We have made a decision!!(39 Posts)
Thanks to all your excellent advice, we have come to a decision that (a) we are getting a puppy and (b) we have found a breeder.
As things stand, our new little
baby substitute puppy is not even a twinkle in his/her daddy's eye yet but we expect to have one some time in the spring. So... what do we do now?
So far I have: bought and read a book on pre-vaccinated puppies. Identified a local vet and a couple of possible puppy training classes. Met some people who own these sort of dogs and got some advice on feeding, etc. What else should I be doing/buying? Should I be registering for classes (and vets) in advance?
I keep reading threads about people who want to get rid of their dogs and I am determined that I'm not going to be that person so all advice for preparing myself and the rest of the family would be very gratefully received (again).
Regularly pour cups of water on your lovely carpets in preparation for the real thing?!.
Ha! We have wooden floors so I'm hoping that will make it less of an issue.
Choose a name!! When I went to choose a puppy I told them the name we had chosen. When she came home she really knew her name and it made basic training so much easier in the early days!!
I actually visited a training class before I had my dog!!
Cost up insurance.
Think about how to puppy proof your house.
Join FB group dog training advice and support. Read files about puppies.
Your life will never be the same again!
Have a read through the articles on this list. It's worth having a browse through the Dog Training Advice and Support FB group too, lots of posts about common puppy problems and how to solve them.
Read the puppy survival threads here in the Doghouse, they give a pretty realistic picture of the ups and downs you're likely to have with a new puppy as well as just how much of an impact it can have on you.
Oooh I thought about going to a puppy class now @Wolfiefan but I thought they might think I was a little... over-enthusiastic! Ah, who cares, it can't hurt to look keen can it?
We are looking at names - there are a few in the pot. I'm liking Hugo or Margot. DS wants to call it Mr Woof or Lettuce. He will not consider anything else. DH is refusing to walk it unless it is called something sensible. Like Fido presumably.
@CornflakeHomunculus thank you. On your advice I'm already on that facebook page (and the page for the specific breed) and I've read through some of their files.
I will have a read through the puppy threads too - good thought.
I took DH and DS to meet a lady who owns two (SUCH a lovely woman, such beautiful dogs) and DH - who is a miserable bugger at the best of times - came away looking really quite content. DS is liable to just kidnap someone else's dog when we pass them on the street if we don't get our own soon!
I went because I wanted a force free trainer. I also didn't want someone who offered just a six week "teach your dog to sit" plan! My dog is over a year and we are still training!
My don’t g is 2 and I am still training. Will never stop teaching him new things - keeps his brain active.
It's always a good idea to go along and watch a training class without your dog/puppy before signing up to them. Any decent trainer should be more than happy for you to do this.
That FB group has a list of organisations that are the best ones to go through to find a trainer or behaviourist. They also have a list of puppy classes in the 'Files' section and you can also pots asking for recommendations.
Start looking around your house and garden from the level of a puppy, look at all those tasty wires, look at that teeny tiny gap in the fence and sort it before the puppy arrives ( spoken from experience so wish I'd not left it until pups arrived) Also have a look around your garden for plants that could be poisonous and also lock away garden equipment
Also find dog sitters/walkers/boarding/kennels for when you go away. And think about how you want to feed, research nurturing and read books (perfect puppy is good).
I have two stair gates (pressure fit) which I move around as needed. And a crate. Actually, start buying things now to spread the cost.
Pippa Mattinson's The Happy Puppy Handbook is really excellent and covers the time period from before you get pup to a few months after. Well worth reading through (several times!) ahead of the big day!
Definitely get as many household jobs done beforehand. Anything you have been meaning to get around to or anything you can get done in advance. When puppies arrive everything else has a way of standing still and not getting done for months so the more jobs you can do before s/he comes home, the better.
Crawling around on your hands and knees and imaging what would happen if a puppy chewed whatever you can see (and whether or not it can be temporarily moved or removed) is also a sensible plan.
