So you’re getting a puppy! How exciting! Or maybe you are just thinking about getting a puppy and want to know exactly how to take care of a puppy.
Are puppies hard work?? Right off the bat, let me tell you it’s going to be hard! But, you won’t regret it. So, how do you get ready for your new puppy? Well, I have made this post into a series called The Puppy Planning Series . This article will be broken up into 5 parts. I know puppy information can be overwhelming, so let’s just focus on part 1 right now. Which is Mental preparation.
I am going to share my top 8 mental preparation tips for you before you bring your pup home. Puppies are a lot of work, but they definitely bring so much love and joy into your life. Let’s dive in!
1. Loss of Sleep
You will lose sleep! One of the things I knew about, but, what I didn’t think about was how exhausted I would be! It’s definitely a plus if there is someone who can switch turns with you during the night to help take the puppy out to potty. We rescued Alburt as a newly 4 week old pup, and the first several days we had him we were waking up every hour on the hour. Since most people get their puppies around 6-8 weeks, we have many more weeks of sleep interruption! The snuggles make it all worth it though.
2. Constant Attention
Constant attention and supervision! Puppies are a lot like babies in this case. They need constant watching in case of accidents (which will happen!) and they need to be monitored so they don’t chew on any electrical cords, or things they shouldn’t be chewing on. Most puppies are little balls of energy and need to get it out! If your puppy seems restless or always getting into something, they might just need some play time. Grab a toy and play with your pup! It will most likely only last a few minutes until they are tired and want to sleep again. So enjoy this bonding time with them all throughout the day!
Home bound! You will be home…all the time. Especially in our case, we got Burt at 4 weeks old. So we couldn’t get him his shots until about 7 weeks. So one of us was home with him at all times.
I will make note that is is definitely important to socialize your puppy. Getting them out to see different places, hear different and or loud noises, having different people interact with them (babies to elderly), is so important in this stage of their lives. For puppy socialization, set up a playdate with another dog who has all of their shots, to come to your house and play with your puppy.
Also, you don’t want to risk them getting any sort of parasites, disease, or other illnesses because their immune systems aren’t built yet. So, when you do take your puppy out, just make sure it is not a common area for other dogs, and that they don’t touch the ground (before first and second round or shots.) Once they have the 2nd round of shots, (between 10-12 weeks old) you can enroll them in puppy socialization classes at a local pet care facility.
4. Sleepy baby
Puppies sleep…. A LOT! Starting with Alburt at 4 weeks old, he needed around 18-20 hours of sleep per day. That’s a lot of sleeping! Puppies are growing everyday, and they need a substantial amount of sleep to grow up happy and healthy. For the first couple weeks, Alburt would only sleep on either myself or Bryan. We let this slide for the first couple weeks because we knew he was used to having a warm body to sleep next to (his little mates.) But we always transitioned him from chest to kennel, so he could make a smooth transition.
You want to make sure when your puppy is sleeping that it will be peaceful rest for them. We sleep with a sound machine and found that Alburt also slept his best when it was on. His kennel is next to our bed and the sound machine really helps to drown out any noise from outside or if one of us are in the other room cooking, working, or recording during his many naps throughout the day.
Another thing I thought was interesting about sleeping puppies, is that they dream… A LOT! So they twitch, lick, and whine when they are asleep. It’s super cute and you might have the urge to wake them. Specialists have stated to NOT wake a sleeping puppy. Especially if you assume they are having a bad dream, if you wake them, they might not realize they are awake yet and could potentially bite you. So just leave them be, and all will be well!
5. Outside Every 20 Minutes
You will be outside a lot! Puppies need to go potty several times a day. Some puppies poop around 4 times a day! I can confirm that this is true, ha! We kept a log for Alburt the first week. He was going pee around 15 times a day and pooped about 5-7 times a day. We were feeding him 3 meals a day, combo of kibble and wet food. He was also allowed the water bowl until 8pm. So since a lot of water comes from the wet food combined with drinking water, you will be outside a lot!
You’ll start to pick up on cues when your puppy needs to potty. Right when they wake up from a nap, right before they go back down for a nap, when they start walking and sniffing the ground, when they whine….if anything, just go outside just in case! Accidents will happen, but it is also important not to punish your puppy for this just yet. Most likely they came from an environment where they were allowed to relieve themselves wherever, and you just have to retrain them. Give them lots of praise and treats for going potty where you want them to! Make it a big deal. Alburt started to go to the door at 4.5 weeks to let us know he needs to potty. Consistency is everything! So whatever you’re doing, make sure it is the same every time.
NOTE: For this reason, I strongly discourage the use of puppy pee pads. This gets them used to potty-ing inside the home. You want to teach them where the door is, and where the proper location is for them to go.
6. Have A Schedule
With that being said, have a schedule! Like babies and humans, puppies thrive on consistency and routine. Start with a feeding schedule. Something that works for your lifestyle and for the pup.
Try to schedule dinnertime early enough so they can sleep through the night with just one or two potty breaks rather than every hour. (younger than 6 weeks.) Puppies should usually be fed 3-4 smaller meals a day. We have Alburt on 3 meals a day about 4/5 hours apart. 9am, 1pm, and 6pm. This AM time is what works best for us, and for him. Since implementing this feeding schedule, Alburt wakes up one time around 2am to pee, then wakes up when his breakfast alarm goes off at 9am. And let me tell you, he knows when its 9am now! Ha!
Another consistent thing to implement is, every time your puppy wakes up, take them outside! That way they get in the habit of knowing what to expect after they wake up. And also, so they know that when they wake up, it’s time to potty.
Training and Teaching! It’s up to you what you want your puppy to know and learn as they grow up into an adult dog. Having a well trained dog makes the lives of everyone involved, so much easier. Including your dogs! Basic obedience commands are highly recommended. You know, sit, free, down, shake. There are tons of videos online on how to train your dog these commands yourself! But there are tons of dog facilities that are happy to work with you on training your puppy for you.
If consistency is important, this is where it is the MOST important. When there are more than one person living with your pup, make sure everyone is on the same page for giving the same cues and commands. Otherwise your pup will be confused and most likely just give up. Know that your puppy doesn’t instinctually know what “sit” or “no” means. For all they know, you could be saying “banana”! So, have patience and constant repetitive training for 15 minutes, 2 times a day. Use treats as lures for the action you want your puppy to do and timing is everything! Here is a playlist of training videos to set you and your pup up for success.
8. Take It Day By Day
Lastly, take it day by day! There is so much information out there and it can become overwhelming. It is best to just do your research and figure out what is best for you and your pup. At the end of the day, every puppy is different. What works for one pup might not work for another. Theres no handbook to puppy parenting! So remember to give yourself grace, patience, and enjoy the puppy stage. They grow up so fast! Milk the snuggles, establish yourself as alpha, and all will be well! Watch the detailed video below, and save it under “watch later” so you can go back and reference this.
watch the video below!
watch the video below!
There yah have it! That’s how to take care of a puppy. Puppies are hard work! Just enjoy the ride and you’ll be just fine. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or what content you want to see next! Check out my Puppy Supplies Checklist post.
Love and puppies,
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Great article!! And as a new mom to a human baby I can attest that most of these are also applicable to taking care of a new baby too! Lol! 🙂