Bringing Home a New Puppy: Awesome Check List for First Time and Repeat Pawrents!

By: Danielle Harris

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What to do When You Bring Home Your New Puppy

Making sure you’re ready for your puppy to come home. 

how to clean french bulldog ears


  • Crate
  • Bed
  • Potty pads and turf or potty train outside
  • Food – what the puppy is currently eating at the breeders
  • Alternative food – if you wish to transition, mix in with current food
  • Soft toys
  • Chew toys (we like benebone wishbone)
  • Collar (only use harness for leash training until 7 months)
  • Harness
  • Leash
  • Nail clippers
  • Food and water bowls or stations
  • Treats – we go for natural ones- Zuke’s is a great brand!
  • You may want to set up a play pen for your puppy outside, especially if you don’t have a fenced in yard. You can find them anywhere. 
  • Poop bags
  • Cots can be helpful when traveling, see the cot in the above picture
  • Travel bowl

Anxiety and Anticipation

You may have some anxiety or nervousness about bringing home a new puppy.

It’s like having a newborn baby.

They will be coming into a new environment with new sights, sounds, and smells. It’s an exciting time for everyone!

Just remember a dog is a dog and just like humans, animals need structure and routine as well.

But that doesn’t mean they cant properly be spoiled!

Before your pup comes home the breeder will have done some prep for you

This includes:

  • First vaccine(s) – age will determine how many boosters the pup has had
    • Either administered by the breeder or the vet, given every 3 to 4 weeks for a total of 4 vaccines (not including rabies)
  • Deworming
  • Vet wellness exam
    • (you will still need to have your pup checked at the vet yourself)

Check List:

Here at Pepite we try to set you and your puppy up for success.

Vet Wellness Exam:

Prior to coming home, please set up a vet appointment to have your puppy checked for a new puppy visit!

This visit should be within 48- 72 hours of bringing your puppy home.

Bring a fecal sample and all records with you to this appointment.

Set up your vet appointments to make sure they receive vaccines on a proper schedule.

They will need a 5 way Booster shot every 3 weeks for a total of 4 doses.

  • This vaccine covers: canine distemper virus, hepatitis, parainfluenza, adenovirus, and parvovirus

Rabies is due at 16 weeks. Ask about flea, tick, and heart worm prevention.

Bordatella vaccine is a great option if you live in a heavy dog area or plan on taking your pup places to socialize with other dogs such as day care or the dog park.

Make sure to bring a fecal with you to check for any parasites. Even though the breeder will have dewormed, these funky little critters can be dormant in the system until a stressful event happens such as weaning, food changes, or life changes.

This is NOT a big deal and completely normal as long as it’s treated immediately.

There’s all kinds of things in the environment and you can unknowingly bring stuff into your home by stepping on a microscopic particle ANYWHERE. Pups put everything they can in their mouths, leaves, grass, toys, rocks, sticks, litter, and the list goes on.

Puppy Proof your house!

Puppies love anything they can sink their little teeth into. This includes cords of any kind, leather, wood, plastic.

Provide as many toys as you can to distract your pup with. Make sure all chemicals are put away and out of reach.

Shoes and socks are especially tempting, they’re stinky, they smell like you, and its always a favorite. Make sure you have a spot allocated for your shoes.

Purses should be put out of reach too.

Cardboard and paper are also a popular target for their demise. Plastic bottles with the cap and ring removed can make a fun and inexpensive toy.

Avoid Dog Heavy Public Spaces or Practice Safe Socialization

When you bring your new puppy home, they won’t be fully vaccinated.

french bulldog stroller

It’s exciting to bring home your new puppy and tempting to take them out on all your adventures.

Be sure to keep them out of areas that have high dog volumes.

If you take them shopping for supplies, carry them, use a stroller, or put them in a cart to make sure they don’t contract any illnesses that their body isn’t fully equipped to deal with yet.

As long as you have a fenced in yard, with your supervision, it should be just fine to let them run around.

If you’re taking them on walks around your neighborhood, stick to sidewalks and watch out for other animal feces, don’t allow your pup (or adult) to sniff, lick, or eat it! EVER.

Practice “social distancing” until all boosters have been given.

The First Night:

The first night can go many different ways.

It’s important to remember the pup is used to being with their siblings.

Your pup will explore its’ new home and meet new family members. If you’re lucky, and it’s been an eventful day, the pup might sleep through the night!

However, it is common for pups to be upset for the first week.

If the puppy cries through the night, take them out to potty and go back to bed.

This will help with establishing a routine and helps the pup to understand that “when I cry, we go potty”

Feeding Your Puppy:

You don’t want to overfeed your pup so that it’s over weight and you certainly don’t want to underfeed your puppy either.

Maintain a healthy balance. Feeding 1/3 cup 3-4 times a day. We don’t feed after 5pm to ensure there are no accidents.

Adjust quantity of food as needed.

Make sure to go potty one last time before bed and if your pup cries during the night, take him out to potty and then go back to bed.

