You spent hours scouring the internet for the sweetest ball of fluff, researching breeds but ultimately deciding on the type of dog that looks most like you (!). You’ve visited, cuddled, cooed and picked out your perfect pup and now as you count down the weeks until puppy day, you need to get organised.
If, like me, you are a first-time puppy owner then I hope this advice is helpful. Our Border Terrier, Angus is now 8 1/2 months old and I really feel as though we are all finally settled and although over the last 6 months I’ve had some moments of serious doubt at our decision to buy a dog, I can hand on heart say it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done.
Bringing a new puppy home: what do you need?
- Dog Bed-buy a cheap one to begin with. Your dog will probably chew his bed, he will definitely wee on it and he might not even like it. My advice is start off with something cosy and small so that your new pup feels secure when you first bring him home and then reassess in a couple of months if it’s worth investing in something more lux and expensive.
- Chew toys- it is in a dog’s nature to chew. Historically the dogs that were able to chew the bones at the end of a hunt were the dogs that survived long enough to mate. Your puppy will have an instinctive urge to chew so make sure you have a good variety of soft and hard toys for him to get his teeth into (unless you don’t care about your furniture/anything else you leave lying around!)
- A rope/tug toy- dogs and puppies love to play tug of war. It’s Angus’s favourite game. It’s a really good way of teaching them the leave command as they get older too. Your puppy may growl and snarl as you play tug with him but this is normal.
- Collar, harness and lead- I would get your puppy used to a collar as soon as you bring him home, he’ll soon forget about it and stop scratching his neck. We found a harness incredibly useful for dog walking because if we attached the lead straight to Angus’s collar he would make an awful choking/wretching noise from pulling too hard. I still find the harness the most effective way to control him when lead walking.
- Puppy pads- I would definitely recommend buying a bumper pack of these. I found 100 for £14.99 in our local Poundstretcher and I’ve bought them from Tesco too. Toilet training is something you can do as soon as you bring your new puppy home but don’t forget that puppies up until around 6 months old will go to the toilet up to 20 times a day! We found with Angus that he quickly learnt the ‘safe’ places to go when in the house.
- Treats- you can find treats suitable from around 10 weeks old. They are (in my opinion) the only way to train your dog. Using treats is very effective and you will definitely need a few in your pocket as soon as you’re brave enough to do your first walk outside off-lead. Angus will still not come back when called unless I have a treat to give him. I’d also recommend you invest in a Kong toy which you can fill with treats and helps keep your puppy occupied when you’re out of the house.
- Food and water bowls- you could opt for non-slip but opted for a couple of cheap ones from the pound shop. At some point I will invest in some nice ceramic ones!
- A dog crate- this was probably the most useful thing we bought and we couldn’t have done without it. Puppies need to feel secure and although they might yelp and howl to begin with when you leave them in the crate at night, they will get used to it within a week or so. Keeping them confined at night is useful for containing any over-night toilet activity. You can also leave your puppy’s bedding, food and water bowl in their crate and leave the gate open throughout the day so they can go in there as they wish. A dog crate is perfect for creating a safe space for your pup. Angus has outgrown his now but he did use it up until around 6 months old.
- Identity disc- you are required by law (The Control of Dogs Order 1992) to inscribe the name and address of the owner on your dog’s collar or on a plate or disc attached to it. You must do this, even if your dog is microchipped. You can be fined up to a whopping £5,000 if you don’t comply! You may also want to put your telephone numbers on the tag, but don’t need to put your dog’s name on it.
- Poo bags- you will definitely need poo bags for when you’re out walking but they’re really useful and handy to have at home for cleaning up the garden. Nappy sacks work just as well as the scented poo bags made especially for dogs.
New puppy: What else do you need to know?
Your puppy will be ready to bring home from around 10 weeks. He should have already had his first worming treatment and possibly first vaccinations too. Don’t forget to double check if he’s been microchipped, most reputable breeders will have done this already and all you’ll need to do is change the paperwork into your name.
Make an appointment with your vet to continue the vaccination process. For a puppy’s first vaccinations, they will require two separate injections, administered two weeks apart. You will still need to wait an additional seven days after the second vaccine has been administered before your new puppy will be able to go outside safely.
One of the first things I did was book myself and Angus into puppy school! I’m so glad I did this because it really helped Angus to socialise with other dogs early on and I learnt some valuable dog training tips. I will write another post based around puppy training soon because it’s too much to cover here and I have loads of great info for you.
Whatever you do, make sure you get your puppy insured! I actually questioned (on good old facebook!) if this was necessary and got a variety of responses from “Don’t bother. Put away £20.00 a month just in case” to “Yes do it, you will regret it if you don’t”. The thing is, you can’t live your life by listening to other people’s anecdotal stories and thinking your situation will be the same, so it’s better to err on the side of caution. When Angus was 6 months old he got trapped under the wheels of a moving truck at my husband’s yard. It was horrendous, he escaped pretty unscathed (considering he’d been under a 7.5 tonne truck) but he did need several overnight stays in the vet hospital, an operation on his knee, two radiographs under sedation and aftercare treatment. Angus’s vet bill was just over £3500.00 and thank God we have insurance. I insured Angus when he was a tiny pup which makes it loads cheaper than insuring an older dog, and I got the highest amount of lifetime cover (£12,000 a year) possible. I am beyond glad I made the decision to do this as it’s just not worth thinking all will be fine when accidents can and will happen. Angus is literally living proof of that!
Don’t forget to check back for my next post about puppy training. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about bringing your new puppy home and I’ll see if I can help.