Anticipation. Excitement. Joy. Bringing home a new Goldendoodle puppy is a moment that’s filled with all the good feels. And, along with all the joys, you may have a few new puppy jitters too.
From puppy-proofing your home to making sure you have everything your puppy needs—there’s so much to do. I get it! I’ve been in your soon-to-be-carried-around-by-a-new-puppy shoes. 😉
Recently, our family brought a new puppy into our pack—an F1 Goldendoodle named Sadie. We’re in the middle of puppyhood again and it’s joyful, chaotic, and kinda crazy!
So while there are plenty of resources on puppyhood, you’ve found the one that’s real life. (BTW…I’m writing this article with one sweet senior Goldendoodle resting at my feet and one wiggly Goldendoodle puppy snuggling on my lap.)
Yes, I’m the mom of an F1b Goldendoodle, aunt to two F1 Goldendoodles, and research hound for all things Doodle-dog related. In other words, I am over the moon for Doodle dogs.
By the end of this article, you’ll have my Goldendoodle mom advice on what you can look forward to when bringing home a new puppy. Plus, you’ll get helpful hacks and tips that I’ve learned along the way.
One thing that I wished I’d had as we prepped for our puppy was a list organized as a countdown. That’s why I decided to organize this list by month, week, and day before puppy’s arrival.
So, without further adoodle,😉 let’s get started!
1 month before bringing home a Goldendoodle puppy
You’ve made the big decision to adopt from a reputable Goldendoodle breeder or a reputable shelter. Now what? Here are some things you can do to prepare when you’re a month or so out from bringing home your new puppy.
1. Choose your veterinarian and make a new puppy appointment.
In addition to you and your family, your veterinarian will be one of the key people who will play a big part in your furry bestie’s life from puppyhood through the senior years.
For the first few months, you’ll likely see your vet frequently (about every three weeks) for new puppy visits. Later, when your Goldendoodle reaches adulthood, you’ll have yearly well-check visits in addition to any sick visits. As your Goldendoodle becomes a senior, your vet may suggest twice yearly well check visits.
Your veterinarian is an essential part of helping your puppy live the happiest, healthiest, and longest life possible. (And, if you’re like me, by “longest life” you mean forever.) That’s why choosing a veterinarian is so important.
But how do you choose a veterinarian? One way is to look for a veterinary hospital that’s AAHA accredited. AAHA stands for American Animal Hospital Association. For a veterinary clinic to become AAHA accredited, they are assessed on 900 standards for veterinary care. According to AAHA, about 15% of veterinary practices in the U.S. and Canada are AAHA accredited.
Also, you can ask friends, family, and other dog parents for recommendations on vets, check out veterinary websites, and visit the veterinary offices.
2. Schedule a new puppy vet visit.
Once you do choose your veterinarian, go ahead and let the vet’s office know that you’re going to be bringing a new puppy home. When we called our veterinary office, the care team asked for some basic information about the puppy so they could get her records set up.
Also, as you’re preparing to bring your puppy home, now is a good time to go ahead and schedule your puppy’s first veterinary visit.
In addition to your puppy’s physical health (including deworming and vaccination info), your veterinarian is a wealth of information about new puppy care.
That’s why we scheduled the first vet visit for our new puppy within 48 hours of her go home day. This way we could rest assured that our puppy was in good physical health, on track for vaccinations, and had the proper testing for parasites and worms.
Secondly, we wanted to talk with our vet about any specific questions we had about our puppy’s health and happiness. (For example, our new puppy had hiccups. Our vet was happy to explain “the why” behind puppy hiccups.)
Finally, we could ask our vet about the proper nutrition for our puppy, how much to feed each day, and get expert answers on puppyhood 101 — everything from tips on potty training to puppy socialization.
3. Research pet insurance or start a new puppy “penny bank.”
In my opinion, the advancements in health care for our dear dogs is incredible. The list of veterinary specialty services sounds much like the specialty services that we receive as humans. There’s neuorology, oncology, cardiology, and rehabiliation specialties, just to name a few.
Digging a little deeper, I checked out AVMA’s article on veterinary specialties, and learned that there are 46 AVMA-recognized specialty areas.
Why do I bring this up? With so many advanced veterinary resources available—much like humans use insurance to cover the healthcare costs—you may want to investigate pet insurance.
