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A new puppy can be one of the best decisions you ever make. Planning ahead will help make it the wonderful experience that it should be…

A new puppy is generally a 15+ year commitment, and we have to keep in mind where we plan to be then and if those plans will also include our dog. You then research and select your breed and breeder. The time spent at this step and choosing the right puppy will pay off in the long run.

When you pick up your new puppy he/she should be a minimum of 8 weeks old. Ask your breeder to supply a blanket or toy that has been with the mum and litter mates. This will help transfer the familiar smells and comfort your pup when he leaves his litter. Ask what diet your new pup is on and how many meals they are having per day. When you pick up your pup have a bed or small crate with a blanket that he can settle into for the ride home. Plan to have 24-48 hours that you will be able to spend with your pup to help settle your puppy in.


Choosing the best bedding can help avoid bad habits. Puppies can often start to chew foam and stuffing filled bedding. A soft warm blanket is one of the best things to begin with. You can include a small ticking clock and warm water bottle for added comfort and to help soothe the pup with the familiar sound of mum’s heartbeat.

A crate can be one of the most helpful tools when settling a pup in. When set up properly they replicate a “den type” environment which is naturally comforting to a dog. It also provides a safe place to leave them when you are busy or away. A puppy should not be left in a crate for extended periods.

Baby Gates can be helpful in setting “no go” zones around the house.

A well-fitted collar and lead are needed early on. Avoid chain leads, soft cotton leads are a better alternative.

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Toys are great for mental stimulation and entertainment. Puzzle toys such as the GameChanger® and Kong toys can help keep them busy. Avoid offering them old shoes, plastic bottles, wood or clothing as it’s hard for the puppy to differentiate between what is an acceptable toy and what is your $200 pair of heels. Fragments of plastic or wood can also get lodged in the mouth of your puppy or they could swallow pieces that break off, which may result in a blockage or puncture internally.

Consider the diet you will feed your new puppy. At 8 weeks old, three meals per day is optimum. Don’t change the diet of your puppy too quickly as it can upset their stomach. I have chosen to feed my dogs a raw, natural diet which includes raw meats, soft bones, organ meat, raw vegetables and essential vitamins and minerals. It is always best to conduct your own independent research when selecting the best diet for your dog.

Set up the house for your puppy. Have a look around and see what may be tempting for your pooch to get hold of. Remove anything valuable that you wouldn’t want damaged. Remove any potential hazards such as power cords, poisonous plants, fertilisers, rat or snail poison etc.

Research and select a good veterinarian, introduce your new pup early and make the visits positive. Speak to your vet about the appropriate time to neuter your dog as there are health benefits for both sexes. Make sure your dog is micro chipped and that the details are correct. A WaggTagg™ can help your puppy find his way home should he become lost. All dogs over the age of 12 weeks must be registered with your local council.


Be patient, accidents will happen. Don’t reprimand your puppy in the first 24-48 hours of being in their new home. They are trying to get used to everything, new house, new people, possibly a new dog or other animals. It’s a lot for your puppy to take in so keep things positive, and praise him when he gets it right!

Boundaries are a must. Having rules and structure in your home is vital for your puppy to feel safe and secure.

A toileting routine is essential. You must provide them the chance to toilet after each of the following instances – playing, eating, sleeping, drinking, getting excited and when you first come home.

All pups need regular naps, just like a new born. Give your puppy the opportunity for quiet time and rest.


Some pups can play up on their first nights in a new home. After all, they have left their mum, litter mates, first home and humans. Avoid the temptation of letting your puppy sleep on the bed, or in the bedroom as he may try to keep you up and it will set a habit that may be heard to break later on. Tough love is needed – your puppy will take a few nights to settle in. You will need to take him to the toilet every 4-5 hours. Keep things calm and quiet, otherwise you are likely to have a wide-awake puppy on your hands for the next few hours.



The best time to start teaching your new pup is on his first day with you. Start with the very basic household boundaries, teaching his name and to come to you. As your pup gets a little older he may start to nip or play bite, jump, chase the kids or bark for attention. All these behaviours are not things that your pup will just “grow out of”. They should be addressed as the arise though consistent, calm training. Keeping training sessions short, around 3-5 minutes at a time, 4-5 times per day.

If you would like to learn more about the best ways to teach your puppy the first step is to contact one of our Bark Busters Dog Behaviour Therapist & Training professionals. I offer pre-puppy sessions where I will come to your home before your puppy arrives to help you be prepared and get things off to the best start. We offer a ‘Lifetime Support Guarantee’ which means your puppy has Bark Busters on hand for their entire lifetime, Australia wide. It can be one of the best investments you can make for your new puppy.

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