A Checklist for Bringing Home a Puppy
If you have finally given in to your kids’ constant requests for a puppy, we are assuming that you have fully considered what is involved with dog ownership, as it does involve a high level of commitment and some sacrifices will have to be made. There are dog rescue facilities spread across Australia, to receive dogs that have been abandoned by their owner, usually through no fault of the dog, and the majority are there because the owner failed to fully understand what dog ownership involves. Once you are sure that you have what it takes to become a dog owner, here is a checklist of essential items that you will need to acquire before introducing a puppy into your home.
- Bedding – This will be his own personal space, and you can buy ready-made dog beds that are not only comfortable, they can easily be washed. You will need to decide exactly where his private space is, and this is where you should keep his food and water bowls, as well as his bedding.
- Food & Water Bowls – He should have his own bowls and he will always require water, while feeding should be at given times. It is usually best to feed him first thing in the morning and again in the evening. Treats are great for puppy training, but you do need to draw the line, and much like a child, there is always the risk of spoiling a puppy.
- Collar and Leash – His collar should be adjustable and never too tight, and his leash should be kept near the entrance, so he knows that this means exercise. You are also advised to buy a dog harness, which enables you to have more control that a leash attached to his collar, plus a strong dog can actually hurt himself if he pulls too hard on a leash that is attached to his collar.
- Health Care – An online search will quickly take you to a company that offers top pet insurance in Australia, where you can choose from a range of policies from basic emergency cover to something that is fully comprehensive. The puppy should be registered with your local vet within 7 days of arriving, and he needs to have his vaccinations and also a microchip inserted, in case you ever lose him.
- Rules – Dogs learn very quickly, providing you adopt consistent behaviour when teaching the puppy what he can and cannot do. The whole family should sit down and decide on the house rules, which might involve not allowing him up on the furniture, or restricting access to some rooms in the house. Whatever you decide, you should be consistent with the way you respond when he gets things wrong, and rewarding good behaviour really does help.
- Outdoor Training – It is not advisable to let the puppy off the leash until you are certain that you can get him to return to you, and regarding other dogs, some dogs are better than others at mixing with other dogs. The same goes for cats, as some dogs can’t seem to stop themselves from chasing cats, although a couple of encounters is usually enough for him to realise it is not a good idea.
Good behaviour should always be rewarded, and you should never hit the puppy, no matter what. A scowl is all it takes for him to understand you are not happy, and with consistent, repetitive behaviour, he will soon slot in to become an essential family member.