There are many things to consider when bringing a puppy into your home. This guide will help ensure that you are prepared and well informed before purchasing a new dog.
The Perfect Puppy:
When deciding on your new puppy, there is a range of things to consider to find the right dog for you and one that will suit your lifestyle. Things to consider before purchasing a dog are:
- Do you want a dog or like the thought of a puppy? – Puppies grow! These puppies will grow much larger, eat more, require more activity, and will lose their puppy cuteness.
- House safety – Is your house secure and safe for a new puppy? Make sure there is nowhere for your new family member to escape or harm itself.
- Financial costs – Dogs can be expensive with the required costs of food, grooming and vaccinations, however there will always be unforeseen costs such as illness or injury which can be thousands of dollars.
- Do you have the time? – Puppies require a lot of time and attention to socialise them and train them to be a well behaved dog.
- Commitment – A puppy is a long-term commitment with the average life expectancy of a dog being 10-13 years and many living way beyond this.
There is an abundance of dog breeds to choose from each with different characteristics and heritage leading to their uniqueness. Be sure to pick a breed that will suit your climate, lifestyle and attitudes towards training (some breeds are genetically more aggressive and require more training for them to become family pets).
If you have your heart set on a particular breed, be aware that many breeds have inherited disorders or have exaggerated features that can lead to serious health problems. It is important to find out all the information about the breed before purchasing as these health problems can lead to serious pain and suffering for the dog (some of these health problems can be managed through preventative actions)
Other things to consider when finding the right breed for you are:
- Is it a small, medium, or large breed?
- Am I aware of particular health problems?
- Is the breed an active, playful type or a calm, quiet dog?
- Is the breed high or low maintenance and do I have time to brush it everyday?
Where to buy your puppy?
When looking for your new puppy, it is important to keep in mind animal rescue shelters with thousands coming in a month all over Australia. These shelters have a wide variety of dogs that are ready to be adopted into a new, loving home.
If you know what breed you want, then a breeder is your first option. There are many ways to find a breeder (whether it be online, word-of-mouth, or through an advertisement), and it is important to find out about the breeder and make sure they are not a puppy farm. When dealing with a breeder, it is important to:
- Visit the place where the puppy is born.
- Check that the mother of the puppy is healthy and in a good condition.
- Ensure the breeder maintains a high standard of living conditions for all dogs.
The excitement of a new puppy can be somewhat overwhelming at first, however it is important to start your new relationship off well with constant training, exercise, and grooming. Puppies need exercise every day in the form of walks, training, or playdates in order to form social interactions with other dogs.
Preparing for the arrival of your new puppy in advance, helps put your puppy at ease and makes its first experience happy ones. Puppies require a lot of time, patience and training. The time and effort you put in will reward you with a puppy that is well socialised and friendly.
- Find out from your breeder or pet shop what the puppy is feeding on. It is advisable to continue on this diet before gradually changing the diet if you wish to not upset their stomach.
- Feed your puppy premium food. Wet or dry food is fine, and a combination of both is the best approach. Avoid artificial additives such as flavourings, colours and preservatives as these may cause health problems in a long run.
- Choose a good quality commercial treat that you can use to reward your puppy.
- You will need the essential – food and water bowls, bedding, toys, chew items etc.
- ‘Puppy proof’ your home by ensuring that there are no dangers to the puppy left around the home.
Bringing your puppy home:
The puppy may be quite fearful and stressed when arriving home due to being separated from its mother and litter mates. Once you arrive home, keep an eye on your puppy’s behaviour. If they’re looking stressed or worried, reassure them. However, it’s not a good idea to come running every time they make a sound or you’ll run the risk of creating a pet that suffers separation anxiety. Let it explore the house, but make sure you keep a watchful eye.
The first night will most likely be difficult for the both of you. Make sure that it is feeling tired as it will settle more quickly – having a game before bedtime will make it easier. Some puppies may be distressed on suddenly finding themselves on their own, putting a hot water bottle, or a ticking clock in the puppy’s bed to simulate their mother’s heartbeat will help them feel better. Playing some music will create the atmosphere that they are not alone. It’s also a good idea to put a soft toy in the bed for the puppy to cuddle.
The first few days:
The first 24 hours should be a calm period for the puppy to settle in. if there are children in the household, the first few interactions need to be well managed, so that neither puppy nor child get frightened. It’s important to let your children know that a puppy is not a toy and needs to be treated with care. So no teasing, tail/ear pulling, or shouting.
If you have another dog, before the big meeting, make sure any toys, food, or bowls are removed – anything you think your dog might get possessive about to avoid instant jealousy. Introduce them through a gate or crate so there is a barrier between them. This way, they can sniff each other, get used to each other’s smell while keeping the puppy protected (just in case). It may be a good idea to keep them separated at first, but do ensure a gradual contact, and make sure you are there to supervise.
Puppies prefer routine so from the first day, establish routines such as feeding, play time, toilet and sleep.