You've done all the research, found the perfect designer puppy, purebred, or mutt of unknown origin, (maybe) paid for the dog, and agreed to bring the pup home in the next few days. Maybe you're a pro at this or maybe it's your first dog.
On the eve of Prince Alvin's arrival at his palace, Ro, one of my dog lover friends, tried to warn us with this prediction, "Your life will never be the same!". And she was so so right!
Are you really ready for your new pup? Preparation for a new puppy is similar to that for a new human baby. You better have everything you need, or you'll be running out in the middle of the night to get the item you forgot.
Here's the list of stuff I compiled after an Internet search as well as some stuff I forgot and had to buy later. Also, some activities you need to consider (or not).
Ask the breeder/former owner what the pup has been eating and at what times. Then, get the same food and use it when the dog arrives in your home. A natural type food with no additives is the best food because some pups will develop allergies from the standard brands.
If you need to switch over to a natural food, do it gradually. The first week use 1/4 new food and 3/4 old food. As long as the pup's stools are still firm, the second week use 1/2 new food and 1/2 old food. And so on until you have switched over completely to the new brand. It sounds tedious, but it works. We switched Alvin's food over to a natural duck and oatmeal formula. He's gaining weight (5 to 10 pounds in 2 months) but not getting overweight.
If you decide to go the gourmet route and cook the pup every meal, lots of luck. Even Prince Alvin does not get his meals cooked.
Treats come in many different forms; some are full of sugar and/or other not-so-good-for-a puppy ingredients. I try to stick with natural puppy treats because the Prince can't tolerate some natural dog treats. I use the treats for training but sometimes I can get away with using his everyday kibbles to train. Depends on his hunger level.
You'll need to separate the puppy from certain areas of your living space for obvious reasons. Alvin is still not allowed in the living or dining room. These rooms are separated with homemade wood gates. We had to make them because the openings were bigger than the biggest gate we could buy. If you need to buy gates, try a store specializing in baby furniture. A gate is an item you need to see and try before you bring it home, so visit a store instead of buying online. Or borrow one from a friend who has a kid (or dog) who no longer needs a gate.
Remove Rugs in Areas Not Gated Off
Before Alvin arrived, we put new area rugs in the bedroom. We rolled them up and stored them. They'll re-appear when His Cuteness remembers not to mess in the house - that will be sometime this winter (if I had to guess).
The web sites I visited recommended getting three toys for a new puppy. We went to the local pet store and got a bone for chewing, a tug of war toy, and a treat toy (you put a pre-formed treat into the toy and the dog has to work to remove it).
Alvin's visitors (friends just have to see the new puppy!) brought more toys. Now he has a toybox and I let him pick out a few to use every day. His favorite toys seem to be the ones that he discovers, like the empty soda bottle he rolls around on the kitchen floor.
Here's Alvin with one of his squeaker toys (and he does love the squeak):
Leash and Collar
Buy the right size for a puppy and try a heavy-duty leash. Right now, Alvin has a special order collar with our phone number on it in case he gets lost. His leash is the same color as his collar and is a thick, short leash. I tried a body harness for training, but he tried to chew it so I took it back to the pet store.
Yeah, you gotta have them and you best use them unless you like upsetting the neighboors or stepping in dog poo yourself. You can buy the ones that fit into a dispensing unit you can attach to a leash or just use small plastic bags - the ones from the grocery store or the ones from the newspaper.
More pup prep items to come in the next post . . .