Is Now The Right Time to Get a Puppy? How to Prepare During COVID-19 (2023)

Bringing home a new puppy is incredibly exciting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people than ever are looking to add a dog to their lives as they self isolate. Many puppy seekers wonder: is now the right time to get a puppy? The answer to that question differs from person to person. Were you prepared to get a puppy before COVID-19? Do you have the financial stability and resources to supply your puppy with quality of life and regular vet appointments? After you return to your normal schedule, are you prepared to continue caring for your dog?

If you are fully prepared for the responsibility puppyhood brings, there is no reason not to get a puppy now. In fact, it’s a perfect time to help your new pet adjust to their home and work on essential training skills. Responsible breeders have been practicing safety and cleanliness far before COVID-19 and many are willing to meet potential buyers via online video chats or phone calls, then transfer the puppy while maintaining social distancing.

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Training a puppy while being isolated presents unique challenges. You must find creative ways to both socialize your new puppy and teach your puppy how to be alone, even if it’s just for a little bit each day.

After finding your breeder, there’s so much to do to make your puppy’s transition a success. From puppy-proofing your house to purchasing chew toys, to starting potty training on the right foot, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. To put you on track and ensure a happy dog for years to come, follow this new puppy checklist:

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Puppy Proofing

Puppies areunbelievably curious, but just like toddlers, they don’t understand what is safe and what is off limits. Remember, if a puppy can get something in his mouth, he’ll eat it or chew it! That’s why it’s essential to puppy proof your home. You’ll protect your house, prevent bad habits, and most importantly, keep your puppy safe. Here are some tips for proper puppy proofing:

  • Look at your house from your new puppy’s point of view. Get on your hands and knees so you don’t miss anything at ground level.
  • Keep anything dangerous, like cleaning supplies, behind locked cupboard doors or stored up high.
  • Tie all electrical cords out of your puppy’s reach.
  • Put everything valuable away. Knickknacks and cell phones can’t be destroyed if they’re kept in drawers or on a high shelf.
  • Keep shoes in a closed closet. If you don’t want something to become a chew toy, prevent your puppy from getting it in the first place.
  • Switch to garbage cans with lids. Food smells will attract your puppy, so be sure he can’t get in your trash.
  • Use barricades like baby gates or exercise pens to keep your puppy confined to safe areas or out of unsafe ones. You don’t have to puppy proof the whole house until your dog is ready for that kind of freedom.
  • Examine your backyard for hazards. For example, look for holes in the fence or toxic plants.

Go Online Shopping

It’s important to have all the necessities like a crate and chew toys before you bring your puppy home. The following things can start your shopping list:

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  • Dog crate. This is an invaluable tool for keeping your puppy safe when you can’t supervise him and for simplifying your house-training routine. Be sure to pick the correct size. If the crate is too large, your puppy can use one end as a toilet which will set your potty training back.
  • Collar and leash. Depending on your dog’s breed, you might want a harness as well. Don’t forget to put an ID tag on your puppy’s collar.
  • Puppy food and bowls.
  • Exercise pen or baby gates.
  • Chew toys. All dogs love to chew. Teething puppies most of all. Pick chew toys that aren’t too small for your puppy to prevent a choking hazard.
  • Grooming tools. It’s never too early to start getting your puppy used to nail trims and brushing.
  • Treats. Simple training can start from your puppy’s first day at home, so be ready with plenty of tasty rewards.

Pushing Paper

As fun as it is to play with your new puppy, there are still some administrative tasks to take care of. Keep this paperwork in mind:

  • Name your puppy. Although your breeder might have put conditions on your puppy’s AKC-registered name, his call name, the informal name you use every day, is completely up to you. To help you match your puppy’s name to his personality, check out our Dog Name Finder.
  • Register your purebred puppy with the American Kennel Club. Your breeder may have taken care of this, but if not, you can register your puppy yourself. Registration is for life and includes access to AKC’s Canine Care packages.
  • Register your mixed breed with the AKC Canine Partners program. This will allow your dog to participate in some of the most popular AKC dog sports like agility or rally and earn certain titles for his achievements.
  • Find a veterinarian and other pet professionals like a groomer or pet sitter. Don’t be afraid to visit them first and ask for references. Also, learn the location of your nearest emergency veterinary clinic.

