Slobbery, chews on everything, pees wherever it wants, and cries for your attention; bringing home your first puppy can be very much like bringing home your first child. It seems no matter how much you read up on your puppies for dummies and watch dog training videos online, you’re simply never quite prepared for what’s in store. Regardless of whether the new addition to the family is a sweet teacup-sized Yorkie, or a stunning great Dane, puppies require a lot of attention, and even more patience.
Good news is, puppies learn quick and (luckily) are adorable. That cute face will, without a doubt, save him or her from a scolding or two throughout the training process. Unfortunately through this process, you will encounter quite a few messy situations, from bathroom accidents to one (or six) of your favorite shoes mysteriously getting ripped into a thousand shreds.
Whether you’re madly searching online for some immediate S-O-S help, or preparing for the big day ahead of time, there are a few steps that can make transitioning to life with your four-legged little one a little easier on both you and your shoes.
Odds are your adorable little friend isn’t potty trained, and that’s step one. Establishing a place you want your pup to “go” is essential. Whether it’s a puppy pad, a fake slab of grass, a kennel, or a towel, having an OK place to for them to relieve themselves is the first step of training. From there, you will be able to tell your pup that it’s a no-no to go anywhere else but that dedicated space.
Next, you will to decide where your pup will stay when you’re not home. Depending on how many hours you’re typically away from the house, a doggy-door can be a great idea. Doggy-doors easily allow you to block off the inside of the house when you’re away, and grant your pal come-and-go freedom when you’re home. However, depending on the type of house or apartment you have, a yard isn’t always accessible. In this case, consider a kennel or gate to block off one area of your house that’s puppy-safe and away from easily chewable objects. Getting your puppy familiar with this area from day one will expedite the training process and give your little one a recognizable “safe place” for when you’re away.
Finally, accepting the fact that your little (or big) fella can wreak havoc beyond your imagination is important when it comes to protecting your valued possessions. Puppies will chew and eat nearly anything they can fit into their mouths, so puppy-proofing your home before their arrival will definitely relieve some stress. Supplying a substantial supply of toys they can alternatively chew on is also a good idea. If you decide to let your puppy sleep with you at night (which after one yelp and a sad puppy-face you’re guaranteed to) make sure you move those down pillows and authentic cotton sheets to the guest bedroom, where they will stay pristine and away from the jaws of your little terror. Ultimately, removing all of your most valued possessions from sight is a good idea for the first couple months, until you have a little more trust in your beloved pup.
Just keep in mind, no matter how many nights of sleep or pairs of shoes you lose, the first few months are the worst. Every new purchase of sheets or a broken lamp is a simply a reminder to keep training, a motivator to keep going. Regardless of how much patience they burn through, or frustration they cause, you will be a stronger, better person for it–and will have strengthened the relationship between you and your new best friend along the way. Training a puppy is quite an investment, but one that will give you endless amounts of happiness and friendship for years to come, guaranteed.