Puppies are so exciting and fun and hard work and tiring so remember not to get too stressed when yours arrives and try to enjoy it all! Puppyhood is over far too fast, imo (though it never seems like it at the time!).
Excellent - so I shall book myself into a couple of puppy classes, pick up the recommended reading and crawl around on my hands and knees looking for things to chew.
What do people think about puppy slings? I thought it would be an excellent solution to the school run issue (we walk but obviously the puppy wouldn't be able to and even when bigger, it's on road walking so we would have to be careful until it was fully trained). Actually that's another point - pre-vaccination, can I take him/her on the school run if I keep it well away from children and other animals? Or is that not ok?
You can and should get your pup out and about ASAP. Obviously an unvaccinated pup can't be on the floor. A sling is a good idea (if it will stay in it!) The more things a puppy can see and smell and hear the better. Just be careful it isn't mobbed my kids at the school gate and put off children for life!!
Oh excellent @Wolfiefan - that's what I was hoping! S/he will also get used to hearing and seeing traffic safely too.
I am getting properly excited now - the house is coming on and we should be ready for the Spring.
What do people think about puppy slings? Fabulous idea but...
I used mine twice. I thought it would be great for before he was properly vacinated and also still allow us to go on walks that would be far too long for a small puppy
Although Elfpup was small enough to be easily carried he wanted to get out and interact with the world. The first trip was from the car into the local pet superstore. He wriggled and squirmed to get out after the first 5 minutes.
The second time I thought I'd walk down to the village and back - 15 minutes in total as I was going stir crazy being trapped inside with a bored puppy. Absolute nightmare. He was trying to get out right from the start and I was struggling to keep him in it.
I never used it again. He walks!
I got my first puppy last year I had previously rescued older dogs from shelters..got him at 9 weeks and surprisingly he was nooo trouble at all slept rgru the night learned to go outside for wee etc..we didn't use puppy pads either as jyst kept picking him up and putting him on grass so picked it up that way
Puppy pram! I got one when Alfie was 6 months because i had family visiting and knew wed be out a LOT and I wish i had it as soon as he arrived. Brilliant. He could zoom around with us for hours. One of the things I wasn’t prepared for was the restrictions on the amount of walking puppies can do.
If you can at all afford it find a good 1-2-1 trainer. They usually have a puppy package and will come to your house when pup first arrives, then at different stages throughout (eg first off lead walk, on lead walking etc). BEST thing I did.
Try and find him a potential puppy BFF. I found a GREAT dog walker who set my puppy up with his best friend - puppy sitter picked him up in his puppy bag at 10 weeks (before vacs!) for little puppy play dates. Excellent socialisation for him with other puppies, dog walker, different environments etc.
Prepare yourself for The Teeth. OMG landsharks.
Lots of puppy toys and kongs to fill with primula to keep him occupied.
Harness (perfect fit). Lead (halti). Luidicrously long training lead. And get a good puppy bag for yourself (I stride out with a little bag thing clipped around me like a bum bag - with poop bags, little compartment for treats, place for my keys. Ludicrously unstylish. Ludicrously helpful.
Good harnass for car - be careful lots of them actually not very good.
Decide what rules you’re going to have and stick to them. And make sure all visitors know them (eg ignore if puppy jumping, no feeding from plates etc).
Oh SO EXCITING!! What breed are you going to get??
I totally want to answer this loads, let me just check my 8.5week old puppy is snoozing happily downstairs then I can...but it is helpful to know what breed!!
Right, I’m a dog sitter & have one “designer dog breed” dog (3.5yrs) who also works the shooting season, then just got a new puppy this weekend. I have ended up helping to train 1 of my regular dog sitting clients who I’ve looked after from 14 weeks.
Great advice so far, think about what furniture u def don’t want chewed/destroyed- move it!
- buy “total recall” by pippa mattinson, then buy a whistle (I have acme 10.5 spaniel whistles in bright colours, drop them & they show up doesn’t matter if not getting a spaniel!)
