Before bringing your puppy home
Creating a safe space
Your home environment will not only become your puppy's home, but their main learning environment as well. We want to make sure we are ready to set their learning environment up successfully. The most important thing we can do is make sure our puppy's new home is safe and secure.
This unit will provide you with tips and tricks on how to puppy-proof your home and create safe areas.
Must Have Items
Not all food is made equal
With a variety of food on the market today, deciding what to feed your puppy can be very confusing. Please make sure you do your research appropriately in order to ensure your puppy is fed a healthy diet. We recommend utilizing Dog Food Advisory to help you chose the best food for your dog.
Crate training is a must
We recommend purchasing a crate that your puppy can stand up and turn around in. If your puppy's crate is too large, you may run into trouble with house training and the potential for anxiety issues. If you have a large crate, we would suggest getting a crate divider in order to limit your dogs access to space.
Baby Gate/Play Pen
If we don't want our puppy to get into trouble, we need to make sure we are prepared to manage their environment. Gate off restricted areas utilizing baby gates. We would also recommend having an exercise pen set up in order to give your puppy a secure area to play when unsupervised, especially for small breed puppies.
Start them young
As soon as your puppy comes home, you can begin training. Having a food pouch on you when you take your puppy out will ensure that you're ready to reward good behaviours as they occur. Keep in mind, you don't need special treats, you can simply use your puppy's daily ration of kibble for training.
The biggest mistake we make is allowing a new puppy free range of the entire house all at once. Setting up a zone for your puppy to safely hangout and not get into trouble will allow for better learning. If we can choose where and when our puppies are allowed freedom, we can prevent all the puppy mistakes from happening in the first place.
Ensure that indoor garbage bins in the entire house are not accessible to your puppy. We suggest getting safety clips in order for the garbage bin lids to stay safely closed.
It's time everyone in the house starts using the laundry hamper. Dirty socks and panties can be irresistible to young puppies and are a very dangerous choking hazard.
They chew everything
Any items left on the floor are seen as fair game to young puppies. This could mean shoes, children's toys, the television remote, cell phones, cables, chargers, wires, etc. If you think they may chew it, they will.
Even though houseplants seem beautiful and innocent, some can cause very serious illnesses and even death in our puppies. Here is a list of poisonous houseplants to look out for provided by the ASPCA.
A good cleaner can help you remove odours and stains to help clean up the unfortunate messes that come along with raising a puppy. You can either make your own cleaner by using a vinegar water solution or you can purchase a pet specific enzyme cleaner.
Ensuring that our cleaning products and medications remain out of our puppies reach at all times is a matter of life and death. Make sure to get in the habit of putting potentially harmful items away in a secure place after you're done using them.
Building a consistent relationship with a Veterinarian is so important for your puppy's long term well being. Sticking with one Veterinary Professional will only benefit your dog's health long term. When your Veterinarian is able to create a relationship with your puppy, they are more easily able to diagnose and keep health records needed for potential future health issues.
Professional Dog Trainer
In order to ensure success, you need to begin successfully. This means you do not need to wait for behavioural issues to develop before you hire a professional. In fact, it is easier to prevent behavioural issues then to resolve them once they have occurred.
We never plan for our dogs to go missing, however we need to be prepared in case they do. A dog tag is another solution, but they can easily break off and be lost. A microchip will ensure no matter what or where your dog ends up, they can be scanned, identified and returned to you.
Puppy Safe Toys
Puppies should be supervised when playing with any toy. The rule of thumb is to purchase toys that are too large to be swallowed and firm enough that they cannot be shredded and ingested.
Puppy Safe Bones
The bigger the better. Avoiding small bones that can be easily swallowed is key to ensure safety. Meal replacement bones are a safe way to allow your puppies to chew, while getting some nutritional value as well. We recommend visiting meal replacement bones with Big Country Raw as a guide.
Building a relationship with a boarding facility, either a kennel or home environment, will help you when emergencies arise. Whether you travel frequently or not, allowing your dog to build a relationship with their sitter will help them feel more at ease when left behind.
Extra Supply List
100% Pure Canned Pumpkin
Dog Door Bells
Picking Up your Puppy
The drive home and the first few days
The drive home with your new puppy is a very exciting time for you, but can be a stressful time for your puppy. In order to help make the drive as safe and stress free as possible, there's a few things you can do. We recommend bringing a travel crate, a blanket to cover the crate, a warm comfy blanket and a stuffed animal. When you arrive to pick up your puppy, try not to create too much excitement. Remember you want your puppy to remain as calm as possible, they have a long drive ahead and it is more then likely their first time in a car. Place your puppy in the crate with the comfy blanket and the stuffed animal to snuggle with. You can also cover the crate with a blanket, it can help the puppy feel more secure.
Once you arrive home you need to keep things very low key. This is not puppy show and tell time for friends, family and neighbours. Keep in mind your puppy has just been removed from the only environment they know, without their family, their support system. Remember, puppies also go through a fear period between 8-10 weeks and until you know your puppy, play it safe. Allow your puppy to go potty, bring them inside and place them in their exercise pen area to decompress.
The First 48 Hours
Limiting physical touch the first few days allows our puppies the opportunity to feel more secure. After all, as much as we already love them, they don't know us just yet.
If your puppy is refusing food, don't worry this is normal. Some puppies will not eat until they feel safe and secure.
Do not allow your children to run, play, scream or be overly excited in the house. If your puppy is already overwhelmed, this will simply make them more agitated and concerned.
Keep your puppy on a tight schedule. Bring them on leash to go outside for potty breaks and return them to their exercise pen or crate, repeat every ~2 hours. Every time you return them to their pen, toss a small hand full of kibble in the pen. This will allow them the opportunity to scavenge for some food in peace, and begin creating a positive association with you and confinement. NO WALKS and no adventures, you will work up to this in the coming weeks!
Can I hold my puppy on my lap for the drive home?
You most certainly can. However not only can puppies throw up on their first car ride, but they can also be stressed seeing out the window. It might make you feel better to hold them, but it may not be in their best interest to be held. Ultimately we want to do whatever makes them the most relaxed as this is a very big day for them!
What if I have to go to work the following day after picking up my puppy?
This is normal for a lot of people, the reality is we need to work to afford the littler buggers! We would recommend having a friend or family member (you can also hire a dog walker) to come over every two hours to let the puppy out for at least a 5 minute potty break and leg stretch.
When should my puppy have their first veterinary visit?
You will need to book your first veterinary appointment before your puppy is 10 weeks of age. To make things easier, you can book the appointment before bringing your puppy home. If you got your puppy from a reputable breeder or rescue they will have come with their first set of vaccines. The typical vaccine schedule for puppies is 8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, however depending on when they received their first vaccination this schedule may be slightly shifted. Don't forget to ask about deworming!
What should I do if I have other pets in the house?
It is recommend to keep them separated for the first 48 hours. Allow them to see each other through exercise pens and gates. We don't want the puppy to have their space completely overwhelmed by other animals just yet, and your resident pets may not want their space overwhelmed either.