Any time you introduce a new puppy into your life, it feels like a celebration. The anticipation leading up to the day you finally bring your new dog home is both thrilling and a little nerve-wracking.

Because, with a new pup, comes all the things you need to arrange and do, to ensure its introduction to the family is a smooth process. So, to make things a bit easier,  I’ve prepared this handy list of things to do before your pup comes through the door…so you can enjoy your new dog without any surprises! Here are 11 Puppy Tips:

How to Prepare for Your New Puppy

Once you’ve made the decision to bring a new puppy home, it’s time to start planning. In many cases, you’ll have a month or so before your pup is weaned before they will be ready to come home.

So don’t just sit and dream about your new baby.

Instead, use this time to get everything ready for the new arrival so all you’ll be worry about is puppy breath and kisses.

Read on to get the rest of my must-do tips!

1. Purchase Puppy Platters

Shopping for your new puppy can be just as fun as shopping for the pup itself. Only now, you get to pick from cute, personalized, food and water dishes.

Usually, stainless steel is an easy low-cost choice for bowls. They’ll last a long time due to their durability. They also don’t tend to have nooks or crannies that may retain and grow bacteria.

With a new puppy, it’s best to stay away from anything ceramic or glass in case playtime gets rough.

Your puppy platters should grow with your dog, so don’t start out with a large bowl for a little pup—it would just end in a mess anyway.

2. Shop for Leashes, Crates, and Collars

You’ll need a safe way to keep your dog secure in case of emergency, and during training.

Leashes, crates, and collars, when used correctly, are a fantastic way to ensure the safety of your puppy and others nearby.

Make sure collars fit well. They shouldn’t be too tight but shouldn’t slip off if the puppy gets antsy. If your pup isn’t used to a collar and leash, he may struggle. So try not to make the problem worse by yelling or tugging.

Always remember, your puppy is a baby and learning every day. So every interaction you have with him will leave an impression. So be patient and gentle.

Lastly, if you decide to use a crate for training,  choose one that has the option for expansion as your puppy grows. Your pup should have enough room to stand up, stretch out, and turn around…but he won’t need much more than that.

3. Choose the Right Food for Your New Puppy

Your new pup is growing…fast! And before you know it, he’ll be a full-grown adult dog. But in the meantime, you’ll want to support healthy growth and feed dog food that was designed for a puppy.

You see, puppies need a healthy balance of protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, and minerals. So selecting a formula that was designed for a young developing dog will be a win for your pup.

Foods that contain a lot of unfamiliar names probably aren’t going to be the best choice for your pooch. Avoid by-products, artificial flavors or colors, and chemicals.

You can ask your veterinarian about their recommended dog food or do some digging online.

Dog Food Advisor is a great place to start when you have no idea what to look for in a dog food. You can also sign up for recall alerts and stay on top of any problems with the dog food industry.

Lastly, find out what your pup was eating for supper at their previous home, and ask for a small bag to help with food transition if you will be changing their diet. This helps prevent upset tummies and vomiting.

4. Designate an Area Just for Your New Puppy

With your family, select a safe space in your home for your new puppy to call his own. This may be a place out of high-traffic areas, or a cozy corner your pup will soon come to love.

If you plan on using a crate, ensure there will be enough room to accommodate your pup’s den as he grows.

As time goes on, your dog will come to love their special space and retreat to it when they need a break or a quick snooze.

5. Have a Family Meeting

Bringing a new puppy into your life is a family decision. If you live with others, you’ll need to ensure that everyone is on board about the new family member and the training policies.

Everyone has differing opinions about the right and wrong ways to train and treat a dog. But coming up with a training plan, and laying some ground rules, before your pup’s arrival will prevent confusion for family members…and especially your new baby.

6. Puppy-Proof Your Home

You’re in the home stretch and your new puppy is arriving soon. It’s time to sweep the house for any hazards that might harm the new family member. (and remove anything important, expensive, or sentimental)

If you haven’t had a dog for a while, or you’ve got an older dog who knows the rules of the house, you probably haven’t had to consider all the hazards that exist in everyday life, for your pup.

Electrical cords, cleaning products, and small objects can be fatal for an untrained puppy (who is undoubtedly extremely curious about everything in sight).

Go through your home and evaluate everything and considering putting up gates to keep your new puppy out of trouble and danger.

7. Provide Safe Toys for Your New Puppy

Having a toybox ready to go for your new addition will be greatly appreciated. Remember, your puppy is probably a little scared and unsure of things, so introduce new toys slowly, and give him time to warm up to them. Never throw a bunch of toys at your pup at once, he will be overwhelmed and may excite easily.

Toys can be a great comfort to your puppy, and if the breeder has anything to send along that smells like his previous home, it may help calm him during the first few nights in his new one.

When selecting toys, choose strong toys intended for small puppies. Squeakers are fun but can be choking hazards for young dogs, so try your best to avoid them.

According to the AKC, puppies start teething around 12-14 weeks of age…and it can be painful for pooch. Give him toys designed to soothe the painful process of “growing” adult teeth.

Bonus: you can divert your pup to the designated chew toy when he inevitably goes for your fingers.

8. Adopt The Puppy Mindset

When you decided to add to your household, you committed to not just feeding and watering your pup. You also committed to training and understanding him. Patience will be tested, puppy will misunderstand, and chaos will ensue.

If you are bringing your puppy home within his first year of life, everything is new to your dog, and everything you do with him during this time sets the stage for his attitudes, behaviors, and reactions to everyday life as an adult dog.

And now that you’ve committed, you need to adopt the right kind of mindset and expectations for your budding relationship with your new best friend.

Here’s what you need to know:

9. Know That Puppies are Curious

Puppies want to taste, chew, see, smell, and hear everything going on around them. Understand, that like a human baby, they are learning as they go.

Your puppy will chew your shoes, nip your fingers, and test the waters to see who is really in charge. You should train him delicately and with patience…he is a baby.

10. Understand That Puppies Aren’t Naughty

It’s true! Though sometimes you may feel like they are. Puppies just don’t know any better…and guess what? It’s your job to teach them the rights and wrongs of the world.

Never forget that dogs are pack animals, and they usually answer to an alpha dog in the pack. In fact, they want to know what is right and wrong. It’s natural for them to be “told” what to do by a pack leader.

The more you understand about a dog’s natural instinct, the easier it will be to interact with them and train them, respectfully.

11. Know that Puppies Have Personalities

Or temperaments, if you prefer. But each pup is going to be different. Their temperament will be based on upbringing, environment, breed, and genetics.

Read as much as you can about breed characteristics so you can be prepared for any quirks your pup brings to the table (and satisfy the characteristics humans have bred into them). Then, expect the unexpected.

There’s always an exception to the rule, so if your new pup isn’t textbook border collie, for example, don’t be discouraged.

If dogs were all the same, they’d be pretty boring, wouldn’t they?

Bringing home a new puppy is a thrilling experience. But everyone has to be on board with training, feeding, and other routines. Having everything in place before you unleash your new pup in your home will allow you to relax and enjoy all those puppy kisses and silly antics.

And, if you’re prepared, patient, and understanding, you will set the stage for an unforgettable relationship that will last for many years to come.