Congratulations! You are expecting a puppy! What can you
do to get ready?
As you anticipate your new puppy, there are several things that you can do to get ready for him or her.
First off, you should take a look at your home with new eyes - you are about to have a toddler come home and need to look at furnishings, decorations, and plants with an eye for safety. That planter on a stand by the window could be knocked over damaging not only the clay vessel but crushing your puppy, that leather sofa that you do not want to be ruined should perhaps be moved to a room that will be out of bounds for the puppy. If there are areas that you want to be for ‘adults only’ how are you going to guarantee this? Puppy gates? Or just consistent correction when they cross the line? What about when you are not home?
Household cleaning supplies need to be kept safely out of harm's way, consideration should be given to fabrics that could be tugged on (curtains anyone). Electrical cords that might be chewed, shoes that may be enjoyed, even toilet paper rolls can make great toys to an inquiring puppy. Not all of these have to be taken out of the home of course but give some thought to how you are going to handle them if and when your beautiful puppy takes a (destructive) interest. A game plan ahead of time goes a long way.
Sometimes tools like bitter apple can be used to discourage chewing (wooden table legs, or even baseboards). Sometimes it is not enough. A key to a successful outcome for you and your puppy is a proactive approach where you are providing your puppy with enough physical stimulus so that he/she is tired out each day and enough mental stimulation so that he or she does not go looking for things to do out of boredom.
Oh, the troubles that can be avoided by simply ensuring your puppy stays interested and mentally occupied. To that end, a variety of toys is an excellent investment because you do not know what your puppy is going to take to and what he or she will be indifferent to. This can include balls of different sizes, and textures, (some hard, some soft, some squeaky), soft animal shaped stuffies to be carried around, tossed in a game of fetch or shredded, a frisbee or other purpose made disc (flying squirrel), what about chew toys - young puppies are working their teeth in still and NEED to chew - thousands of dollars in damage can be saved by providing them with a variety of interesting shapes and sizes of chew toys - always use these under supervision for you do not want your puppy to break off small pieces and ingest them. Beef bones of appropriate sizes smell and taste great to puppies and provide hours of mental stimulation.
Finally, let us not forget about you. You are the puppies greatest asset and the time you invest in teaching him or her house rules, tricks, manners, and games from fetch to agility related activities go a long way in building your relationship with your puppy and with keeping them from acting out to gain your attention.
This is only an introduction to the topic to get you thinking. I’d love to hear about ideas you have found work in the past or that you are keen to try to work on.