Bringing puppy home
Q: I’m bringing home a new puppy soon. Is there anything I need to do to get ready?
A: Yes! A puppy means a big change in your life and it helps to be prepared. Taking time now to plan and get things in order will make a big difference in the long run.
Start out by being prepared and ready
The first weeks of your new puppy’s life with you will be busy and demanding. There may be times when you wonder if getting a puppy was such a good idea. Things will go better if you have patience and keep your sense of humor. Remember that puppyhood only happens once. The extra effort you put into it now will pay off in the future.
What you’ll need
Get the supplies and equipment you’ll need. Here’s a list:
- Wire or plastic dog crate
- Easily washable, hard-to-destroy bedding material, imitation sheepskin works well, tip-proof, stainless steel or hard plastic food & water dishes.
- Buckle puppy collar & lead; I like the harness types.
- ID Tag with your phone number to wear on the collar
- a collection of high quality, safe chew toys.
- a quality brand of dry puppy food.
- Vicks Vaporub or “Bitter Apple”, a safe spray-on product to discourage chewing on inappropriate objects.
- a wire, wooden or plastic “baby gate” for blocking doorways.
I like the airline approved travel crates best. They are perfect for the car, trips to the vet, and our Frenchies love having their naps in there. This can work as your indoor crate too for short intervals when tradies/gardeners are working inside. The crates I use are approx 60cm x 45cm x 45cm.
Note: Most of these items can be found on eBay or Amazon for a fraction of the price of Pet Stores.
Puppies love the toys that have treats inside. This is the Kong brand but there’s so many to choose from. Tip: Leave them in the dry food bag overight.
Note: Our puppies have been raised with Hills Science Diet Puppy biscuits, and we will provide you with a kickstart puppy pack.
Warning: When buying your puppy soft cuddly toys make sure there are no plastic parts. Eg the buttons or eyes of a stuffed toy can be chewed off and choke your puppy.
DO NOT buy cheap toys from the discount dollar shop. Frenchies will rip those apart and plastic/rubber will end up in their digestive system.
Puppy-proof your home.
Raising a puppy is a lot like raising small children — they get into everything! Some of what they get into can be hazardous to their health or to your possessions. You can make life safer for the puppy and your furniture by getting rid of hazards and temptations ahead of time.
To a puppy, the world is brand new and fascinating! He’s seeing it all for the very first time and absolutely everything must be thoroughly investigated. Puppies do most of their investigating with their mouths — “Look at this! What is it? Something to eat? Something to play with?” Murphy’s Law says that a puppy will be most attracted to the things he should least have — electrical cords, the fringe on your expensive oriental rug, your brand new running shoes, anything thats labelled ‘Prada’ etc.
Preventing destructive and dangerous chewing is easier than trying to correct the puppy every second. Look around your home. What objects could be put up out of the way of a curious puppy? Bitter Apple spray or Vicks VapoRub can be applied to furniture legs, woodwork and other immovable items. Are there rooms your puppy should be restricted from entering until he’s better trained and more reliable? Install a baby gate or keep the doors to those rooms closed.
Take a walk around your yard looking for potential hazards. If your yard is fenced, check the boundaries and gates for openings that could be potential escape routes. Puppies can get through smaller places than an adult dog. If your yard’s not fenced, make a resolution right now that your puppy will never be allowed to run off lead without close supervision. He won’t ever know enough to look both ways before crossing the street to chase a squirrel. Keep him safe by keeping him on leash!
Use a schedule
Work out a schedule for you and the puppy. Housetraining is much easier when the puppy’s meals, exercise and playtimes are on a regular schedule throughout the day. Housebreaking is a whole subject in itself, one there isn’t time for in today’s short column. Google has a gazillion online puppy care & training pages and should have a section on housebreaking with suggestions and a recommended schedule. Read through it and create a game plan before the puppy arrives. Many people like to bring their puppies home on a weekend in order to devote extra time to settling in and housebreaking those first few days.
Everybody needs their own place
Decide where to put the dog crate, and have it set up and ready for his arrival. Where to keep the crate will depend on what’s most convenient for you as well as the puppy’s response. Many puppies don’t like to be isolated in one part of the house while their family is in another but some puppies won’t settled down in their crates if there’s too much activity going on around them. You might have to experiment with different locations until you learn what works best for both you and the puppy.
Visit your vet
Make an appointment with your veterinarian to give the puppy a complete checkup within 24 hours of your purchase. If you don’t have a vet yet, ask the breeder or local kennel club for a recommendation. Although the puppy has most likely been health-checked by the breeder (or should’ve been!), an exam is additional security against health defects, problems that weren’t apparent the first time. You can also discuss the ongoing worming and vaccinations required, recommended diet, and general care information including flea and tick prevention.
Note: You will not be able to take your puppy to parks and public gardens until after their final vaccinations become effective. Please discuss with your vet before unleashing puppy to public areas.
Use your puppy’s breeder as a valuable resource for advice and information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The breeder wants your relationship with your puppy to be successful and can offer many tips based on years of experience.
And more handy hints
Collars and harness
There’s alot of available brands out there, and “Frenchie-Bulldog” brand of harness has become very popular in Australia.
This cotton multiple snap hook leash is my favourite. With the multiple hooks I can quickly snap lock puppy securely or adjust leash length in one click.
These are all harmful to your dog:
- Peach/Apricot Pits
- Green potato sprouts
- Macadamia Nuts
- Cooked Bones
These are the main and common foods but there are more, Google search will provide you with a more detailed list.
