Once the decision has been made to buy a dog it is necessary to prepare for its arrival and buy the equipment beforehand. At the very least the new dog or puppy will require a feed bowl, water bowl, collar and lead, dog food, a dog bed and some suitable dog toys.
It will also be necessary to decide how to travel with home with the dog or puppy so that a dog guard or travel harness for the car or a travel box can be purchased prior to collecting the dog or puppy.
It is also necessary to consider the home environment and make any changes necessary before picking up the dog or puppy.
If buying a puppy, it is best to look around the house from floor level for the following dangers and remedy:
- Electric cables that a puppy may be able to chew
- Furniture that the puppy may be able to squeeze underneath and become trapped
- Objects that the puppy may be able to reach and chew or swallow
- Gaps in garden fencing, and gates that the puppy may be able to escape through
- Ensure that the puppy cannot fall climb up and fall down stairs by fitting stair guards
- Ensure there are no objects which could fall on the puppy within the house or garden
- Put up fencing around any garden hazards such as ponds or pools
If buying an older dog the above will also need to be considered but obviously a larger dog is less likely to be able to crawl under furniture, squeeze through small gaps, etc.
If buying a puppy a box or travel container will be needed in which to place the puppy while travelling. For older dogs a travel container, dog guard or car harness will be needed.
When collecting a puppy or dog it is a good idea to place old item of clothing with the dog or puppy as this will give it chance to get used to the scent of its new owner on the way home and is the start of getting the puppy or dog to feel comfortable with its new owner. A suitable toy should also be placed with the dog or puppy to take its mind off the journey.
A puppy unused to travelling may well urinate, defecate or vomit when travelling in the car and so it is wise to take paper or tissues for the journey as it may be necessary to stop and clean up the puppy and box or container. The puppy may well bark or whine at first, but if left alone it should then settle to sleep after a while.
On arrival home with a new dog or puppy it should be taken taken to the garden to relieve itself, unless strange dogs have had access to the garden in which case a puppy will need a "clean" spot where it can relieve itself until its first course of vaccinations have been completed. This could be some sheets of newspaper or puppy training pads placed by the door to the garden. When a puppy does relieve itself it should be praised as this is the first step to toilet training.
The dog or puppy should then be allowed to quietly investigate the home and members of the family. The temptation to fuss and "over crowd" the dog or puppy should be avoided, instead let it investigate and introduce itself at its own pace so that it can build up its confidence in its new environment. Remember this is a stressful time for a new puppy or dog - they have been taken away from familiar surroundings and moved to a new house with a new family and patience is needed.
If the dog is wary of approaching other members of the family a toy or treat should prompt them to investigate each member individually.
The dog or puppy should be introduced to other pets cautiously as older pets may resent the new addition or may harm the new dog, particularly a puppy with rough play unintentionally. With cats it is a good idea to trim the front claws before introducing them to a new puppy. It is best to supervise socialising with other pets for at least the first week.