Welcoming a new puppy into the family really can feel like you’re bringing up a new baby. It's fabulous when you first bring the little one home and everyone is offering to help, but then comes the day when everyone melts away and you are home alone – just you and your puppy – and the fun and games are over. From eating everything in sight while you’re trying to work, to crying all through the night and keeping you awake, you might find yourself thinking, "Whose bright idea was this?" So, it’s good to be prepared with some tips on getting through those first few months.
1. Provide plenty of space and time to play with your new puppy, and have lots of toys to keep them stimulated, too. This will help with sleeping patterns as, like babies, they will happily wake up and wail until someone comes to keep them company.
2. Have a cosy bed or crate for them to sleep in, out of drafts and in a quiet corner. It will also work as a hiding place, while your puppy gets used to his new surroundings.
3. Gradually introduce them to the sights and sounds outside. They need to learn to be comfortable around other dogs and people, as well as being handled and grooming.
4. Unlike children, you can leave puppies on their own. However, to prevent separation-related behaviour, only do it for short periods, while ensuring their environment is safe and secure.
5. One thing that does differ from babies is you’ll have to start toilet training straight away. And, as with toddlers, don’t expect them to get it overnight! But by getting to grips with it sooner rather than later, it will save you a lot of cleaning up – and always try to reward them with a little treat when they go in the right spot.
6. Once your pup is vaccinated, join a puppy class. It’s a great way to meet other owners, give your puppy confidence, and learn basic training and behaviour skills.
7. Most importantly, get those vital vaccinations and organise your pet insurance. While it’s hard to imagine your puppy could get sick or injured, with insurance, you can ensure that, if anything does happen, you won’t get hit with hefty vet bills.