Before getting your puppy
Preparing for your puppy’s arrival
You’ve decided that you’re having a puppy, researched the breed and the characteristics related to that particular breed and found a suitable breeder. It’s now time to think about the puppy’s arrival.
You will need to commit a good proportion of time to your puppy during the first 12-16 weeks until your puppy has fully settled. These weeks will be the most demanding, but you only get your dog as a puppy once and this investment is well worth the benefits in later life and problem prevention.
Ensure your house is safe for your puppy’s arrival home. Treat them as small untrained children with four legs! Whatever you could pick up off the floor with your had, a puppy can take in it’s mouth. This includes any reachable surface within 3 feet (depending upon breed) of the floor.
Make sure your garden is enclosed and safe. Repair any small gaps in the fence
Ensure the floor arrea of each room clear of clutter
Ponds should be fenced off
All external doors kept locked
Medicines, disifectants, antifreeze, are out of reach
Garden gates are self closing
Weed killers, rodent detterents, poisons are harmful to new puppies
Plants in the garden and house are safe for pets
The day your puppy arrives
Make sure you’ve got the day without distractions. Arrange to collect your puppy before lunch time so you have the rest of the day to settle them into your home. There is nothing more stressful to a puppy than coming home late in the evening and then being left alone for 8 hours or more overnight.
Take plenty of time to get to know your puppy and for him/her to recognise you. Spend time in close contact with them, giving them time to settle in. Prevent the children from picking up the puppy which can be very scarry for a young puppy and painful of done incorrectly. The first few days and experiences for your pup are crucial.
Introduce your pup to it’s name by first getting its attention then calling the name in an encouraging manner. Set up some routines for feeding, toileting and rest times that you can stick to.
Select where you would like your puppy to go to the toilet. Puppies have extremely small bladders and little control over them ‘so when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go!’
Puppies will regularly need the toilet after eating, sleep, play and rest. Additionally signs such as whinning, sniffing, circling, sudden chnages in their stance or levels of excitement can give you minute clues they need the loo…….NOW! Watch them carefully. Have your puppy follow you outside the exit door to the toilet area. Keep this door closed at all other times because these are the first stages of teaching your young puppy to ‘ask’ to go to the toilet.
Always supervise your puppy when on the toilet outside. Add a command as they go to the loo such as’ Be Quick’. Adding a command at this age will get them into a good routine, follwoed by gentle praise once they’ve been. Encourage the puppy to follow you back into the house rather than being picked up.
Newspaper, training towels, pads or other indoor toilet relief points will slow down house training. Monitoring, watching and supervising your puppuy having them relieve in the right place from the first day will speed up this process.
The use of a house crate overnight (See seperate guide on Crate Training), with newspaper at one end and bed at the other, is advised to maintain a good house training routine overnight.
The first night
Having been taken from their mothers and litter mates, the first few night can be stressful. A house crate can make the first few night easier to cope by having a warm comfortable bed area made up, with an old piece of your scented clothing. What would be even better would be an OLD TOWEL from the BREEDER with MUM’s scent on it to act as a comforter. Any good breeder would provide this to help their puppy settle into the new home.
The house crate placed in your bed room, closed, and covered with a blanket on three sides provides a safe ‘den’ area with the pack for your puppy. Yes they will need to get up in the night to go to the loo (so would a child), but this minor disturbance in taking the puppy to the toilet area, will again speed up house training. If the puppy whines to go to the loo, simply take them out of the crate, carry them to the door, stand outside giving them the command ‘Be Quick’ and then return them to the crate with no fuss or attention.
Leaving a dim light on, a radio at low level, a ticking clock in the bed (imitating mum’s heartbeat), putting the puppy to bed without fuss, when tired can all help you establish a routine sleep pattern.
Puppy’s are governed by their stomachs and will obviously be growing very quickly. Establish a routine for feeds from day one. You should have been provided with a few days food from your breeder. Any sudden change to a puppy’s diet can cause diarrhoea which is very serious for young puppies.
Generally, pups should be fed:
4 times daily upto 12 weeks of age
3 times daily upto 16 weeks
2 times daily 6 months old onwards
The amount of food required should be balanced with the amount of growth and exercise the puppy is receiving. Your vet will be able to advise you if you plan regular check ups, but as a guide your puppy should have a good coverage of weight, but still be able to feel their ribs with only GENTLE finger pressure. You should also be able to see a ‘waist’ where their rib cage ends. Fat puppies generally have problems with weight control as they develop.
Before getting your Puppy……
Before you even think about the type pf puppy you might want, there are some even more serious considerations you must first think of. We will look at them here and guide you through the whole process so you can decide whether this is the right time for a puppy for you.
Do I have time for a Puppy?
Puppy’s are very, very, time consuming and rearing a puppy correctly requires a lot of time and dedication. Taking a week off work or thinking that a long weekend will be sufficient to settle a puppy into a new home is nowhere near sufficient. A new puppy or even adult dog will take up a lot of your time. Any new addition should not be expected to be left for any more than two hours at a time for the first 8-12 weeks after arriving into the new home. With a young puppy, time is required for House Training, teaching social manners, building confidence and a good routine, as well as socialisation
Consider whether you can dedicate sufficient time to a new puppy, because if you can’t and things begin to go wrong, then the puppy will suffer and the emotional stress and strain of dealing with this can be costly.
Can you afford it?
Annual cost of owning a dog is £900 - £3,000 per year.
Do I have space?
If you’ve reached this part, you’ve probably satisfied yourself that you’ve got both TIME and MONEY…..great, so lets look at what space you’ll need!
Outdoors – You don’t necessarily need acres of land, but you will need at the least a safe enclosed area for your dog to go to the loo.An area large enough to wander around and find somehwere to go to the toilet is essentail for any dog and has to be convenient for you as an owner because nature calls at any time Day or Night! Indoors – Small dog doesn’t mean small space……..more often than not a small dog will have just as much if not more energy than a larger breed and therefore being confined to a small living space can lead to issues.
Having suffcient variety of environments within the home, a sleeping area, play, social aned variety of communal areas is essential for day to day stimulation. Dog’s are pack animals and benefit from group living, so being part of their ‘adoptive pack’…..YOU & YOUR FAMILY……means living with you and not confinced to the kitchen. Do your research with regards to breeds if you’re choosing a pedigree. Large dogs don’t always take up much space with the best example being a Greyhound, which can curl up into the smallest of spaces and are a lovely breed to have in a quiet, settled household.