Making Introductions

Your puppy will need time to adjust to his new environment. Plus, it’s likely he’ll miss his doggy family until he gets used to his human one. Be patient and be careful not to overwhelm him. Consider the following:

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  • Show your puppy around. Let him know where to find his crate, food, and water bowl, and where he should be going to the bathroom. Let him explore with supervision, but don’t give him the run of the house on day one. He can earn freedom as he learns the rules.
  • Supervise introductions to other pets. Don’t let your puppy annoy your older dog and be sure cats have an escape route. In the beginning, keep interactions short and sweet.
  • Introduce your puppy to new people with care. Too many cuddles all at once can be stressful. Everybody will want to meet your puppy, and it’s important for him to meet as many new people as possible. But make sure each experience is pleasant and rewarding.
  • Socialize your puppy. Socializing means introducing your puppy to as many new people, dogs, places, situations and so on as possible. While in isolation, get creative. Introduce your puppy to new sounds, surfaces, and toys. Be sure to do this at your puppy’s pace. Don’t force him. Encourage him and stay positive.

Teaching and Training

Every interaction between you and your puppy has the potential to build your bond and teach something new, and there’s no reason you can’t get started right away. Here are some training considerations to keep in mind:

  • Potty train from day one. Your dog needs to know exactly where you expect him to do his business. Prevent accidents so he also learns where not to go. If a mistake happens, clean it up with an enzymatic urine cleaner.
  • Set the house rules. For example, decide if your puppy can go on the furniture and who is in charge of mealtimes and walks. To prevent confusing your puppy, make sure your entire family is on board and consistent.
  • Teach your new puppy basic behaviors like watch me, sit, or down. With positive reinforcement-based training, you can encourage good manners in even very young puppies. If you’re struggling with your new puppy, consider getting help from the Good Dog Helpline.
  • Look for a puppy class— some are now being offered virtually. Puppy kindergarten helps with both socialization and training. Search for a training club in your area.
  • nroll in the AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy Program. Your puppy is eligible for the S.T.A.R. Puppy test after completing a basic training class with an AKC Approved CGC Evaluator. The program is designed to get dog owners and their puppies off to a good start and enrollment includes benefits like the AKC Puppy Handbook and a monthly email newsletter full of training tips.
  • Set goals for down the road. Training basic manners can lead to all kinds of fun dog activities. An important goal for every dog is the AKC Canine Good Citizen program. It’s a great foundation for dog sports and the gold standard of behavior for dogs in our society.

Need help with your adorable new puppy? Training your dog can be challenging without expert help. That’s why we’re here to help you virtually, through AKC GoodDog! Helpline. This live telephone service connects you with a professional trainer who will offer unlimited, individualized advice on everything from house-training to behavioral issues.

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Is it the right time to get a puppy? ›

As for when it's best for the puppy, most veterinarians and breeders agree that 7 to 8 weeks of age is ideal. According to veterinarian and behaviorist Dr. Sally Foote, puppies are in their socialization period during this time.

What do you need to prepare for a puppy? ›

Food and water bowls are a must. Healthy and complete puppy food is important, and your vet can help you decide the right food for your breed. A collar, tag, harness, and leash are important for taking them on walks, however, you may need a harness as you train your puppy.

What is the best month to get a puppy? ›

Autumn. If you're busiest in the spring and summer or if you prefer to be outside during cooler months, fall might be the best time of year for you to adopt a dog. As the weather turns colder, there's nothing better than walking through crunchy leaves while watching wild critters prepare to hunker down for the winter.

What I Wish I Knew Before owning a dog? ›

They're Like Children. Whether it's a puppy or an adult, dogs are a lot like children: they need training, exercise, attention, and preventative, sometimes emergency, health care—the list goes on and on. Dogs and kids have a lot in common—they both need attention, love, and discipline. Photo via Flickr.

How long can a puppy be left alone during the day? ›

According to the American Kennel Club, puppies younger than 10 weeks cannot be left alone for more than an hour. From 3-6 months, they should not be left longer than their age in months (for example, 3-month-old puppies cannot be alone for longer than 3 hours).

What should you not do with a new puppy? ›

  1. Mistreat your puppy by shouting, hitting, or jerking on your puppy's leash.
  2. Call your puppy to you to reprimand it.
  3. Allow your puppy to chase objects like cars, bikes, or skateboards.
  4. Allow your puppy to chase other dogs, cats, or other animals.
  5. Confine your puppy for long periods of time during the day.

