New puppy? Everything you need to get started
Most puppies love snuggling into a piece of ‘Vetbed’ or similar. This is a synthetic simulated sheepskin, which is hygienic, machine washable, totally non-allergic and relatively resistant to chewing. It can also help to prevent pressure sores on bigger dogs. Buy at least two pieces so you use one while washing and drying the other.
Your puppy needs its own space and safe place. The crate or cage keeps it safe and out of trouble when it is alone, rather like putting a baby in a cot or playpen. It also helps to teach the puppy that it does need to rest and so do you.
When ordering a crate for your puppy, buy one big enough for it to lie in stretched out and standing up in when it is fully grown (medium). Make sure that the mesh is not too big as puppies may get their mouths caught. Put some bedding inside and tie some toys in the far end of the crate so the puppy has to go in there to play with them. Gently place your puppy in there whenever it falls asleep. Leave occasional treats in the crate for the puppy to find, so the puppy learns to love going in there.
A handy hint to ensure that your puppy is eager to enjoy the safety and calm of the crate is to feed him in there, with bowls like these. Then, quietly close the door. Puppies love to search and sniff for pieces of food, and once they have found and eaten everything, they often settle down and drift into sleep for an hour or so.
This gives you a chance to do other things without worrying about what the puppy is up to, and it is a good experience for the puppy to curl up and sleep in the cot by choice. You can gradually increase the time the puppy stays in the crate and initially this should be whilst you are in the room with it.
A dog run, or playpen, like this one is ideal to help you manage your puppy. You can make sure they are safe, not chewing up the house, but they have room to run about and play. You can put down paper, or puppy pads, so that they don’t have to toilet in their bed.
Dogs & Horses make beautiful collars and leads. They are hard-wearing and comfortable for you and your dogs. I highly recommend them!
Choose a comfortable collar that is suitable for the size and age of puppy. Puppies grow rapidly and collars should be checked almost daily for condition and fit. These should not be so loose that they can slip over your puppy’s head or so tight that you cannot slip two fingers underneath. Some are connected by a plastic catch, remember they are not as strong as the traditional buckle.
Choose a lead that is suitable for the size of your puppy, not too long, too short or too heavy. A good rope lead is both strong and comfortable on your hands. Chain leads can hurt your hands, but may be useful if you have a puppy that likes to chew or carry its lead in its mouth. Nylon leads are strong, but can hurt your hands. Whatever type you choose, make sure you attach it to the ‘D ring’ of the collar and not onto the split ring that attaches the identity disc to the collar, as this is not strong enough to take the weight of your dog. Particular attention should be paid to the catch/ clip which must be strong and not liable to break or straighten.
Please do not use an extendable lead – it will teach your puppy to pull against it all the time and stop him from having a good run around. Before they are able to go out, practise the recall in the garden, with lots of treats. Then when you do go out, let them off the lead straight away. The outside world will be big and scary and they will want to come back to you, trust me! Give plenty of praise and treats and keep on recalling and rewarding all through the walk. Before your puppy is 3 months old you will have a good strong recall and no need of an extendable lead.
If you really feel that this is going to be too difficult, buy a Long Line. This is like a piece of rope around twenty feet long. You put the puppy on one end and stand on the other end. Let him go off for a wander and then call him back after a few minutes. If he doesn’t respond, give a gentle tug on the line to attract his notice, then call and reward. Do NOT pull him back to you – he has to want to come back. The line is for your security, that’s all. Please DO NOT chase your dog, you will not teach him to come back to you that way! He must want to come back to you on his own.
You are required by law (The Control of Dogs Order 1992) to inscribe the name and address of the owner on the collar or on a plate or disc attached to it. You must comply with this, even if the dog is microchipped, and you can be fined up to £5,000 if you do not. You may also want to put your telephone numbers on the tag, but you do not need to put your dog’s name on it. Engraved discs are better than barrel types, which often undo and lose their contents.
It is very important that your puppy has a range of toys to play with, otherwise it might chew on your things, instead of its own. Chew toys also provide mental stimulation, help to keep your dog’s teeth clean and allow it to exercise its jaws. Select toys for your puppy carefully – some may be too small and might choke your puppy whilst other items might splinter. You should also have toys that you can play with interactively, like balls on ropes and tuggies, so that you can have fun with your puppy.
Do not let your puppy play with sticks, golf or squash balls. All these things can easily get stuck in the throat and cause damage or even death. For this reason, it is important to bear in mind the size of your puppy and the size of the chew or toy you decide to purchase. If a chew becomes too small after a prolonged period of chewing, do not take the risk, throw the chew away. Remember, spending money on toys is preferable to having your house and furniture chewed!
Kong chews are invaluable for keeping your puppy entertained while you are away from them. If you fill it with treats and freeze it, this will keep your pup busy for quite a while! It is also good for when they are teething.
Food and water bowls
You will need separate bowls for water and food. Make sure fresh water is always available for your puppy. Metal bowls are unbreakable, safe from chewing and easy to keep clean.
These are the best water bowls for the car, as they do not spill (although they can be a bit of a pain to fill up!)
There are many different types of dog food and many arguments for and against each type. You can read my thoughts in this post. I feed Royal Canin because they eat it, I can order it online in large sacks and they look and behave well on it.
Car harness, travelling crate or dog guard
A dog should travel either behind a dog guard, secured with a car seat harness or, ideally, in a crate or fixed car crate. A crate gives a dog its own space and ensures both safety and comfort. If you have space for a crate then this provides a safe haven for your puppy in the car. There is nothing worse than seeing a dog squashed in a car with luggage piled up around it.
Accustom your puppy to car travel with short trips at first ideally when the puppy is tired so it will go to sleep. If the puppy is car sick try fixing the crate on the back seat as the car sways far more at the back which can cause travel sickness.
It is a legal requirement for all dogs to be microchipped and for this to be done by the breeder. You will need to change the details of the registered owner with Petlog – details will be provided in your packs.
You are required by law (Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005) to clear up after your dog in public areas and dispose of the bag in an appropriate bin, so you will need a supply of poo bags, sandwich bags or nappy sacks to take with you whenever you are out with your puppy.
Your puppy will grow a thick medium length coat and it needs looking after. The main problem areas that need the most attention tend to be behind the ears, between the toes, under the feet, in the armpits, the backs of the legs and around the tail. If you are not showing your puppy you may wish to trim these areas back. However, use round ended scissors so that you do not accidentally stab your puppy and get someone to help you if your puppy will not stand still.
See the Puppy Pack ‘Guide to Grooming’ for more information.
Doggy toothpaste and toothbrush
Gum disease is far too common in middle-aged dogs and can lead to all sorts of health problems, so it pays to brush your puppy’s teeth. Use special canine toothpaste, which comes in tasty flavours and does not foam (unlike human toothpaste) with a special rubber thimble for dogs’ teeth.
Dogs only really need to be bathed when they have been swimming or have rolled in something smelly. Use a dog shampoo or a mild human shampoo and put a non-slip mat down if using the bath. Towel drying your puppy is important and will get it used to being dried when it comes home wet from a walk. Ketchup is a great way to get rid of the smell of fox poo. Rub it into the area, then shampoo out. Works like magic!