Puppy about to come home to meet the rest of the family? Before he gets there, there are things should do to make the introduction easier for everybody. A little bit of house proofing, a little bit of preparation -- these things will go a long way to ensure the safety of the new furry one.
Pet Proof the Home
Do a walkthrough and pick up anything chemical, poisonous or potentially dangerous lying on the ground. Many of the everyday cleaning products you keep at home can spell out trouble if Puppy gets into them, so either place them higher -- on a shelf, for example -- or behind a closed cupboard door. Then get on the ground so you can see the world from Puppy's eye level. Anything around that's just too tempting to pass up? Things that seem "innocent" to you --such as pens, buttons or other small objects lying on coffee tablets-- might be a potential threat to curious teeth and paws.
Hit the Books
The best thing you can do for the new arrival? Learn as much as you can about him. If you've had dogs before, you probably have a lot of practical knowledge to get you through already. First dog? Hit the library for books and DVDs on puppy training, puppy behavior and health tips. Is your dog a purebred? Learn about the health concerns, personality and issues you might encounter with that particular breed.
Your first visit to the pet store should be before your furry friend arrives. Sure, get the cute water dish, the flashy collar and the comfy bed. But also look for good quality pet food appropriate for your dog -- you'll find puppy food for large breeds and small breeds, for different age levels and even for different energy levels. Do you know where Fido is going to sleep? Does he get a flat bed next to yours or will he be crated during the night? If you don't know these answers before Puppy arrives, you're in trouble. Get things sorted out as early as possible so you can shop accordingly.
Lay Down the Law
Who's going to feed Fido? Who is in charge of walks and of cleaning the "accidents" while he's being potty...ahem, garden-trained? Are the kids responsible for keeping the water bowl full at all times? If you haven't discussed with your family what's acceptable (e.g. sleeping on the couch: yes or no?) and what isn't, do it now. If you're all not clear about the rules and don't enforce them consistently, you'll end up with one confused puppy.
By Tammy Dray
About the Author
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.