I’m getting a puppy!!! Well, a temporary puppy. Sometime this weekend I will be bringing home a 10 or 11 week old Collie/German Shorthaired Pointer mix foster puppy. It will be quite the adventure. I haven’t had a puppy that young in 15 years or so. Rio came to me at about 15 or 16 weeks old and I was so pleasantly surprised by the ease at which we went through the end of puppy-hood and adolescence. I figured there was no better time than now to talk about how to prepare for a puppy.
Puppy Preparation Step 1
The very first thing I did to prepare for a puppy was to really think about the implications of bringing a puppy into my home who is not house broken, has very little experience with human rules, has no training, has a very demanding schedule (for potty trips outside and feeding schedule), and will be teething like a pro in no time. I am a fan of puppies but they are a lot of work and choosing to add one to my already sometimes crazy home was not an easy decision. Knowing that he is a temporary addition as a foster makes the decision a little easier but it is still a big decision.
Puppy Preparation Step 2
Once I decided that I could take on a puppy foster, my next step was to plan for his presence by finding puppy confinement items. Since he is not yet house trained, he will be spending any time he isn’t supervised in the crate to prevent accidents. I also had to find the divider for the larger crate that will be in my room. Puppies like to be close to their family when they sleep so having a second crate in my room makes it easier for me to not have to move one crate all around. Along this line, I checked with Crystal (the rescue founder) about borrowing an x-pen to use to block off some electronics that I can’t move easily (more on this in a moment)–it’s also really helpful to be able to provide gradually more space for puppies as they start coming along with their potty routine. I also found our baby gates… we will be living in the land of baby gates again for a while.
Puppy Preparation Step 3
Puppy proofing the home is ridiculously important (if you value your things and the health of your puppy). In my the room I’m in right now there are 4 pairs of shoes, one bag with miscellaneous stuff in it, my Wii Fit board, my guitar hero guitar, a Blu Ray player, a cable box, about 10 DVD/BluRays, two blankets, and various cords all either on the floor or on a shelf at nose-height for a puppy. Before puppy comes, all of these things need to be either moved or put behind some type of barrier put in place… and that’s just one room! I will also, before puppy comes, crawl around on my hands and knees in the room puppy will spend most of his time to make sure all the potential hazards (or expensive shoes) are not withing reach.
Puppy Preparation Step 4
Now that all of my human things are safely behind baby gates, it’s time to make sure puppy has all the items he needs. Over the next few days I will be pulling together all the items I’ll need for puppy. Puppy food, food bowl, puppy treats, DAP, calming music, small sized kongs (or kong bones), various nylabones, smaller treat dispensing toys, and many different toys that make different noises and movements. Puppies need a lot of stimulation to learn about the world and to work their brains (which make sleepy puppies).
Puppy Preparation Step 5
Before I even have my puppy in my possession I have already signed my puppy up for puppy class (for serious, the yet to be named puppy is enrolled in a class already). I found a class that starts the week after I get puppy. Now, I already know he has the vaccines needed to start class but if he didn’t I’d go to step 6. Puppy classes are incredibly important and timing is crucial which is why I signed up for a class before I even had the puppy. If I were to wait to sign him up It would be another 8 weeks until a puppy class opened up (at the facility were I wanted to take the class with the one of the two trainers I wanted to take it from) and by that point my 10 week old puppy would be 18 weeks old and would be too old for socialization heavy puppy class. The puppy class for older puppies includes socialization play time but it is geared a little bit more toward training and what I’m really looking for in a class is the socialization. Before even bringing puppy home, I always suggest new handlers check around for either a trainer or a good puppy class so they can have one set up for puppy as soon as they have the required vaccines.
Puppy Preparation Step 6
Before bringing puppy home, I suggest having a vet already ready for a new puppy client. Whether that means knowing you will be going to your current vet or you will be finding a new vet, it’s important to know who will be taking care of the medical needs of your puppy. Plus it’s generally good practice to bring puppy to your own vet shortly after getting your pup to check for the basic health of the pup and to run current parasite tests so you can protect any other animals in your home if puppy has an internal parasite.
I have steps 1, 2, and 5 completely done and I’ve got 4 part of the way finished. Which leaves me with puppy proofing, finishing up getting out my puppy items, and getting a vet appointment scheduled for the new little guy.
I’m super excited to share with you more tips and videos as the topics come up in a home with a little puppy!