So you've weighed up the pros and cons and have decided to get yourself a fur baby! Here's what to expect now...
If you've read my previous blog of things to consider when getting a puppy you would have seen the positives and negatives of getting one, here I'm going to elaborate on a few points from that blog what to expect next.
1. Invest in pipe insulation!
We bought some pipe insulation to tape round the legs of our furniture to stop Molly from chewing them and it worked! It protected them and kept her away from them. It was only when we took them off she started using the furniture as a teething toy. We bought a chew stopper spray too which sort of did the trick but the one key bit of advice I can give you is move any loved pieces of furniture out of the house to make sure he or she doesn't get to it!
2. Don't let them out for a wee too often.
When they establish that going outside is a good thing and they'll get praised for it they'll start crying by the back door to go out. To begin with it's a good idea as part of their toilet training to make sure they go outside and give them treats after they've done their business outside and definitely praise them when they ask to go out. After a few weeks it would be a good idea to stop them from going out every time they ask as they need to learn how to hold it in. As I was constantly at home with Molly for the first few months, every time she asked to go out I would open the door and let her out but when I went back to work there were more accidents in the house because she wasn't used to holding it in.
3. There will never be a dull moment in the house with a puppy!
They provide hours of endless entertainment! Molly has got so much character and a hell of a lot of energy so even if I don't have a lot of energy she gives me motivation to get up and play with her. Make sure when you have your puppy you spend a few hours a day playing with them, it helps them understand the meaning of play and stimulates their mind.
4. Start with short walks, then week by week increase the length of your daily walks.
At first, he or she will not understand the concept of walks. I tried lead training Molly in the house and garden in the weeks running up to her final injections to try and get her used to the lead and she hated every second of her being on the lead. When we took her out for her first walk she was completely confused and didn't quite understand why Connie was getting so excited. It's important to keep in mind that puppies get worn out very easily, so when you first go for a walk it's important to keep it short but sweet. They won't understand the sound of cars, people, children or sometimes the weather (Molly wasn't a fan of rain!) In the next few weeks he or she will get more energy so you can take them out on longer walks and hopefully by then they will know that walks are fun!
5. Expect your pup to get filthy!
During wet weather, fields get so muddy that as soon as your pup walks on it they aren't a cute little ball of fluff - they're a total mess! There's no point stressing about it! If you don't have time to bath them when you get back, wipe them down with a towel then he or she will clean themselves! Luckily Molly loves a bath so we can just bung her in the tub when she gets like this, then she looks beautiful again!
6. Don't punish them too much.
In my previous blog I wrote about getting your pup to learn the meaning of no very quickly. I'm lucky in the sense that I was able to teach Molly no while I was at home but when they do something wrong, don't hit them or they'll just end up being frightened of you. Instead of loosing your temper, bring them over to what it is they've done, point at it and say 'NO' very sternly. Molly also understands I'm upset with her if I say "whats this?" I'll point at something she's done if she's across the room and say those two magic words and she'll go on her bed and feel sorry for herself for a while. I know how easy it is to loose your temper with your puppy if they're constantly disobeying you, but reality is they are just babies that will take time to know what's right and wrong.
7. Get that routine nailed!
Had we not of got Connie, then Molly wouldn't have slept through the night, she loved snuggling up to Connie. She's also learnt so much from her during training! It's so important that if their crying all the time for attention, they need to know that they'll get the attention when your ready. Remember you own the dog, the dog doesn't own you! As soon as you've established a form of routine, they'll get themselves settled at bed time without you. If they are still struggling to sleep at night, wrap the blanket you got from the breeder with the mums scent on it around an alarm clock and leave it in her bed, the sound reminds her of her mums heartbeat and it will help her sleep.
Its been a roller coaster ride getting a puppy, but I don't regret it. I still have a long way to go before she's 100% toilet trained, and learns that furniture isn't a teething toy but she's only 7 months old, her and Connie have made this house feel like a proper home!