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Tips for a Safe, Happy, and Well-Behaved Puppy

Girl with PuppyBefore adopting a new puppy, keep in mind these tips to help prepare you, your family and your home for the new arrival.


  • Puppy-proofing your home by eliminating hazards is critical.
  • Deny access to electrical cords and use plastic outlet plugs.
  • Safely store household, car maintenance and garden chemicals.
  • Keep breakables out of reach.
  • If you have a pond, pool or hot tub, make sure covers or fencing are in good condition.

 Children and pets

  • Don't allow children to play with the puppy constantly. Puppies need a lot of rest, just like growing children.
  • Children may be tempted to shout at puppies who are misbehaving. Be sure your children and their friends understand that puppies can easily be startled and upset by loud noises, making them fearful of children and loud noises for the rest of their lives.
  • No teasing. Children who tease a puppy will create a monster dog that no one wants to be around. Holding a toy just out of reach will cause excessive barking and jumping up as well as snapping and biting.
  • Always supervise interactions between children and pets. Both kids and pets can be very unpredictable in their behaviors if something frightens them or if they are approached with a new situation.

 Special puppy concerns

  • Supervise your puppy at all times and interact with him regularly.
  • Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that he needs to go to the bathroom, then take him outside immediately. A young puppy has no bladder control and will need to urinate immediately after sleep, play, drinking or eating.
  • Don't punish an accident. If your puppy goes to the bathroom in an inappropriate place it's your fault for not being alert to his needs. Never rub his nose in it or scold him.
  • Take your puppy outside frequently and establish a specific area in your yard for him to go. Stay with him until he uses that spot and then praise him wildly for doing so.
  • Always keep a well-fitting collar and current identification on your puppy. It's surprising how many stray puppies come into the shelter each year.
  • Provide your puppy with a high-quality diet, fresh water and appropriate exercise to keep them healthy, active and tired. 
  • Enroll your puppy in kindergarten. It's great fun for both of you and allows the puppy to socialize with other people and puppies as well as allowing your to get some great advice on house training and other behaviors. You may also develop a play group to keep your puppy busy.

For more information about socialing your puppy in order to raise a happy, social dog, click here.