If you notice vomiting early in the morning or during the night, the pup may need an extra meal/snack to keep the stomach from getting uncomfortably empty.

If you wish to change foods from what the breeder has provided, mix the current food with the new food for an easy transition and add some probiotic to their food.

Starting with a 1 to 3 ratio of new to old food, adjust ratio weekly until fully transitioned.

Cold turkey transition can cause severe diarrhea and bloody stools known as colitis that often require antibiotics to fix.

Snacks can be fun. Our dogs love fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, watermelon (no seeds), peaches (no pits), apples (no seeds), strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and zucchini.

Remember to slowly introduce new items so you can monitor any negative reactions to the foods. Once you know for sure your pup tolerates a specific food, introduce the next new food!

French bulldogs strawberries

Introduction to Potty Training:

At Pepite all puppies here are introduced to turf.

artificial grass potty pad

This helps the puppies to get used to the feeling of grass, which will give you a boost in potty training.

They learn their names and a few commands to get them started. 

Socialization is key. We allow them to interact with other dogs in the house and expose them to different sounds and activities.


Know that stairs and steps can be both dangerous and intimidating.

Especially for small puppies. If they’re not ready, its ok. start with small steps like your front patio, nothing too steep. One step at a time. Encourage the pup to come with a treat.

French Bulldogs as a breed should avoid stairs in general. They’re bad for their spine especially within the first year of life.

Be careful allowing your new pup to sleep in bed with you.

Falling off can have some consequences such as broken bones. Don’t allow the pup to jump off of anything like couches or chairs.

Crate Training:

Encourage nap time in crates.

french bulldog crate

Puppies need a lot of sleep.

Allow them to play and train but as soon as they burn out put the pup in their crate for a 2 hour nap.

This will also help the pup to build a routine and set expectations, preventing separation anxiety.

They will learn that you will come back, making your daily routine a lot easier. If the puppy frequently cries, try turning on some white noise: a fan, air purifier, or even music.

Potty Training:

Potty Training can be tricky.


  • 1st thing in the morning when you wake up
  • 20 minutes after meals
  • During or after play
  • After every nap
  • Before bed/naps
  • Middle of the night as needed

Potty training is also about textures. Most often, puppies and dogs pick surfaces that are absorbent and soft.

Take your pup out every 2 hours to potty. Say “potty’ over and over again, when the puppy pees or poops, offer praise and immediately go back inside. It’s important for the puppy to associate outside time with “potty”.

You can add doorbells to your doors for them to ring when they need to go outside. Every time you take the pup out, use their foot to ring the doorbell, it will create an association that they need to go out. 

Watch behaviors. Sniffing around usually means they’re trying to find a spot to potty.

If they’re in the middle of playing and all of a sudden it gets quiet, thats a cue that its potty time.

When crating, use a crate that is either only big enough for the dog to turn around or purchase a larger crate that has a divider to keep it small until an upgrade is needed.

Pups don’t like to sleep in their own poop and pee. It will deter them from doing their business in the crate and encourage them to wake you up to go outside.

But remember! Accidents do happen. If you need to do frequent potty breaks that’s ok too!


Training in general is fun and engaging! 

Your puppy is a sponge. Its important to establish house rules in the new environment. Engagement builds relationships and confidence in your new puppy.

Start with the basic commands: name, come, sit, down, and wait. 

All of these take time and some are easier than others. They will learn their name in a few days, if they haven’t already while they’re here.

To train, I always start by using half of every meal to train. We do mini training sessions, once half of the meal is done, we allow our pups or dogs to finish like a normal meal. No one likes to work for free! 

Sit and down will take some initial “posing”. Don’t expect the pup to know what you’re asking if you don’t show the pup what you’re looking for. 

Teaching “Sit
Sit is the easiest of the commands.

To teach sit, with a piece of food in your hand, put the food in front of the pups nose until the pup shows interest. Once the pup shows interest, guide your hand up and back, but not too far up that they must jump. The pup will look up and shimmy backwards, usually into a sit. Through the whole process, say the word “sit”. AS SOON AS THE PUP IS IN POSITION – REWARD: “Good, good sit, and treat, with some pets”. 

Teaching “Down”

This is harder. This command is a more submissive command. I use different combinations of techniques to teach the pups. Often, I’ll put my hand on their back and gently push down or, while doing that, I’ll gently pull their legs into the down position. This command usually takes about 10 minutes to train. Again, while you’re putting the pup into position, repeat the word “down”. Every time, even if you’ve positioned the puppy, “good, good down, treat, with pets”. As you do this point down or touch your finger to the floor. 

Teaching “Wait”

This one can be tricky but fun. Puppies notoriously have high food and play drive. Using treats or a favorite toy, hold the treat or toy in your hand or put it on your knee. At first you may need to use a slip lead. but tell the puppy to wait. I like to use one finger like you would to tell someone to wait. Once you say “Ok!” the reward is the toy or treat. Make sure to say “Good!”

new puppy
French Bulldog Puppy

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