I’m Kat Johnson and work as an RVN and Dog Trainer for Scarsdale Vets at Park Farm. I’ve recently had my old Border Collie put to sleep and decided to write a blog on my own journey of raising another puppy.
It’s a very personal choice of when or if you want another dog in your family. I realised life was very quiet at home with only JJ (3.5yrs old Chug). The search was on to find a puppy friend!
The requirements I wanted were:
- Female (opposite sex are more likely to be compatible)
- Puppy (having a Granddaughter and busy working life an older rescue wouldn’t be suitable)
- Small/medium size (JJ is already a small breed)
- Moderate budget (puppies are expensive!)
It’s important to know exactly your requirements as it’s easy to fall in love with any puppy.
Once I had found the above criteria it was time to get in touch with the breeders. This wasn’t as easy as it should be as unfortunately there are breeders who only want to make profits and miss appropriate breed health checks, vaccinations, or microchipping (which is a legal requirement before selling). As I wanted my puppy as a family dog, it is important that the puppy I choose was brought up in a home environment, this prevents working on socialising skills later.
Finally, there was a poodle cross puppy advertised in my local area. I spoke to breeder, who informed me they had bred from their family dog, a 4-year-old Poodle x Pomeranian, it was living in the household with regular visits from grandchildren and brought up with the family Husky dog. I arranged to visit and immediately fell in love with this gorgeous little girl.
On collection day I had a small cat carrier for the car and Adaptil collar to make the puppy feel as safe as possible. The crate is set up at home too so she’ll be with the family and hear everyday commotion, this will help with overexcited play biting and is somewhere safe she can’t chew items unsupervised. I also have some puppy treats that are safe to feed very young puppies. Checking the advice on the package is important, as often it’ll be for puppies over 16 weeks of age.
Before collecting the new puppy, I made sure that JJ my other dog had been walked so he would be calmer. JJ has always lived with another dog; he’s been a little withdrawn since losing his companion Misty and I know he will love having a little sister to play with. However, I know puppies can be overbearing so I’m mindful that they will need time apart, especially once the new puppy has settled in.
Once home, I brought the carrier into the lounge so JJ could see her, both dogs looked calm, so I opened it up. They had a sniff of each other, and JJ and I then gave her a tour of her new home. After the tour, we decided to name her Topsy.
My daughter and 9-year-old granddaughter live close by so after school they came up to see her. It can be difficult to stop family/friends coming but make sure your puppy isn’t overwhelmed in the first few days. Keep visitor numbers low and only allow them to stay for short periods. My granddaughter is used to living with dogs and I’ve educated her from a young age of do and don’ts. Children can become excited and want to cuddle puppies, this can lead puppies becoming overexcited and frustrated which causes play biting. Our granddaughter sat next to Topsy on the floor to give her some treats and play with dog toys.
To introduce Topsy to her crate, she was fed in the crate with the door open, but still locked in the pen. This meant she was able to eat at her own speed without the competition from JJ whilst he was fed in the kitchen. If you only have a crate, I advise leaving the door open while the puppy eats, then the next stage is to close the crate door while the puppy eats but as soon as they have finished open the door to prevent the puppy panicking. At every mealtime slowly extend the time you leave the crate door closed after the meal has been finished by a few seconds, always stay with your puppy at this stage. Once the puppy is happy and calm for 5 minutes locked in the crate start to go briefly into another room.
After the second night Topsy had managed to climb out of the area and was sleeping on the sofa in the morning! On the plus side she settled well and no damage was done, however it wasn’t ideal. My husband was sent into the loft to get the old children’s play pen as it was bigger and taller so hopefully Topsy can’t jump out.
After we let Topsy settle into her new home and family, it was time for a trip to the vets! It’s best to let your puppy get used to their surroundings for a few days before going to the vets. This gives them chance to get used to its new environment. It also gives the owner a chance to observe and monitor the puppy’s behaviour and health too. What the breeders have done will also play a part in when your puppy needs their 1st vet visit. It’s advised to phone the vets once you know the vaccination, flea and worm status of your puppy as they can advise you of the next steps. If you are looking to call Scarsdale Vets at this stage, please feel free to do so and we’re more than happy to help!
Topsy was given a heath check by the vet and her 1st set of vaccinations to protect from parvo, hepatis, distemper and leptospirosis. She’ll need another vaccination in 2 weeks and 4 weeks to be fully covered. After which she will need a yearly booster. The vet will also sort out your puppy’s flea and worm protocols, and at this point the Vet can also issue a 4-week free pet plan insurance, although Topsy was already insured by the breeder and given worming treatment the day I took her home.
The Nurse also weighs the puppy and checks their body score which is the best way of making sure the puppy is the right weight for their age. This is a good time to discuss nutrition and the importance of correct puppy food, feeding times and amounts. The same Nurse will also continue monthly flea and worm treatments, which gives owners a familiar face to discuss their puppies development.
With puppy’s that require ongoing coat care, it’s good to get them used to grooming equipment at home first. I let Topsy settle first to build our relationship, before introducing her to the bath, hairdryer and brush. The brush is often seen as a toy when you first groom your puppies so using distractions always help. I used a licky matt, covered with puppy Kong paste, placing it on the floor while I brushed her. I had 5-minute sessions every other day until she was comfortable with being brushed.
Working at Scarsdale Park Farm, I am very lucky as we have a groomer on site, I asked our groomer Sophie for advise on coat care and brushing, specifically how frequent I should brush Topsy and what type of brush to use. Sophie also recommended booking Topsy in for her first groom after she completed her vaccination course.
Grooming can be challenging for puppies as it may be the first time they’re left somewhere without their owners. Not only this but the shower and hair dryer are high performance meaning it is more powerful than at home. Despite this though, Topsy was amazing during her first groom and I’m a super proud mum!
Keep your eyes peeled for more updates on Topsy’s puppy blog every month! In the meantime, why not check out more articles below for advice and help when getting a new puppy.