Since there are so many insurance options to research, doing your homework ahead of time makes sense. Also, from my research, the younger your puppy is when you enroll, the lower your monthly payment will be.
Alternatively, if you are unsure about insurance, you may want to consider putting money aside each month to cover unexpected emergencies or life-saving procedures that may be down the road.
4. Start planning your new schedule.
What will your schedule look like when your new puppy comes home? Who will be available to care for your puppy?
Goldendoodles are social and enjoy being part of the pack, so it’s important to make sure they have plenty of together time with you and your family. Every family has different daily routines, so arranging a schedule looks different for everyone.
However, if you and your family have limited time at home due to work or school schedules, now is the time to plan out who will care for your puppy when you’re away. If there is more than one family member in the household, perhaps you can flex your schedules. A few other ideas you can consider are:
- Enlisting the help of other family members, friends, and neighbors
- Choosing a puppy daycare service
- Hiring a puppy walker or puppy sitter
Two weeks before you bring home your Goldendoodle puppy
So, the days are flying by and you’re a week or two away from bringing your new bundle of fluff home. Here are some things you can do a week or so before your puppy’s arrival.
5. Prepare your home and start new habits.
Dropping backpacks by the door or leaving socks on the floor is real life. And it’s no big deal until there’s a curious puppy who investigates the contents inside the backpack or sniffs out a sock and swallows it. (Yes, many Goldendoodles—and other Doodle dogs—are notorious sock thieves.)
That’s why in the weeks before your puppy comes home you may want to start thinking about ways to keep your new puppy safe by preparing your home for a new puppy.
Here’s what our own list for puppy proofing the house looked liked:
- Throw away sugarless gum that contains xylitol (birch sugar), which is highly, highly toxic to dogs.
- Scratch grapes and raisins off the shopping list because they are a hazard for dogs.
- Start practicing putting small items like bobby pins, hair ties, and earrings up high where puppy can’t reach them.
- Clear the coffee table (a.k.a. furniture at “puppy nose height”) of anything you don’t want to the puppy to reach.
- Buy the lidded trash cans for the bathroom that are dog-proof. Make sure your kitchen trash cans are not where puppies can get them.
- Unplug electrical cords and cover electrical outlets that are in puppy’s reach.
In addition to preparing your home, you may want to puppy proof your car too. I know a lot of people put packs of sugarless gum in their car console. Sadly, I’ve read heartbreaking stories of puppies who have chewed through sugarless gum (containing xylitol) containers, eaten the contents, and didn’t survive. Also, now is a great to time enter the numbers for the ASPCA or Pet Poison Help Line into your cell.
6. Order your new puppy supplies.
Crates and puppy toys and water bowls and leashes and collars. The list of puppy supplies is long. And also it’s hard to decide what’s necessary and what’s not. For a complete list of new puppy supplies, please check out my new puppy check list.
One week before puppy’s arrival
7. Determine you puppy space—a designated puppy area.
This one was big for us. When our new puppy first came home, we thought we had a puppy space (the family room with puppy gates to block off the other rooms) determined.
However, we quickly learned that for our puppy’s age, we needed a smaller area. So we MacGyvered a solution by sectioning off a smaller area of the family room using our puppy gates and our L-shaped couch to make a play area.
This made it much easier no only to keep an eye on our pupper, but also learn our puppy’s behaviors.
For example, we could easily observe when our puppy started to wander away from us, lost interest in toys, or started sniffing. These were all her signs that she was just about to go potty!
8. Set up your puppy supplies.
Once you’ve bought your supplies, now is a good time to unbox them and set them up. For example, if you bought a new crate, assembling it now will be easier than when you have a curious puppy helping you.
9. Rest up!
New puppies have tiny puppy bladders and need to go out at night to go potty. Unless you’re a night owl, your own sleep will most likely be interrupted. Why not rest up now, so you’re ready for some late-night adventures to accommodate your puppy’s potty schedule.
The day before your puppy’s arrival
10. Choose a designated area outside for puppy potty training.
If there is one thing that really helped with potty training our Goldendoodle puppy, it was choosing a “puppy potty spot.” Our Goldendoodle puppy quickly recognized her potty spot because she’d done her business there before.
11. Determine where your puppy will sleep.
Put yourself in your puppy’s paws for a minute and imagine how much your puppy’s life is changing. More than likely, your puppy is used to sleeping next to puppy siblings, listening to puppy sounds, and feeling the warmth of her mom and puppy brothers and sisters.
