How to Prep for a Puppy
It's no secret (well unless you haven't seen my Instagram), my parents surprised me with a puppy for Christmas. I wanted a dog for a while. Now that I'm officially putting down roots in Atlanta, I thought it was time to make that dream a reality. Back in January, I got pick up Little Miss Briar Rose and my life definitely changed when adding her to it.
When it comes to puppy essentials, I didn't realize how many things I would need. Besides the typical items: toys, bed, crate, and bowels, I didn't realize these extra items are required. No one mentioned that I would have to wipe down the puppy's paws until they got their updated shots or puppy supplements. I thought it was time to organize the essentials and get down to business before my furry friend comes home in January. I made myself a checklist and I'm about to go over the essentials when shopping for these items.
Finding a vet and dog groomer: Though it might be a while until your puppy needs to get groomed, it's important to be already prepped by reading reviews of vet offices and groomers near you. The puppy will need additional vaccinations 3 weeks after pick up and continues ones for 4 months. How I found both a vet and a groomer was by first asking friends and local ATL groups where they go? From there, I read reviews on each location followed by calling them to check pricing. The two items should be done before getting the puppy because it does take a decent amount of research to decide.
Dog Food Holder: When comes to deciding on the best place to store the dog food, pick a place with a lot of room to scoop the dog food out. There are so many sizes of dog food holders now. Once you decide on the location, measure out space so you order the right size needed. I created a space in my cabnet to add medium size dog food holder. After 2 orders from Amazon of getting the right size, Amazon had great, inexpensive options.
Dog Bowls and Mat: Etsy and I have become BFFs when buying cute items for my puppy. Besides the travel bowels that you can get on Amazon for $20, it's important to have nice dog bowls and a mat underneath. These are items that are essentials for puppies every day. Also, don't you want it to match the decor of your place? I have a personalized mat that matches the decor of my apartment with white dog bowls. Eventually, you might have to get stand for the bowels as the dog gets bigger.
Washable Dog Bed: This item is key! As we know, it takes time to potty train a dog. There are going to be accidents, so it's better to be prepared. The dog bed is where the dog will be spending most of its time. If an accident were to occur, you should make sure that the dog bed is washable. The dog bed I purchased unzips so I can throw it into the washer. Did I mention it's a tempordic? Yes, my puppy is very much spoiled. Again, Amazon for the win! Also, make sure you buy products to remove pee stains from carpet and hardwood. Look for the brand Nature's Miracle because it gets rid of all dog odors.
Crate: A crate isn't a bad thing. The crate is suppose to be a safe place or a home for a growing puppy. Not a discipline tool. Make sure to get the right size based on their full size. Also, have a sheet that you can put on top of the crate for when it's bedtime. That's the puppy cue that it's time to go to bed. I won't deny though I didn't have Briar sleep in the crate. She has slept with me every night since I've gotten her. She was better in the crate when I was gone vs away. it's important to get special treats for the crate to make it a happy place. Now when I put Briar in the crate (when I'm home or way), she doesn't make a peep.
Prepare a schedule: Just like a human baby, a puppy needs a schedule. This helps with training. It took several days to get down to a pattern and learning how Briar's bladder operated. I would set a timer and up each week. The timer would go off and she knew it was time to go out. But that wasn't enough! She needed to communicate with me more. So, I added a bell chain to my door. A cheap order from Amazon, probably saved me from more accidents. Every time I took her out, I would take her paw to the bells signifying we are going out for a bathroom break. I didn't have to enforce with threats. She knew she rang the bell, I would open the door to take her out. It took at least 4 days until say got the hang of it. It was worth it. Did you know it takes 30-40 successful bathroom breaks for a dog to be potty trained? Found that out from puppy class and if she has one accident before the 30-40 times, guess what..... you have to start over.
A puppy training class: The first couple of weeks were tough. I don't drink coffee and the lack of sleep I was getting hit me hard. Briar would have good days of potty training followed by horrible ones. One accident after another. I found a puppy course that allowed 3 privates and 6 in-person courses. With the private courses, the trainer could see Briar's behavior at home and what her environment was like. She could see my frustration with the crate and potty training. She blew my mind with her knowledge and made me realize, I'm not the only one going through this. All her puppies she was training are too. Then at the 6-course puppy class, Briar gets to socialize with other puppies her age and get some of that wild engird out. That gives Momma a break! Make sure to have plenty of ranges of treats! Dogs can pick up on what are the common treats vs the BEST treats!
A harness and safety belt: For the day of pickup, we had a basket that latched to the car seat. We put a towel and toy in there. Everything was still too big for her to wear, but as she got bigger the need for a harness became dyer! The drive will decide if your puppy will get car sick or not. Briar didn't ever get car sick in the beginning. It came 3 months down the road, specifically driving on back roads. I finally got a harness that fit her that had a safety belt for the car. I noticed when I had her in the seat and latched in, she calmed down faster. She immediately would fall asleep in the first 5 minutes of driving. Amazon has some good options for these and pretty cheap. We got the car seat and safety belt from there. Highly recommend it because you can use both as they get bigger.
When I got Miss Briar Rose, I didn't know what to expect. I learned a lot after getting this ball of fluff. Patience was never my strongest attribute, but she is slowly teaching me. Dogs truly take the attitude of their owners. When I'm stressed, she's stressed. When I'm upset, she wants to comfort me. Though the first couple of months were rough, getting a puppy was truly a blessing. I know where I can always get a smile and a laugh every day. If you are considering getting a fluff ball yourself, make sure to create that checklist! It will be your lifeline before pick-up day!