Prepping Your Home (And Life) for a Puppy

When my boyfriend Teddy and I met, he already had an almost 5 year old Black Lab named Bailey that he adopted around 2 years old because the previous owners weren’t able to give her the time she needed. She is beautiful and her big brown eyes are my favorite. She and Teddy were a package deal so she’s been with us for about a year and a half. Teddy’s always wanted another lab, preferably a chocolate one, but I wasn’t so sure I wanted a second one yet. We had traveled so much in 2021, I knew another pup would adjust some of the things we could do travel wise and also just take more time in general.

Eventually in early 2022, we found that the same place where Bailey was from just had a litter with yellow and chocolate lab puppies. To this point, we hadn’t gone and looked at any puppies in person (although we sent each other links to them) because I knew as soon as we went, I’d want one. Well, this was one of the last opportunities to get a puppy that would be distant cousins with Bailey so we went to go look. There were two yellow labs available and one was way chunkier than the other. We got to play with them for a while, and of course, we both thought the chunky one was meant to be ours. The breeder asked what we were going to name him and while I had some ideas, Teddy and I hadn’t really decided on anything. He had the name Remington on is mind, so right there as we put the deposit down, it was settled, Remington would be his name.

We picked him up in January of 2022 and have had him since. There’s been quite a few ways our lives have changed since having him. And while we already had Bailey, a six year old well trained dog versus a puppy are very different. I’ll share all the lessons I’ve learned since getting him in the future, but for now I want to share some tips on how to prep your home, but also your life for getting a puppy. I know each person’s experiences are different, so these are just tips based on what it was like with our dogs.

Questions to Consider

  • Before ever even going to look at a puppy, ask yourself if you are at a stage in life where you can truly handle the responsibility. I know I sound like a nagging parent, but truly, they are so much more work than even an adult dog.
  • Think about the finances. Ask yourself, “Can I financially afford both purchasing the dog, as well as the vet bills, potential emergency vet bills, food, toys, and the other essentials?” Let me tell you, even though we were well prepared financially for a dog, wow do the costs add up. From initial shots and check ups to just getting a crate, toys, food, boarding, insurance, and the occasional emergency vet visit – it’s not cheap.
  • Think about your time commitments and your daily schedule already. Do you have margin for a dog? Are you home during the day you can let them out? Do you have time during the day to go for walks or play? Do you have extra energy left to give to a dog?
  • Think about your upcoming plans and current living situation. If you have a lot of travel or a lot of time you’ll be away from home, now may not be the right time. Boarding a puppy isn’t an option until they’re of a certain age with their vaccines so you would likely have to have someone you know watch them if you’re out of town. Also, do you have space for a puppy? Do you have a place for them to run around inside and a place they can walk or play outside? You can have a puppy in an apartment or condo, it just takes some additional work to make sure they get outdoors than if you have a fenced in yard.
  • Think about your energy. I mentioned this earlier but having a puppy is a constant test in patience. They bite everything. And attempt to eat everything. They’re adorable but wow they are just constant terrors sometimes.
  • I know I sound like a nagging parent, but even thought we had a 6 year old lab already, Remington was truly (and sometimes still is) quite a handful.

Prepping Your Space

So you’ve decided you’re ready for a pup. You have the finances, time, energy, and schedule that supports giving the pup a life they deserve. Now to prepare your living space for one. These are my best tips and what we learned very quickly on with Remington.

  • Rugs – Take them all up off the floor in any room the puppy could possibly go. If you don’t, they will either mess on them, or chew them, or drag them through the house.
  • Shoes – Find a place for them to be housed for the next few months that’s not the floor. We have a bin we use that’s up high so Remington couldn’t drag them through the house (although he often tried).
  • Get everything off the floor that doesn’t need to be there. Aside from actual furniture, any baskets, bins, or anything else was quickly removed if we didn’t want it chewed, eaten, or drug through the house.

Other Tips

  • Find a Vet – Either right before or after puppy comes home with you, determine where you plan to take them to the vet that’s nearby. Set up an appointment as soon as you can for the continuation of shots they likely need based on their last vet visit before you got them.
  • Find a Trainer – You can find them locally or do them virtually. I’ve heard great things about both. We used an in person training for Rem that started when he was about 4 months but wish we would have started a more formal training sooner. We did some things at home but could have done more.
  • Find Parks / Trails – Finding some local dog parks or trails to take the puppy to as they get older and have their vaccines is a great idea.
  • Pet Insurance / Emergency Vet – I wasn’t sold on the idea and then even though we are quite careful with Remington, we had two emergency vet visits in 2 months due to him eating part of a toy and a sock. So not only consider if pet insurance is worth it, but find out where your local emergency vet is for the hours that your regular vet isn’t open.

As I mentioned above, every person’s experience is different. What worked for us may not work for you, but I hope at least one of these tips is helpful as you consider or prepare for bringing home a puppy. If you are interested in the items that we found most during the first 6 months of having him, I’ll be sharing an upcoming post on all of those in the next week!

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