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Based on 485 reviews
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Based on 138 reviews


Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Now that you have found the right breed and temperament for your lifestyle, it’s time to get things in order around the house before your
new furry family member arrives. Consult this handy checklist to ensure a smooth, successful transition to your (and their!) home.

  • Research and choose a veterinarian who shares your medical philosophies. Book an appointment to verify health, microchipping, vaccinations, and other necessities. Follow your vet’s recommendations for diet and other health-related issues, then continue with regular visits.

  • Acquire a crate for home and car use. This “den” will help your dog feel safe and secure when you are away, as well as be valuable for housetraining.

  • Purchase soft toys and bedding for your puppy. Bring them with you to pick up your new arrival, so they can acquire the scent of the littermates and mother. Place them in the crate.

  • Cover the crate for the ride home so your pup can see you but has limited vision of the scenery outside.

  • Get some of your pup’s current food from the breeder or shelter and use it to transition to new food if appropriate.

  • Puppy-proof your home and yard to ensure safety. Remove potential hazards that would make an enticing chew toy (like power cords, house plants, or clothing), or anything that might be swallowed by a curious puppy (like small rocks, fertilizers, or household chemicals or objects). Move anything cherished or breakable to higher ground.

  • Arrange to bring your puppy home early in the day to give them more time to acclimate
    to their new surroundings. If possible, make the transition when you have a few days off to oversee the process more closely.

  • Allow your pup to investigate their new surroundings when they arrive.
  • Introduce your puppy to their new den (crate) in a quiet area of the house. Leave the door open and feed them inside.
  • Try to avoid naps on the first day so they are tired by your bedtime.
  • An hour before you want to go to sleep, take your pup outside for toileting, then into their den. Only take them out when they are quiet and settled.
  • Confine your pup to specific areas until good toileting habits are established. No free roam in the house.
  • Practice good leadership from the start. Do not react to your pup. You determine when playtime is, when attention is given, when feeding time is, etc. Stay consistent.
  • Establish structure. Creating and maintaining a schedule is vital for housetraining your puppy.
  • Be patient. Acclimation takes time, and accidents will happen but do not reprimand your puppy for mistakes. Do praise them profusely, however, for positive behavior.
  • Get training. Early, consistent training means establishing leadership traits that are key to managing your dog’s behavior. Consult your local Bark Busters trainer to get started.



Puppies are growing all the time – physically and mentally! Taking care of their basic needs, understanding the reasons behind certain behaviors, and taking part in early training and socialization will help prevent frustration and ensure happy and healthy pups and parents at every stage of development.


Every puppy needs high-quality food, separate food, and water bowls, a secure place to sleep, a well-made collar and leash, and a few toys – not to mention lots of love and human company! Each of these items plays a role in your pup’s safety and comfort while easing the adjustment to your home.


  • Crates are natural dens that help your pup feel safe. Leave the door open as your puppy learns to trust its

    new environment.

  • Avoid buying dozens of toys and treats, which can confuse a puppy about what they should and should not chew.

  • Provide the same food the puppy is used to and make any switches slowly – different foods can cause an upset stomach.

  • Familiar scents can make separation less traumatic. Rub a soft blanket against the mother and littermates; give very young puppies a hot water bottle or heat pad and a ticking clock (to simulate the mother’s warmth and heartbeat).

  • Puppies need lots of love, play, and rest. Each puppy is different, so let your puppy tell you when it’s tired. Do not take a young puppy jogging or force them to play – these activities can cause overexertion or injury.

  • Establish and stick to a schedule for meals, playtime, toileting, and more. Like human kids, puppies benefit from consistency. Deviations will happen, but the more predictability and routine, the happier you and your pup will be.



Potty training takes time and patience. Your puppy has not yet developed the awareness or physical capability to control its bodily functions as an adult dog and will need plentiful opportunities to toilet. Be proactive, stay diligent, and help your pup avoid mistakes.


  • As a guideline, puppies can hold their bladders for the number of hours equal to their age in months plus one: for example, a two-month-old puppy can last about three hours.

  • Confine your puppy in a specific room or small area while it is learning. Close doors and use baby gates (and/or a crate).

  • Be sure to take your puppy out at regular intervals, as well as at these six critical times:

    1. After waking up

    2. Before going to bed for the night

    3. After eating or drinking

    4. After/during excitement or exuberant play

    5. If frightened or nervous

    6. After the family arrives home

  • Remain in the potty area as your puppy eliminates, lavishly praising it while it goes. A common mistake is to return inside too soon, only to experience an unexpected mess.

  • Do not “correct” your puppy for soiling. Puppies may not associate correction methods with soiling and may become scared of being grabbed, or learn to find a hiding spot to toilet.

  • If you do catch your puppy right before or in the act, quickly take it to its designated potty area and praise it as it continues to potty. If you find a mess after the fact, all you can do is clean it up. Just be sure you don’t use any ammonia-based products for cleanup: while popular, they may be toxic for your pets.

  • Scatter Feeding your puppy is a good way to passively teach your pup to NOT TOILET inside your home.


Your puppy’s mouth is an exploratory tool. Chewing is a natural function of your dog’s development, a source of stress release, and, if effectively managed, can be a way to prevent the onset of destructive behaviors, including separation anxiety.


  • Providing appropriately sized chew toys.

  • Introducing safe chew articles while your dog is in its den area, to create positive associations and allow you to observe their behavior.

  • Giving your pup a toy to chew on before its frequent rest periods to help it fall asleep more quickly.


Puppies need sleep – lots of sleep. In fact, they need 18-20 hours of sleep over a 24-hour period while they are young! Crates provide a safe haven for dogs and allow pet parents to relax or complete tasks that are impossible while watching a puppy. They also help with training by limiting your puppy’s mistakes to times when you are present and prepared to teach.


  • Ensure the crate is only large enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around – any larger and it may soil a corner where it does not sleep.  Built-in dividers can help if needed.
  • There will be crying the first few nights. Check to make sure your pup is safe and not stuck or hurt; talk in a normal (not soft or high-pitched) tone to avoid reinforcing this behavior.
  • You will have to get up a couple of times during the night to let your puppy out to toilet.
  • Never use crates as punishment.
  • Keep the crate near the family as much as possible so your puppy doesn’t feel ostracized. Some separation is healthy, however, so avoid bringing the crate into your bedroom at night to prevent future episodes of separation anxiety.


Teaching Leash Manners


Please be sure to do your very best in following the guidance and program we have laid out for you.  It is based upon over a quarter-century of training experience and works when followed properly.  If you are struggling, please call me.  Lastly, please be sure to have reasonable expectations for your puppy.  If they are less than 6 months of age, please do not expect them to act like a 6-year-old dog.  Try not to let your expectations exceed your training or your dog’s abilities.


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Google Rating
Based on 485 reviews
Facebook Rating
Based on 138 reviews