Prepping for your puppy

A puppy will instantly warm and melt your heart but remember to start as you aim to continue. Those cute little features and adoring eyes bounding with enthusiasm could disarm you.

We could list numerous hints and Do's and Don'ts of bringing your puppy home. But, the main thing to remember is that they are still very young, in fact they are babies who have just left the love and comfort of their own mother and fun-loving siblings. So you'll need to prepare a loving home with snuggly surroundings.

Snuggly surroundings: We have found that settling your puppy into their forever home will be a smoother transition if there's a blanket, soft comfortable bed and snuggle toys with the smells of their mother and siblings. You can achieve this by taking a blanket and a snuggle toy to the breeder on one of your later visits prior to picking up your puppy. By leaving the blanket you can encourage the breeder to place it where it is in close contact with the mother and siblings. It will absorb all the love and comfort smells so that when your puppy is home alone they will be embraced and comforted by the familiar smells, and the toy will also provide the same level of security and comfort. 

When choosing a bed for your puppy we recommend a super soft comfortable bed that they can snuggle into, rather than lay on top. Faux fur beds are perfect for young puppies and will make them feel secure and at home.  Onto the more practical things to consider.

To crate or not to crate: We consider crating a personal decision. Most breeders recommend crating your puppy and being strong from the outset, resist the temptation to pick them up when they cry will be more beneficial than changing your mind later.

There are pros and cons for both crating and not crating your puppy. We recommend making the decision early, as it will be more difficult to introduce later when a dog has become more independent and free ranging. Some people will choose to have the dog sleep with them in their room or a designated area, such as the laundry. Whatever applies for your family, consistency is the goal. If you decide to crate your puppy you will need to make the inside of their crate as homely as possible, include their bed, blanket and toys etc.

Toilet training: When your puppy arrives home, toilet training might be the last thing on your mind with all the excitement and all the household changes in the first few days. Despite the change of routine, it’s important to establish mealtime for the same time every day and settle into a regular toileting plan. Puppy toilet training should start the moment their paws patter through the door. After meals take your puppy outside and wait until they go to the toilet, offer a verbal reward or toy. They will associate the patch of grass with going to the toilet, take them to that same place regularly. Bring them inside after praising them. If you plan to leave your puppy home alone or for long periods at night, make a designated place for puppy pads where they can toilet on the pads.

The way we respond to puppy accidents in the home has an impact on your puppy’s behaviour and confidence. Don’t rub your puppy’s nose in it, as this indicates you disapprove of them toileting in general. Don’t shout or scare the puppy, it may make you feel better but will not help with toilet training and may damage your relationship. They only seek approval and this could damage the bond between you. Don’t discipline after the event, as it will be delayed and they won’t associate you being angry and the mess on the floor.

Safety: A primary consideration is a safe play area outside. An area cleared, mowed, free of sharp objects, potentially poisonous plants or weeds and easily accessible to indoors when / if they feel isolated. Check your fence boundary and block any puppy-sized gaps or holes. Fence height limits might not be an issue in the short term but it's worth considering a height check as your puppy grows and develops their jumping ability. 

Identification: You will need to register your pup with your contact details from the breeders. A collar with their name and your phone number is a good idea, or at least a collar with an ID tag with name and contact number. Your puppy identification provides some assurance that if they go walkabout they could be found or returned home.

More recently, pet tracking has become popular with the increase in puppy prices. One way of guaranteeing your pup will be found is for them to wear a tracking device, these are becoming more compact with time rather than the larger, obtrusive designs of the past. 

Puppy food: Puppy will need their own food and water bowls, as well as bowls for travelling in the car. We recommend you consult your vet on puppy's first visits for appropriate meal selections, knowing that fresh food is the best possible diet for health and longevity. From the outset avoid foods that are potentially dangerous or life threatening, such as: Onions, Garlic and Chives, Chocolate, Macadamia nuts, Corn on the Cob, Avocado, Artificial sweetener (Xylitol), Alcohol, Cooked bones and Grapes and raisins. If ingested your puppy will need to be taken to your vet immediately.

Travelling with your puppy: Now that your puppy is part of the family, you’ll want to include them on family pet-friendly outings. It’s important to wait for all puppy vaccinations to be given before you begin socialisation. Once puppy is safe you can begin to travel. It is important to restrain your puppy whilst in a car, and it is the law in all states in Australia. We recommend a well-fitting comfortable chest harness and a car seat belt restraint that clicks into a car seat belt base. Never connect a car seat belt restraint to a dog collar, in the case of emergency braking this could result in injury or death.

Unlike humans, dogs don’t have sweat glands but rather regulate their temperature through their nose and paws, and through panting. The car temperature on a hot day can rise quickly so don’t leave your puppy in the car. Also, try to keep your puppy on the shaded side of the car whilst driving to and from your destination. Air conditioning should be aimed in their general direction on hot days.

Poo bags and human carry all: Once your puppy ventures out and starts walking in public spaces you'll need to carry waste bags and a waste bag holder. If you're like us this accessory needs to match your puppy’s collar and harness if you wish to be stylish, comfortable and practical. One way to carry your puppy's items is to place all your essential items, such as mobile phone, keys, cash etc as well as puppy treats, poo bags etc, in a Dog Walking Cross Body Bag that can be carried across the body to leave arms and hands free to hold your puppy's lead.

Children and their new puppy: There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing children cuddle and play with your new puppy. But your puppy may be overwhelmed or frightened by your children’s excitement and noise. It’s important to explain the value of being calm and quiet for puppy’s sake. Encourage a quiet cuddle with one-on-one time. Be sure to give puppy space and if it appears overwhelmed give it time out in a safe, quiet area before re-introducing it to another stimulating situation.

Children should be encouraged to care for the puppy, be involved in feeding, playing, walking and grooming the puppy, all with adult supervision at first until you’re satisfied that it is safe for both puppy and child.

These are just a few of our tried and proven experiences that we’ve shared as puppy owners ourselves. We recommend seeking veterinary advice if you’re unsure of any aspect of bringing puppy home. We know you’ll grow to love your puppy as one of the family and the relationship will be special for everyone.

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