I was reminded of how exciting, and daunting, it is to bring home your [tag-tec]new puppy[/tag-tec] by two things last week. First, Zoe had a litter of 8 puppies on Tuesday which made me remember how excited I was when I knew that I was going to get a puppy, and secondly I moved house on Wednesday – the first house Zoe lived in. As I walked around the house for the last time it brought back all the memories of our first few months together.
I don’t think anything prepares you for the upheaval to your lifestyle that a new puppy brings, but the better prepared you are before your puppy arrives, the easier those first few weeks will be and you’ll be off to a good start with your new companion.
Before your puppy arrives:
- Plan to have three or four days, a week if possible, free from work and social commitments so you can get your puppy used to his new surroundings, start and maintain a consistent approach to [tag-tec]house training[/tag-tec] and get your puppy used to a routine;
- Decide on a name for your puppy so you can start using it immediately;
- Know in advance where you want him to sleep, eat, how you are going to house train him and what words you are going to use for certain commands. It’s important that everyone in the house knows and agrees on what you’ve decided.
Whilst this all takes a bit of effort it is less confusing for your new puppy, and he will quickly learn what is expected of him if he receives a consistent message from everyone in the house.
- Spend time researching the breed you are buying, or [tag-tec]dog breeds[/tag-tec] if you are buying a specific cross breed, because they may have specific traits that you need to be aware of. A good book on puppy care is also a wise purchase;
- Choose a vet, if you don’t already have one, and make an appointment to go and see him with your new puppy within a couple of days of bringing him home;
- Find out what dog food your puppy has been eating and make sure you have sufficient supplies in the house before your puppy arrives home. Moving to a new house will be stressful for your puppy, so ensuring he has the same food to eat will help to ease the transition.
- Puppy proof your home – puppies are naturally inquisitive and are quickly into anything they find interesting, and they do it mouth first! Reduce the risk to your puppy’s health, and your possessions by removing all hazards and temptations from his reach.
Get down on the floor if necessary and try and look at your house – inside and outside in the yard/garden – from your puppy’s point of view.
- Stock up on necessary supplies which include: food and water dishes, a crate and/or bed, toys (including chew toys), collar, leash, nametag and a basic grooming and dental care kit.
You might want to buy a baby gate or child’s playpen so you can contain your puppy in one room for the times you can’t supervise his activity;
- Find out where your local [tag-tec]puppy classes[/tag-tec] are held, and reserve a place. These classes are excellent for socializing your puppy and tend to get booked up very quickly; and
- Last, but not least, remember that you’ll need a great deal of patience, kindness and a sense of humor.
Puppyhood doesn’t last forever but it forms the foundation for how your puppy will behave when he’s grown up. Adequate planning and putting the time and effort in in the first 6 months will set you up for a long and fantastic relationship with your dog.