooch will know what time their walk, run, or fetch time is at, and they’ll remind you on those days you forget.

Learning how to care for your new puppy can seem almost overwhelming at first, but owning a dog can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences of your life. Dogs provide constant companionship and unconditional love and truly become a furry member of your family. Soon enough, you won’t be able to remember what life was like without your beloved pooch.

And now Henry has a full belly and is ready for his nap! And I am ready for some "me-time" catching up magazines and tea! I hope these tips have been helpful. If I over looked anything for a new puppy owner, leave it for me in the comments! I always love hearing from you guys.