- my dogs aren’t called “soft names” totally agree with DH, in fact new DPuppy is my DH’s new gundog so she has an unusual name no one has heard of before but love! Think about shouting it, check it doesn’t rhyme with commands u want to use (Hugo and No is not ideal as a firm “no” is one of the few negative things you can use when using positive reinforcement techniques)
Think about how they will fit into your life & train from day one. Harnesses are ok for cars but if u have a car where u want them to end up in the boot (like it’s a Labrador maybe) then pick it up & cuddle it on way back then everyday do up to five short journeys with it in a crate (the cage type where it can see you) firstly on the seat next to driver, always talking to it, occasionally reassuring with your hand when safe to do so (always say well done after the journey) then move it to the back seat when it gets more settled, then it will be ok going to the boot & should be car safe by then (I look after a retriever who is 20kg & hates cars, it’s a nightmare)
- get them used to being left. Separation aniexty is horrendous for the dog & u. Tire them out mentally with training then don’t make a fuss, place them in a safe place & go upstairs & have a bath. Don’t come downstairs unless they are quiet. Or go pick the kids up. Or do whatever. Build it up from literally a few days in. Don’t make a fuss of them when u come back /downstairs. It’s just normal behaviour in life.
- go buy cheap stuffed toys from charity shops, don’t bother with posh dog ones, they last 2 /3 days with sharp teeth!
- buy split antlers to get rid of said sharp puppy teeth ASAP
- their name should never be said harshly
I could go on but I’ve written too much 🙈
oh yes antlers. Forgot about that. Order a truck load. And have them ready to shove (gently of course) into his mouth as soon as he starts gnawing on you
Also clicker training. I thought it was too hard at the start and have only just started it now (he's 8 months) because we're at the next level at puppy school. They were right, I was wrong. Its easy and brilliant and I've already almost completely stopped Alf from scratching the sofa (which is the only naughty thing he does actually).
Oh and research food now. When you get him you should keep with the breeder food for a while but know what you want to tradition on. I've actually had huge problems with food because turns out my boy is majorly allergic to chicken and turkey (poo EVERYWHERE). I've now gone raw. Which I should have done from the start. His poos are the most amazing things I've ever seen. I get the raw food delivered - jack wolf - pop in freezer, defrost and then don't even touch it - spoon out of the container into his bowl. I know raw food can be a real religion and lots of people put lots of time into it - and really good on them totally - but that's just not for me and the Jack Wolf stuff is really good quality.
Set up a budget line item for the pooch. Double it.
Do try and find a vet now. I really didn't like first vet and now we've found a really good one and makes a difference.
Read up on socialisation and have a real think about how you can make sure pup is introduced to everything he needs to be. Trains, buses. Alf and I took a bus to the local bowling alley when he was little and spent some time watching screaming sugar rushed children. Also spent time sitting in cafes, pubs. Walking into different shops. He even went on the London tube! He's really well socialised and it makes life a lot easier.
Oh actually that's something that I've done which has been really great is make friends with his puppy friends mum! He made a really good friend in the park and I really bonded with his friend's mum and she came around the other day for lunch and a puppy play date. It was great! The two dogs had a totally awesome time and we got to talk obsessively about puppy things for three hours and no one thought we were weird.
Have a think about puppy care for when you want to/have to go out. Work on the separation as per above. Establishing a really strong relationship with a dog sitter/walker early on has really helped me. I even sent Alf away for a sleepover when he was quite small - I think maybe 4 or 5 months - and he loves going for his mini breaks at the pupppsitters now.
Prepare for your life to no longer to be your own.
Oh well that was fun - I feel like I've learnt so many lessons in the past 5 months it feels good to be able to pass them on!! good luck!!
Socialisation key, and as ermmm said, habitualisation is also key, that’s your routines. Totally agree with sending for overnight stay as soon as dry & sleeping through night but I know that puppies will act scared again first night.
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