You need to do a lot of prior research before getting a puppy. A great place to start is by reading the RSPCA Smart Puppy & Dog Buyer’s Guide.
It’s not hard to fall in love with a puppy. They do require a lot of attention in the early days, however, so it pays to be prepared.
Here’s a quick guide of what to do – and what to expect – when you bring your puppy home for the first time.
Before the big day
Buy a dog bed and prepare a space inside. Bear in mind puppies have not yet been trained, so you need to puppy-proof the house by placing chewable items out of reach.
Read as much as you can on puppy behaviour, training and socialisation and care for dogs, and take the time to research your particular type of dog so you understand their needs in terms of food, exercise and regular care. If you are considering pet insurance, it’s important to research policies now.
Getting to know the new puppy
Ideally, bring your puppy home when you will be at home for at least a few days. Introduce him or her carefully to all members of the family, but don’t overwhelm them with loud noises and lots of activities. Have a name ready for your puppy and start using it straight away.
Training and exercise
You can start training as soon as you like. Reward-based training using positive reinforcement – as recommended by the RSPCA – is the most effective and humane way to train dogs.
Do be patient and don’t do too much at once. Many vets run puppy schools – puppy school is essential for providing important socialisation and basic training.
Dogs have a critical socialisation period between 3-17 weeks of age. Start socialising your puppy with healthy, friendly and vaccinated dogs in safe environments. Also, let your dog interact with all members of the family.
Talk to your vet about when you can safely take your pup for walks to different locations to get it used to a variety of people, places and other animals in relation to their vaccination status. Start with short walks, and be careful not to over-exert your puppy.
Vet and council
Schedule a trip to the vet as soon as possible. You are legally required to have your dog micro chipped and to register it with the local council. Your vet can also provide information on vaccination requirements.
11 Jan 2015