Bringing a puppy or a dog of any age is a huge step in anyones life and a big responsibility. Maybe you’re a couple who have decided you are ready to bring a new member into your home, maybe you are a family with young children or maybe you live alone and are in need of some company.
Dogs are the perfect companion and it is one of the most exciting times. The fact that you are researching what you need and how to prepare is really encouraging, but there is lots to think about and many new dog owners don’t realise just how much their life is about to change. But don’t be scared, just be certain you have the time, patience and energy to devote to a puppy.
What To Think About Before Getting A Puppy
- Cost – There are significant costs involved with owning a dog, have you budgeted to make sure you can afford those? Apart from insurance, food and vet bills there are lots of other ongoings costs like toys, beds, poo bags, treats and leads.
- Lifestyle – Do you have time for a puppy in your life? Especially when your puppy is young they need lots of attention, company and training throughout the day. Are you willing to adapt your lifestyle to accommodate a dog?
- Home – Is your home puppy proof? Do you have an outdoor area that is secure and big enough for them to run around and play in? Do you have areas in which he can eat and sleep? I know when Henry and I move into our new house we need to decide on where Shep will sleep, what rooms he is allowed in, install a gate for the bottom of the stairs and think about furnishings that are dog proof.
- Vets – Is there a vets close-by? Ask friends and family for recommendations
- Research – Research online or ask friends and family about dog breeds, what they require, advice on training and make sure they’re the right dog for you and your lifestyle. As well as researching the type of dog you’d like, think about where you are getting him/her from too.
How To Prepare For A Puppy
To make sure you are prepared for the day your puppy arrives, either check out my New Puppy Checklist: What Do I Need? or carry on reading below.
Firstly you will need to get all your supplies, I’ve briefly listed the essentials below but over my New Puppy Checklist: What Do I Need? I’ve gone into a little more detail with a few recommendations and personal favourites.
- Dog Food
- Food and Water Bowl
- Name Tag (legal requirement)
- Poo bags
- Puppy Pads
On top of buying the essentials there are a few other things you may want to do and consider in order to prepare yourself and your home for you new member.
- Decide where you puppy is going to sleep – If you make this decision before bringing your puppy home then you can begin straight away to get him/her used to this space. Another important decision is to decide whether you want to use a soft bed or crate to create their safe, quiet space. In regards to choosing where you place their bed, I recommend putting it in a quiet place where they can’t be disturbed or are in the way.
- Decide where you puppy will eat their food – Ideally this should be away from their sleeping area. Also make sure their food is kept somewhere dry and secure so they can’t go rummaging.
- Check you garden is safe – Make sure there are no holes in the fence or hedges that your little one can crawl throw. Also check for any rubbish or furniture that they could chew.
- Puppy proof your home – Make sure that anything which could harm your puppy is securely out of reach i.e wires etc. Also you may want to consider putting in baby gates to make their boundaries clear.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR PUPPY ARRIVES
Now that you have your beloved little fury friend there a few more things I recommend you should do in order for your puppy to settle in happily, stay healthy and get a good start in life.
- Organise a vet appointment – Take him/her to the vets to have a check-up and book any remaining vaccinations. I suggest adding in reminders to your calendar/diary for future vaccinations and worming/flea treatments so that you keep his records up-to-date.
- Insurance – Insure your puppy as soon as possible. There are lots of offers and quotes out there, take your time to pick the right one for you and your dog.
- Begin toilet training straight away
- Join training classes – A great way to socialise your puppy and let them experience new surroundings and smells. You will be advised to not let your puppy walk around on the ground or meet unvaccinated dogs until they have had all their vaccinations. However it is safe to carry him/her around so that they can socialise and experience different environments. I advise talking to your vet about what is best.
- Make all training consistent and make sure that family and friends stick to the same rules. I always knew training a puppy would be hard, heck I’ve never owned a dog before so I had no idea where to start! In the first few days of owning Shep we did struggle when it came to training, handling him and setting boundaries. As we lived in a large household Shep received different commands, tones of voice and hand signals which confused him. You may also find you get told different ways in which you should be training your dog. However, the more time Henry and I trained Shep we learnt what hand signals and commands he understood, we then asked family and friends to use the same. You may feel bossy telling people how to talk to your dog and how to treat them but down the line it has massively helped.
- Make boundaries/rules clear – For example if you don’t want your dog on the sofa, stick to it. Or if you don’t want your puppy going in certain rooms stick to it from the beginning and make sure all the family keep to it from day one.
- Introducing to other pets – Introduce each other carefully and slowly, that way it gives their friendship the best possible start. I understand that is easier said than done. I recommend introducing them indoors in a calm environment, use soft tones, treats and gentle strokes and reward your puppy for their calm behaviour. If he/she gets a little too excited separate them for a bit and try again.
You will most likely find when it comes to preparing and caring for you own puppy you will come upon many different obstacles, it’s all part of the adventure. Neither of you will know what’s best or what’s right but as long as you and the puppy are happy and they stay healthy then they are undoubtedly going to live a wonderful life!