A black and white catahoula hound puppy in the backseat of a car, sitting in his dog bed on the way home from adoption.

What You Really Need for a New Puppy

What You Really Need for a New Puppy

Gotcha Day for any companion animal is a big deal for a human. We've been thinking about you for a very long time most likely. And even if we hadn't been actively thinking on you, we were subconsciously toying with the idea of you. The day we met you reminded us that we had been. Then, there you are! No matter how we met, we humans can be a bit overwhelming and excitable. We love you so much.

New Puppy Day should be seen as New Puppy Week. It's going to take a week for your puppy to get her head on straight. Everything in her life just changed. Every. Thing. She's a blank slate not knowing what she wants. Or who she is inside all this new. First things first, as with all successful things. Look at it from your puppy's point of view. Slow down. Less is more. Let him understand the first important truth. He is home. It takes about a week for a puppy to understand and believe that truth.

The first week for your puppy will solidify trust. It's all in those seven days. The goal here isn't to overwhelm with options. It's to make a clear statement of routine and love. Starter puppy kits are for future retail sales, not for your puppy's future confidence. You don't need a starter kit. You need seven days of introducing the truth, then meeting his doctor on the eighth day.

What you Really Need for a New Puppy

  • A dog bed. Not for puppy, but for the size he will be, because he's going to be that in short order. Buy the best supporting adult weight appropriate bed you can afford. Place it where you think he'll sleep. Be ready to move it when he changes his mind. He most likely will.
  • Dog bowls that stay put and are easy to clean.
  • Three puppy appropriate toys that offer three different variations. She'll decide what she loves. Make one toy plush. Puppies need a snuggle buddy.
  • A beach towel of their own. A beach towel offers a snuggling option they can create to please themselves. They'll learn self-comforting from a beach towel. Pillow, blanket, lean-to, or a towel to lay on. Pick a good one that can last. Snuggle towels will become a permanent friend.
  • Limited ingredient dog food. Find the flavor and the brand that delivers puppy to adult. Puppy systems are still getting online, their digestion isn't ready for treats, people food, raw hide, or any other food centric human idea. The best limited ingredient dog food allows their body to settle in and build up for its best performance.
  • Skip straight from the tap water. Again, puppy systems aren't online. Serve filtered water. Whether it's a pitcher filter or refrigerator system filter, no matter. The idea is to give your puppy's mind and body time to finish it's build-out. No bottled water though. Plastics outgas no matter the plastic. The number of heat-cycles a package of bottled water has been through is unknown to you. Trips between hot trucks, warehouses, and air-conditioned holding areas affect the plastics releasing into the water. Filtered water from a grocery store's filter kiosk is a good solution, too. You know the gallon jugs you're using.
  • A kennel or blocked off area for safety. If you use a puppy fence or a specific room, make sure it's secure for his abilities, and safe from trouble options.
  • You. Your puppy needs you, and as much of you as possible.

The first seven days should be replicas of the first day. Puppies learn from routines. Potty training. Feeding without food protection issues. Learning the times and doors of "go out" all demand clear consistent routines. Know what you hope from and for your puppy before she gets home. Stick to it, be patient. She's getting her head on straight while realizing all this human house is hers. That's a lot of extra for a puppy.

His first seven days should be clear, uncluttered, and scheduled. Done right, by the sixth day your puppy will know where to go to go out and when. Your puppy will know where to eat, and when to expect it. Your puppy will be certain of where you like to sit, so she knows where she will want to sit. She'll know where she wants that bed, and where you may need to place a second bed for day napping.

Your puppy will be forming opinions by day seven. Now you know what toys to buy, and not to buy (raw hide anything is a not to buy. Puppy gets no opinion on these). Your puppy will have found his favored places 'to go', and learned where you do not want him to go.

When you keep the first seven days focused on food, going out, and how to live in a house, your puppy will be confident, calm, happy, and willing to learn anything because those first seven days were the happiest ever. Obviously, you are awesome! And you love him! He is ready to be your dog, forever! Because those first seven days were the best!

That is when you introduce your puppy to his doctor. So make that puppy appointment the day you bring your new best friend home. But first things first. You and your puppy have to get your heads on straight. This is so exciting!

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


  • I love Kathy LaFollett and I love Flockcall. She makes things easy to understand with common sense…a nice thing today where everthing can be overdone 🥰

    Dian Hamadyk on

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