22 March 2010
Welcome Home Puppy!
As with many things in life, the more prepared you are for pup to arrive at your house, the better the transition will be.
Depending where your dog is coming from, you may be picking it up in your car or you may be picking it up at the airport. Either way, you'll want to have a crate to transport pup safely to your house. I usually ask the breeder for a soft towel or toy that smells like home so pup will be comfortable while you are heading home.
Your breeder should have given your pup vaccinations all ready to protect him from dangerous diseases. You will still want to take pup to the veterinarian to get a clean bill of health so pup is ready to move into your household.
In addition to your crate -- you can buy one to fit the full sized dog and create a panel to fit him now -- you'll also want to have food and water dishes, a puppy collar, leash, brushes, toys, puppy food and newspaper if you are paper training.
New Dog or Puppy Shopping List
CRATE (kennel or cage): Buy the size that will fit your dog when full grown. There are collapsible wire types or the enclosed molded plastic. Both types will work. Your puppy needs enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down. If you have a large breed puppy, block off the extra space so your house training goes more quickly.
PUPPY GATE: Very useful for confining a not yet house trained puppy to one room. These are the same as baby gates for human children.
COLLAR: Nylon or leather buckle collar. There are adjustable ones that grow with your puppy and will last longer. Expect to buy more than one during your dogs growth stage. Puppies do not need any type of training collar (choke chain) or pinch collar. Head collars like the Gentle Leader also work well, you will probably need to buy more than one just like the regular collars. Head collars when used correctly give you humane and effective control over your dog.
LEASH: Six foot leather, they last several lifetimes. (Keep this away from pup's teeth since it will seem like a great chew toy.) Chain is not recommended. A 10 foot training line is also recommend for in and out of the house. If your puppy wants to chew leashes and collars, spray them with something like Bitter Apple.
FOOD/WATER DISHES: Buy one for water and one for food. Stainless steel is the best and lasts the longest. There is less likelihood of your pet having any reactions to these bowls and they are really easy to keep clean. Plastic dishes can give your puppy "pimples" on their chin. This is a reaction to the plastic and if your dog is "breaking out" be sure to change to stainless or crock bowls.
FOOD: Obtain a small amount from your breeder to start. If you are changing brands, you will have some to mix in with your new formula and this should help you avoid an upset puppy stomach. You will want to feed a premium or super premium food. More on Nutrition.
FOOD TREATS: Avoid all highly colored treats. The dyes can cause hyperactivity and skin problems in susceptible dogs. There are many natural treats available on the market. Remember to read the labels to be certain you are feeding a high quality treat.
TOYS: You want to get chew toys you can stuff with goodies; kibble, treats. The best on the market are the KONG toys they come in many shapes and different sizes. Red colored are for normal chewers and Black are for dogs who are extra hard chewers. Nylabones are great for chewing. Some dogs do well with the sterilized bones available at your local pet supply retailer. These are all safe toys. Rawhide bones are good but owners should make sure there are no knots for dog to chew off and swallow. If you really want to use rawhide, avoid bleached bones and select the pressed rawhide style to reduce the risk of choking. Always supervise when chewing rawhides.
BRUSH/COMB: Suitable for your dog's coat. Ask your breeder or a dog groomer about the correct type. Also select a toenail clipper to keep pup's nails nice and manicured.
TRAINING: Check into types of training classes available and when they start.
BOOKS: There are many excellent dog training books available. Your local library is another excellent source for reading materials.
TIME: Time and patience are important when you are welcoming a puppy into your home. Remember, pup doesn't know what you expect from him in the beginning, and he is learning a new language.