Book time off work. Or change jobs – If you need to keep working, you’ve probably already asked for flexible arrangements. Try to spend the first 2-3 weeks at home to get your pup toilet trained, socialised and used to you nipping out.
Cancel your social life – You will enter into a never-ending cycle of toilet – food – sleep – play, leaving little time and energy for much else. You’ll probably also prefer his company to anyone else’s from now on.
Puppy-proof your home – Puppies will unintentionally try to kill themselves several times a day. Remove electrical wires, children’s toys, household chemicals and food that’s not theirs. Invest in a stair gate and playpen. The playpen can also be used for “time out” after excessive naughtiness and for bedtime.
Buy the basics. But make sure they are puppy-safe – Read the labels and follow their guidelines. Rawhide and real bones are no nos. For some items, there are cheap alternatives, such as making your own Kong.
Decide on your cue words – Each time your dog does something that pleases you, say the cue word. In time, you’ll say the cue word and he’ll do what you desire. You need to be consistent and he learns best while he’s young, so get thinking of something memorable that will stick.
Prepare the rest of the family – It’s no good deciding “no dogs on beds” if the rest of the family disagree. The poor puppy will be confused – and miserable if he gets told off. Come to a consensus and stick to it.
Find a puppy socialisation class – Teach your puppy to play nicely in a safe environment and share tips with other owners. The area will have been disinfected and each puppy will have had their first vaccination.
Meet with pet sitters – There will be times when you need someone to look after your puppy. Do your homework by visiting local pet care businesses, registering on sites and visiting pet sitters.
Register with a vet – Vets can advise you on all sorts of things, over the phone for free if you have a good one. Your puppy needs neutering, annual vaccinations and ongoing treatment for worms, fleas and ticks. Some vets offer health plans for a regular monthly fee and are more economical.
Get insured – Unless you want to get hit with unexpected bills, it’s best to set up a monthly direct debit. Make sure you go for lifetime cover, and not the sort that stops a year after the illness was first diagnosed.