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Survival Tips for New Puppy Parents

If you've recently adopted or purchased a puppy, don't panic! Although you may be feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of parenting your pet, you'll quickly see how much love your puppy can give you in return for your time, affection and effort. Here are some tips for surviving those first few weeks as a puppy parent.

Purchase a crate for your puppy.

Even though your puppy cries at night, don't let your new puppy sleep in your bed. A puppy needs a crate where they can rest, learn the house rules and practice potty training (dogs don't like to soil their sleeping space). Your puppy should sleep in their crate at night and be placed there when you’re not at home or able to supervise them but allowed out for plenty of exercise time.

Place a soft toy in the crate.

Many puppies use a plush toy as a pillow. Your puppy is cuddling up to the toy because it reminds them of their littermates. Some pet parents choose to place a ticking clock near the crate because it sounds like a comforting heartbeat. Other types of toys, such as chew toys, squeaky toys or rope toys, can keep your puppy mentally stimulated while in the crate, which will prevent boredom, whining, barking and digging.

Gate an area for your puppy, and hold them on a leash.

Your puppy shouldn’t be kept in the crate all the time. A puppy needs to have space to play with you and with their toys. It’s best to gate an area where your teething puppy can't do any damage and be sure to have an array of teething toys available.

If you are taking your puppy outside of an enclosed space, make sure to use a 6-foot leash to keep them close to you, so you can keep an eye on them. Hold the leash at all times, rather than tying it to something and leaving the puppy alone, which can be dangerous.

Pick up the food bowl after eating.

It's best to keep the puppy's toys, water and food in the gated area. Although the water bowl can stay on the floor, your puppy needs to learn to eat their meals and not nibble food all day so remove the food bowl after chow time.

Accidents will happen.

Even though you are taking your puppy out on a leash quite frequently to the same general area to do his business, accidents will still happen. When your puppy has an accident, wipe it up and take the paper towel and your puppy immediately outside. Let your puppy sniff the paper towel but experts recommend against handling accidents with punishment: do not hit your puppy or rub their nose in the soiled towel.

Go to the vet.

As soon as possible, take your puppy to a veterinarian for a routine checkup. Your veterinarian can help you make sure your puppy receives the necessary vaccinations to remain healthy, and advise on key milestones like when you can start socializing your puppy or begin training classes.