Hello! We will be bringing home our little bundle of joy on Dec. 19th. We've never owned a dog, so are feeling a little panicked! We'd love any advice or tips on basic things we should be doing now to get ready, i.e. items to buy, ways to prepare the house, things to do when he first comes home, etc. For instance, for the ride home, does he need to be crated or can we hold him? Should we keep him isolated for the first week or so? I did read the sticky and got some good tips for housebreaking and training - it's more the basic things a brand new dog owner wouldn't know that I'm interested in. Thanks so much!
Crate right away.
Crate the dog even on the ride home.
You won't need too much.
I slept in the back family room(closest to backyard) on the couch for almost a month, they need to go pee too often to sleep in my room.
The back family room was the room where we had the crate for that first month and it's where we normally hang out as a family to watch TV/play games, a pup needs to be under 100% supervision so it was perfect place to create stability.
This allowed her to get comfortable with the rules and what was expected of her.
The create was right next to me near the couch during this month but I would slowly move the create further away, even turning it away from me over the weeks.
If she made ANY noise at all at night, I would take her outside RIGHT AWAY and say "Go pee".
Within days she understood if she made any noise, it meant she had to go outside out in the cold and go pee with me(I would actually pee with her, its nice being a guy lol).
Within a few weeks, between me saying "go pee" and peeing with her she understood the "go pee" command, which was great cause we got her in Nov and during Dec-Feb it gets real cold. So I could now just open the backdoor and say "Go pee" and she'll go outside and go pee while I could stand at the door inside a warm house. :0)
After a month of this,(4 month mark) she graduated out of the crate and slept on a dog bed next to me on the floor of my room and had free roam of the house if she pleased. This paved the way to allow her to have free roam of the house while we where gone at work/school at about hte 5 month mark.
As you see I use the crate as a foundation for the puppy routine and used it to slowly edge her into having free roam.
Even in the car, she graduated out of the crate, I don't see a crate as perm solution, it is a stepping stone to me.
Good advice - thanks! Sounds like my hubby will get a taste of what it was like for me with two human babies!
I've heard that we should take him to the vet "as soon as we get him". Does that mean literally that day, or will the same week be good enough? Should we try to feed him the same food the breeder is feeding him?
I'd try to go within a few days.
They need to make sure the dog doesn't have any ear mites and they need to get some de-worming meds in them pretty quick.
You'll also need to map out your shot plan with the vet so you can start marking your calendar and setting up appointments.
Now that you reminded me, I hated that part. It seemed like we were always at the vet the first 4-6 months and it was all the needed shots, not cause she had some issue, just because I was already used to taking her to the vet, I got her spayed at the 5 month mark.
And the food, ya it good to continue the same or at least mix it 1/2 and 1/2 with the food you want to feed him/her.
The food thing is weird, you'll get many different responses. Me I gave up being so regimented about what food I give her at about the 6 month mark.
I just buy whatever higher qual brand is on sale. I've done my research so I know what brands score better then others.
I don't even 50/50, I run out and just buy new stuff. My dog doesn't care.
Congratuations on your new attention.
Let's see, things to purchase:
Collar (cheap, nylon - you'll get through a few of these in the first year or so)
Tag (include as many contact details as possible)
Food and water bowls (ceramic or stainless steel - avoid plastic!)
A bunch of old towels -- depending on where you live, you'll need them for drying a wet/dirty/muddy puppy
A brush or two for grooming
Toys -- as many as possible!
You will also need to think about vaccinations (talk to your vet) and flea treatment.
It has been a while since one of my guys was a pup, but when I first got them, they sat on my knee on the first journey home. You can certainly crate them, but they will whine and make a fuss all the way home.
The first thing I would do upon arrival is take the pup into your yard. Let him explore and mooch around and hopefully he will pee and poop. Then take him inside to explore. First, the room where his crate is. Ideally that will be the kitchen -- you want to be near a door to go straight into the yard. Keep him shut in that room (you'll also be in the room, obviously!) for a little while until he becomes familiar with his surroundings. Show him his food and water. Back out into the yard for a toilet break, then into the crate for a nap. THEN let him explore the rest of the house.
Basically, you want to take the pup outside after every nap, every time he eats and any time he moves around a lot -- during play for example. The more you take him out = less accidients.
I would also look for and sign up for a basic obedience class.
Make sure you 'search' for any questions you can think of on the forum -- there probably hasn't been a single subject that hasn't been covered on here at some point!
Yes, you should feed him what the breeder is feeding intially. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if for some reason you want to change, waiting a few months is best.
We just got our little bundle three weeks ago...we prepared by reading...reading....reading....so, I'm going to recommend these books:
The Culture Clash--Jean Donaldson
Labrador Retrievers for Dummies (seriously..it's easy to read and gives good tips on how to train behaviors)
I've also read tons of the posts on this website and other articles/books. The pet store had a Terra-Nova book "The Labrador Retriever" that was helpful.
Also, I held Sophie in my lap for the ride home. She fell asleep in my arms and she didn't whine a bit. Remember, she's as scared as you are!
We also have her crate in our bedroom (for the time being) so we can get up and take her out during the night. It makes it a lot easier for us.
We are also told by our breeder and vet not to let her interact with other dogs before she gets her last set of shots (at about 12-13 weeks old). She's just had her second set and in three weeks she gets her third. That also means no walks to the park or anywhere else where she can come in contact with "other" dog pee/poop. She can get parvo or someother virus/parasite from it even if it's been there awhile.
If you haven't already done so, ask your friends and neighbors who they use for their vet. It's really a lot like looking for a pediatrician...
I would also NOT recommend one of those retractable leads with the nylon end. Sophie chewed through hers. We do use the nylon collar though. Today, I went out and bought an actual chain lead with a nylon wrist strap to clip to her collar. I did not purchase a chain choke collar.
We still feed her what the breeder was feeding..not a big deal to keep going with that, and she's used to it.
She will also need to sleep a lot--like a new baby--our typical day is:
Get up at 6 am to potty and eat breakfast
Play until 7:15
Nap until 8:15 or so
Potty right after nap
Nap again around 10 or so
Eat lunch @ 12
Eat Dinner @ 6 pm
Go to bed at 10:30
You get the idea.....lol!
Another thing we've done is come up with a list of commands so that everyone is on the same page with what we are teaching her:
Off (off furniture, people, etc)
Go Potty (for when we take her outside to potty)
I think you can use whatever commands you think are appropriate, just make sure everyone is using the same ones. Plus there's a ton of others that we haven't gotten to yet like "heel", "with me", or "wait".
Since you said 'we' I assume you will be picking him up with someone. Do NOT crate him on the way home! He is going to be a little freaked out and the last thing you need is him to be howling away back in your trunk. Start bonding with him!For instance, for the ride home, does he need to be crated or can we hold him?
Depending on how long the drive home is, DO arm wrestle with your spouse about swapping off driving and squeezing responsibilities.
Yes! This exactly the kind of info we needed - especially the daily schedule. It's one thing to read about training (and we do have several books), but so much more helpful to read about actual day to day stuff, especially at the beginning. Indymom, since you're 3 weeks into the home stage, I'm curious to know how the training, both commands and potty, is going.
As for the car ride home, no sharing! I figure with a husband and two kids, it'll be my only chance for some puppy love!
Bonding with your dog is not holding it in your lap, who told you that?