Taking Puppy Home
Preparing for the Big Day
Shopping for your new puppy can be enormous fun, but also unnecessarily expensive.
You do not need to spend a fortune in order to make your puppy feel welcome when you bring him home but there are some things you will need to buy. It is worth shopping around for more costly items, and often online shopping can save you a few pounds.
Things you may need:
A crate (if you have decided to crate train your puppy):
A 36″ crate should see you through from puppyhood to adulthood, even for the larger Cockapoos. A crate this size gives you room to have a bed at one end and a “toilet” area away from your puppy’s bed. It also gives your puppy room to stretch and play if crated for a while during the daytime. Some crates come with dividers, so you can shrink it to make it cosy for when they are a puppy. Place the crate somewhere that the puppy can be near you but also where it can have some peace and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the home, such as in a quiet corner of a room. Remember the crate is your puppy’s sanctuary so discourage children from climbing in it.
Vet bed is very popular. It is cosy, comfortable, robust, relatively puppy proof, comes in a variety of colours and is easily washed and dried. An alternative which can be used with or without the vet bed is a small soft bed. However, be prepared for your puppy to chew through these!
These can be used in a crate, by the door or any other suitable location to encourage your puppy to toilet where you want it to. You can also use newspaper but this may well get shredded! Pad holders can be bought if your puppy tries to tear up pads, or in order to make a more defined toilet area.
Some owners prefer not to use anything as it may encourage the puppy to go to the toilet rather than ‘hang on’.
A heatpad or waterbottle wrapped in a towel will keep your puppy cosy, and a ticking clock or radio on low may provide comfort too.
It is recommended that you initially use the same food that the puppy comes home with, in order to avoid an upset tummy during their first few days with you. Once they seem more settled, you can gradually introduce a new type of food into their diet. There are many different types of dog food available. Please see the Feeding section for more details.
Food and water bowls:
Pet shops sell bowls in the bird section which clip onto the side of the crate to save spillages. They also sell a variety of normal dog bowls that can be used for water or food, including a Spaniel bowl that is designed in a way to reduce the dog’s ears from getting soiled by the food or water.
Packaged treats are good, although sometimes expensive. Alternatively, use small cut up pieces of chicken, hotdogs, dried liver or cheddar cheese.
These provide something to chew on and are essential if you want to prevent the puppy from chewing your furniture. A variety of textures, styles and sizes is recommended to keep your puppy interested. Some owners keep a toybox, so the puppy can choose what he/she wants to play with. Others keep the toys out of sight and rotate them every day so that the puppy doesn’t get bored with them.
Filled with soft cheese/peanut butter/dog food/treats etc. If you need/want to leave a puppy, leave them with a filled kong as this will keep them entertained. Freezing it beforehand is a good idea as this will be good for them whilst they are teething and will make it last longer.
Collar, tag and lead:
Some choose to purchase their puppy’s collar before they have them, others choose to wait until they have their puppy to ensure they get the correct fit. It is a legal requirement to have a tag with the owner’s details on it incase the puppy gets lost or strays. Adding the puppy’s name to the tag is not recommended.
Harness or car carrier/crate:
There are a variety of options on offer to make transporting your puppy safe and easy. Choose one that suits you, your vehicle and your puppy.
Soft brush and/or comb:
It is recommended that, even though your puppy won’t require grooming at first, you regularly brush them to get them used to being groomed and handled. A simple soft brush and/or comb will be sufficient for the first few months.
There will come a time when you will need to bath or shower your puppy. Some owners choose to do this regularly. Others only do it occasionally, or when the need arises. Either way, when the time comes, a dog shampoo and conditioner will be required. Products designed for human use are not recommended as they are not compatible with flea treatment and may strip the coat of its essential oils.
Kitchen towel for clearing up accidents. Biological washing powder does the same job as odour remover at a fraction of the price.
Some owners use a spray to encourage the puppy to toilet in a specific place.
Things your breeder may send you home with:
Food that the puppy has been weaned onto, usually enough to last a few days, although it’s always a good idea to have a supply of food available.
A toy with scent from the puppy’s mum and littermates on.
Some breeders may choose to include other things in their puppy pack.
Puppy proofing the house and garden:
Small puppies can squeeze through very small holes and gaps, and cockapoo puppies are quite small under all that fluff!
Check the boundaries in your garden are secure, and decide which areas (if any) of the house are to be out of bounds. Stairgates are very useful in doorways as well as on the stairs. You may decide to use a puppy pen in addition to the crate if your puppy is to be left alone for long periods of time, or you may choose to leave them in a room(s) secured by a stairgate.
Your puppy may well sleep for much of the journey, and will happily sleep or sit on a lap (assuming there are two of you!), in which case you’ll want a blanket/towel and a spare just in case…
Alternatively you can use a small pet carrier/crate/box to transport your puppy home.
If you have a long journey you may want to take a tray with you that is lined with a puppy pad or newspaper in case your puppy needs the toilet. You should not place your puppy on the ground as he/she has not yet been fully vaccinated. If you need to stretch your legs, carry your puppy. Take water and a bowl with you too, although you probably won’t want to give your puppy much in the way of treats, in case he’s sick.
The first day and night:
If possible, arrange to collect your puppy from the breeder earlier rather than later in the day, so you have more time to settle him at home before bedtime. Try to resist having everyone in your extended family, and all of your and your children’s friends round as a welcoming committee, as your puppy needs time to adjust to the huge change in his life, and needs time to get used to his new surroundings and meet all the significant people and other pets in his new home. Introduce other pets gently and gradually, don’t force the issue, as first impressions count! Toilet training should start straight away, whether you are using puppy pads/newspaper or are encouraging them to go straight outdoors.
Let your puppy explore the parts of the house he is allowed in, and show him his crate or bed. Try to persuade him to go in there during the day, so it is not so strange at night. If you are using a crate, you may wish to feed him in there at first so that he sees it as a positive place to be.
At bedtime, you will hopefully have decided whether you are going to take the “leave him to cry” approach, or “get up and let him out to toilet” approach in the night. There is no right or wrong way; it is an individual decision. However, puppies are unable to ‘hold on’ for lengthy periods of time, so if you decide to leave him, place a puppy pad/newspaper in the crate or by the bed, and be consistent in leaving him to cry. Your puppy may be dry from the first night, after a few days, or weeks, or months…..all is normal.
Be patient, and remember how tiny your puppy is. You will be amazed at how quickly he becomes part of your family, and how quickly he learns. Cockapoos love to be loved, and have a lot of love to give – be prepared to have a little shadow attached to your leg every time you move, and be careful not to trip over him! Do leave him little and often so that he gets used to his own company and doesn’t cry endlessly every time you have to leave him. If you cannot avoid leaving him for a few hours, try to arrange for someone to come in and be with him so that he has some company, and is able to go outside to the toilet. Take him with you wherever and whenever you can, including in the car so that he gets used to this form of travel. Ensure you carry him before he is allowed out for walks, and introduce him to as many new experiences that you can. Above all, enjoy your gorgeous bundle of fluff, who will soon grow into the best lifelong companion you could wish for.