Oh hey Bobby!
As so many of you have got in touch to ask about Bobby’s arrival and the steps we took for preparing for him to join our little family, I thought I would put a post together.
There’s also lots of bits and bobs I have bought to share with you that might be helpful. So much has changed in 12 years since we welcomed Alf to our family. There is so much to learn and of course we haven’t raised a puppy before so as you can imagine there has been lots of reading.
I will admit to feeling a little overwhelmed at first, and then very quickly realised that I felt the same when looking at what we needed to welcome a baby into our little family. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need everything when in actual fact that just isn’t the case. I think we’ve done quite well in our planning.
Before you start preparing for a puppy I would really consider your options. Whether you rescue a dog or approach a breeder. Both routes take a lot of planning and being a dog owner is a huge commitment. There’s a financial implication, a duty of care with regards to their health and upbringing as well as .what happens when you’re at work and out of the country on holiday. Mr H and I have grown up as dog owners and will always welcome a furry baby into our home.
We rescued Alfie, he was 1 year old when we found him and absolutely will rescue again however this time we wanted to raise a puppy together as a family. If you are considering a puppy then I would research dog breeders and be prepared to travel. I would also ask for recommendations from friends. Our breeder was recommended to us as she doesn’t always advertise. Research is key here. There has been a rise in ‘puppy farms’ selling imported dogs with very sad endings since lockdown. Ensure you visit the breeder before the day you pick up a puppy and accept nothing less than this.
And now on to the fun part, the research and planning that goes into…
Preparing for a puppy
1. Consider crate training – I will admit to feeling very unsure about this. It doesn’t seem very nice at all. But from what we’ve been told and read this is the best way to settle in a puppy. We never did this with Alf but also I don’t believe it was even a thing 12 years ago. We cover our crate with a blanket, he feels safe and secure and sleeps well. Our breeder also introduced a crate after week 6.
2. Chewing – we know that it’s likely Bobby will chew. On the recommendation of friends and after speaking to our breeder we bought an antler chew and a wooden stick were first in our toolbox. Both natural and help with teething. With the aim of these being chewed with instead of my skirting boards. I purchased ours from a local pet store Hounds.
3. Toys – always a treat going shopping for dog toys. We like to visit a local garden centre which is owned by a family. Although I think we’ve been rather sensible we have indulged. Mainly sticking to Kong toys and adding in a few soft teddies. Kong toys are our favourites as generally we find them hard wearing however we also like the Beco Pets toys.
4. Car seat – I remember thinking is there even such a thing? Yes there is a Dog Car Seat. And actually it makes perfect sense for ensuring your puppy and growing dog feel safe and are secure when travelling. It’s a great invention and turns into a seat cover which will be very useful. I can imagine it will really help Bobby when we travel to Devon as it’s a long journey.
5. Diet – our breeder sent Bobby home with some feed. He’s currently on a diet of Alpha Sporting Puppy with some raw mince beef and chicken carcasses every few day’s. We’ll be maintaining this diet as well as introducing raw egg. Apparently dogs love raw egg and the shell! Who knew? I have looked into a fully raw diet, I’m not sure just yet. It’s a big step. We will offer frozen carrot and cucumber as treats. Which are also great for teething.
6. Exercise – as Alf came to us at the age of 1 year we didn’t realise that you can’t exercise puppy’s for more than 5 minutes per month in age. So for us and on the guidance of our breeder and vet we’ll be taking two short walks a day initially with lots of playtime in the garden. Once he’s had his 10 weeks injection that is. We are determined to socialise Bobby as we didn’t realise the importance of doing so previously and sadly couldn’t take Alf with us on days out.
7. Activities to prevent boredom – I didn’t know about this either. Although I wish I had known as Alf would have loved this. We’ve purchased a Kong classic treat – to store paste in or biscuits which we will also freeze. We have a lick mat also which we’ll use with either paste, wet kibble or yoghurt. All frozen. Then there’s the snake, which you pop kibble or biscuits in, you can give it as one of their meals – they have to work for their food. Again the idea behind it is him trying to figure out how to get the food out. And lastly we have a bone shaped puzzle where we’ll pop healthy treats under and he has to figure out where they are.
8. Essentials – of course you need food and water bowls, poo bags, puppy pads (we have opted to toilet train outside straight away), blankets, beds (our breeder gave us a section of the bed he slept on for comfort). Then there’s a lead, harness and collar. We have opted for the Doodlebone harnesses to start with and matching lead. We will eventually move on to a collar.
With all the above I feel like I’ve gone back to my A-Level Psychology lectures! I am determined to trust the process and will enjoy seeing how Bobby engages, reacts and develops.
And that’s how we have been preparing for a puppy. Do you have any tips you can share with me?
If you would like to follow Bobby’s adventures then do pop over to his Insta page. Yes that’s right he has his own account, I was really mindful about spamming my followers with puppy pictures and updates.