How long do you need to stay home with a new puppy? ›

The 3-3-3 rule for bringing home an adopted dog: 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to be comfortable in the house, 3 months to adjust to the house routine. Puppies are so much fun and so much work.

Where should I keep my puppy during the day? ›

Even if you're home during the day, your puppy should spend time in a crate or pen; this will help him learn how to be alone when necessary.

What first time dog should I get? ›

Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are lovable, affectionate and gentle dogs that can thrive in any household. They will get along well with everyone including children and other pets. They love to learn, which makes them easy to train and therefore a great choice for a first time dog owner.

What are the hardest months with a puppy? ›

Stage 5: Adolescence (6 – 18 months) This can be the most difficult time during a puppy's development – adolescence. Your cute little puppy is becoming a teenager and will start producing hormones which may result in changes in behaviour.

What months are puppies the hardest? ›

Most puppies will go through a very trying stage when they turn about 5 months of age. Dogs often don't out grow that teenager phase for 2-3 years depending upon the breed. Many experts agree that the most challenging time is between the ages of 8 months to about 18 months.

How do you touch a dog for the first time? ›

How to approach and greet a new dog - YouTube

How much money should you have saved up before getting a dog? ›

Aim to have enough saved to cover at least three months' worth of your future pet's living expenses, prior to adopting or purchasing a dog.

How do I take care of my dog in the first week? ›

8 Puppy Tips for the First Week
  1. Get Your Supplies Before You Bring Your Puppy Home. Pick up all your supplies before your puppy comes home. ...
  2. Puppy Proof Your Home. ...
  3. Socialize Your Puppy Right Away. ...
  4. Start House Training in the First Week. ...
  5. Reward Good Behavior. ...
  6. Start "Play Training" ...
  7. Stay Together at Bed Time.
16 Dec 2020

Should I ignore my puppy crying at night? ›

Ignoring them at night won't help them build confidence and may make them worse which isn't what anyone wants. They need to be taught how to be independent slowly. We would never recommend ignoring your puppy when they cry at night, especially in their first few nights.

Should I cuddle my puppy at night? ›

Though soft and cuddly, allowing your dog into your bed can make a good night's sleep impossible. In addition to health issues among humans, permitting dogs to sleep in human beds can cause behavioral problems for dogs, often affecting housebreaking and allowing aggression to develop.

Do puppies need to poop at night? ›

Some puppies may be more likely to poop in their crate at night if they have bedding to cover it up. This allows them to maintain their natural instinct of not pooping where they sleep since they've been able to “clean up” their sleeping area.

How do I take care of a puppy if I work full time? ›

First, crate train your puppy, and second, arrange for regular toilet breaks at appropriate intervals. Before leaving for work, play with your pup and take them out for a potty break. When they go, give the usual praise and reward. Then pop your pup into the crate with a safe chew toy.

How long can puppies hold their poop? ›

The eight-hour rule applies differently depending on the age of a dog. Puppies or senior dogs won't be able to hold their stool as long as adult dogs. Puppies can hold their stool for about an hour for every month old they are. So a puppy that's 2 months old may only be able to hold their stool for two hours.

How long can a puppy hold their pee? ›

Typically, a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is 2 months old, they can hold it for about two hours. Don't go longer than this between bathroom breaks or they're likely to have an accident.

Should I carry my puppy outside to pee? ›

After the meal, only wait between 5 and 30 minutes to take your puppy outside. The younger the puppy, the sooner they should be brought out after a meal to potty. As the puppy grows older, they will gain bladder control and learn to hold it longer each day.

How often should you hold your puppy? ›

During the first two weeks of life, you may hold your newborn pup occasionally, but keep snuggling to a minimum. Once the puppy is 3 weeks old, his eyes and ears are open and he's ready to be handled more. Hold him several times per day for brief snuggle sessions.

Is it good to cuddle your puppy? ›

Cuddling your dog isn't just good for your pet, but for you too. Cuddling can have multiple psychological benefits for both you and your furry friend. It reduces levels of Cortisol, the hormone that is responsible for stress, anxiety, depression and, worst-case scenario, breakdown.

