The decision to buy a puppy is a big one and not to be underestimated, but the joy and many years of companionship are well worth the effort.
Finding the right puppy and selecting the right breeder for you is also very important, and isn’t as easy as it might first appear. Good breeders care what homes their puppies are going to, so if you find yourself being asked lots of questions this is a good sign and one not to be put off by.
With many years’ experience my journey to finding Meg our Pedigree Fox Red Labrador wasn’t straight forward and I made many calls to some lovely breeders before stumbling across one who had just the puppy I was looking for, and she didn’t need advertise because all her puppies were sold by word of mouth.
The Journey Home should be planned …
Ideally this needs to be a two person job, one to drive and the other to hold the puppy. I like to travel with the puppy on my lap to help with bonding; I want the puppy to become familiar with my scent and see me as its new mum. I have a large towel to put on my lap in case of an accident so I can mop up anything quickly and without any fuss if the pup is sick. It’s quite normal for them to feel a little queasy if they haven’t had any car journeys previously. It’s also good idea to ask your breeder not to feed the pup for a couple of hours before your journey.
At home hopefully you will have made sure that your garden is puppy proof so you can feel confident that there are no means of escape.
Have a think about where you want your dog to toilet, and how you are going to deal with other family pets. As soon as I arrived home, I made sure my other dogs were inside and we put Meg down in the garden and let her have a sniff around. Grass was a new experience for her as she hadn’t been outside until this point. Having bonded with me in the car she kept close by, but was quite confident about exploring her new surroundings. I wanted her to relax and have her first wee on the grass.
It’s a good idea to take some time off work to ensure that you can devote a good couple of weeks to getting this and other areas of your pups education off to the right start.
Visit to the Vet
There are a number of good reasons to get your new pup checked out with the vet as soon as you possibly can, and Meg went the day after she arrived. The experience was an important one; firstly everyone in the surgery wanted to say hello so this was a tick in the human socialisation box; secondly it was a very positive trip to the vets which as we all know isn’t always the case so we had an opportunity for Meg to enjoy the fuss; and thirdly and very importantly my lovely vet Jen Jacques from Coach House Vets got to check her over and reassure me that Meg has a clean bill of health.
Not all breeders follow the same path, but if you’ve chosen one who is a Kennel Club Assured Breeder then chances are you will have a contract to sign. Often this will require you to take the puppy to the vet within a certain time-frame. This is to cover you both against any birth defects or illnesses and this check is essential.
Where will your puppy spend most of its time?
I thought long and hard about where Meg was going to sleep during the first few weeks and where she would be spending most of her time, and the flooring was a big consideration.
Our laminate floors are not ideal because they can be slippery and wouldn’t be good for her joints or ligaments when running around.
So what I’ve done is put down a non-slip mat across the whole surface so she can be relatively safe minimising any risk of injury.
There are so many things to think about when bringing a young pup home, so if you feel you would like some practical help getting your pup’s training off to a good start why not give me a call and book a home visit.
I am offering a free ½ hour telephone consultation during September 2017 to give advice on how to go about searching for the right puppy or breeder for people who have decided they want a puppy and book a home visit for once the puppy has arrived.