If you are a new puppy owner or someone who is thinking about bringing a puppy into their lives then this new puppy owner guide is the article for you. Having recently welcomed a beautiful new puppy into our lives (a Welsh collie called Cookie) we’ve really experienced just how fun, exciting, rewarding…. and challenging this new time in your life can be.
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New puppy owner guide: things to consider BEFORE getting a puppy
Before you open up your home to a new puppy then there are a few helpful things to consider.
Look into local vets – have a look at the vets in your area. Which ones are closest to you and easiest to get to? Don’t be afraid to give them a ring and ask a few questions.
Research insurance – insurance is such an important part of dog ownership. Have a look at insurance prices for the breed of dog you are rehoming and double check that this aligns with your monthly finances. If anything should happen to your pet then you’ll have the peace of mind that he or she is fully covered. We went with Bought By Many as they have a good reputation for fast pay-outs and reliability. If you register with them on this link and/or add my name Rebecca Bowden in the referral box we’ll both get a £20 Amazon voucher!
Expenses and unexpected costs – it’s always worth noting down the cost of food, treats and accessories. You’ll need things like dog collars, ID tags, dog leads and more. You may also need to invest in some good walking boots, wellies and warm winter clothing for yourself and the family. There will be lots of wet and windy walks ahead!
What to expect on your first day and night with a new puppy?
When you bring a puppy into your home it’s fair to expect an equal mix of excitement and nervousness. Suddenly having a new little bundle of fluff to deal with can be a little daunting. Your pup will be feeling those same mix of emotions and also feeding off of your energy. As a new puppy owner it is important to understand that it is our responsibility to ensure that our pup feels safe and secure. We can’t be yelling at our pup for chewing shoes or sentimental objects that we have left laying around.
Pick up those shoes, bags and anything that would be tempting to little puppy teeth and put them out of reach until your pup is a little older. We even tied back our curtains so that they weren’t floating around and hid the tv remotes etc. When there were a a couple of essential wires or plugs on view that couldn’t be moved, we used simple commands and quite stern ‘NO’ or ‘LEAVE IT’ to show Cookie that it’s really important that she doesn’t play near or chew on these. I’m not going to lie, the first few weeks have been really challenging and you do feel feel like you’re looking after a toddler but as time goes by it does get easier. You soon come to understand your pups needs and signals.
Crate training your puppy
If you are crate training your puppy then I would highly recommend picking up a good quality crate and making it a safe and happy place for your dog to be. Leave the crate door open and encourage them in with treats and fun toys to start off with. To help your dog adjust and if possible I would also suggest sleeping in the same room as your dog for at least the first few nights.
Our pup is now fully crate trained and sleeps through the night with no problems, but it took 2 weeks of me sleeping in the front room with her and from time to time reassuring her that I was here. I would lay down next to the crate if she cried and put my hand close enough for her to smell my scent and know she wasn’t alone. I honestly think this has been great for bonding and making her feel as though her crate is a safe haven, rather than a scary place.
Tricks and basic commands
One key thing to remember about puppies is that they are keen to learn. Their brains are like little sponges, ready to soak up any information you give them. Giving your puppy healthy treats and using reward based training is usually a winner. We found that our Welsh Collie Cookie is very food motivated and loves to learn. She is super quick at picking up tricks and commands, especially when treats are involved!
Keep any training sessions short and fun, a couple of minutes here and there can really add up. I’ve been watching loads of training videos online from Zac George who has an amazing ‘new puppy’ series. They have really helped when it comes to teaching me how to communicate with Cookie and get great results.
Tips for house training your puppy
House training a puppy can be a long and tiring road but there are so many ways that you can make it easier on yourself and your dog. Puppy pads are an option that a lot of people use but we had already decided that they weren’t for us. We have a good sized back garden that is secure and fenced in and we got our puppy during summer time. Leaving the back door open was no problem at all. It’s so important to keep a close eye on your puppy so that you can catch them in the act when they pee inside. We would instantly correct her, pick her up and take her outside to pee. We also used a pet safe odour removing spay to clean up. This ensured that she didn’t keep coming back to the same spot to do her business!
Cookie is now 14 weeks and is doing really well. She has the occasional accident inside when she forgets, but these are very rare. Consistency and keeping your eye on your puppy at all times are key. “We can’t correct what we don’t see” is a great quote from one of the dog trainers I watch.
How to keep your new puppy entertained
Puppies need a lot of mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored. We have found using food based reward training with healthy puppy treats to be a great way of teaching Cookie basic commands such as ‘sit’ ‘paw’ ‘high-five’ and more. Make sure you have lots of puppy friendly chew toys on hand as they will go through a ‘puppy biting’ stage. It is important to have things on hand to divert their attention to. Playing fetch in the garden or in your hallway is also fantastic for bonding and exercise. When they are old enough (and fully vaccinated) then short walks are obviously a must-do!