Soon you will be bringing your new puppy home.

The day everyone has been waiting for. Perhaps it’s been a long process, choosing a breed, the breeder and which pup in the litter to have. The final days before your new family member joins you can seem long – especially if there are children in the house. Patience is a virtue, and this time should be spent making preparations, so that the transition is as easy and secure as possible.

Family rules

A puppy is incredibly cute, and bringing home an 8-week old pup is very exciting. But before the pup comes into your home for the first time, it’s a really good idea to sit down as a family and talk about some basic ground rules. This will really benefit both the pup and the rest of the family.

Discuss what the pup is allowed to do and, particularly, what it isn’t allowed to do. Is it allowed to sleep on the beds? Is it allowed to be fed at the table? When will it need peace and quiet, and who in the family will be responsible for all these different things? A puppy is really exciting when it comes into a new home – but it needs to continue to be exciting, even when it’s an adult! It will be a part of the family, and will of course also need to know its place and boundaries. Remember that anything that the puppy is allowed to do at 8 weeks, he/she will think is ok to do at 6 months.

Preparations

If you’re a first time dog owner, the amount of preparation you need to do can seem overwhelming. But the day your puppy comes home, he/she will love that you have prepared for their arrival. Below is a checklist of the things you need in place when getting a puppy. It’s a good idea to get a few basic items in.

The puppy will need a place to sleep, and here a dog basket – preferably one made of hard plastic – is the most natural type of bed. A cardboard box at the start is also good. Personally, I use the transport crate with a good blanket to sleep on. The pup gets used to being in it, and when you need to take the dog with you in the car, you just take the box with you and the pup will feel safe and secure on its first outing.

Of course you also need water and food bowls, a small collar and also possibly a walking harness, lead and dog tag with your phone number on it. Inside your house, you need to remove any ‘dangerous items’ that the puppy could get hold of. Another benefit would be if you were able to fence off your garden or an outdoor area. This allows the puppy to get some fresh air in an open space.

Checklist puppy

  • Dog lead, collar + dog tag and possibly a ‘walking harness’
  • Water bowl and food bowl
  • Dog food – preferably the same as the pup had from the breeder
  • Transport crate and dog basket + dog blanket
  • ‘Chew bones’ and treats and some ‘dog toys’
  • Remember that the pup will need its vaccinations, worming and a dog passport.
  • Pet insurance is also a legal requirement.
  • The journey home

    When you pick up your puppy from the breeder, you need to have organised the home transport BEFORE you leave home. Who will sit with the puppy? Will it be in a transport crate?
    I always bring someone with me, who either sits with the puppy or who sits in the backseat next to the transport crate. On long journeys, remember to bring the lead so that you can take the pup out for some fresh air and a comfort break. Agree with the breeder not to feed the pup just before you pick it up. It’s also better if the pup has been active before your journey as it will feel naturally relaxed.

    Puppy’s new home

    It is overwhelming for the puppy to be removed from its mother, siblings and its secure surroundings with the breeder, so it’s important to keep the transition as easy and secure as possible.

    It’s important to allow the puppy to ‘explore’ the new home and surroundings. It needs peace and quiet and time to adjust. There will be lots of new impressions – and it needs to be allowed to explore these without being disturbed.

    Make sure the food and water bowls are full, so that the pup can eat or drink when it needs to. With regards food, it’s a good idea to initially feed the dog the same food as the breeder did.

    Contact, contact, contact…

    Contact training is an important part of dog training, and this starts as soon as you pick up your pup. The puppy has hopefully had plenty of contact with the breeder, and you need to continue building on this. So initially this means you spending a lot of time with the puppy. It’s worth taking some days off once you have picked the puppy up. This allows you to spend plenty of time together and to get a good start to the many experiences you will have. The pup will quickly feel secure in his/her new surroundings if they have plenty of close contact with people in the first couple of days. That’s why it’s also worth moving the dog bed or crate next to your bed at night, or to sleep on a mattress where the pup is going to sleep.

    Best of luck with your new puppy! The next blog will cover socialising and the first training session.

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