How to prepare for getting your puppy!
You’ve made the decision.
You’ve thought about it for months, maybe even years.
You feel like now is the perfect time…
You would like to add a furry, bundle of joy to your family!
First of all, CONGRATUATIONS!
Secondly, are you prepared for the changes that will come by bringing this little land shark into your life, shaking it around a bit and potentially turning it upside down?
I’m here to help you get everything right when you’re preparing to bring your puppy home from deciding which breed and where to get your puppy to the absolute essentials that I recommend before you bring them home AND how to cope with them when they get home.
It is a life changing decision when you decide to get a puppy, or a dog for that matter, but it can be one of the most rewarding and exciting journeys you’ll ever have.
Let’s have a think about which breed would suit your lifestyle, which could be VERY different from the breed you’d choose!
You probably already have an idea in your head of what kind of puppy you would like to bring home and many things could have influenced that decision.
It may have been the wonderfully gentle Border Collie who was in the family when you were younger, maybe it was the little Jack Russell that you used to pass on your way to school every morning or the Dachshund you follow on social media that makes you laugh and cry with how cute they are each day!
Although you might have an idea of the kind of puppy you want to bring home. That breed may not suit your lifestyle. It’s important for you to do your research on that specific breed’s traits and how they may impact their training, your lifestyle and how they learn. The worst thing you can do is pick a puppy based completely on looks. They may be super cute now but what happens when you pick that Dachshund puppy and then in a few months’ time, they’re driving you mad with their barking at everything and anything? Barking is one of the main traits of a Dachshund, if you’re not a fan of excessive barking, maybe pick another breed that would suit you better!
I should add that all dogs are individuals and not all breeds will have the same characteristics but, they will have similar traits and it’s important for you to know about them before choosing the right breed for you.
So, you’ve chosen the breed you’d like and that would fit into your lifestyle – what next?
The search begins!
This is something that a lot of people can get wrong. Avoid online search engines and general websites. You should be looking for genuine, registered, and reputable breeders. The search for your puppy can be quite daunting. With puppy farms on the rise and people doing it for a bit of extra cash or even registered breeders charging a fortune and producing way too many puppies for the mum to be healthy!
The no.1 rule when choosing your puppy is to make sure you can see the mum and the dad (if possible) and they both look healthy, well cared for and HAPPY! Run from and report the ones who say the mum isn’t available to view. This is a major red flag and should be reported to the local dog warden or SSPCA.
Ensure the environment the puppies are in is safe, warm, and clean. Pictures are always great too. A breeder should send updates with how your puppy is getting on and should offer for you to go and see the puppies often or, at least shouldn’t be opposed to you visiting. If you get any bad vibes, trust your gut, and follow your heart.
When choosing a breeder or even if you’re getting your puppy from a rescue, follow these guidelines as much as you can.
PHEW! Now that’s all done – the date is set for you to bring your puppy home! How Exciting?
What to buy?
Crate/puppy pen (or both!)
LOTS of toys
Hot water bottle
Collar & 6ft lead
A few weeks before your puppy is due to come home, I’d recommend giving your breeder a cosy blanket from your home. This is so that, when the blanket leaves to come home with the puppy, it has lots of familiar smells of mum & littermates. It should make settling into their new environment a little bit easier.
If you’re hoping to crate train your puppy or you need an area for them to spend time in, then a suitable sized crate and/or puppy pen is essential to buy before your puppy comes home. The crate must be big enough for your puppy to lay down, completely flat and they must be able to turn around in there to get comfortable. Make sure the crate and/or pen is a place where AMAZING things happen. It shouldn’t be used for any form of punishment whatsoever. Their crate or pen is a fun place for them to go to when you may not be able to keep an eye on them as you’re busy doing something else around the home.
You’re going to need to make sure you have PLENTY of toys on offer for your new puppy. They need new things to explore and play with constantly. They also need to chew things to help with their teething. Make sure you provide lots of toys of different sizes and textures to give the puppy as many options as possible to get their teeth into!
Chews are great to have around the house, these can be edible or not. They’ll be a fantastic aid during teething, they’ll help reduce boredom AND they’ll save your puppy gnawing on your furniture!
You’ll need to be sure to pick the absolute BEST food for your pup! The argument on what to feed your dog is ALWAYS going on. I went through a lot of different foods for my puppies until we finally, and thankfully landed on Marleybones. Save yourself all the drama and hassle and just start your subscription to Marleybones now! Your puppy will 100% thank you for it! While you’re at it, throw their yummy treat into your order. The quality speaks for itself, and my dogs LOVE them.
Get yourself a lifetime supply of poo bags, you’ll need them! Biodegradable ones are of course, better for the environment so I would recommend getting a tonne of them and making sure you pick up after your puppy wherever they decide to go.
Ensure you have things like collar, harness and lead along with a dog tag for your puppy. It is the law to have your dog both chipped and tagged when they’re anywhere in a public space. Your tag must have your name, address and postcode engraved on it. I would avoid putting your puppies name on there for safety reasons and ensure that it’s not too big! With the collar/harness and lead, it’s important that you introduce them early and make sure your puppy is comfortable with them. Do short session of them wearing their equipment in the house and garden. Personally, for me, my dogs don’t wear collars in the house as they can get caught on things easily. Especially if you’re crate or pen training your puppy, I’d recommend they don’t wear any equipment in these areas without supervision. The risk isn’t worth it!
As well as buying all the right things for your puppy’s arrival, make sure you puppy proof your home too!
Ensure nothing illegal is left out for them to chew, cover cables, clear away any shoes, handbags, kids toys, etc. If they’re left out, they’re free game to the puppy! Ensure that you have no poisonous or toxic plants/flowers around either in the home or in your garden.
Remember to supervise puppy in places that furniture may be an issue and they might want to chew. Ensure your garden is FULLY secure, fence off any pond or pool areas to avoid any accidents and there shouldn’t be any chemicals such as weedkiller, fertilisers or paint left around. You want to make sure all of this is done before puppy arrives so you can enjoy your time together and avoid any vet trips before they’ve even settled in!
Bringing your puppy home should be an enjoyable and fun experience. Follow the advice above and it’ll be just that! Don’t forget, things may go wrong and that’s okay – no one is perfect!
All the best in welcoming your newest family member home! Wishing you a life full of happiness together.
Amie Brown (IMDT)
Head Trainer & Co-Founder