Your Checklist for Bringing a New Puppy Home

The DOGPAK just got a little bigger! Welcome our new puppy, Theseus, to the team. 

Preparing Your Puppy for Outdoor Adventure:

After traveling the world for the last 13+ years with old Thunder the Wonder Dog, I was initially hesitant about bringing home a new puppy. Somewhat stubbornly, I thought to myself, “Nope. Thunder is my dog.” He turns 14 next month, and I was worried a new puppy might affect our dynamic. But Peggy persisted and persuaded me with the notion that having a new puppy around the house to teach and play with just might give Thunder a new spark of life, making his remaining years more fulfilling and perhaps even extending his lifespan. If there were even the slightest chance that a new puppy would improve Thunder’s quality of life for his remaining years, then it would be well worth it. 
Before long, I found myself opening up to the idea. Then, when a little Thunder lookalike came to the Lauterbrunnen Valley in a foster program from a rescue center in Italy, we both knew the walls of my reluctance were crumbling. As soon as we met the little guy and took him for a walk, we knew he would become a part of the DOGPAK. Two days later and he was curled up on the couch with his new family. 
So begins the process of bringing home a new puppy again and helping it learn all the ways of being a good boy and a great adventure buddy. It had been 13 years since Thunder was his age, and after all our endless adventures together, I had sort of forgotten what it was like when he was a puppy. I found myself remembering how tedious and slow the training process can seem at times, how much patience is required, and how many shoes, socks, pillows, blankets, and books were relegated to the toy box or the trash bin. But I also remembered how rewarding it was when things start to click, or when they wake you up with a cold nose on your cheek, or how bouncy they can be in tall grass. 
Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting experience, if not a little bit stressful. It's crucial to make sure you're well-prepared before your new furry friend arrives. By taking the time to plan and organize, you can ensure a smooth transition for both you and your new companion, which will be especially important if the new dog is anxious or had an unknown or traumatic history. In this comprehensive guide, we will share some important considerations and step-by-step preparations to make before bringing a new puppy into your home. Once settled, you’ll be well on your way to developing one of the most fulfilling relationships of your life.

Understand the Commitment: 

Bringing a puppy home is a long-term commitment. Do not underestimate what it means to make a commitment that might last 16 years or (hopefully) even longer. You’ll be responsible for their well-being, training, and happiness every single day for many years to come. Take the time to evaluate your lifestyle, schedule, and resources to ensure you can provide the necessary care and attention a puppy requires. This self-reflection is crucial in setting realistic expectations and ensuring a positive experience for both you and your pup.
If you’re reading our blog, you are likely also an outdoor adventure enthusiast. It’s important to honestly consider how a new puppy will fit into your lifestyle. Reflect on the activities you love, such as hiking, camping, or traveling, and envision how your furry friend will accompany you. Some breeds are more suited for certain outdoor activities than others, so research and choose a breed that matches your energy level, temperament, and outdoor preferences.

Puppy-Proof Your Surroundings:

Just like a curious toddler, puppies love to explore and get into everything. Before their arrival, it's important to create a safe and secure environment for them. Take a thorough look around your home and identify potential hazards such as toxic plants, loose electrical cords, or small objects that can be swallowed. Secure cabinets, block off restricted areas, and consider investing in puppy gates to create a designated puppy-proofed space.
Puppies are curious about anything and everything, and sometimes it is difficult to predict what kinds of situations they’ll find themselves in, as I already learned with Theseus when he jumped on my work desk and leaped out of the narrow open window. Anything is possible, so take proper precautions, and make sure your preparations extend to any outdoor areas you’ll be exploring as well. Ensure you are properly prepared for dealing with common concerns like ticks, fox tail grasses, and other animals you might encounter on the trail. Having the right kind of K9 gear, like a sturdy leash or a harness, will help you keep them safe.  

New Puppy Essentials: 

To ensure your puppy's comfort and well-being, gather the essential supplies beforehand. This includes a comfortable bed, food and water bowls, nutritious puppy food, a collar and leash, identification tags, toys for mental and physical stimulation, and even grooming supplies. Be prepared with a K9 first aid kit and familiarize yourself with a reputable vet who can help you get any medicines that might be necessary. Having these items ready will allow your puppy to settle in comfortably and make the transition easier for them.
Once your new puppy is ready to hit the trail, ensure you’re prepared with the proper outdoor K9 gear as well. Invest in a comfortable and secure harness (preferably reflective) that allows your puppy to explore while keeping them safe. Consider a lightweight, low-capacity backpack specifically designed for dogs, allowing them to carry their essentials such as a K9 first aid kit, some snacks, and collapsible bowls. Don't forget a collar with identification tags, a sturdy leash, and paw protection for rugged terrains.

Establish a Routine:

Puppies thrive on routine and consistency. Before your new pup arrives, establish a daily routine for feeding, bathroom breaks, exercise, and training sessions. A structured and predictable routine will help your puppy feel secure and aid in their training and development. Remember to be patient and consistent as you introduce new routines and reward positive behaviors with positive reinforcement. 

Health and Wellness Preparations:

Maintaining your puppy’s health is crucial for their overall well-being and longevity. Research reputable veterinarians in your area and schedule regular visits to ensure vaccinations are up to date and to address any health concerns. Discuss a proper nutrition plan tailored to your new pup’s specific breed, needs, and energy requirements. Additionally, protect them from parasites like ticks, fleas, and worms with safe preventative treatments suitable for your coming outdoor adventures.  

Join a supportive Dog Community

We all want to give our dog the best life they deserve. DogHood is a supportive community of dog lovers and like minded people. It's a free community app available on the app store. You can build a personalized profile, search for different topics & get helpful tips on training, food , grooming etc. On the app you can also discover dog friendly events & pet services near you. DogHood App makes it super easy to become a better Pet Parent and truly enjoy this journey of being a Pawparent. 

The Doghood App is a community of dog owners offering various helpful resources.


Bringing a new puppy home is one of the most exciting times of our lives, and if we’re lucky we will get to experience it more than once. These precautions will help ensure a safe and comfortable transition for your puppy while they settle in and become acclimated to their new home. A responsible training regimen can help you develop an even deeper bond with your pup by building mutual trust and respect and allowing you both to get outside and embark on new adventures together. With a proper plan and consistency, you’ll be hitting the trails in no time, building your own repertoire of unforgettable experiences. I have always found that the memories of those experiences are the backbone of the inseparable bond I have developed with Thunder, and I can’t wait to replicate that with little Theseus. 

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