Category Archives: Getting ready for Puppy
TUESDAY 21 JANUARY 2014
Jade has been ‘nesting’ all day, choosing to go outside and dig holes in the muddy garden after all the heavy rain we’ve had. She nibbled her supper last night and has been following me around like my shadow when she’s not outside make nests. I have decided to keep her in my bedroom again overnight incase she delivers during the night. I certainly don’t want to be running around the garden in the dark looking for puppies.
Getting ready for the big day when Puppy comes home for the first time is very exciting. However, is your home ready for Puppy? Here are few considerations….
Bowls: Obviously the first things you need to get for Puppy are 2 bowls – one for water and one for food. These should be stable and not easy to tip over. The water bowl should be placed in a ‘permanent’ position, so that Puppy knows exactly where to go when he is thirsty. Food too should be served at the same venue each meal time. The bowls should be cleaned regularly (every day) and food bowls removed after 20 mins so that ants and birds don’t get at Puppy’s left overs.
Bed: You get to decide what kind of bed Puppy will have. The main point is that Puppy has a place that is his own – a place where he can sleep undisturbed, where he can ‘hide’ when overwhelmed or afraid, a ‘safe’ place that is just his. The regular ‘dog blankets’ that look like they are made of scraps of carpet under-felt, do not wash or wear well. I recommend a large blanket folded in 2 or 4 as a base and an old towel that he can scuffle up to put on top. GAME stores have large grey single bed size blankets that serve the purpose very well. You can even fold the towel into a circle to make a nest for him to snuggle into – especially as he is used to sleeping in a heap with all his warm siblings. Maybe warm up one of those micro-wave bean bags for him to act as a sibling to cuddle with. Wrap the bean bag snugly into another towel to prevent puppy getting burnt in case it is too warm, and also to prevent him chewing it open. Cushions are nice and comfortable, but make sure they are covered with a durable fabric – something like a thick denim, otherwise you will wake up to find the cushion has been de-stuffed and there is a huge mess and a very happy Puppy who had great fun pulling it all apart. We have experienced several of these ‘snow’ days where the lawn is covered with the white stuffing of a nice soft pillow. Now we just stick to blankets – easy to wash pretty much indestructible. Baskets (wicker or fabric) and/or crates are good options, but expect them to get chewed; and they can be expensive. But they certainly help define the ‘safe’ place for Puppy.
Food: Puppy has been weaned on ROYAL CANIN STARTER FOOD – specially designed for 0 -3 month olds. However, if you decide to use a different brand of food, that’s your decision. We recommend the best food that you can afford for the first 2 years while he is growing and developing. (Hills, Eukanuba and Royal Canin are considered the top 3 brands). Thereafter, you can ‘downgrade’ if you choose to do so. If you do want to switch foods we recommend you do it over 5 days. First day 80% Royal Canin + 20 % new food; second day 60% Royal Canin + 40% new food; third day 40% Royal Canin + 60% new food etc for the 5 days. This will help prevent a runny tummy.
Puppy Toilet: We have been working hard to get the pups to “go” on newspaper, so make sure you leave a few pieces lying near his sleep area, again keep them in the same place all the time, so he knows that is his designated toilet area. As he grows older, he will learn better control, and eventually will be ‘potty trained’ to go on the lawn. After each meal, take Puppy outside to where you want him to “go”. Be patient, you may have to stand for a while as he sniffs around and choose the exact spot. Before bedtime, take him again to his toilet spot. He will soon learn that this is where he should “go”. When it is toilet time, don’t pet him or fuss. Just take him on his lead to the “toilet” and wait while he does his business. When it is done, then praise him for being so clever. He’ll soon get the hang of it.
Collar and lead: Have a small Puppy-sized size collar and lead for taking him outside and teaching him basic lessons. This will need to be changed once he grows up to an adult size collar and lead. The adult size now will not only be too big, but also too heavy.
Toys: See my previous blog on “Toys”. A largish sibling-size soft toy may be a comfort for the first night away from mom and siblings.
Puppy-proof your home: Pretend you are Puppy and go down on your hands and knees and find all the lovely dangly, tempting things to tug on and chew on. Look particularly for cables and cords – lamps, computers,television, etc are wonderful chew-things for Puppy to tackle. Low-hanging table cloths are begging to be pulled down, often with dire consequences for any ornaments on top. Look for any ant traps / roach traps that may be hidden in places you can’t reach but Puppy can. Keep plastic bags out of his reach. If there is trouble to be found, Puppy will find it. Check all perimeters for holes, sharp objects, bits of wire poking up, etc. Watch out for any sharp stones or dangerous objects on the ground. Don’t leave any dangerous tools standing around outside, eg spades. And please be aware of poisonous plants – Puppy chews anything. What you miss, he will find.
Think like a puppy. Try to imagine all his needs. And do your best to make his home as safe for him as you can.