New Puppy Checklist : Surviving the first year of puppyhood

May 29, 2024

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I'm Vivi — certified dog training for pups and dogs. I'm here to help you achieve your training goals and give your dog the life they deserve.

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Welcoming a new puppy into your life marks the beginning of an exciting journey, one filled with its own unique set of trials and triumphs. Thankfully, with the aid of a comprehensive New Puppy Checklist, you gain access to innovative solutions and products that can turn these challenges into opportunities.

From mastering crate training to curbing puppy biting, each day presents new challenges to overcome. Promoting growth and bonding with your furry friend in your first year together.

Ensure your home is puppy-proofed by following our new puppy checklist. Proactive measures prevent undesirable behaviors, such as chewing on furniture or accidents on rugs.

My best tip: immediately puppy proof your home to prepare for your puppy’s first year of life. Being proactive can help undesired behaviors from starting. When your puppy has too much freedom too soon, it can cause behaviors like chewing on furniture, jumping, and biting on people.

In order to be proactive, you can set up your home for success that matches your environment and lifestyle. Here are a few of my recommendations and why!

PLAY PEN – Creating Healthy Boundaries

Having a play pen in the home can help give your puppy a safe place to be when you are gone, while you are doing housework, while the kids run around, and more.

Put your puppy in a play pen when you cannot be hands-on with them and keep your 100% focus. Otherwise, your puppy may leave the room to go potty on the rug and then chew on the coffee table, all in the time it took you to wash the dishes.

  • Provide a comfortable area for them to relax, drink water, and potty. Always make sure to include enrichment activities such as a toppl, bones, and/or high value toys.

POTTY TRAINING – Avoiding Accidents in the Home

Using potty pads can encourage your puppy to use the restroom on anything soft, square, and fuzzy. This can include your bath mat, blankets, and rugs.

  • Puppies will have accidents when they are first learning where they should use the restroom. Your puppy may not tell you when they need to go and we may miss the signs. On average most puppies will pee every 15-45 minutes within their first week at home. By providing a safe place for your puppy to use the restroom inside you can avoid them peeing on your favorite things while they are still in the stages of potty training.

CRATE TRAINING – Creating Positive Separation
Crate Training Loving Dog Training LLC Optimal Puppy Feeding: Enhance Health and Bonding

As an advocate for the well-being of both humans and canines, I consistently emphasize the need for self-care to ensure you can provide optimal care for your dog. That means taking care of your own needs alongside caring for your dog.If you are constantly watching your puppy, you wont have a moment to accomplish the task you need to on a daily basis.


Your puppy requires 18-20 hours of sleep daily. Without it, they may become frustrated and overstimulated, leading to behaviors like biting and excessive jumping. These behaviors are often difficult to redirect with toys or treats, particularly in the evening when the puppy hasn’t had enough uninterrupted sleep. Providing a designated resting area for your puppy, especially when unsupervised, can help mitigate these unwanted and destructive behaviors.

Utilizing a crate can help your puppy develop a consistent routine that meets their needs. Puppies do not want to use the restroom in the same place they sleep. Proper crate sizing helps prevent accidents, ensuring your puppy associates it with rest rather than a place to use the restroom. While they rest they build bladder control. When they wake up they will be eager to use the restroom. Knowing how long your puppy can rest and hold it is very important so take note of the time to look back on your progress. When they wake up, you have the opportunity to lead them to the correct potty spot to use the restroom.

I recommend travel crates over wire crates for overall safety and providing your dog with a separate safe space. Crate’s are a wonderful addition to your training schedule as it gives them a place to rest without any interruptions. Positive reinforcement can help build a positive association to the crate and naps during the day. By providing sleep throughout the day and not just at night you can prevent them becoming overstimulated. When they are overstimulated they are likely to bite, bark, and jump more as they become more frustrated.

Preventing Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is when your dog has extreme stress when being separated from people they love. Working to establish the crate as something positive early on can lead to healthy and positive separation from people.

Each dog is different and may show one or all of these symptoms of separation anxiety can be excessive barking, panting, pacing, shaking, and whining when they are separated from you. They may chew and destroy furniture when left alone.

Crate training should always be done in favor of your dog’s mental and physical well being. Introduce the crate gradually as part of your puppy training guide. Sourcing a trusted trainer, who meets your training goals, is advised to help create a crate routine that meets your puppies needs without overwhelming them. 

Vivi from Loving Dog Training LLC with client's dog

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SNUGGLE PUPPY – Your Puppies New Best Friend

The Snuggle Puppy is a great sleep aid for dogs crate & kennel training. By provides your pup with a sense of relief and comfort during moments of separation. The Snuggle Puppy has a removable heatable heart, allowing your pup to acclimate to their new environments helping to reduce barking, whining, and anxiety.


BED – Perfect for Training

Having a bed inside of the home for your pup to be when you are cooking, eating, or relaxing on the couch can help teach relaxed behaviors around excitement. Many puppies struggle with staying still and being calm, there are just so many things to be excited about.