Can I leave my 2 month old puppy alone at night? ›

The reality is that a two-month-old puppy is a baby and doesn't know it's time to sleep. Most puppies can't go through the night without needing to eliminate—their bladders are too small. Even though it may take a while, you can teach your puppy to sleep through the night if you are patient and consistent.

Is it OK to leave a puppy alone for 8 hours? ›

Eight hours should always be the absolute maximum you leave your puppy home alone – and only once they are over six months old. However, if your pup is outside or has access to the yard for a bathroom break, they may be okay being left alone for eight hours from a younger age.

Can I leave my 2 month old puppy alone? ›

Leaving your dog alone for that long at two months is not recommended. You should only leave your dog alone for their age in months * 1 hour (2 months = 2 hours). Once they are full grown, you should avoid leaving them alone for more than eight hours.

What is the first thing you should train your puppy? ›

The first things a puppy needs to learn are basic manners, his name, potty training, and not to bite your hands with those sharp teeth. A puppy needs to learn socialization skills, including people, places, and things.

Can I leave my puppy in a crate during the day? ›

Puppies under 6 months of age shouldn't stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time. They can't control their bladders or bowels for that long. The same goes for adult dogs being housetrained. Crate your dog until they are able to be alone in the house without accidents or destructive habits.

Should puppies sleep in your bed? ›

Where Should Your Puppy Sleep? While you may eventually want to let your dog sleep in bed with you (or your kids), it really is best if your pup starts out sleeping in a crate — you can always let them in the bed later, once they're fully potty-trained, sleeping soundly, and happily acclimated to their crate.

How do you introduce a puppy to be left alone? ›

Teaching Alone Time

Begin by closing your puppy in the confinement area with a chew toy or other constructive activity, then quietly walk out of the room. Return immediately and reward them with praise and a treat. Repeat the process, slowly increasing how long you're away each time.

How long will a puppy cry at night? ›

Puppy crying at night how long does it last? If your puppy has spent the first week or so sleeping next to you, and has now been moved into their permanent night time quarters, you should find that any puppy crying at bedtime will be brief. We're talking ten or fifteen minutes, for maybe a couple of nights.

What's the easiest dog to own? ›

Top 10 Easiest Dog Breeds to Train
  • Golden Retriever. ...
  • Labrador Retriever. ...
  • German Shepherd Dogs. ...
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi. ...
  • Papillon. ...
  • Shetland Sheepdog. ...
  • Swedish Vallhund. This breed is similar to a Corgi. ...
  • Border Terrier. This breed has some naturally-stubborn qualities, but they are affectionate dogs.
15 Jan 2019

What breed of dog is most loving? ›

Golden Retriever

This one comes as no surprise to most of us. Retrievers, both Golden and Labrador, are known to be one of the most loving dog breeds. They are intelligent, easy to train, and the top dog for families.

How do I prepare my house for a puppy? ›

5 Tips for Preparing Your Home for a New Puppy
  1. Stock Up on Good Pet Food. Choose healthy pet food that's formulated to meet the nutritional needs of puppies. ...
  2. Purchase Necessary Supplies. ...
  3. Put Prized Possessions Out of Reach. ...
  4. Prepare a Room Just for Your Puppy. ...
  5. Prepare Family Members for the New Puppy.
16 May 2018

What should I do the first day at home for my dog? ›

Here are the eight essential steps:
  1. Remain Calm. When you pick the dog up, everyone must remain calm. ...
  2. Take a Long Walk. ...
  3. Introduce Your Home. ...
  4. Take The Tour. ...
  5. No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact. ...
  6. The Feeding Area. ...
  7. The Dog's Bedroom. ...
  8. Exude Calm-Assertive Energy.

What you should do before buying a dog? ›

10 Things to Consider Before Bringing a New Pet Home
  • #1 Can You Commit? ...
  • #2 Will Your Pet Fit Your Lifestyle? ...
  • #3 Interview Veterinarians Before the Adoption. ...
  • #4 Make Your Home Pet-Friendly. ...
  • #5 Choose an Age and Breed Appropriate Food. ...
  • #6 Be Prepared for an Adjustment Period. ...
  • #7 Train Your Pet.
10 Oct 2012

What I need before I get a dog? ›

Stock up on Puppy Supplies

You'll definitely need a few essentials to begin: Basic four- to six-foot leash (later you can get an extra-long one for training) Adjustable collar with ID tags. Metal or ceramic pet bowls for food and water (avoid plastic as it may cause skin irritation1 and is easy for puppies to chew up)

Should I ignore my puppy crying at night? ›

Ignoring them at night won't help them build confidence and may make them worse which isn't what anyone wants. They need to be taught how to be independent slowly. We would never recommend ignoring your puppy when they cry at night, especially in their first few nights.

