It wasn’t until Freddie Todd came into our lives though that I started thinking about what you actually need when you you get a puppy.
I was looking for a collar and lead for him and I went into a well-known pet shop. If you went off their extensive list, you would need a wheeled crate to exit the store, ladened down with all of the ‘essential’ things needed for the new family member.
Indeed, many people enjoy spending money on there new pets (I may have purchased a flat cap) but for others who may not want to splash out, I have come up with the bare Essentials list. Then it is up to you whether you see dicky bows, designer clothing and enough toys to open your own doggy creche as essential.
My biggest piece of advice is step away from the Cath Kidston and Joules dog beds. Puppies chew so wait until they are at least a year old and over the chewing stage before you splash out on a pretty bed. I’ve made this mistake myself but, in the four or so years since we last had a puppy in the house, cheap beds have really come on and I picked up these red spotty beds (to match my kitchen) for around £10. We already had two dog beds so Rosie (the older dog) and Freddie Todd did have somewhere to sleep but they were chewed beyond all recognition and one of them had all the stuffing pulled out and distributed around my kitchen. So far so good with the new ones and they both seem happy to just relax in them.
If you don’t already have dogs, a bowl for water and food is a must. We did already have them but I got a bigger water bowl as two dogs drink significantly more than one. I have to feed them at opposite ends of the room at the moment and stand near the puppy while he eats as Rosie tends to class all food as hers and he middle has stretched considerably in the first month of Freddie Todd being at the farm.
For walks, a collar and a lead is also a good idea. Rosie tends to not need a lead around the farm but I have been putting one on her as it encourages the puppy to walk on a lead. This is something they have to learn. For some dogs, leads do not come naturally so stick with it. It will come.
Food is your choice. Wet or dry. The puppy was used to dry food when he came so we purchased a dry food especially for puppies as it contains the right nutrients for growing bones and teeth. Rosie enjoys wet food though so they tend to have one dry ad one wet meal a day.
There is a lot of talk about crates and crate training. I personally do not agree with it (despite doing it with Rosie) but I suppose it depends on your house. I think puppies need their own area which is separate from the rest of the house. The old house had an archway rather than a door on the kitchen so no door could be shut to prevent her going into other areas so, long before we had children, a baby gate was installed in our kitchen.
At the farm, I suppose most people would imagine our dogs sleeping in a porch or boot room which, I know would probably be a good idea but Rosie has always slept by a radiator and I think she would be very upset were we to move her bed. So in the kitchen she stays.
Freddie Todd has never been in a cage here and the baby gates which now are as much or the children as for the animals, really come into their own.
You can buy as many dog toys as you like and I too have got them some rope toys to chew on but puppies will be puppies and your footwear is always going to be more attractive.
Get on their level to see what is available. The first night he was here, he chewed through the charging lead of the farmer’s torch. Oops. Everything was moved from his level after that.
This really is all you need. For me, dogs are very special and have a soul that other animals don’t seem to have. If you re thinking about getting a puppy, don’t ask me for advice unless you really want one. The only thing I will ever tell you is get it.
My mum thought I was mad having the three children in the house and now two dogs but, at this stage, what is one more accident on the floor?