Five Ways to Prepare for a Puppy

Most new dog owners know what basic supplies they’ll need for a puppy. They know to purchase a leash, toys and food, for example. But what are some of the less obvious necessities new puppy owners may not think about?

The following are a few of my ideas, and I’d love to hear yours in the comments.

Five tips to prepare for your puppy

Have a training plan in place.

Think about how you will teach your puppy basic obedience commands and manners. Is this something you plan to do on your own, or would it be worthwhile to check out some obedience classes in your area? It’s a good idea to talk with the trainer ahead of time to make sure she is a good fit. You could even ask to observe a class before you bring your puppy so you know what to expect.

Another option could be hiring a dog trainer to work with you and your puppy one on one.

For training, you should also think about what type of training collar you may need for controlling your dog and teaching appropriate leash manners. Some people prefer slip leads while others are fine using regular, collars or harnesses.

Also think about buying some small, soft treats for rewarding your puppy during training.

Plan how you will socialize your puppy.

Think about everything you want your future dog to be comfortable with such as other dogs, children, strangers, riding in a car, walking through a crowd, walking on the sand, hanging out on a dock, etc. Next, come up with a plan to slowly introduce your puppy to all of these things early on. For more on this, see the dogIDs post on how to socialize a puppy.

Get ready for more exercise!

Will you be able to find an hour or more in your day for walking your puppy once she’s a few months old? The amount of exercise a dog needs depends on many factors such as her breed, but most young dogs will need at least a 30-minute walk every day, often much more. Might as well make a habit of that now!

Plan for unexpected veterinary costs

What will you do if the puppy gets sick or injured and the costs are out of your planned budget? Will you be able to use some savings? Or a credit card? Does pet insurance seem like a good option to you? There is no right answer, but start thinking about which route you’ll take if something comes up. It’s better to plan ahead now so you’re prepared.

Additional dog supplies.

Beyond a leash, collar, toys and food, what else will your puppy need?

Some of the “must haves” in my opinion include some puzzle-type toys where the puppy has to work to remove treats from the toys. I also recommend a kennel (crate) for potty training and reinforcing good manners in the house. A dog bed is also nice to have, especially if you don’t want your dog on your furniture all the time.

In addition to those items, you should talk to a vet about which flea and tick prevention products are best for your area as well as heartworm prevention.

Obviously, these costs add up quickly, so you may want to consider buying a few items each month before you even bring your puppy home. That way it’s less money all at once.

What else should puppy owners think about ahead of time?