Since dog’s are so social, for our puppy, we wanted to provide reassurance that we were nearby. We decided that our new furry family member would be safest in a crate. But the crate would be placed next to the bed so that our puppy could feel close to us—her new pack. Plus, we could comfort her with the sound of our voices or a gentle touch.
Also, we placed a Snuggle Puppy in the crate. A Snuggle Puppy is a stuffed toy that mimics a dog’s warmth, sound, and pulsing heartbeat. I thought our puppy might see the Snuggle Puppy as a play toy rather than a calming toy, but no! Our puppy loved it! So far, she’s snuggled next to it each night.
The day of your puppy’s arrival
The day you’ve been waiting for is finally here! Now is the time to welcome your new puppy into your life, and celebrate your new puppy’s very first “Gotcha Day.”
It’s the moment when you’ll get to hold your new puppy in your arms and begin a lifetime of sharing a special bond. This is a day for heaps of love and time and attention. Here are some tips to help the day go smoothly.
12. Before going into your home, allow your puppy the opportunity to go potty.
You’re home! Before you walk through the door with your new puppy in your arms, allow her a little time to explore her new puppy potty spot in your yard or green space.
He or she may need to go potty, and while it might not happen, you’re giving your puppy the best chance to succeed. If your puppy does go potty, remember to give heaps of praise along with a “yes, potty” (or other verbal cue) in a happy voice.
Of course, your puppy’s safety always comes first. Even as a puppy, our 10-week-old Goldendoodle was a little speedster, so we knew we had to keep her on leash.
13. Start small.
As mentioned earlier, rather than giving our puppy the ability to roam our home immediately, we started small.
So on her first day home, we created an even smaller area using our couch and our dog gates. This allowed us to be able to sit with our new Goldendoodle puppy and also let her explore and sniff within a small space.
Also, we could watch her like a hawk as well as enjoy spending time with her. We had a couple of puppy toys for her to play with and a small dog bowl of water in her improvised play area.
14. Watch for your puppy’s potty cues.
The other reason we love hanging out with our Goldendoodle puppy in a small space is because it’s so much easier to learn and then be able to notice her potty “signs.”
For our Goldendoodle puppy, we noticed that she would wander away from us and start sniffing near the puppy gate when she had to go potty. Also, she would get the zoomies as her way of “telling us” she had to go.
Basically, we found that we could learn our Goldendoodle’s body language and behaviors by being in close proximity with her and watching closely for the repetitive patterns she used to “tell” us she had to go out.
15. Bond with your fur baby! Give your dog heaps of your love, attention, and time.
If you take away just one tip from this article, this is the one!
Simply giving your dog lots of love and attention and positive vibes is the best beginning for your puppy’s arrival. In fact, multiple research studies have shown that when you bond with your dog, your dog releases oxytocin—the love hormone. ❤️
16. Don’t risk taking your puppy to pet stores, to dog parks, or to visit dogs who aren’t vaccinated. Speak to your veterinarian so you know what’s safe for your situation.
Our puppers are counting on us to protect them from canine diseases like parvovirus10. I’ve listened to my vet explain why vaccinations to protect my puppy from canine diseases are critical, and why I need to protect my puppy from exposure until she has enough immunities to protect herself.
That’s why I want to share this message from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) with you, “Until your puppy is fully vaccinated avoid taking it to parks or other areas where it has uncontrolled exposure to dogs with questionable or unknown vaccination histories.” Understanding more about protecting your puppy is a great topic to chat about with your veterinarian at the first vet visit.
17. Expect your puppy to need you.
Your puppy is going to need you, want to be with you, and count on you.
Just like bringing home a human baby, puppies don’t cry to wear you out. Puppies have years of biology telling them that being part of a pack is security. They want you.
Bringing home a new puppy is an adventure of a lifetime 🐾
The first time you hold your puppy in your arms and bring your puppy home is the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime. Before that big day, you can plan ahead by puppy-proofing your home, getting the puppy supplies bought, and more. I hope that even one or two of these tips will help make your day even happier. And, by being prepared, I hope any new puppy jitters quickly become new puppy joys.
Thanks for stopping by our cozy little corner of the world called HappyGoDoodle®.
Luv & Wags!