Although the holidays can be a chaotic time for some, it may be a great time to add a to your family. We often have more time at home to focus on the puppy.
This time before puppy arrives is the perfect time to puppy proof your house. Clear off any low tables and shelves. Move plants above puppy level, or to a room puppy won’t access. Consider moving trash cans or adding a lid. Hide cords, and block access to the water in your Christmas tree stand. Remove rat/mouse poison, traps or baits. Replace your ice melt with a dog-safe version. Start getting into the habit of putting shoes away, because they are so very tempting to puppies.
This is also a great time to stock up on supplies. This list will get you started, but isn’t all inclusive:
1. Collar and/or Harness:
I am a big fan of having puppies wear a soft harness at all times. This allows you to quickly leash up and go out for potty training. It also gives you a handle if puppy is about to get into something inappropriate.
Please purchase a standard 4-6 foot leash. Although retractable leashes seem like a great idea to many, it can be confusing to a puppy. There is always a bit of tension on the retractable leash, so that pressure can encourage pulling. (more on training in a following post)
3. Crate or pen
Your puppy will need somewhere safe to rest when you cannot keep an eye on him/her. The best option is a crate. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stretch out and turn around. You can block off part of a larger crate, so you don’t have to buy multiple crates as your puppy grows. An alternative to the crate is an ex-pen. These do not have a top, so wont’ be a good choice for larger puppies or climbers.
If you can find out what food your puppy has been eating with the rescue group or breeder, start with that food. If the puppy is doing well on the food, plan to use that brand for at least the first few days at home. It will already be stressful to move to a new home with a new family. Changing the diet right away can add to that stress. We sell Fromm and Verus puppy foods in our boutique.
There is an amazing amount of selection when it comes to dishes for your dog. I recommend stainless steel bowls for puppies. It is tempting to puppies to turn a plastic bowl into a chew toy. Ceramic bowls can also be a hazard, since puppies could knock them around and break them. Bowl stands are a great way to keep the bowls in place.
Puppies need something to keep them busy. Having appropriate toys available around the house will make it less likely for them to chew your things. Some of our favorite toys for puppies: Kong, Nylabone Double Action chews, Planet Dog Orbees, elk antlers, and anything interactive. Puzzle toys can be a savior for the new puppy parents who need a little break.
We will discuss first steps of training in our next post. If you have any training questions or would like to learn about Puppy Kindergarten classes, please contact Cold Nose Lodge 610-965-3647 www.coldnoselodge.com/training_classes.