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My puppy is coming home

Updated: Nov 17, 2023

This blog post is for everyone who is welcoming a new puppy into their home. Puppyhood can be mayhem but with the right preparation it will be an unforgettable experience; watching your new best friend grow up and giving them the best start in life is truly magical.

What to prepare before your puppy comes home

It's so exciting when your about to take your new puppy home. Here is a checklist of what you should prepare beforehand so you can fully enjoy your puppy from day one:

  • Puppy food and treats (a good breeder will give you some of their high quality puppy food, but it's good to be prepared and stock up)

  • A 5 meter lead (your puppy is less inclined to pull on a longer lead and can safely explore without unwanted behaviour being reinforced)

  • An adjustable collar (I got mine from BullyBillows)

  • A crate or pen (I have a crate in the living room, bedroom and car)

  • 2 sets of non slip vet bedding for each sleeping area

  • 2 sets of blankets for each sleeping area (goes on top of vet bed and is weather depending!)

  • Puppy pads (to place under the vet beds in case of an accident). I am not a huge fan of puppy pads as puppies learn to go to the toilet inside the house on a soft surface.

  • A pushchair (so you can start socialising your puppy before it is vaccinated)

  • Puppy toys (rope toys, fluffy toys...)

  • Puppy chews (checkout selection boxes from FriendsandCanines)

  • One bowl for food and one for water (get a raised bowl when your dog is older)

  • Poop bags

  • Pet safe surface disinfectant

  • Set up pet insurance (check with your vet what they recommend)

  • Set up first vaccination appointment with your vet

  • Book 1-2-1 puppy training (I offer monthly sessions so I can assist you with your puppy until they are 1 year old)

  • Create "zones", don't let your puppy have all the rooms straight away as this can be overwhelming for them

  • Remove breakables, small objects, food, shoes, socks, household toxins, rubbish, children toys and any other objects that you don't want your puppy to chew or ingest

  • Protect electric cables with rubber tubes

  • Install a baby gate to prevent your puppy from going up the stairs

  • Check for poisonous plants in your house and garden

  • Make sure your garden is secure (if your hand fits through a gap, your puppy will too)

  • If your floor is slippery, lay down non slip mats for your puppy to safely play without hurting limbs

  • Grooming tools (nail clipper/file, brush suitable for your dog's coat)

  • Puppy shampoo

Common questions answered

How should my puppy travel in the car on the way home from the breeder?

Ideally, in a travel crate (place the blanket which your breeder should have given you into the crate, it carries a familiar scent which is calming). Someone can sit next to the crate to comfort the puppy during the journey. It's important that your puppy learns from the beginning what they need to do in the car as otherwise you run the risk of reinforcing behaviour you do not want when they are adults (aka sitting on the front seat)...

What is the first thing I should do when arriving at home with my puppy?

Let your puppy walk into the garden so that he or she can go to the toilet after the journey. This way the puppy knows straight away where the toilet is. If you live in a flat, make sure you show your puppy where to go and also be prepared to having to go outside a lot in the next few weeks. After the toileting, bring your puppy inside (where you created a "zone" for them). Let your puppy explore the crate/pen, toys and surroundings. Place the blanket (the one which you should have received from your breeder) into the crate, so that they have the calming, familiar scent.

Can I socialise my puppy before it's first vaccination?

This is a big yes! Between 8-14 weeks puppies go through a sensitive phase where they can learn everything they need to know as adults. I am a huge advocate of pushchairs during the "unvaccinated phase" as it will enable your pup to safely watch and socialise with the environment without the risk of catching any disease or illness. Your puppy can also play with other vaccinated dogs. Socialising means exploring different environments, encouraging calmness and confidence in your puppy. They don't need to say hello to every dog, keep it natural and healthy. Just how you'd like it when your puppy is an adult dog.

How long can my puppy walk for?

Puppy's bones and ligaments are not fully matured until they are 1 year old (most large breeds 2 years old!). This means no stairs, steps or jumps for at least the first 6 months of your puppy's life. Take it easy with your puppy. The "5 minutes per month" rule may be slightly outdated if accurately followed, however puppies at such a young age (8 weeks to 16 weeks) should only be exploring (walking a few minutes at a slow pace or playing for a bit and then lying down again) at different environments and not go on long walks as this can cause serious physical damage. Tire your puppy mostly with mental stimulation.

How long and how often does my puppy need to sleep?

Puppies sleep a lot! Up to 20hours per day and they can become "land sharks" if they are overtired. Make sure, your puppy's sleeping area is in a quiet corner where they can have a good rest but still be part of the everyday family life.

How often does my puppy need the toilet?

After every sleep, play and food. So when they are awake pretty much every 30 min. A good breeder will already implement toilet training. An eight week old puppy could potentially sleep for six hours without needing the toilet, this depends on the breed and previous experiences. Lastly, make sure you carry your puppy to the toilet spot. Accidents are prone to happen when you let your puppy walk to the spot.

What is the most important thing to teach my puppy in the first few weeks?

Establishing a strong bond and exploring the environment together. Stay calm, don't nurture excitement. Be someone your puppy can trust and wants to be with whilst further establishing boundaries.

How long until my puppy is toilet trained?

Again this depends on how well the breeder implemented toilet training and how observant you are about your puppy's needs.

How do I stop my puppy from biting and jumping up?

Don't nurture excitement and set clear boundaries. Stay calm and make sure your puppy gets enough sleep and rest. Overstimulation or excitement result in a puppy overly biting. If they jump up, claim your space back and walk through them.


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