Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time, but can also be stressful if you’re not prepared. From puppy-proofing your house to starting potty training the right way, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with your responsibilities in order to make your puppy’s transition a success.

With all the excitement and anticipation around welcoming your puppy home, it’s easy to forget important steps. But, preparing your home and your family for your new arrival can put you on track and ensure a happy dog for years to come. We’ve asked experts across the country, from Orlando, FL to Portland, OR, to share their best tip for bringing home a puppy.

Familiarize your puppy with the grooming process

After bringing home a puppy, start having your pup groomed early – the sooner the better. Getting them used to baths and nail trims prevents unnecessary stress once they get older – and a pup that smells good is a bonus. 

– Kristy Remo at Pampered Paws Mobile Pet Grooming

Check for safety hazards at their level

Get on the floor at the eye level of your puppy. What do you see that could be a danger or cause a mess? Could the hanging cord behind the couch look like a toy? Is there a box of tissues that’s just asking to be shredded? Anything you see at this low level that you don’t want chewed on – get it to a higher & out of reach location. 

– Game Time Dog Services

Follow the 3-3-3 rule of adopting a dog

The 3-3-3 rule for bringing home an adopted dog: 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to be comfortable in the house, 3 months to adjust to the house routine. 

– 716 PAWS

Put your best paw forward

Puppies are so much fun and so much work. But, if you put in the work and get your house set up correctly, they will grow up to be amazing family members. The things we consider essential to puppy life are 1) Crate & Xpen. Puppies will get into everything. They need a safe place to play and sleep when not monitored. 2) Essential Toys. Items like the Kong, Kong Wobbler, Snuffle Mat, Licky Mat, JollyPets ball are great options. Plus lots of chewable things. 3) Age-appropriate socialization with other puppies. This is crucial to their development. 

– Forgotten Dogs Pet Rescue

Building a routine is key to success and a happy puppy

After bringing home a puppy, they’ll thrive in their new home when their family creates structure and routine for them. Want to potty train your puppy? Then take them outside at the same time every time and on a leash in the same spot in your yard. Want to get your puppy to stop crying? Set a routine so they know when to expect food, treats, walks, playtime, etc.

 – Five Star Critter Care

Puppy-proof your home and choose the right toys

The things that are usually the most attractive to dogs are often the very things that are the most dangerous. Dog-proof your home by checking for string, ribbon, rubber bands, children’s toys, pantyhose, and anything else that could be ingested. Ask your vet about which rawhide toys are safe and which aren’t. Unless your vet says otherwise, “chewies” like hooves, pig’s ears and rawhides, should be supervision-only goodies. Very hard rubber toys are safer and last longer. Rotate the toys weekly and keep only four or five toys available at a time. If your dog has a huge favorite, like a soft teddy bear, consider leaving it out all the time, or risk the wrath of your dog. 

– Animal Welfare Association

Start training early 

My top commands are come, stay, sit and stay. I also recommend kennel training your puppy. This can help in an emergency (natural disaster or even just having to stay somewhere temporarily). When your puppy is mature enough, the kennel may longer be needed. You will know when your puppy is ready. Above all enjoy your pets! They will love you always and forgive you always. 

– This Lil Dog of Mine

Give your puppy a space to call their own

Start by crate training immediately after bringing home a puppy, giving your fur baby a “safe space, home base, happy place.” First, introduce the puppy to the crate room and to the designated potty spot in the yard. Have lots of reward treats loaded and ready in the treat pouch on your belt (you have one right?) to positively reward pupster for using the potty spot, settling in the crate, or listening when you say “leave it” as she chews the corner of the couch. Introduce one area of the house at a time over the next week or two to avoid “puppy sensory overload” and remember… reward, reward, reward. Sign up for puppy classes – it’s a great way to meet new people and puppies. 

– Felton Veterinary Hospital

Look for raw frozen marrow bones

A must-have for any new puppy owner is a frozen raw marrow bone. Since they’re raw they don’t splinter, the marrow is a great nutrient benefit, and it’ll save both you and your furniture from those needle-like puppy teeth. The frozen marrow will also help soothe aching gums during the teething process. – Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Boulder