SETTING UP FOR THE ARRIVAL OF YOUR NEW PUPPY
As the soon-to-be owner of a new puppy, it is a good idea to be thinking about ways to prepare your home for your new addition.
First things first. Is everybody in the family on board with getting a new puppy? I suggest having a family meeting to discuss the nitty gritty of roles and responsibilities. Topics to discuss include; “Who is going to walk the puppy?” “Feed the Puppy?”, “Train the Puppy?”. It might be a good idea to come up with a list of rules that are agreed upon by every family member. For example, “Is the puppy allowed on the furniture?” ,”Which rooms will he/she have access to?”, “Where will he/she be encouraged to toilet?”, “How will toilet training be managed?”
If you are reading this article, there is an assumption that purchasing a puppy is already a considered decision however, surprisingly there are still a few occasions where people have regretted purchasing a dog. Some of the reasons cited include not considering the size and physical location of your home and it’s suitability for a puppy; checking with the Landlord that a pet is permitted in your home and consulting the neighbours to ascertain if they have any issues with a new puppy in the neighbourhood. The monetary cost in owning a dog is sizeable, especially in the first year with vet bills, dog food, bedding and toys. Please consider if you are in a financial position to take on a new furry expense. Do you have the time to commit to training and raising a puppy? Are you prepared to meet the physical; mental and social needs of a dog for the duration of his/her lifetime?
1.Read up on the topic
It is absolutely essential to thoroughly research the basics of pet care before acquiring any new pet. Burrinjuck recommends you take the time to find a detailed book on puppy care before bringing your new puppy home. We recommend the books, Puppy Zen by Mark Vette or Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy by Steve Mann.
Once you have done your research and decided that the time is right, there will be several modifications to your home and backyard to consider before bringing your puppy home.
1. Keep your rubbish under wraps
Rubbish bins and plastic bags contain a myriad of interesting and exciting smells to a curious puppy’s nose, so it’s important to keep them covered and secured. Left to their own devices, your new puppy could consume something toxic (like xylitol gum), swallow an object that causes internal obstruction (like a bottle lid) or even get their head caught in a snack bag, putting them at risk of suffocation. Don’t leave plastic bags lying around that he/she can get twisted up in and ensure that small objects such as sewing equipment and toys are not left on low level tables or cupboards.
2. Cover or keep cords out of reach.
I have had a few lucky escapes with phone chargers and computer cords being chewed by teething puppies so emphasise the importance of keeping power cords out of reach. Alternative ways to protect your new puppy from accidental shock, burns to the mouth, or worse, is by using sturdy cord covers or deterrent sprays on electric cords, chargers, and power cables. Of course, a young pup should always be supervised when not contained in a crate or pen. As you get to know your new puppy, as you train it, and provide for its needs (eg. chew toys such as bones, stuffed Kongs, pigs ears and exercise through games and daily walks), you can then start to put those things back.
3. Properly stow your bags
It’s very likely that your purse, backpack, gym bag, or nappy bag contains one, if not many items that pose a threat to your new pup. Xylitol poisoning is becoming more and more common as it creeps into more products, like sugar-free gum, hand creams, etc. See a list of 700+ products containing xylitol here. Unintentional poisoning is one of the most common pet emergencies, so be sure to store bags in a walk in robe, wardrobe or on a sturdy hook that is high and out of reach. Don’t let family members or visitors off the hook either.
4. Batteries are not remotely safe
Remote controls, electronic toys, key fobs, and any other devices that contain batteries should be picked up and kept well out of reach. Not only can small parts be chewed and swallowed, but a swallowed battery is even more dangerous because it can cause burns to the soft tissue inside your pet’s esophagus on the way down. Disc batteries are especially dangerous!
5. Watch out for poisonous houseplants
A houseplant may appear innocent, but it can cause serious problems, from mild irritation and digestive upset to organ failure and even death if your puppy decides to take a nibble. Some of the most dangerous plants for dogs include the Sago palm — pictured close to a puppy’s crate in inset photo — (and other cycads). You can see more on ASPCA Animal Poison Control’s list of poisonous plants and flowers.
