Puppy Checklist

What do you need to get ready before you bring your new puppy home?

If you’re organised and prepared before your new arrival is carried through the door, the first day and night will be so much easier. So – book a shopping trip, have a look online and make some decisions well in advance.

A lot of common problems experienced by new puppy guardians can be avoided or at least minimised by some careful forethought. Letting pup have the run of the house might seem a great idea and in the long run you may well be able to leave your older dog to go where they like – but new puppies are best confined to a fairly small area where they can do minimal damage. This might be the kitchen, utility room, hall or wherever works in your house. Remove anything that you really don’t want chewed and make sure the floor surface is easily cleaned.

You may want to invest in a crate – these are great as they give the puppy a safe place to go for peace and quiet as well as giving you somewhere to pop them if you can’t supervise them. This is not to say that any dog should be confined for long periods; but young puppies need constant supervision and there are going to be times when that’s not possible – we all have to answer the door, have a shower, and so on. Think about the size that your puppy is likely to grow to – ideally, buy one that will be a suitable size for the adult dog, and some large crates come with dividers if pup is a bit swamped to begin with.

Ideally, the crate should be somewhere not too far away from the family but quiet enough for the pup to be able to sleep undisturbed. Young puppies need a huge amount of sleep and should not constantly be woken up by children, visitors, other pets or loud noise. The crate needs to be a cosy, safe place for them to enjoy going to, so soft toys and comfortable bedding will help. However, there is no point buying lovely expensive padded dog beds at this point – save your money for when pup is older and buy cheaper crate pads or even look for well-washed second-hand blankets. Puppies do have a tendency to chew their bedding. You will also need at least two or three lots so that you can wash and dry beds.

If you decide against a crate, you could try a puppy pen – some people have one of these as well as a crate, in fact. These, or a stair gate, can restrict the puppy’s access to other parts of the room. These steps will also help you with one of the most important parts of training – toilet training. One of your first essential jobs, this needs lots of patience and vigilance on your part, and the determination to stand outside in the cold, dark or rain at times.

You will need two bowls – one for water and one for food. It’s probably worth buying small versions of these to start with then replacing them with larger versions when puppy has grown. Ideally, your puppy will come with a starter supply of the food that he has been fed, and it’s best to keep them on this for a while as there are enough changes going on for him already. When he’s been with you a while, you might be happy with it; if not, talk to local suppliers about options. A useful website to check nutritional values of different food and compare costs is allaboutdogfood.co.uk.

You will also need treats, but don’t worry too much to start with – unless you are raw feeding, you can use part of your puppy’s daily allowance of kibble to reward everything you want to encourage, such as toileting outside and sitting. As pup gets older, you may find that kibble just doesn’t cut it for some of the harder training; at this point you can start using more exciting treats and high-value human food. Check the ingredients of any treats and aim to keep them as natural as possible, and avoid anything made of rawhide.

Grooming equipment should also be on your list, as getting pup used to handling, brushing and trimming is important to avoid problems in the future. A soft brush will probably be enough to begin with, and nail clippers although most puppies’ nails can be trimmed with human nail clippers to start with.  

It’s also a good idea to buy a puppy collar, harness and lead quite early on; even though you won’t be taking your pup out for walks until they’re fully vaccinated, you will want to get them accustomed to wearing this equipment as soon as possible. A puppy-carrier or sling can also be helpful for taking pup out for early socialisation trips before they can be on the ground, but this is likely to depend on the size of your new arrival!

Toys are something else you will want to stock up on, not only because you want your puppy to have a great time playing but also because a bored puppy is a problem puppy! A tiny pup will enjoy stuffed toys, although it may not be long before they learn to shred them and pull out the stuffing; make sure they are supervised with this type of play so that they don’t swallow anything. Chews of varying texture are great for helping pups learn about the world and encourage chewing – an important part of development and natural behaviour. Just make sure that nothing they are given to chew is too hard for baby teeth. Toys can be used to distract pups from activities you don’t want to allow, such as chewing the furniture and you!

There are endless other items that you will probably end up spending money on as your puppy grows; it’s not necessary to spend a fortune in the first few weeks though. Just get the essentials in and enjoy spending time with your new member of the family!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: