This is the first of a mini-series of videos that looks at a number of different areas you are likely to experience with a new puppy. We collected a new puppy, Ruby, a Goldendoodle on the 20th December 2018 and so creating these short videos felt like a natural thing to do.
At the time of writing I am up to number 9 in the series, and still have a number of areas I’d like to address. Each video is published on Youtube under a collective playlist, which can be seen here. I shall also embed each video at the top of each respective blog post for you.
Prevention is better than cure
The spirit of the videos is to offer initial advice so as to avoid problems further down the line. In my day to day work as a dog behaviourist and dog expert witness, I see many problems that could be avoided if adequate work had been put in from the outset. This particularly relates to a full and proper socialisation, which for most owners this window is from 8-14 weeks. After 14 weeks, your efforts should continue, but by this time a nice patter should have been set out and that you would feel like you’re up and running. I shall go into more depth on this subject later on in the relevant video, but it’s such an important subject that I can barely resist returning to it so often!
Puppy products I recommend
In this video, I take stock prior to the arrival of the puppy and go through a list of suggested items that you would be advised to obtain or at least consider. I don’t like to state the obvious to people, but then again we all have our first puppy and so what feels obvious to me, may not to a new dog owner. I have a shop front on Amazon and you can find the products I show in the video on that store at the same prices as you would buy directly from them.
Vet bedding for puppies
Items I list are veterinary fleece bedding which is ideal for puppies as it’s tough, durable and has no filling for the dog to pull out. It’s non-toxic and is easy to wash and dry. It provides warmth and comfort.
Toys for puppy
I then look at a small selection of toys which are designed to be fun, safe and appropriate to the size and breed of dog that you are expecting. I discuss the benefits of the puppy Kong as these can be stuffed and are perfect for young teeth and jaws. I like ‘raggy’ toys that have no filling and the puppy can pick at these over time and chew on these items rather than my hands or clothing!
Moving on, we then look at a range of grooming products that should be appropriate to the dog and its coat. I am not a grooming expert of course, but the simple introduction of being groomed and touched all over on a regular basis will be an essential part of dog care. I see many young and older dogs that will not allow themselves to be groomed and this can usually be avoided as an issue if you put in sufficient time and effort when the dog is super young so that it sees this as a positive experience and is not able to develop any inappropriate behaviour when being groomed or handled.
Cleaning a puppy's teeth
I also look at a kit that is ideal for cleaning teeth with a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. When introduced in short sessions a dog should be able to accept this process without much bother and is well worth the effort for your dog’s dental hygiene.
Puppy food and nutrition
The subject of food and nutrition is an important one and it’s not only important that your dog enjoys the food you’re offering, but that it is also free from additives and is going to offer the appropriate building blocks to your dog’s health as he or she develops. We use the Forthglade brand and both of our adult dogs enjoy it greatly and Ruby has also taken to it well. It produces stools which are easy to pick up and we virtually never experience any loose stools when feeding the dogs this way. It’s not the cheapest, but inevitably you do get what you pay for in dog food.
I also discuss the typer of bowls we use and we prefer the heavier earthenware style as they wash well and are very tough. The weight allows them to stay fixed on the floor rather than to chase it around as they eat.
Puppy sling for social experiences
Because we shall be taking Ruby out with us on daily walks from the very outset aged 8 weeks, we shall be keeping her in a puppy specific sling so that she can see, hear and smell all the sights and sounds that she will encounter once able to run freely on the ground. This will give her a terrific head start and can be seen in use in more depth in video number 5, ‘First walks and puppy socialisation.’ In the old days, we used to use the dog down the front of a jacket approach, which is fine, but a little cumbersome and not entirely safe and secure with a wriggling puppy.
First puppy collar and lead
The first collar and leads an important consideration and I like the collars that are a loose weave whereby the pin of the buckle can enter the fabric at any point so that we have a lot of adjustability as she grows in the first 3/4 months. We shall then upgrade to a larger soft collar and lead that is secure and that she cannot slip it off her neck. I was going to create a video on how to introduce the collar and lead, but the collar went on her day one and apart from a little scratching at it she was fine thereafter. We take it off at night when she is in the crate for safety as I have heard the odd story of young dogs snagging a collar when inside the crate. This tends to happen (I believe) with crates that are cheap imports with poorly finished welds and wires. The lead was also relatively easy to introduce and was used primarily in the garden when she is being toileted.
Flexi lead for puppies
I then move on to look at the Flexi lead, as this is a great way to offer initial movement in public when on the ground and to remain in control and carry out short recalls as can be seen in video 9, the puppy recall. The Flexi brand of retractable leads are extremely well and have a nice intuitive button action to stop the line and then wind it back in. The Flexi brand is also including an attachment for a light or poo bag roll, which is thoughtful and useful. 8 metres is a good length for a young dog.
Crating a puppy
Finally, I look at the dog crate. The style I prefer has two doors, one on the long side and one on the short side for ease of entry and exit. I discuss the importance of using the crate, but not for excessive durations. Sensible use of a crate allows a quicker toilet training routine and to keep her safe and secure in the day if she needs to be left for any time. Covering the crate over at night can often help settle the dog, but ensure that adequate air can circulate and that you are not leaving the dog in either a cold draughty spot or equally a spot that is going to get too hot such as in doest sun in warmer months or a radiator blasting out heat.
So the above quickly goes through the items I encourage a new puppy owner to consider. In the list I have created for you on Amazon, you will find numerous other items that I also feel a new puppy owner would find useful.
Preparing the home for your puppy
As well as items you might require, I also discuss the need for preparation in the home, so that low-lying items of potential interest to your puppy are up and out of the way so that things are safe for the puppy and that you take a few sensible steps to remove items that could be damaged by an energetic puppy.