Your New Pup
Getting a new puppy is an exciting time. You’ve probably spent ages thinking about it. Looking for the right dog. You may have visited it already with its mother, and now you’re just counting down the days until you can collect your puppy and bring it home. You’ve probably already picked out a name, the collar and lead or harness, and maybe even a dog bed. So, what haven’t you considered?
Preparing the Home
Well, one thing that we always think about is cables. These days with all the technology in use, there are lots of trailing cables all over most homes. Tilly was very keen on cables, so we tidy all these away and ensure they are out of reach of small needle teeth. You may also want to take a careful look around and move other things temporarily, like shoes, TV remotes and anything that could appeal to a curious pup.
Secondly, you need to consider where they will sleep. You may have their bed all picked out, but where will you put it and what will happen at night? Many years ago, when someone suggested crating a pup, we were very against it. Then we discovered that they really are beneficial. Not only that, the dogs loved them – it was their own little den. It may be best to have them in a secure area at night where they can’t get into too much trouble.
A crate may also be helpful for when you leave them during the day. Since, now that most people have returned to work, there will be times when they will be left home alone. Ensure that the crate is big enough for them to move around freely and perhaps give them a stuffed frozen Puppy KONG. It is NOT recommended that you leave them unattended for hours on end and make sure you crate train them first so that they actually feel comfortable in there.
Preparing the Garden
What about outside? Have you got an area that is safe for them to run about? No toxic plants, things they could hurt themselves on, and more importantly, somewhere they can’t escape from, like gaps in hedges or fencing?
Then you need to consider their diet. The breeder will no doubt provide you with their current food to give you time to move them onto your choice of food, but you should have it ready in advance to mix in with the food supplied to make for an easier transition and minimise the risk of upset tummies.
Taking Time Out
If you are out at work, try and take some ‘pawrental’ leave for a week or so until they are settled in. Or at least try and arrange for someone to come in during the day to check on them and let them out for toilet breaks.
Speaking of toilet breaks, we always swore we would never have another pup during the wintertime as there is nothing worse than rushing outside every hour or so in the freezing cold or pouring rain!
The Journey Home
On the day you collect your new addition to the family, you may want to prepare a crate for the car ride home, especially if you have a longer journey. Ideally, this would be a two-person trip and the crate should be secured and stable on the back seat of the car beside you and give access to the puppy. It should be big enough to allow the pup choices about where to lie and with enough room for them to sit up. The pup needs to feel secure but not restricted. The base of the carrier should be thick and soft. This can help to reduce the vibration of the moving car and provides support. An ideal arrangement would be a ‘donut bed’ which has soft, raised sides that provide support as the car moves, or use rolled-up towels around the inside. The first time they travel in a car will likely set them up for future car trips, so make it as pleasant an experience as possible. This may avoid trouble and particularly car sickness in the future.
All puppies are different. Some approach life without a care in the world, while others need time to adjust to new situations. When you get your pup home, imagine what it must be like for them. They have been taken away from everything they’ve ever known and are now in a strange place with people and possibly animals they don’t know. It must be scary and confusing for them. Give them time to explore and be particularly careful when introducing them to existing pets. Certainly, don’t leave them alone together until they have had time to get to know each other.
Choose toys carefully. You don’t want something with small pieces that could easily be swallowed. Always supervise your pup with its toys. Treat dispensing and interactive toys are great as they tend to focus the pup more on getting to the treat and less on chewing – although they will chew. And remember, squeaky toys will likely drive you and other pets crazy.
Train, Train, Train!
And finally, start training from the moment they get home. Don’t think you have to wait to attend a training class. You will be training full-time at home, not saving it for the hour a week you spend at a class. Get that clicker out – it’s so much quicker with a clicker – and get them used to being trained from the outset. Once they understand the basics of action and reward, it will make all future training easier and more fun!
Good luck with your new pup – you’ll need patience and humour to get through those first few weeks, but most importantly, enjoy it as they’re not puppies for long!