Feeling over-excited, impatient and unable to think about anything but endless games of fetch and muddy cuddles on the couch? The anticipation of a new dog is all consuming, and the best feeling ever!
Make moving your new edition in a walk in the park and get set up ahead of time, giving you more time to play with your pooch.
Before bringing home your barking bundle of joy, read these top tips on being puppy prepared.
Do some digging
A dog is a big responsibility. You’ll need to organise vaccinations, check-ins and check-ups and look into the best doggy day care and training centres nearby.
Look online through local forums but also pop in and check out the staff and the facilities. You’ll need to feel 100% happy leaving your pooch there.
Who’s the master?
Make sure you sit down with the family to discuss who’s responsible for what. Planning who’ll be walking, feeding and playing with puppy is pretty easy, but you’ll also need to think about their day-to-day schedule to start encouraging good habits.
Agree on what words will be used in training to avoid confusion and try and be consistent with meal and bed times to get them used to a routine.
Get down to pup-level
An excitable and curious doggy will explore everywhere, no matter how loud you say NO or wag your finger (un)convincingly. To make sure there are no potential hazards it’s best to get down on all fours and explore the house at puppy level.
Look for loose wires, wobbly table legs, stacks of tins, cupboards that are easily ransack-able, open plug sockets… the list goes on. Baby-gate stairs, enclose the pond, stick down loose wires, tape anything chewable and trunk wiring – all of it.
(P)update your weekly shop
It can be a bit overwhelming and easy to end up going overboard at your local pet shop, so to get you started make a list. Food, water and food bowls, a collar, harness, treats, bed, toys, treats, mat, puppy spray, carrier, crate or cage are all essential items.
Check what the previous owner fed your puppy so the transition isn’t hard on their tummy and be warned that accidents will happen – so buy a tonne of kitchen roll and keep it handy!
The sound of crying is heart-wrenching, and will test the hardiest of new dog owners at 2am. Invest in some ear plugs to get you through the first couple of weeks.
Sounds extreme but you’ll be able to get to sleep and puppy will soon learn it’s OK to be apart overnight as you’ll be there first thing for cuddles.
Have you seen my slipper!?
Dogs love to get hold of anything that smells like you and scamper. Slippers, socks, jumpers, scarfs – anything left within reach is fair game.
Make sure you hang clothes, put shoes in the cupboard and don’t leave anything draped over a chair. When it’s your favourite cashmere sweater being shredded at your feet you’ll find it hard to forgive those puppy eyes.
You may want to move some furniture into self-storage before puppy arrives. Until they are properly trained they might scratch it, make a mess or jump up on surfaces so your best bet for keeping things in-tact is to get them out the house until you feel confident puppy (and you) are ready!
Some plants, including foxglove and daffodils can be poisonous to dogs. If you have a garden do some research to ensure there’s nothing lurking in the wild that could make your dog sick.
For the first venture outside carry them to get them used to the space and smells. Once they can go lead-free stay close, and make sure there are no possible escape routes before you take them off.
Do you remember the puppy days? What do you advise new dog owners to do to puppy proof their home? Share your hints and tips below.