The Pigs Ears treat and other large chewy animal skin type products are a big NO NO for Frenchies, as they often gulp instead of chew their food. This is a major choke hazard for French Bulldogs.
Now, about the bones. Cooked bones are completely banned, NO!
But raw bones & chicken necks, Ive read, and heard from different vets, very conflicting advice. Some have said that bones are great, helps them with their teeth and cleaning, others have said it can damage their teeth, the marrow causes other issues etc. Same goes with deer antlers – very mixed advice. I’ll let you speak to your vet about this one.
I did recently read a vet newsletter claiming chicken necks are extremely dangerous, for choking incidents and more recently a bacterial issue which had serious consequence – google that one!
For our adult Frenchies, our vet advised to stop feeding them fatty brisket bones, and instead give them a whole femur bone, uncut, which helps clean their teeth whilst gnawing and no access to the inner marrow.
This is maybe the hottest topic across Frenchie forums. Highly debated subject – Ive heard of all sorts of things, grain free, home cooked, raw only food, even vegetarian diets! What?!
I dont know about the above, but I am a believer of science. With food, the advice given to me by every vet was identical. Give them only the premium brand dry food which are scientifically balanced as a complete diet eg Hills Science Diet, Black Hawk, Royal Canin etc. We have strictly followed this advice and never, ever, had an allergy or excema or any type of food reaction. Considering the biggest discussion from new dog owners is allergies (which are nearly always food related), Im not changing brands!
Stick to the correct amount advised on the bag, and your dog will be ok. This is much harder than seems. Your puppy will always give you sad starvation feed-me eyes. But an overweight Frenchie will cause you alot of vet visits.
When you get home, your little puppy will nearly always appear hungry. Use the dry food biscuits as rewards, encouragement, and for your puppy training. Remember that the recommended daily amount includes all the treats too.
Limit other types of treats, especially fatty type foods and avoid human type snacks. Remember, human food is not always safe or beneficial for puppies! When at parks or playgrounds, be cautious of others feeding your dog, especially kids wanting to give your puppy hot chips, chicken wing, or in our case, some youngsters nearly gave our dogs easter eggs! FYI chocolate is poison to dogs.
Feeding should be split up into at least three times a day. Their tummys are small but they will not stop eating, and over eating can end up being a vet emergency! Don’t let them fool you with those puppy eyes into unlimited free access to the food bag.
At feed times, little puppy will display a ferocious demolition of whatever is put infront of them, like a scene out of Jurassic Park. Frenchies tend to gulp their food, they rarely seem to stop, chew and enjoy the gastronimal sensation of their premium biscuits. Solution: the slow-bowl.
There’s lots to choose from but this will make puppy work for his food, reduce the gulping, and they love the challenge. Available at Pet stores and eBay.
Ask your vet for suggestions but these are few that are widely accepted as leading premium brands: Hills Science Diet, Royal Canin, Black Hawk. Make sure its the puppy mix and not the adult mix.
As your puppy finds its favourite wee spot, your grass and pot plants may start to wither. There is a product called Dog Rocks that apparently solves this. We live on a massive block so doesnt affect us but if you have a small lawn and puppy is a big wee machine, this might come in handy. Just place this rock in their water bowl. Available at Pet Barn and major pet stores.
The best time to start training your new puppy is as soon as they come home! Of course they need to have been vet checked and have had their first vaccinations, and, because they are not yet fully vaccinated, these classes are held indoors to allow for thorough cleaning.
Scientists tell us that the period from birth to 12–14 weeks is a very important time in a puppy’s life – it is when they are readily able to learn new things and the aim of our classes is to help owners ensure that they learn the things they will need to be a great companion. We also need to protect them from scary stuff, as they can readily learn to fear things at this age too!
Puppy school will teach you important management strategies and to use positive reinforcement to begin their training. Just like children at Kindy we are setting them on the right path to a lifetime of learning starting with simple behaviors like sit, lie down and go to your bed and settle. Other more complex exercises requiring a greater attention span will be included in the next step, Senior Puppy School. They will also learn to be calm around other people and puppies and to accept handling before they make their next trip to the vets.
And it’s not just the pups that will learn useful things – owner education topics include understanding your puppy, mouthing, toilet training and enrichment activities to suit every puppy.
Your vet will be able to suggest a good local puppy school.
This is a no brainer! Get Pet Insurance. There’s alot of insurance companies, although its widely accepted across social media & the vets I have spoken to that Petplan offers very comprehensive cover. Do a little research here.
We are registered with the Petplan Preferred Breeder Program, which will provide our new puppy owners with a 6 week free period of insurance. Contact us for full details. We will give you the policy number/details the day before you pickup your puppy. Please check the policy terms and conditions – if they are not suitable you will need to arrange alternative cover.
Your puppy’s ANKC purebred pedigree certificate & microchip documents are submitted at time of pickup. They will be updated by the registrar and posted back to you directly, and this process can take around 10 weeks.
You will need to register your puppy ownership with your local govt/council. Compulsory law.
If you live in an apartment type home, you may need to advise the Body Corporate.
Follow up and make sure your contact information has been updated in the microchip database in your state, eg https://www.petregistry.nsw.gov.au – this is very important as puppies will escape and the microchip information is used to find owners details. Your vet may be able to verify your contact details on the microchip database.
Enjoy your new puppy. Will be one of your greatest life adventures!