Are you about to welcome a puppy into your life? Our new columnist Nick Roberts shares the trials and tribulations of bringing home his new puppy Otto, a rather rascally miniature Dachshund. First up –the essential puppy checklist!
Meet Otto. He’s a chocolate miniature Dachshund and my hairy new son. You’ll be getting to know a lot about this little rascal as I will be providing you with regular updates of life with a puppy.
This is not intended to be an expert’s guide to bringing up a pooch properly, just a regular couple (me and my wife Emma) giving a little dog a loving home. Your comments and advice are welcome and we hope these updates help you if you are thinking of getting a puppy, or have just got one and are fumbling through life as a new pet owner.
So, the preparation begins. Our lives are going to change drastically when the pitter patter of four tiny paws echo through our flat, so it makes sense to get ourselves ready. Here’s out 10 essentials to organise before Otto joins our family:
To crate or not to crate. Some people feel the crate provides a dog with a little sanctuary, helps them settle quicker and makes for easier transportation, particularly if you are planning to take your dog on long journeys. We will be using a bed for Otto, something simple and and made from a durable plastic initially. This is more of a personal preference because it’s easy to clean and offers the puppy freedom to roam about.
We know from having a dachshund previously that they like to burrow, so lots of blankets will allow him to create his own little den. We are going for quantity over quality initially, just in case of accidents or chewing, so even if the blankets are ruined, fresh ones readily available will ensure Otto always has a nice, cosy bed.
3. BEARS & CUDDLY STUFF
The final part of the nesting trilogy. Otto has been used to a cosy bed filled with his brothers and sisters. He’s coming home to a strange house with strange people and, even though we would love to have them all, no other dogs. Some durable fluffy pals he can interact with will certainly help him settle in. Our breeder has told us she will give us something with the smell of the house he was born in, which she tells us will provide him some comfort too.
Another item at the bottom of Maslow’s pyramid, a reference for all you psychology students, but well worth researching. The breeder has told us to feed the puppy what she has and then make a transition over to your preferred food. We have chosen to feed him Lily’s Kitchen as we like what the company stands for -their food is made from proper ingredients, is largely organic and grain free, they use recyclable packaging, and you can pick it up in most supermarkets.
Something else you may want to research. Do you know any other dog owners in your area? Who do they use and do they like them? Our previous dog suffered from skin allergies, so we were at the vets quite a lot with him. Because of that, we are going to a vet we did not use previously.
6. PUPPY PADS
Fact of life – dogs like to pee and poo. Making sure they don’t do this wherever they like is one of the first jobs you’ll have as a dog owner. If you have a garden and your puppy has had the relevant injections you may be able to get them used to the garden immediately, however we live in a first floor flat, so puppy pads are a great way to help your dog know where to do his business (we hope!)
7. PET INSURANCE
You will get four weeks pet insurance with a Kennel Club registered puppy, however uninsured dogs will cost you a LOT of money should anything unfortunate happen. It’s definitely worthwhile going for lifetime cover that will continue to pay out for ongoing conditions. We’ve learnt from experience that dogs with long-term conditions can have you spending a fortune on their wellbeing once they are no longer covered.
Otto is going to be a lively little lad so its best we give him something to keep him occupied. We have got some durable little tennis balls to chase and something for him to chew.
We’ll want to start teaching him some things before puppy classes (stay tuned for future updates on these), and treats are a good way to help reward good behaviour. We’re brand loyal so are going with Lily’s Kitchen treats again – they do good everyday treats and a night time treat that helps him get to sleep.
Despite what the good people of Cincinnati will have you believe with their annual Weiner Dog Race, Dachshunds are not the fastest dogs in the world. A short lead will suffice, should Otto’s hound instinct take him off after one scent or other. We are also going with a harness, as a properly fitted one can ease potential back issues common in Dachshunds.
So there we have it. I hope that’s covered everything but if you think my list of essentials is not complete, feel free to add. We could do with all the help we can get!
Will our dream pooch become a furry little nightmare? Will our best-laid puppy plans go to woofy waste? Look out for more ‘pupdates’ once Otto arrives at his new home.