Puppy 101: What to know as a new dog parent

Happy tan puppy being held at AHS.

Welcome to puppy parenthood! While some things are easy to expect with a new pup — like lots of playtime and cuddles — there are practices to put into place now to support your puppy so they can be the best version of themself.

Following these tips will benefit you and your new pet as you embark on this exciting journey together. Consider this your new puppy parent guide!

Plan to puppy-proof

Just like toddlers, puppies need supervision. Creating a safe environment for your new friend to explore will help keep them out of mischief.

Consider investing in gates or make a plan to close off areas of your home until your new pup is ready for more freedom. Puppy-proofing your home is serious business — read our pro tips to help you prepare.

Four black and brown lab puppies held by AHS staff.

Socialization for your pup

Being adorable comes naturally for puppies but learning social skills takes practice. Socializing your new puppy is one of the best ways to ensure that they become a friendly and confident companion. Exposing your new furry friend to a wide variety of sights, sounds, smells, and sensations in a positive environment will set you and your pup up for success.

From food bowl exercises to teaching your puppy to be alone, these resources on socializing your new pet will start your journey on the right foot — and paw!

Puppy behavior and training tips

It’s far easier to teach your new four-legged friend what to do when they’re young than to teach them what not to do when they’re older, Alison Schramel, CPDT-KA, Animal Behavior & Training Manager at Animal Humane Society, noted.

Reinforcing behaviors and habits you want them to form early on will save you and your pup the work of unlearning less desirable behaviors in the future — after all, puppies are little sponges! Take advantage of our Puppy Playgroups to give your new puppy the opportunity to socialize and play with other puppies their size and age.

Before you know it, your little puppy will hit adolescence and we’ll be here to help you learn tips and tricks on navigating the teenage phase in our All About Adolescence webinar.

Stock up on supplies

Is there anything more thrilling – or cute – than shopping for a puppy? For new pet parents, deciding what supplies are essential may feel overwhelming. We have you covered with a helpful list of puppy supply essentials.

Tips on adding another puppy to your home

Not your first puppy rodeo? Growing your family with a second dog is exciting!

Keep both pets at the top of your mind and avoid the temptation to rush into adding a new puppy to the household without careful planning. Take time to plan this new chapter of pet parenting by following these guidelines. As tempting as it may be to rush into things, slower wins the race.

Dog sitting at AHS Training School

Did you know AHS offers dog and puppy training?

Our team of expert trainers uses reward-based, positive reinforcement training methods to provide a variety of obedience and specialty courses for all skill levels. Plus, training fees support our ongoing care of animals in need.

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For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline