An almond Cockapoo puppy curled up in his bed asleep

So, you’re considering adding a furry bundle of joy to your family? The allure of a puppy is undeniable, but before you take the plunge, have you considered all the factors involved? Bringing a puppy into your home is a significant responsibility, one that requires careful consideration and preparation.

As someone who embarked on this journey with my beloved Cockapoo, Schlappohr, back in 2019, I understand the excitement and trepidation that comes with this decision. Reflecting on my own experiences, I aim to guide you through the essential aspects to contemplate before, during, and after welcoming a new puppy into your life.

In this article, we’ll embark on a journey together, exploring vital topics such as the financial implications, breed considerations, lifestyle adjustments, and the necessary preparations to ensure a smooth transition for both you and your new furry companion. Along the way, I’ll sprinkle in a few snapshots of Schlappohr, adding a touch of warmth and charm to the discussion.

So, let’s delve into the world of puppy parenthood, armed with knowledge and enthusiasm, to make this journey as joyful and fulfilling as possible. Whether you’re a seasoned dog owner or a first-time puppy parent, this guide is designed to equip you with the insights and advice needed to embark on this heartwarming adventure with confidence and love.

Before Getting a New Puppy

Cost

Sorry to start this off on the topic of money, but it’s very important to consider whether you can afford a dog. There’s the initial cost of buying the puppy from the breeder, which could be a few hundred pounds up to a few thousand. And then there’s the ongoing costs associated with owning a dog.

These costs will of course vary around the country so I just want to give you a few things to consider so that you can properly research the costs.

Some of these will be obvious, but others less so. Food and bowls. Toys. Lead and collar. A bed and/or crate. Brush and shampoo. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Poo bags. A restraint for the car. Insurance. Vet bills. Vaccinations, and flea and worming treatments. Dog training classes.

And what about when you go away? If you can’t take your dog with you, you may need to use kennels or a dog sitter. And if you go to work, maybe a dog walker.

It might be helpful to do some rough calculations on how much your monthly outgoings will be.

Breed

Have you researched the breed you’re thinking of getting? It’s all very well picking a breed that you like the look of but you should also consider the characteristics of that breed to ensure the dog will fit in with your lifestyle.

Think about the size of the dog when it’s fully grown. A small, cute puppy won’t always be that small! If you live in a small flat, a large breed is probably not appropriate. If you get a breed that requires lots of exercise, do you have the time to give them that?

Cockapoo puppy asleep in his owner's arm while his owner is working at the computer
Schlappohr asleep in my arm whilst I was working from home!

Lifestyle

Getting a new puppy is a big lifestyle change and something not everyone fully thinks through. Dogs are a time commitment; from the new puppy who needs to be trained and helped to settle into their new life, to the fully grown dog who needs daily exercise and enrichment.

Are you out at work all day or travel lots? Look into dog walkers and sitters who can look after your dog when you’re not able to. Do you have any big lifestyle changes in the near future? Perhaps welcoming a new baby into the household. Think about what impact this might have on your new dog.

Two cockapoo puppies playing at the park
Schlappohr making friends at doggy day care

I realise I might be sounding overly negative. I’m not trying to be! Getting a dog is amazing and full of positives. I just want to help you consider everything that comes with owning a dog.

Vet/Insurance

It’s worth deciding on which vet you’re going to register your dog with before you pick them up. Think about how far you’ll need to travel to see the vet. Also look at where your nearest emergency 24 hour vet is. Hopefully you’ll never need to use them, but it’s worth knowing where they are in the case of an emergency.

Living in London I was lucky to have several vets nearby to choose from. But I asked for feedback from local dog owners and read reviews, before deciding to register Schlappohr with Poplar Vets.

It’s also a good idea to have insurance in place when you pick up your new puppy. There are different types of insurance, including Lifetime and Annual so consider which is best for you. Vets bills can run into many thousands, so I really do recommend taking out insurance. You may find your vet offers free introductory insurance plan for a few weeks.

Preparing to Bring your New Puppy Home

So you’ve done all the boring homework and research and finally you’re about to bring your new puppy home. The excitement is building! Let’s go through some final steps to get your home ready for the new addition.

Puppy Checklist

You might find it helpful to create a checklist so that you don’t forget something that your new puppy is going to need. Before I picked Schlappohr up I had a rather big delivery of supplies. I’ve mentioned a lot of these in the Cost section above – bed, food, lead, collar, poo bags, etc. Tick off your checklist as you go!

Cockapoo puppy hiding behind his owner's leg on his first walk outside
A rather nervous Schlappohr on his first walk

Space

Create a space in your house or flat that will become the dog’s safe space. Whether you want to use a crate, or just a dog bed, is up to you. But it’s important that a dog, particularly when they’re a puppy, has a space that they can go to and rest, sleep, feel safe in and not be disturbed.

Puppy-Proofing

Your new puppy is going to be very inquisitive of their new home! And they’re not going to know what’s safe and what’s dangerous. So think about puppy-proofing your home. That may mean boxing in cables, putting harmful cleaning products out of reach, and making sure there are no poisonous plants in the garden.

Do you want your puppy going upstairs or not having access to certain rooms? You might need to invest in a stair gate or other barrier.

Bringing your New Puppy Home

The day has arrived. You’re bringing your new puppy home. So I’ll end this blog with some words of advice to help your puppy settle in on their first day with you.

Patience

Whilst you’ll undoubtedly be super excited and wanting to play with your new puppy, bear in mind your puppy has just left its mum and siblings and is probably feeling quite scared and sad. So be patient and give puppy space when needed. Try to create a calm environment so as not to overwhelm your puppy.

Routine

I personally love having routine so this one was easy for me! Get your puppy used to a routine. That will include feeding times, toilet times, walks (when they’re allowed out) and bedtime. All this will help them settle.

Boundaries

If you want to set boundaries for your dog, then start this from day one. That may include not being allowed on the sofa, or not being allowed upstairs. If you don’t set boundaries straight away, habits will start to be formed and they’re hard to break.

Cockapoo puppy asleep on the sofa wearing a yellow harness
Needless to say Schlappohr has always been allowed on the sofa!

Socialisation

Your dog won’t be able to go out for walks until they’ve been fully vaccinated but that doesn’t stop you from socialising them. You can take your dog out if you’re carrying them, or perhaps using a dog carrier. Get them used to meeting different people and dogs. You might want to consider puppy training classes. Not only will these help with socialisation but can be really useful for training basic commands.

Final Words

You’ve done all the hard work – the research, the preparation, the first few days with a new puppy.

Now you can relax! And enjoy your new bundle of fluff (although be prepared for some sleepless nights to start with!). They will bring you laughter, joy and love. Take lots of photos and videos – I have thousands of pictures of Schlappohr. They change so much in their first year that it’s great to look back on those memories!

Cockapoo puppy curled up on the sofa with a blanket and soft toy

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