What to do before your puppy arrives
December 18, 2019
Preparation guide - Part 2Comments
Here is part 2 of our puppy preparation guide with an overview of things we need to do to prepare for your new arrival. In later posts, I’ll explain some of these things in more detail. For now, here’s a quick overview of what is to come.
Get crate set up initially with a reduced size - you can then increase the size as she grows. You can buy adjustable crates or build your own divider. We’ll explorer this more in a later part.
Get outside toilet area set up, secured, baby-proofed and cleaned. You’ll need a confined small area set aside for your puppy to go outside to do their business. I’ll explore setting this up and why we need it in a later post.
Get their confinement or pen area set up in the room they’ll be mostly staying in.
Set up baby gates on any dangerous areas such as stairs or areas they’re not allowed.
Block any gaps that lead to areas they should have access to. The gaps between staircase and landing spindles or gaps leading behind kitchen cupboards, for example.
Move all electrical cables out of reach.
Set up for night time toilet sessions - torch, housecoat, slippers, keys all by the door.
Set up for day time toilet sessions - treats near to the door to reward them for doing the deed!
Decide on all the verbal cues you’ll be using with everyone who will be involved in training your puppy.
Set up an alarm clock schedule for night time toilet sessions.
Pin up a socialisation checklist.
Pin up verbal cues to remind everyone.
Puppy-proofing your house
This all mostly boils down to puppy-proofing your house. You need to plan the rooms you’re going to allow your puppy in and check them for safety.
You’ll need a room or secure area that your puppy can call home. This will depend on your circumstances. When choosing a room I’d say try to pick a room that is used the most by the whole family. Ideally, it will have a solid floor for easy cleaning and it should be easy to puppy-proof. The kitchen is the most used room in our house and has a wipeable floor - very handy! We had to perform some DIY to puppy-proof the kitchen and I’ll go through that in a later post.
We also borrowed some baby gates and bought some gates from Amazon. These proved to be very handy and have served us well. We’ve even taken them on holiday with us! We bought extra tall gates because Betty’s breed is well known for their jumping ability.
Here’s the baby gate on our kitchen…
This is Betty sleeping in her crate…
If you have cupboards that contain bleach or other hazardous items, you will want to secure them. We went through a few variants of cupboard child safety locks before we found these: Clippasafe. They’re easy to fit, tidy, cheap, and also an actual adult human can operate them!
Setting up for toilet sessions is essential. You and your puppy have to get into a routine straight away - start as you mean to go on! You need to make sure this is as frictionless as possible. This was the least enjoyable part of life with a new puppy for us. We took turns to get up through the night. It was winter for us so that made it all the worse! Betty was 8 weeks old, given a puppy can roughly hold their bladder only 1 hour per month of age, we had to get up every two hours, to begin with. I can confess that this didn’t always happen, but we did our best to stick to it.
Making sure you’re not scrambling around for slippers and a torch will help. As with all areas of training, encouragement (rather than punishment) is the key. So setting up treats near the door allows you to reward your puppy as soon as they have done the deed. If you leave any reward too long they won’t know why they’re getting the treat. Nighttime toilet sessions shouldn’t be rewarded with treats. Just a verbal cue of “Good girl/boy” will do at night. We don’t want to be putting food into them late on to reduce the number of accidents.
I’ll cover toilet training / Housebreaking in a later post.
Deciding on verbal cues means the words and phrases that you and everyone else will use for things like “Drop it”, “Leave it”, “Go wee”. If everyone uses the same terms, the training will go much smoother and be less confusing for your puppy. I would say this is something that naturally happens anyway as you all interact, but it does help to define them. Betty learned “Drop it”, but would do nothing when someone requested “Drop”, for example. You could teach both phrases, but that is making things even more complicated!
Socialisation is the most important take away from this page and I’ll be diving deeper into it later on. Your puppy needs to get familiar with other people, other animals, other dogs of all shapes and sizes. Cars, bikes, sheep… the list goes on. You need to do this early on while your puppy’s brain is like a sponge. After a certain age, as the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!
As you’re unlikely to be able to take your puppy out until they’ve had their needles, socialisation is made even harder. Once you’ve been cooped up for weeks you’ll all just be glad to get out and meet other people, animals, and things!
Next up we’ll get into some of these subjects in much more detail. On with the show.
Up next is part 3 of our Preparation guide series - Puppy pen ideas