All the preparation has paid off and you’re home with your new puppy. This guide covers some of the things you’ll need to do now you have a dog, and some ideas you might like to consider.
What’s in a name?
Choosing a name can be a difficult decision. Finding a name that is attractive, individual and that still sounds good shouted called across the park can be tricky! For inspiration, you can use one of the wealth of pet name or baby name books available, or try looking at the numerous sites online.
Once you’ve decided on a name, it’s time for a name tag. This contains important contact details to help your pet get home if he’s lost. And don’t forget a collar to hang the tag from. The range of styles, colours and patterns are amazing. Most puppies start with a small collar and graduate to a larger one once they grow.
Make it official
If your dog already has a microchip implant, remember to update the ownership details. In addition, your local council can provide information and applications for council registration of your new dog.
Introduce the new family member
If you know your neighbours (and even if you don’t!) advising them that you have a new dog can be a good PR step. If you ask neighbours to let you know of any trouble, such as barking when you’re out, they are often more willing to work with you to solve problems than to lodge a complaint.
Unless you have a vast garden, some method of cleaning up and disposing of your dog’s waste will be required. A simple method is to simply collect the waste in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the rubbish. Dedicated dog waste disposal and composting units are another, environmentally sound, option. Portable plastic bag dispensers are easy to clip to a leash for responsible cleaning up after your pet while walking.
Guard his health
Now’s the time to make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss your new dog’s health care and plan vaccinations, microchipping and desexing. Pet insurance is available and an option many owners choose to cover both routine and unexpected health costs.
Have leash, will travel
Your dog will need a leash for walking. Some smaller, excitable dogs do better with a body harness than pulling on a collar. For car travel, special car harnesses that fit snugly around your dog’s chest and clip into a seat belt buckle are great to ensure your dog doesn’t leap around the car. It is an offence in some States and Territories in Australia to have an unrestrained dog in a vehicle, so check with your local authorities for the requirements. For short-coated dogs or in cold and rainy weather, a variety of coats, and even jumpers, are available to keep your dog warm and dry. There are designs ranging from sporty outdoors to high fashion to comical, so there’s something for every type of dog. Even dog boots, designed to protect feet from cold or harsh conditions are around.
Time for school
Explore the options in your area for puppy parties and further obedience training. Many veterinary clinics now run puppy classes for their clients, as do most obedience clubs. This is a great way to learn the puppy basics in a friendly environment while your puppy has the opportunity to mix with other dogs during his important socialisation period. Training classes provide a sound grounding for all dogs, teaching you and your dog to work together in a helpful environment. There are many high-quality books available on the topics of training, obedience and even tricks that, although they don’t provide the social aspects of classes, also provide a good guide for owners.
Out and about
Different councils, and even different parks, have different rules about where and when dogs can be taken for walks. Your local council can provide you with these details. It’s also worth investigating the parks in your local area to see what features they have. Some require you to keep your dog on leash, while others may allow off-lead exercise such as free running or chasing a ball. Also important is that you enjoy the parks you choose as well, as this is the start of a long friendship between you and your new dog.