Bringing Home Your Puppy
What do You Need?
A nylabone or other hard, small toys for chewing and playing, puppy kibble for meals 3x/day (check with your vet for specifics; if you change food, do it gradually in order not to upset your puppy's tummy), vet visits for shots, small crate or crate with divider, small bowl for water, small bowl for kibble, small puppy treats, and a leash/harness.
It's possible that you'll also want/need a second small crate to keep in your bedroom, and indoor pen or otherwise designated small room (such as an area of kitchen space), and an outdoor pen for your yard.
Puppy Class & Daytime Care
Consider taking your puppy to school when he/she turns 3 months old. KSR Pet Care has a good network of recommended trainers, so feel free to ask us for help finding one near you. Hiring a dog walker who can visit 2 or 3 times a day while you are out is a must. At KSR Pet Care, we offer 1-hour time frames of arrival for puppies so we can be consistent and housebreaking goes fast.
Setup & Process for Home
- Small crate or crate with divider. Puppy needs just enough room to stand up but not too much walking around. Crate is for sleeping.
- A pen just around the crate helps you from having the puppy run out and have free roam all over the house. Puppies in the potty-training phase need to be monitored closely and brought out of the crate or pen at consistent times for potty breaks.
- Bed or no bed in the crate? A blanket is fine, or a thin bed. If you see puppy chewing, remove it. Give puppy small or hard toys to play with – a nylabone, small kong, sturdy squeaky toy. Toys that are good for the teething and chewing phase. Supervise puppy when playing with toys.
- Use treats for reward only. You can also use kibble as treats.
- If puppy mouths your hand, arm, leg, etc., make a sharp squeal sound that gets the puppy's attention. When he stops, give a toy or nylabone to chew on instead.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner at consistent times, 1 hour time frames.
- Puppies need nap times. Do not let your puppy roam all day. Play, go outside, potty time, meal time but also build in nap time. Put puppy in his crate with a treat and let puppy sleep for an hour. Wake your puppy up after one hour. It's better that you wake puppy, then that puppy wakes you by whining.
- Encourage your puppy to spend time in his crate with a treat and praise. Gradually build up the length of time in the crate. If your puppy is whining or crying, wait for him to stop before letting out. Otherwise, puppy will learn that whining gets him out of the crate and he will continue. Set your puppy up for success, so reduce the time inside the crate and let your puppy out when he is not whining.
- Let puppies drink a small amount of water at a time, always linked to a potty break after.
- If your puppy is not up-to-date with all shots yet, then do not take puppy on the street yet where he could lick the wrong things or drink contaminated water. Play in the backyard or front yard, on leash or in a pen. For potty breaks: Keep on leash and take to the same spot each time. Best not give puppy free roam in the yard since he may get into chewing or eating things he should not.
- Keep your crate close to the door which you will use to go in and out for potty breaks during the housebreaking phase.
- We do not recommend using puppy pads but if you do, please make sure to teach puppy that outside is the way to go. Not inside on puppy pads. Start taking the puppy pad outside once puppy associates puppy pads with doing potty. When puppy goes outside on the puppy pad, try to remove the puppy pad.
- When you let your puppy out of the crate, take the puppy outside right away to the same spot every time. Once puppy peed/pooped there once, puppy will pick up that scent and go more easily again. Best to put on leash.
- Say Go Potty. Do your business. Always the same. Consistency.
- If puppy pees/poops, be exuberant in your praise. Good boy. Good girl. Even a treat if you like.
- After potty there is time for a meal, a bit of water (just fill the bottom of a small bowl) and/or exercise/play time.
- When you leave, always put your puppy in the crate where puppy is safe. Give a treat or a pet. Close the crate and walk away. If puppy cries, ignore. Return in 30 min or one hour.
- How long between potty breaks? Take the puppy's age in months and add 1. For example, a 2-month old puppy could do 3 hours without going potty. Each puppy is different, monitor the first few days and build up from 1 to 2 to more hours in between potty breaks.
- Consistency is key. Keep a chart where you mark down for each day the hours/times: When puppy pees? When poop? When puppy eats?
- Do not give your puppy water after 8pm. Let puppy out one more time 9–10 pm before overnight crate time.
- Let your puppy sleep in the crate. It is ok to have the crate in your bedroom but best to ignore whining. If you reward him for whining by loving on your puppy, puppy will use the whining trick again and again.