So you are thinking of getting an adorable puppy, but have you really thought about what’s involved? The first month of owning a puppy is probably the hardest, and knowing what to expect and help you to decide whether you are ready, and let you know what you are in for!
Raising a puppy is obviously an amazing experience, but despite how cute most puppies are, it will challenge you. Too many people think it’s going to be a breeze and give away their puppies because they can’t handle them.
There’s plenty of articles saying how amazing having a new puppy is, but what about the tough times? Some four legged friends can drive you up the wall, but it’s all worth it in the end. If you want to find out what it’s really like, read our tips and info below.
Bringing a puppy home
When you pick up your pup from the breeder, you will probably be struggling to contain your excitement, but your puppy will be terrified. You will need to make sure their journey is as stress free as possible, by bringing a blanket, water and a comfy dog carrier or harness. Drive carefully and take breaks if needed. Your puppy might cry or whine, or look fearful, so you might want someone with you who can keep an eye on them and comfort them if necessary.
For some people this is the hardest part of bringing up a puppy, but for others it’s plain sailing. Some puppies naturally pick up toilet training quickly, whereas other take more time and patience. Be prepared for your puppy to have lots of accidents, it’s handy to have a good selection of cleaning supplies so you can clear up pee and poop quickly and easily.
Settling your puppy into a bedtime routine can be challenging, as a lot of pups will cry all night at first. At first, puppies need to go to the toilet several times through the night and will wake up very early needing to go to the loo, so be aware that you might not get much sleep. Your pup will need a nice comfy bed that’s in a quiet area of the house with no draughts, but it might take them a while to settle there each night.
A crying puppy can cause quite a bit of stress, both because you feel bad for them, but also because they are keeping you up! It can take weeks for puppies to settle into a bedtime routine, and even then they will still wake up very early in the mornings.
Training a puppy isn’t easy. Although despite being frustrating at times, it can be very rewarding. How well training goes in the first month will depend on your pup’s personality and intelligence levels, and also how much effort you put in. It’s important to start training your puppy as soon as possible, and there are some basics you can teach them in the first month, such as sit and stay.
Getting your pup into a routine
Another challenge during the first month of having a puppy is getting them into a routine. It’s crucial that they settle into a routine where they know what to expect. This can help with toilet training, obedience and meal times. Try to keep to your pup’s routine as much as possible in the first few weeks, as this will help them feel more settled. Get them up and take them out for a walk at the same time, and try to feed them little and often, but at similar times.
Getting up to mischief
It’s no secret that puppies can get themselves into all sorts of trouble in their first few weeks in a new home. They may still be getting up to mischief for months on end, and some dogs can be quite a challenge for the first few years of their life. Be aware that your puppy may be disruptive, naughty, have accidents and chew and eat all sorts of things that they shouldn’t. If you are seriously house proud then you may want to reconsider getting a puppy.
Puppy proof your home
If you want to avoid your puppy getting injured, and also minimise the potential damage to your home, you should puppy proof your home. This involves getting rid of anything that might be dangerous or that your pup might try and chew, and it needs to be done in advance of their arrival.
You shouldn’t bring a new puppy home until your home is 100% puppy safe. You should have a fully enclosed garden, with no holes or gaps that they can squeeze through, and also check your house for potential escape routes.
When you have a new puppy, walkies can take a long time. Mainly because everyone will want to stop and say hello to your adorable pooch, but take care not to overwhelm them. You obviously can’t take them out and about until they have had their vaccinations. So by the time your dog can go out on walks, they will be bursting with energy and enthusiasm. Training your dog to walk nicely on the lead should start right away.
A lot of people don’t realise just how important it is to socialise a puppy during their first month at home. Puppies reach their critical stage of socialisation by three months of age, which means they have a lot of meeting and greeting to do.
The more you socialise your pup from a young age, the more likely it is they will grow up to be a well balanced, friendly adult dog. You breeder should let you know what socialisation they have done with your puppy, and point you in the right direction as to how to continue. The Kennel Club and Dogs Trust have a helpful puppy socialisation plan, click here to check it out.