This bed is elevated and made of a different material than fluffy beds that look similar to toys. Making it the perfect bed to practice place and stay training.




Teething can cause significant discomfort for puppies as their adult teeth come in, leading to sore gums and irritability. This discomfort may manifest in behaviors such as increased chewing, biting, and general restlessness.

Understanding the importance of providing appropriate outlets for chewing becomes crucial during this time. Instead of them chewing on furniture and walls, you can offer safer options like bones, or other positive chewing outlets.

It can be difficult to know what bones are truly safe for your puppy so I compiled a short list of natural bones to try.


BULLY STICK – The Best of The Best

These are perfect for the toughest chewers. They are strong enough to last a long time so I recommend taking away the bones after 20 minutes or so. They are perfect for puppies and adult dogs. If you choose any bone I recommend these. Bully sticks help maintain a healthy coat, teeth, and gums.


CHICKEN FEET – Quick to Eat but Inexpensive

Giving your dog properly prepared chicken feet can freshen their breathe and keep their teeth healthy by scraping away tartar and plaque.

  • I recommend purchasing them declawed and dehydrated. These are something you can provide daily as part of their meal for the benefits. This is a bone you can give daily and will be finished in under 20 minutes.

TENDONS – A Perfect Starter Bone

These are great starter chew for puppies. As your puppy explores the world with their mouth, it’s essential to provide them with appropriate outlets for chewing. Instead of them chewing on furniture and walls, you can offer safer options.


BEEF CHEEK BRAIDED ROLLS – Safer than Rawhides

Safe to chew because they are soft and all natural. They last a long time as they are much bigger than the average bone. They are similar to rawhides but unlike rawhide they are safe for consumption and veterinary approved!


BEEF TRIPE TWIST – Perfect for Small Puppies

These are a fan favorite for any small (in size) puppy. These are soft and small enough for very young and small puppies. It is a natural bone and is strong enough to last a long time and soft enough to be safe for their teeth. I recommend this for any 10 pound puppies and under.


When a bone gets smaller in size and becomes a chocking hazard, trade your dog with a treat and toss the bones away in the trash. If you are worried you wont get to the bone in time you can use a bone lock that prevents them for swallowing the end piece.

Please always check with your vet to ensure the bones is right for your dogs breed and age.


These are the must have toys for discouraging puppy biting while playing. In your puppies first year of life they are learning how to play with you. This first year is all about bonding and creating memories.

FLIRT POLE – Cat Toy Made Dog Toy

When it comes to playtime, invest in toys that not only entertain but also promote safe interactions. Opt for durable options like a flirt pole to keep your hands out of harm’s way during play sessions. Don’t go for toys that tear easily and are small. When you play with a small toy, your puppy can learn to bite at your hands while playing. Utilizing the flirt pole allows you to bond with your puppy without worrying about accidental nips or bites. I especially love this toy if you have kids to encourage appropriate play. 


PUPR PALS – A Puppet for Your Puppy
dog toy

This is a one of a kind toy built having fun and staying safe. We all like to play rough with our puppies and they love to play rough back. They often will bite our hands as we play with them.

  • This puppet was made to protect your hands and arms from your puppies’ sharp teeth and nails. This is the first toy I have even seen that went above and beyond thinking of the owner and dog when making this product.

Playing with your puppy without them hurting you can help reconcile and build upon your bond. This is a wonderful training tool for those that love using their hands and rough housing.

This toy will not teach your puppy to bite your hands. When playing with other toys some puppies will stop playing and choose to bite your hand. This toy helps prevent this and allows you to play with your hands without them biting skin.

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These two products can help your puppy learn faster and with more clarity. When your puppy is unsure of what is being asked of them they may show frustration behaviors. By using a treat pouch and clicker in their first year will allow you both to work together better. 

DOGGONE TREAT POUCH – Keep Your Pockets Clean

When you are rewarding your puppy your timing is everything. When you are fumbling for treats in your pocket your puppy may have already gotten up from their sit. Causing you to ask again and building frustration in your puppy. Some puppies can learn to bark or bite to show their frustration. This can develop bad impulse control habits. It can also cause you to reward less since it is more of a hassle. 

Get a treat pouch that allows you to easily reward. This treat pouch from rapid rewards is made to help you perfect your timing. Do not use a fanny back or something with a zipper. This can cause the same problem as the plastic bag. Using a treat pouch allows you to reward your puppy for daily life habits to create positive routines! 


CLICKER – A Great Aid To Training

A clicker can help teach your puppy 45% faster than not using a clicker. A clicker will be discontinued once the puppy has fully learned the behavior. The clicker acts as a reward marker. It is important that your timing is correct when we are marking the moment your puppy does the correct behavior. The clicker allows us to do so. We can take longer to say our reward marker and we can unintentionally forget to say the word all together. Using a simple cheap clicker can help speed up the training process and set your puppy up for success. 



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