Getting a new puppy is exciting, but there's a lot to think about. Aside from needing your unconditional love, your puppy needs your time, understanding, training, vet care, and so much more.
To help the transition, follow these simple tips on how to get ready for a puppy.
Once you have chosen your puppy (or it has chosen you), it's time to start stocking up on supplies before bringing your new pet home. More often than not supplies to keep your dog active, healthy and happy don't come cheap, but they are necessary. You can support local small businesses, like Vet Shop Australia, who are registered with Shop SmallTM.
To start with, you're going to need a collar, identification tags and a lead. Even if you decide to get your pet microchipped, an ID tag can still help people identity your pooch if it does get away from you. Collar and lead are essential – your puppy is going to need to go for at least 1-2 walks every day. Next, you're going to want hair care supplies – shampoo, conditioner, brushes and combs will keep your pup smelling and looking gorgeous.
Puppies love to chew, particularly when they are teething. If you don't want your furniture and shoes torn apart by your pup's tiny teeth, get some anti-chew spray. It doesn't smell nice so your dog will stay away.
For health, you should also add to your shopping list flea, tick and worming treatment; toothbrush and toothpaste; and premium dog food. For comfort, you need a bed that is comfortable for their growing size and coat, a car harness for days out, a kennel or crate, comfort and chew toys, food and water bowls, puppy pads for toilet training, and odour neutraliser for accidents.
Beyond all the play and love, there's a lot to think about to keep your puppy safe, healthy and happy.
Puppy training is a must. A routine will create good behaviours early and a better relationship for both.
Get set to vet. Start with a full physical check for your puppy so you're prepared for anything you need to keep your pooch healthy.
Help their social skills. Getting your little one out and used to other dogs and people teaches them how to behave in various circumstances.
Young puppies are a bit like toddlers, and there is a lot more to consider before bringing your dog home, you need to puppy-proof to ensure there is nothing that could hurt it, and nothing that can get damaged. Puppies have no sense of danger and they will test different things to see what happens (much like a child). Make sure you put away any toxic chemicals, move wires that the puppy could chew, and close any gaps in your fence or furniture where your pooch could get stuck.
Remove decorative items that are within reach of your pup, including plants, television remotes, vases and candles (we also recommend hiding all your shoes). Make sure your rubbish bins have a secure lid so your pup can't get into them – discarded items could be detrimental to their health, even toxic. Remove any mouse traps or insect bait stations and keep your toilet lid closed. You should also keep doors closed to rooms that you'd prefer the pup doesn't get into and prepare to sweep the floor regularly to remove random items the pup might try to chew.
It's never too early for your pup to be house trained and you can try obedience training at home to start with. Don't be too strict – your pup is still just a baby (7-8 weeks old minimum) and wants to have fun and start with small things first. Set up a schedule so that your pup gets used to a particular time of day where you'll be together training.
You'll need your collar, lead or harness, and plenty of treats. You can get these from your local pet store, or simply use small pieces of cooked chicken. There are different methods of training your pooch, such as click training and crate training, so do your research and find one that suits you.
If you feel that you're not getting enough results yourself at home, sign your pup up for obedience training with a professional. You can attend a puppy school class, hire a trainer for private lessons, or send your dog to stay with a trainer for a few days or full-time training.
In the first few days of bringing your puppy home, you'll need to make a trip to the local vet to have a full physical check. This will ensure there are no problems with your pooch that the breeder didn't notice. If you are getting ready for a dog to come live with you, do your research to find a local vet before you bring them home. That way, you're prepared in advance.
Check the pet care prices to ensure they are affordable, read the online reviews, talk to family members and friends and see if they have recommendations. And of course, find a vet that's close to home. You can always call and ask questions as well to get a feel for the place, or pop in and have a chat to someone behind the counter.
Socialisation is one of the most important things you can do with your new puppy as it helps to get your puppy used to other animals and people. It gets them used to being in different environments and teaches them how to behave in various circumstances. The best time to do this is between three weeks of age and 14 weeks old as this is when they are most comfortable in the world. They have fewer fears and are more curious than an adult dog.
WHEN INTRODUCING YOUR PUP TO NEW THINGS, BE PATIENT AND NEVER FORCE THEM INTO A SITUATION.
When introducing your pup to new things, be patient and never force them into a situation. Let them come to you if they are feeling scared and take note of their body language to ensure they are happy where they are. Never let your puppy be frightened in a situation and allow them to keep a distance until they are ready.
Remember that whether you bring home a puppy or dog, when you introduce it to your household, you are opting for a long-term commitment. Be prepared to take on full responsibility and do your best to take care of it as you would take care of your family members.