A friend asked me recently for some advice about what preparations she should make for when her new puppy arrives. As I began writing I realised this is probably something I should share with those in the wider community expecting new additions to their families.
Important puppy stuff
You need to be ready for when your puppy arrives. You may have bought lots of toys and shiny leads but there are some very important decisions to make and decide on before puppy even comes home.
- Vets – we use our local one. It’s easier and convenient and if I did have to make an emergency dash, it’s not far. Don’t get me wrong vets do their job professionally and we need them, but I find the same issues with them wherever I go. I would love a vets where you see the same vet each time and felt they knew and really did care for your pet but that’s not happened so far! It might just be me.
- Vaccinations – obviously very important. You must vaccinate your puppy, especially for the main diseases, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza. But again I find all vets vary. My breeder said I only had to have the Lepto 2 (this is for Leptospirosis – a disease from rat and foxes urine with 2 strains) but the vets said I should have Lepto 4 (4 strains). I asked lots of questions about the differences etc but they didn’t really convince me one way or the other. It is a bit of a minefield, I’m afraid, and areas around the country will vary according to the latest research/information.
- Insurance – if you are getting a dog then you need to understand that you will be paying out a lot of money if they are ill or injure someone else. Some people recommend not insuring for the first year (as insurance tends to be cheaper once they know your dog doesn’t have any known illnesses) and to self-insure (save some money each month). Again this choice is yours but it’s risky. We live in a fast, moving world, heavily congested with traffic, where you can be sued for accidents caused by your dog.
We went with the Kennel Club in the end (after many conversations with all the main insurance companies) and to be honest as they were doing a 4 months half price it worked out cheaper but with the same benefits all the other companies offered. I spoke to two dog owners recently (didn’t know them) and they were discussing treatment they had and had not been allowed. Same dog complaint but the insurance company paid out for one owner and not the other. Both were with Pet Plan! Again this is a personal choice and hard one.
What else must you consider when expecting a puppy?
My friend also asked me what we thought we had got right with our new puppy and what we would do differently if we could.
What we did right?
- Starting training the first day puppy came home.
- Went/still going to puppy classes.
- Used a crate (she had 2 nights in our bedroom and then straight downstairs to where she has stayed ever since).
- Socialized!! You can’t do enough of this. Get them meeting all sorts of dogs and ages in different environments.
- Strict about mealtimes and what they eat.
What we did wrong?
- We (husband and children) weren’t all consistent! I said no to the sofa and my husband said yes. So Coco now sleeps on the sofa (but not at bedtime).
- We (husband and children) weren’t all consistent! We began taking her to certain spot to go to the toilet but everyone got bored so there are lots of wee spots in the garden.
- We (husband and children) weren’t all consistent! Training gets boring after a while and everyone (husband and children) stopped following the rules and commands.
So as you can see the number one rule IMO is BE CONSISTENT with whatever you decide to do. Remember that they become adolescents at 6 months so the more training you do now, the easier that will be. Although I haven’t got to that stage yet and that may well be a different story or blog!