Can you feel it in the air? It’s that time of year again. ‘Tis the season for puppies. Some of you have already acquired your Christmas puppy and some of you will be getting your puppy soon. In order to avoid the misery of the vast majority of my new puppy owning clientele I have a check list for you to prepare for your new puppy. “Whaaaaaaat?” you say. “I have errands to run and things to consider before I pick up my new puppy?” Indeed you do my little impulsive one. First on your check list is to be certain you are not supporting puppy mills through the purchase of your new puppy. I’m going to trust you’ve done your research so let’s move forward and begin to prepare for the little nugget’s arrival.
First on your list of to-dos is to acquire equipment. You will need an exercise pen for exercising with safety, a crate with room to grow, a Snuggle Puppy to help him sleep, blankets and towels for comfort and clean up, stainless steel bowls, a soft and lightweight puppy collar and leash, training treats, training bag, poop bags and safe toys and chews. An exercise pen is a wonderful piece of equipment almost no one ever considers. I’ve had mine the entire length of my career and would never want to be without one. Think of it as a play pen for puppies. It keeps the puppy safe while allowing them room to romp. They fold up easily for storage. A crate is an absolute must. A puppy must be contained when no one is able to supervise. For the sake of your molding and for the sake of housebreaking it is imperative. You’ll want to put the crate next to your bed on the responsible adult’s side of the bed. Canines are pack animals and do not wish to sleep alone but this is not the time to allow them to sleep in your bed. With a soft blanket, a Snuggle Puppy and Mommy or Daddy right next to them they should sleep soundly. All other equipment in my list should be self explanatory.
Second on your list of to-dos is choosing the food you’d like to feed your growing puppy. Dog food has changed so much over the years. There are many categories from which to choose. There is frozen and freeze dried raw food, air dried food, dehydrated food, gently cooked food, canned food and finally kibble. And if that’s not enough you need to choose between grains and grain-free. Here at RAW by Canines First we prefer our dog food grain-free. Your reputable breeder, shelter or rescue organization may very possibly send you and your new puppy home with some food that the puppy has been eating while in their care. You can find out in advance what that food will be and do some research on whether or not you want to continue feeding the food your puppy has been eating or perhaps you will want to transition him to the food you have chosen for him. If the latter is the case, accept their food with gratitude because you will need it to help transition your puppy to the new food you have chosen.
Last on your list of to-dos is training. I urge you to approach this proactively and preemptively. Do not make the mistake that many folks do by waiting until you just can’t take it anymore when you decide your puppy-now dog might need some training. It is very hard to undo months of bad habits, his and yours. Group classes are fun and economical and private lessons can you get you some one-on-one attention to help you trouble shoot specific issues. Ask your veterinarian when your puppy will be properly vaccinated and ready to venture out of the house and join in on some fun training. Sign up for training as close to that date as possible to get bad manners under control. With the right equipment, healthful food and some early training the trials and tribulations of puppy ownership can be greatly alleviated. It is my wish for you and your puppy this holiday season to enjoy your time together. Puppy preparedness is key to keeping stress levels down so that you can enjoy your puppy instead of spending all of your time cleaning messes and repairing coffee table legs.