Can I leave my 8 week old puppy home alone? ›

8–10 weeks: One hour or less. Puppies this young simply can't hold their urine for more than an hour, and even that is pushing it, sometimes! You might start crate training at this age, but you can't leave a young puppy in a crate for long periods; they'll wet their bed (a lot!)

How long will puppy cry at night? ›

Puppy crying at night how long does it last? If your puppy has spent the first week or so sleeping next to you, and has now been moved into their permanent night time quarters, you should find that any puppy crying at bedtime will be brief. We're talking ten or fifteen minutes, for maybe a couple of nights.

What is a good schedule for a 8 week old puppy? ›

8-Week-Old Puppy Schedule

8am – Meal and activity. 9am – Potty break and sleep. 10am – Activity. 11am – Potty break and sleep.

Should I let my puppy sleep with me? ›

A huge part of teaching your puppy to sleep on their own is to encourage their confidence and sense of independence. Sleeping with your puppy can inadvertently perpetuate their anxiety at being left alone and not allow your puppy the ability to build resilience.

Do puppies need the toilet at night? ›

Young puppies have very small bladders and can't hold a pee in overnight, so you will need to get up at least a couple of times at night to take your puppy out.

How do you pick a puppy from a litter? ›

In order to select a healthy puppy, it is important to do your research:
  1. Talk to the owner. Ask about appetite and eliminations. ...
  2. Observe the litter mates in action. Do they all play together or is there a quiet one that retreats to a corner? ...
  3. Survey their overall appearance. Do the puppies' coats shine? ...
  4. Watch them move.

How do I take care of a puppy if I work full time? ›

First, crate train your puppy, and second, arrange for regular toilet breaks at appropriate intervals. Before leaving for work, play with your pup and take them out for a potty break. When they go, give the usual praise and reward. Then pop your pup into the crate with a safe chew toy.

Should I let my puppy roam the house? ›

It is a good idea to let your puppy have free reign of the house only when it is house trained and no longer chews on objects out of curiosity. For a puppy that is trained well, you can begin to let it roam around the house, on a leash, at around 6 months old.

Where should I keep my puppy while at work? ›

Many people use a puppy-pen but you can use a small room, like your bathroom, as well. If possible, it's best to give him a space that you can gradually expand, an area that will be his for the long term. The space should have a comfortable bed, a few toys and something with your scent on it — old clothing works great.

How often do puppies poop? ›

It is not uncommon for a puppy to defecate 5-6 times per day. Some will eliminate even more frequently. The good news is that the pace of pooping will slow down as the dog matures. Although a 2-week-old puppy may defecate at every feeding, by 12 weeks, they may be down to only 4 times per day.

How long can a puppy hold its pee? ›

Typically, a puppy can control their bladder one hour for every month of age. So if your puppy is 2 months old, they can hold it for about two hours. Don't go longer than this between bathroom breaks or they're likely to have an accident.

How often should I feed my puppy? ›

Toy-breed puppies will need 4 to 6 meals per day for the first three months of their lives. Medium-breed puppies will require three meals per day, and large-breed puppies typically need 3 to 4 meals per day. Though the breed is an important consideration, metabolism and energy levels can vary by up to 30 percent.

HOW LONG CAN 8 week puppy hold pee? ›

A two month old (eight week old) puppy can hold her bladder for three hours. That does not mean she knows she should hold it, though. You have to teach her to wait three hours. Puppies also need to go outside after sleeping or eating their delicious and nutritious dog food.

How long can an 8 week old puppy be crated at night? ›

Your puppy can remain in her crate for the same number of hours as her age in months plus one. That means an eight-week-old puppy can stay in her crate for a maximum of two and one-half to three hours at a time.

How often should I take my puppy out at night? ›

Bear in mind, you'll need to take puppies younger than three or four months outside at least once during the night. So for the first few weeks after your pup comes home, set the alarm to go off five to six hours after your puppy's last bathroom break when you'll take them to their outdoor toilet.


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