Are you thinking about bringing home a puppy or rescue dog? There are many things you need to consider in selecting a new pet for your home, and I plan to write more on that later. This post will focus more on what you need to have the day you pick up your dog. Take into consideration the distance you will be traveling and plan accordingly for food and water. I had about a 3 hour drive home, so that meant at least one potty break for Bane. My kit included: leash, harness, poop bags, 3 types of toys (plush, rope, and rubber). I opted for a laundry basket over a crate for him to ride in. He actually did quite well in the laundry basket and alternated between sleeping and playing with his toys.
When we stopped about midway for the potty break, I realized two things. First, I should have fitted him in the harness before I even started driving home – you don’t want to do that on the fly when a puppy needs to eliminate. Second, puppies. chew. everything. Now, as a dog trainer I know this, but some how didn’t think it would apply to my little guy when it came to the harness and leash. My absolute recommendation to all clients from now on will be a chain leash, which is less fun to chew on. Luckily, I had one in my training bag at home, so we have been using that every since we stepped through the front door.
Next, make sure you have everything set up at home before you leave to pick up your puppy. Where is he going to go after you walk in the front door? Where will he sleep? Where will he eat and drink? Where do you want him to eliminate? Even if you have a plan in place, be prepared to adapt once you’ve gotten home and realize things may not be going as planned. Upon arriving at home, I took Bane straight into the back yard to eliminate again before heading into the house. I had an ex-pen set up with a puppy patch (artificial turf) and some additional toys to play with. He went inside that while I got his food and water prepared.
Having just left a litter of 8 as well as many other dogs and cats on the property, this was a pretty good jolt to his system, and there was a bit of crying. It didn’t help that my 6 yo female Newfie, Uka, had immediately decided she was not his biggest fan. She opted not interact with him, and I needed to respect that (much more on that later). So once I had his food and water ready, I placed it in the ex-pen with him. Next lesson learned – Bane likes the water bowl. A lot. Not so much to drink out of, but more to put his paws in and spill. See what I mean by adapting on the fly? New rule immediately instituted, use as small of a water bowl as possible and monitor him while it’s out. That means a lot of picking up and putting back down, but it is definitely worth it for the time being.
Thus concludes my first hour at home with Bane. Stay tuned for upcoming posts on how he did his first night, his potty training, my initial training sessions with him, and his first vet visit.