Preparing for a New Puppy

How much is that doggie in the window?

When I was entering high school, it had been a few years since we’d lost our dog. And I wanted a puppy! My parents owned their own grocery store and worked long hours, and with my brother and myself needing to focus on high school, they said no.

Once school let out every day, I had to walk to my parents’ store. Then my father would drive me home, about a 20-minute drive. On my walking route from school, I passed a number of stores, including a pet store. Those were the days when standalone pet stores displayed puppies for sale in their large display windows facing the street, which I’m sure inspired the song “How Much is that Doggie in the Window?”

One day the window was full with a litter of Lab puppies! I saw the most adorable puppy and I literally lived out the song by asking the owner, “How much is the doggie in the window?” He told me $25. As a freshman in high school, I didn’t have that kind of money and I certainly couldn’t ask my parents, who would just say “For a puppy?? We told you no!!”

But I couldn’t let it go. I had an expensive stopwatch that was given to me as a gift to be used in science lab. I knew it was worth over $75, if not more. Coincidentally, right next door to the pet store was a pawn shop. So the next day when walking home from school, I brought my watch into the pawn shop and told them I wanted to pawn it. The man offered me $10 for it. Ha! I knew it was worth more than that – and he was taking advantage of a kid! I tried to negotiate with him but he wouldn’t budge. So finally I said to him, “Look, I know this watch is worth a lot more. I want a puppy from next door and the puppy is $25. I need that much to get the puppy or it’s not worth trading in the watch.” With that, he agreed. I grabbed my $25 in cash and ran next door to the pet store.

A few minutes later…

I walked out with the cutest Lab puppy ever. Now what??

I couldn’t just walk into my parents’ store with a new puppy. I had to figure out how to hide the puppy while my father drove me home. Then I could make introductions that evening when both my parents got home from work.

Luckily, my school required uniforms and I was wearing a long blazer. I practiced hiding the puppy inside my blazer. I got to my father’s store and popped my head in. “Dad, I’m here! I’ll wait for you in the car!” Then I practiced keeping the puppy still in the car. I remember sitting in the back seat away from the rear-view mirror. I must have made some excuse for why I was choosing to sit there. The puppy did a great job. He wriggled a little and made a few squeaks under my blazer, but I covered it up by coughing and wriggling myself.

We got to the house and I ran ahead and put the puppy in my bedroom and closed the door. Then I went back out to say goodbye to my father as he left to go back to work. As he walked out the door, he turned around and said to me, “Oh, by the way, the puppy goes back in the morning…” Caught! And I thought I was so smart!

I’m telling this story as a prime example of what you do NOT want to do when you get a puppy – that is, to do no preparation at all! The best way to transition your puppy to your home is to plan, be ready, and of course, make sure you have the agreement of all household members. No surprises!

Here is a checklist you can use to help plan for your new puppy, before the puppy arrives in your home, whether under a blazer or not.

House training strategy

How will you house train your dog? Do you live in a single-family home with easy access to outside, or in an apartment or condo that might involve stairs or an elevator? There are a number of options available for starting house training inside – pee pads, fake grass, doggie litter, etc. You should decide HOW you will house train and plan your strategy accordingly – before the puppy arrives. Freak on a Leash has training aids to help you house train your puppy – just ask!

Puppy proof the house.

If you have not had a puppy in a while, take a good look around your house for anything that the puppy can get into, either to chew or swallow. All those things should be moved out of the puppy’s reach.


Have a create ready for the puppy so you can begin to use it as soon as the puppy arrives home. Plan to train the puppy to make the crate a good experience. Again, just ask, and Freak on a Leash can provide you with a training aid to help you learn how to crate train your puppy and if you can’t wait to get started check out our crate training video for help. 


The new puppy should never be left unsupervised. The crate is used for sleeping and/or relaxing but you should not confine the puppy to the crate for extended periods. The puppy needs room to move around and to play, so you should plan to supervise the puppy at all times when it is out of the crate. If you cannot do that, for example you are home but working, then a pen is a good solution. You can set up the pen with the crate, bathroom area, and toys.

Vet appointment 

If you have other pets, then you already have a vet to contact. But if not, ask around and do some research to find a good vet in your area. You can find a fear free vet near you here Fear Free.

The breeder or shelter should provide you with health information on the puppy, including the shots they have had to date. But you need to follow up with your vet for the additional shots and also, you want to verify the puppy’s health on your end just to be sure there are no issues.

Other supplies you should purchase from the store before the puppy arrives:

• Food – the breeder or shelter may provide you with some of the food they have been feeding the puppy but you should decide the diet you want your dog to have. You can begin to transition the puppy to the new food by mixing in his old food with the food you choose.
• A comfortable bed
• Small puppy treats
• Food and water bowls
• Collar and leash
• Toy(s)
• Brush and/or comb
• Poop bags

Oh, and were you wondering what happened to the Lab puppy? Rocky used his charm on my father that evening, so much so that my father never mentioned returning him again! He lived for 14 years and in the last year of his life when he was elderly and needed care, I was away at graduate school and it was my father who took good care of him. So it all turned out ok! But it is STILL not the way to handle a new puppy!

If you need help getting prepared for your new puppy make an appointment.

or send us an email. We are happy to help.

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