One of the most common questions we get asked by new puppy owners is what things do they need before they get their puppy, and how should they prepare for their puppy’s arrival?
This is always a hard one because it depends on what breed of dog you have and what your goals are to some extent. As I am bringing home my new pup Blaze in just a week and a half, I thought I would share what I have done to prepare for her arrival.
Naturally I have made sure I have all the equipment I need – I am planning to train Blaze in drive, so I have specific equipment that will be necessary for training. I have a light weight puppy long line already, but I also have made sure I have a puppy flirt pole, puppy harness, bite rag, treat pouch and have lots of ideas for yummy treats to use for food drive games.
The next crucial thing to consider is how you will live with and manage the puppy in the home, because these steps are almost always required with all puppies. I am following Steve’s 16 Week Challenge program.
I have set up a puppy pen in my living area, as well as a larger, secure exercise pen in my yard. I also have a crate set up in the house for Blaze to sleep in. Confinement training is a very important element of Steve’s puppy raising program.
I often get asked by customers and clients if they need both a pen and a crate, and whether they should have the crate inside the pen area.
In this program I am keeping the pen and crate separate. The exercise pen is an area where Blaze can entertain herself and learn that being alone sometimes is part of life, but she will have no access to things that could hurt her or she could chew.
I will have treat dispensing toys, her Invincible snake and water set up in the pen. This is her area to be in at any time I am not directly interacting and or supervising her. This means she won’t be in a position to toilet in an inappropriate area, destroy things in my house or develop bad behaviour habits like bin raiding and counter surfing.
The crate is separate to the exercise pen as that is where Blaze will go to sleep at night. This isn’t a place I would give her active, fun treat dispensing toys. I want to encourage her to sleep and rest, not play and get excited. The only thing I will include in the crate at this stage is a Snuggle Puppy for comfort at night when it is time to sleep.
Give thought to how you will manage your puppy in the house before you bring the puppy home. The first day the pup arrives should be an example to the puppy of what its life is going to look like – so don’t let it start to develop habits that you won’t appreciate later on.
The other thing to consider BEFORE your puppy comes home, is a plan for training and raising your puppy. Too often we see people who come to see us for training AFTER their dog has developed a behaviour problem – this reactive response to training means that we need to help owners fix a problem that could have been prevented by putting the right training in place early on.
It takes a lot more time to correct a problem than it does to teach the right way first.
This is why our puppy raising programs, one on one consults and classes are so popular with new puppy owners. We will teach you how to raise your puppy the right way from the beginning, so you don’t have to come back 12 months later with an adult dog who has developed a serious behaviour problem.
The lessons with Steve are not to train your puppy, we leave that joy to you, but instead we teach you how to get the results easily. Steve will certainly evaluate your dog, work with you to design a program that will cover management, training, exercise, play and life skills along with a plan on how to manage an extra goals you might have such as competition or similar.
You can’t ever get back the time you have to invest in your puppy. Raising a pup can feel time consuming, but if you invest the right work into them – especially in the first 6 to 12 months – you are laying a foundation that will give you an exceptional adult dog for the next 10-15 years.
Steve says “consider it economics, a year training your puppy will get you 10 to 15 years payback. Or put in nothing up front, then pay for it your whole life”.
Are you preparing to bring home a new puppy? Hit the comments below with any questions or ideas you have for making sure you are prepared!