The Beginner’s Guide to Caring for a Puppy


When we decided to get a puppy, we didn’t know what we were getting ourselves in to.

The Beginner's Guide to Caring for a Puppy

Our dog, Petey, was about 1 ½ years old when we adopted him. Our cat, Harley, was about 1 when we took him home from the animal shelter. When Petey was about 12, we thought that if we brought a puppy into the house it would energize the little old man and also be a nice addition to the family.

When we picked up Sadie, she was 9 weeks old and a total fluff ball. I had done research online as to how to take care of newborn puppies and I can tell you now that I was not fully prepared. Here’s what I learned that I hope will help you, should you opt to add a fur baby to your family.

The Beginner's Guide to Caring for a Puppy

Before you bring the puppy home, you should have handy the following items:

  • A crate or cage. It will act as her safe haven – a place she can sleep in and hang out in for down time. We chose to purchase a large crate that she would eventually grow into, and sectioned off enough space for her to comfortably stand up and turn around in. We did so knowing that dogs will not “dirty” where they sleep, but if they have some extra room they may do so. Definitely section off!
  • A collar and a leash. You can go crazy with the different styles of collars and leashes. Pick whatever fancies you, but know that more than likely they will grow out of it sooner than later.
  • Chew toys. This is a MUST! I don’t recommend rawhide as it as been known to, in rare occasions, pierce the interior lining of their stomach. I love bully sticks (try to get the unscented variety as the other ones can be quote fragrant).
  • Puppy food. Do your research when it comes to dog food. Everyone has their favorite, but try to stick to one kind.
  • Water and food bowls


Bringing the puppy home:

  • Bring a towel or blanket to hold the puppy in on the car ride home.
  • Talk to the puppy to try and soothe him/her. Sadie was shaking in my lap on the ride home, so I tried to distract her as best I could.

Bringing the puppy home

Once home:

  • Try to plan on being home with the puppy for the first 3 – 4 days. This was Sadie’s first time away from her mother and siblings, so you can only imagine how frightened she must have been!
  • Being home with her helped with house training. I took her out every 35-40 minutes while we were home. I would take her to the same place in the yard each time, and stay there until she does her “business” – gifting her with a reward afterwards.
  • Be diligent about staying on a schedule of taking her out – I promise they will remind you in a not so funny way if you do not.
  • Take the puppy for its health checks at the veterinarian.
  • Make sure not to leave anything lying around that the puppy can chew on and/or eat. Examples include LEGOs, shoes, CDs – you get the idea.
  • Be sure to keep the chew toys handy, as you don’t want the puppy to mistake your dining room table for a bone.
  • Should the puppy have an accident inside the home – and this is very common – make sure you have the proper cleaning aids available. If she soils on the tile or linoleum floor, thoroughly clean the area.
  • If she soils on the carpet, try to get up as much of the mess as you can. You can purchase some at-home carpet cleaners, but ultimately you are going to have to call in the experts. Unfortunately this is bound to happen.

When looking for a reputable carpet cleaning service, you’ll want to make sure they use environmentally green products that are also proven safe for pets. Customarily I search online – I type in the service I am looking for along with the city I live in.

Puppies are a handful, something my husband and I did not anticipate. Sadie has been with us for 6 years now, and even though the first year (or so) was a bit tough, I wouldn’t change it for anything!

About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

I’m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

About The Author

Dana Peller

Dana Peller

I’m a wife, mom, biz owner, writer, creator, and TV personality. My days are accomplished with a dash of flair, lots of style, and fueled by coffee.

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18 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Caring for a Puppy”

  1. It has been a Long time since having a puppy running around. You almost forget how much they need. Great tips and Really cute Puppy Pics!

    1. My other pets were adopted when they were around 1 so I never went through the puppy or kitten stages. Puppies need SO MUCH it is insane!!! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. I would love to have a puppy….when my boys are older. It would be a disaster right now. Thanks for all the great info.

    1. I completely understand why you would wait. My boys were 2 and 4 at the time and it was extremely stressful.

  3. This post brought back memories of when my Labrador was still a puppy, now almost 7 years ago. He had a hard time alone at night and the first nights my husband and I took turns to stay with him, as every time we left him alone he kept on crying and crying for hours on end… it stopped, and we have a wonderful dog, but the bond that was made back them with us being with him and taking away his fears, has never gone away. Whenever something scares him (and he is a scary pants) he comes running behind me. Dogs are the best, they give you so much love. Good luck with the puppy <3

  4. Awww this just reminds me of when we brought our puppy Alife home, seven years ago! There were a lot of struggles and even a few tears but he’s grown up into the most loving little dog and I wouldn’t change him for the world 🙂 x

  5. I’m kind of a puppy whore story. First let me preface this story by saying I grew up in the country so while we had lots of pets over the years never an inside dog.
    I went to meet a woman from Craiglist and her puppy… she didn’t think it was meet and greet in fact she got out the car handed me all her stuff and left. I felt down founded and forced to take her. Long story short not only was I unprepared but I was miserable the entire two weeks I had her…turns out I couldn’t live in pet dander like that. But I did find her a good home. 🙂

    1. How terrible that the woman just practically abandoned the dog – but luckily you took great care to find it a new home!!

  6. It was hard to read the post, I was distracted by all the cute puppy photos! We adopted out dog, and although we were super prepared in the supply department, the emotional and time commitment part was the hardest part.

    1. LOL…cute puppies are very distracting. The time and effort commitment is huge, I agree!

  7. I want a puppy now. I moved into my apartment about a year ago and have been debating if I have the time for a dog, maybe now I can find the time, your dog is so cute!

  8. If only I wasn’t renting my home, I’d have a puppy in a heartbeat! Your advice about not leaving things laying around reminds me of when my childhood puppy chewed up my favourite doll, so yes! Clean up before your puppy gets home people! 🙂

    1. Awwww, I’m sorry to hear about your doll 🙁 Yes, we learn from experience, right?!

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