The day is drawing closer when you can bring home your new nutty addition to the family. There is nothing more exciting, I recall counting down to the minutes until I could go and pick my furbaby up!
But what do you do when your pup comes home? Those first few days are crucial and set the tone for your relationship for years to come. Unlike a baby, a puppy remembers things from the off, they pay attention, they are quick to learn and easy to train. Consistency is key here.
This blog will serve as an overview of those first few days, however we have a series of blogs coming up that will delve more deeply into some of the key areas, so don't panic we have got you covered!
Typically you will have around 4 weeks to prepare. You will meet your puppy around the 3-4 week stage, make sure you are a good fit for each other and then wait until the 8-9 week point where your puppy is old enough to leave their mum after learning some valuable lessons. This gives you some time to prepare, and believe me you will need it. Good preparation will make things so much easier when your puppy comes home the first time. Of course you will buy their bed, crate, toys, treats, collar, lead etc. as soon as you know they are coming. These items go without saying, but prepare your home too.
Know where your puppies bed will be and be realistic about this. If the puppy sleeps in your bedroom from the first day, this is where they will want to stay forever! Put your puppies crate where you intend it to be long term. If downstairs then your pup should sleep downstairs and you upstairs from day 1. If you stay downstairs with your pup for a couple of days to get him/her settled this will just mean you start all over again when you try to go back upstairs. The tears and howls will start as soon as you leave and try to return to your routine.
Fortunately the nuts have been crate trained, however if you are reading this and not getting a puppy from the incredible Joanne then this may not be the case. That being said they will now be in a crate alone and in a strange place so they will need to get used to it again. There will be a more in depth blog about crate training so I will not go into that here.
Although one area you can prepare if you have children is to get them to understand the crate is a safe zone for the pup, if they are in there then your child should understand they need some space. This is good for the pup as it always them to have a safe den where they can retreat to if play gets too much. Never allow your child inside the crate, it may seem obvious to say this but believe me it happens.
Mealtimes, plan where they will eat and be consistent about this, if in the kitchen then start in the kitchen and maintain this, keep the times consistent too and they will learn when they need to eat.
Decide on their toilet area, I highly recommend from the start this should be outside, if you put down puppy pads and make it ok for them to go indoors they will think its always ok. This is the time consuming hard part at the beginning. You are forunate the nuts have been trained to go outside already, they will come with a piece of artifical grass with the toilet scent on. Put this down where you want them to go and stick to it!
The most important piece of advice I can give you when you first bring your pup home - Get out of the car, carrying your pup (as they are not vaccinated) talk them into the house, still carrying them through and set them down in the garden with the piece of grass in the place you want them to go to the toilet. Have them on a lead if necessary (I needed to as there were gaps she could escape from) keep them there until they do number 1 and 2. This may take a while, I won't lie to you, but I promise it will be worth it. Say your toilet words, whether its "Be quick" "pee pee" "wee wee" whatever you prefer when they have done thier buisness loads of praise and treat. Only when they have done their business let them inside to explore their new home.
After drinking/eating/sleeping or generally every hour take them back out to go again, always before bed and make sure they go, it's not always pleasent, especially with British weather but in the long run it will be worth it.
Make your home puppy friendly
This may sound obvious but you will be surprised the space your puppy can get in and out of and what they can climb up on. Make sure anything that is harmful for them to chew/eat is out of their reach. Any lose wires/cables should be organised or encased to make sure they cant get to them, or simply in that area do not leave them alone, and teach the leave straight away. Azera once chewed through a phone charger I had left hanging beside the sofa, fortunately it didnt hurt her but it was plugged in and turned on! Really dangerous! Low tables/bedside tables etc are always accessible, they will find a way to get to them and anything on it will likely be chewed or eaten until they learn to leave.
The garden is a key area. make sure all walls and fences are secure, gates and bars they will find their way through anything. Husky's are known to be escape artists and pomskys can inherit that trait. When they are so small its easy to squeeze through a space that looks half their size.
I am guessing most owners will be booking the pups in for the vaccinations before they come home, the majority of vets offer good puppy packages which include the injections, microchip, food and health check. I would advise to give your pup a couple of days tio settle into his/her new home before heading to the vets so that they are settled and feel safe with you. Make the vet trip fun for them, lots of praise, treats and happy voices. I really believe that they mirror your mood, if you are nervous they feel it and it reflects in their behaviour. The more fun it can be for them on those first trips the easier your time will be taking them to the vets in the future.
Also make a note of your nearest emergency or out of hours vet, as anyone who knows me will know I am super cautious with Azera, to the extreme, but it doesnt hurt to know and have their details saved in your phone just incase it is ever needed.
Have a Camera Ready
This is a fun time and one that is amazing to capture, have their little moments on camera so you can treasure them forever!!!