Whether you are a ‘to-do-list’ kind of person, or someone who does things on the spur of the moment, you need to plan for the day when your new puppy arrives at home. Planning ahead will ensure that you are a little more relaxed on the day. Here is a checklist to ensure that you are as prepared as possible…
Besides the research about the ideal breed of puppy you want, finding a reputable breeder, and even choosing a potential puppy, there are a few other things you need to know as well:
- How fast will my puppy grow?
- How small or big will he eventually be?
- Are there any specific illnesses associated with his breed?
- When will he reach maturity?
- At what age can I start with exercises?
- Do I know his grooming requirements?
You can get most of this information from the breeder, but it wouldn’t do any harm to speak to other reputable breeders as well, to get various opinions.
Choose a vet
If you don’t have a trustworthy vet yet, or if you feel it is time to try a different vet, you will have to incorporate time into your schedule to find one before your puppy arrives. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do I know a vet that I can trust?
- Is the vet close enough in case of an emergency?
- Can I get references from other patients?
- Are the vet’s rates reasonable?
Pet medical insurance
Every vet, and pet owner who has had an emergency with their pet, agrees that pet medical insurance is crucial. You never know what could happen, from a minor accident at home to a major surgery due to illness – would you have the financial means to pay for it?
Do some research about the different companies and the plans they offer. Speak to brokers and find a plan that suits your requirements. Questions to ask when researching medical insurance include:
- What is the monthly or annual payment amount?
- What will my excess be?
- What does the plan cover?
- Which option can I afford?
- Which plan is popular with vets, and why?
While retail therapy works wonders for some of us, this is not the time to go shopping without a proper shopping list. With so many cute accessories to choose from, you could easily get caught up in some ‘emotional shopping’ and end up with unnecessary items.
Keep the following in mind when planning your shopping trip:
- What is my budget?
- What is more important to me – quality or affordability?
- Where can I find the best deals?
- Do I have a colour scheme that I want to stick to?
- Are there second-hand items, like a baby gate, that I can get more reasonably, and will that work for me?
It goes without saying that all puppies, and in many cases their owners, need training. Therefore, socialising and behavioural classes are essential. However, beware of ‘fly-by-night’ training schools and do your research before signing up for classes.
While researching behaviourists and training schools, ask yourself:
- What are the going rates?
- Are this institution’s rates on par with current industry rates?
- Is the behaviourist qualified and registered?
- Are there contactable references?
Just as with behaviourists, you need to research puppy schools, as there are no regulatory bodies or regulations when it comes to these schools. Obviously, you want to make use of a school that you can trust with your puppy. Keep the following in mind:
- Ask for references.
- Are their rates reasonable?
- Is the school located closeby?
- Ask if you can do a site visit.
You will also have to ensure that the whole family is ready for the puppy. To do so, take the following into consideration:
- Does everybody know and understand the house rules?
- Does everybody know what is expected of him or her?
- Have you explained to the children why they can’t constantly pick up the puppy and carry him around everywhere?
- Have you decided where the pup will sleep?
- Have you considered first aid training?
- Have you puppy-proofed your house yet?