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Puppies are so adorable no matter what size, shape or color. All puppies start out soft and furry with those big puppy dog eyes making them most irresistible. However, problems may arise from a spur of the moment decision of adding a new member to the family. Reality usually sets in around 2 a.m. when the cute, cuddly puppy is crying from loneliness and has had several "accidents" around the house. Taking the time to carefully plan the joy of bringing home "Rover" will ultimately make it a more pleasant experience. A few simple guidelines will ease the process.

1. Choose the Right Puppy

Unfortunately, puppies don’t stay small forever, so you must decide what kind and size of dog is right for you and your family. For example, a small Chihuahua may not be the best choice for a family with an over zealous two year old, or a Great Dane may not be suitable for an apartment type of lifestyle.

2. Buy a Crate

Besides the obvious supplies that you will need like puppy food, dog dishes, a collar and a leash, you will need to purchase a dog crate. A young puppy will feel overwhelmed when given full run of the house. A crate is an excellent way to train a puppy and is highly recommended by many trainers. Buy a crate large enough for the puppy to grow into an adult dog that can lie down flat in the crate.


3. Setting Up the Puppy Area

Puppies that are given proper boundaries tend to house break quicker and will settle in as a welcome family member sooner. Place the crate near a door that you want the puppy to go out for play and for eliminations. Place newspaper in the bottom of the crate and a folded blanket towards the back of the crate for the puppy to sleep on. A puppy should have access to water at all times. Expect the crate to be quite a mess until he gets a little older. A dog will not mess where he has to sleep. Also, it is advisable to put a ticking clock and a nightlight in the room where the puppy will sleep.

4. That First Night!

There is nothing like the excitement of bringing home a new puppy. It is quite a joy, but may be the beginning of a long night. Plan to bring "Rover" home on a night that you won’t mind doing without some sleep. Before going to bed, feed the puppy. Wait about 20- 30 minutes and take him outside to do his business. Immediately praise him and take him in after a successful "potty break". Place "Rover" in his crate, say good night and brace yourself. Most puppies will cry for the first couple of nights but will quickly settle in. Do not give in and put him in bed with you or you will be doing this forever.

5. Playing, Eating and Elimination Schedule

One advantage of starting out with a young puppy is that they still require lots of sleep. This helps when getting them on a schedule and assists in training. Always feed your puppy at the same time each day. Wait 20- 30 minutes and immediately take him out to do his business. When house breaking a puppy, this time outside is serious business and is not a time to play. Continually tell him to "Go Potty!" When he is successful at doing his job, it is time to celebrate. Have a "party" puppy style by praising him with great excitement. After the "party" immediately take the puppy into the house. Now is the time to play and to love on him. Puppies love to chew so have plenty of proper doggy toys for him. The puppy will probably begin to get tired after a time of playing. Place him in his crate for a much needed rest. When he awakes, open the crate and immediately usher him out the door for eliminations and once again begin the Playing, Eating and Elimination cycle. It is vital to be consistent in this training.

Getting a right start with a new puppy requires planning and consistency. You will be glad when you have successfully raised your puppy into a well trained adult dog. He will be a life long companion and give you unconditional love in return. A little effort pays off in the long run.