6. Set up a designated space for your puppy to retreat.
Your pup deserves a “safe space” to which they can retreat and be contained. Getting your puppy used to a crate will have many benefits; for example, when you travel, take your dog to the groomer, or when they have to stay at the vet for a few hours. I like to set up the crate inside an exercise pen. In this way, your puppy can access a port-a-loo, food and water outside the crate and still enjoy the comfort of the crate to rest and relax. Alternatively a set-up where the crate is in one corner of the room and the exercise pen is set up in a second area can work well. Create a cosy sleeping area within the crate or exercise pen where your puppy can sleep and rest. Provide some safe puppy toys to entertain and distract as well. More information on crate training is available here
Curious by nature, your puppy is bound to explore as much as possible and test their limits. Set up baby gates or pens and close appropriate doors to keep your puppy from getting into (or out of) places that you don’t want them to access.
7. Pack your poisons
From household cleaners, detergents and glue, to yard and automotive chemicals, most homes are bound to have a few toxic substances that need to be locked up. Even a safety cap can’t stand up against those sharp puppy teeth. Antifreeze is especially enticing to pets, so take extra care when cleaning up spills and storing containers. Rat and mouse poisons as well as slug baits need to be kept out of reach. Did you know that many essential oils are toxic to pets including cinnamon; thyme and peppermint.
Human medications are the most common source of poisoning for pets every year, so be sure that all medications and supplements that might be sitting on nightstands or countertops are safely stored in secure cabinets or drawers. It is also wise to store pet medications separately from yours, and always dispense pills and liquids over a sink or bowl in case of spills.
8. Secure the fencing and eliminate gaps.
Fencing needs to be constructed of sturdy material. Ensure that the puppy could not escape; under; through or above. Make sure that there are no gaps or holes in the fence that may allow a small puppy to squeeze through.
For more tips to puppy proof your backyard click here. Pool fences are a major hazard to small puppies as they can easily fit between the rungs. Take the necessary steps to ensure that your puppy cannot squeeze between the fence rails and/or does not have access to this area.
9. Research reputable dog professionals in your area
Gather a team of caring pet professionals to become a part of your pet-owning lifestyle. Source vets, dog walkers, groomers and doggy day care that come highly recommended by others. Online facebook groups are a great resource for specific Labradoodle information. A group of breeders, including myself are admin for Australian Labradoodles around Oz. Another good local facebook group is the Labradoodles of Melbourne facebook page.
It is important that a puppy’s first vet visit is a pleasant experience so your puppy learns to take trips to the vet in his/her stride. Word of mouth is a great way to find a trusted vet near you.
Ideally, you can take a few days to a week off work to get your new dog or puppy settled in. This will also help the two of you bond. But even if you can take some time off, you’ll need a back-up team in place pretty quickly. Shop around for dog walkers, pet sitters, or doggy daycare in your area. Rely on friends and family for word of mouth recommendations.
There are many options for dog training and obedience classes. Some vets run puppy obedience schools and there are many private dog trainers offering their services. Dog training is unregulated, and pretty much anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, so you’ll want to do a little research to make sure you’ve found the right trainer who is a good match for your puppy. Most Labradoodles have a gentle disposition so do best with a warm and encouraging approach.
10. Pet Insurance
Now is the time to research the various options regarding pet insurance. We use Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance however there are many other options in regard to pet insurance so do your homework and talk to other pet owners regarding their experiences.
11. Puppy Paraphernalia
Burrinjuck Labradoodles have created a Puppy Checklist to assist in gathering the necessary items that you will need, including bedding; food; toys; grooming needs; collars, leads; and harnesses. Ensure that you have an I.D. tag from the time that you bring your puppy home that shows his name and your contact details.
Burrinjuck Labradoodles have written a Puppy Care Guide that you may find useful as you prepare for your adoption day. The Puppy Care Guide is a wealth of information and will be a valuable resource as you transition your puppy into his/her new home. Be sure to read through this document several times to assist in setting up for your puppy.
It may seem overwhelming at first but please remember that preparation is key and you do not need everything at once. Some dog products are essential and others can be improvised or substituted. An amount of planning in preparation for your puppy’s safety and wellbeing is needed but the greatest gift you can give your puppy is your time and love.
What are the most important steps that you have taken to set up for your new furry arrival?