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When the new year comes around, it’s the best time to self reflect, recognize your accomplishments, and set up your future goals for success. Maybe it’s even your time to adopt a new puppy! This exciting experience will bring many new changes to your daily routine, which is why it’s always important to consider if both you and your home are ready for a puppy that’s full of life.

While making home adjustments, you surely want your new puppy to feel safe, as well as ease your mind of any possible trouble they could get into. It may take some time and preparation, but most (if not all) changes will benefit your dog’s life in the long run. Here’s what you should focus on in order to start out the new year strong and be the best pet parent ever!

1. Complete Your Essential Puppy Checklist

It’s easy to feel like everything is moving at light speed throughout the process of finding a puppy and bringing him or her home. One thing’s for sure, you don’t ever want to find yourself without something important; especially if they’re teething! It’s always better to stock up on goodies for your growing puppy such as food, treats, puppy pads, and plenty of toys to keep them busy. Be sure to finish your complete puppy checklist before bringing them into their furever home.

Take this list with you as a reminder of which essentials you should get for your new puppy:

● Healthy food and treats

● Food and water bowls

● Collar, leash, and tag

● Grooming supplies (brushes, dog shampoo)

● Puppy pads

● Stain removers

● Crate/gate

● Dog bed

● Toothbrush and toothpaste safe for dogs

● Plenty of toys

2. Puppy Proof Your Home

You may be prepared for a new puppy, but if your home isn’t, then you could be facing serious financial consequences. One thing’s for sure; puppies LOVE to explore every nook and cranny! Troublesome behaviors can happen at any time, which is why it’s better to be safe than sorry. Indoors you’ll want to check for anything dangerous such as electrical cords and toxic plants in reach. Monitor anything that could be expensive to fix including flooring from accidents, baseboard wall damage, and torn-up carpet caused by chewers. Outdoors, it would be most ideal to install a fence. This way, you don’t have to worry about a potential escape, issues with other dogs, or even your puppy ruining your flowerbed. A bonus of this is the privacy that a fence has to offer for your dog to play and train in your yard!

Proofing your home in these ways may not always be considered within your budget. But getting a new companion to share your life with just means learning to balance your time and finances. If you find yourself in a tight spot with your finances, but you want to renovate, repair, and maybe add a fence, then you need the kind of quick-action plan that a home equity loan can provide. Depending on how much equity you have available, you can also take out more than needed for backup, even to use on future vet bills. But most importantly, you’ll be able to get the money fast. Plus, you may possibly get a return on your investment whenever you resell if you make pet-friendly updates to your home.

3. Patience and Play

One of the best things you can do to make your dog feel safe and comfortable in a new environment with you is to play with them! Throw a tennis ball, play tug-of-war, or give them lots of pats and love to help get their energy out and simply feel normal. When they’re just not feeling like it, show them how to go to a safe place such as their crate or bed. Letting them adjust at their own speed is extremely important during this process. Remind yourself to stay patient every step of the way while being there to support them.

4. Teach Good Manners Early On

Of course, getting a puppy isn’t all fun playtime or cuddly naps – it also comes with training responsibilities early on to encourage correct learning. You can practice simple training tips with your puppy when you first bring them home. If an accident happens in the house (and it most likely will at least once), be sure to redirect this action by teaching them the correct thing to do by taking them outside. Always reward any positive behavior, especially when meeting new people or other dogs. Lastly, don’t forget to make socialization a priority. Let them socialize with other dogs as much as possible at their young age with only dogs that are well-behaved. As each of these instances occur, they will become more normal and help puppies to adjust faster overall.

5. Try New Things with Your Puppy

The most important thing is the bond that you and your puppy will have together to last for a lifetime. It’s healthy to set a regular schedule to consistently keep them comfortable. While your puppy is adjusting, start walking or going to new places with them to explore and help them become more confident. Once you feel comfortable, take your time to run errands or work and leave them by themselves. This will be new and somewhat scary to them, but not only will this be healthy for both of you, it will also deter the possibility of your puppy developing separation anxiety when you’re gone or busy. Behaviors displaying separation anxiety such as pacing, barking or howling, loss of appetite, destruction, or other similar reactions can be treated but often require a veterinary visit to discuss.

Getting a puppy will probably be one of the biggest learning experiences of your life! Once you fully adjust to everything, you’ll be so thankful for the measures you took to make it less overbearing, and more memorable. Here’s to a new year full of new accomplishments and puppy love!

Photo credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/adorable-animal-canine-cute-dog-1850276/

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