... and if this doesn’t put you off - nothing will! ...
You can however, ease the pain considerably, by buying at a “Championship” Show or one of the bigger “Open” Shows. Accessory suppliers have stands there and prices will be as good as anywhere.
This is very important - it’ll become your dog’s own private little area - call it or kingdom if you wish but respect it. The first piece of advice is...Don’t buy your little puppy a lovely basket, lined with a duvet, covered by Colefax and Fowler!
You’ll come down one morning to find the whole thing in shreds.
Keep that for later - if you can still afford it. All young things - humans included - love to
chew, and indeed it’s good for the teething process, but for this, see later under “toys”.
In our opinion, the best beds are made of a reinforced,
heavy duty plastic. They´re draft free, easy to scrub out, virtually
indestructible and should last a proverbial lifetime.
They´re “bean” shaped, and come in several colours and sizes,
which brings me to the question of size.
The secret here is that a bed that is too big for a puppy, can be
padded out with old blankets and towels,and within a year, be a really nice fit for a fully grown dog.
Remember young children and how small they looked in their first real bed?
Having said that - you’ll need to “pen off” the area - so why not combine the two?
Puppy pen or cage?
In the wild dogs live in dens - the entrance to which is limited. To allow your puppy free access
around the house or the car is not only very bad for it, but dangerous.
In our opinion, almost all puppies actually prefer the security of a cage
or pen in the house, and definitely a cage in the car. They pack down
when not required, so it’s a good idea to get the largest that you can fit
into your car, kitchen, or wherever the little person is going to live.
To make it really like a “den”, put it in a corner with a sheet of wood over top making a very useful storage place for toys and brushes.Suitably padded out, they make a perfect permanent home for Spaniels. It’s an expensive option for Labradors - you’re going to need that “big bed” within a year.
The problem is finding a spot in the kitchen where you’re unlikely to keep tripping
over it. This picture shows an excellent idea from one of our puppy owners.
It’s tucked in a corner, under a work-top, where the dog can watch the world go by.
Most puppies - at the time they’re collected - will have been sleeping on a product called “Vetbed”. Ther’re cheaper imitations, but for at least the first year, we recommend using the real thing.
You’ll need at least four pieces, each at least the size of the base of the bed and
all the way up the sides and over the top to form a “pillow”.
Hot Water Bottle
An ideal item to have around to put under the bedding of a new puppy, a sickly
dog or one recovering from shock. “Snuggle-Safe” is solid hot water bottle
without the hot water, about the size of a small dinner plate - non toxic, virtually
indestructible and easily heated in a micro-wave - giving warmth for up to 12hrs.
Food and Water Bowls
Don’t waste your money on cute little puppy bowls - buy full size stainless steel dog bowls.
There are two types of bowl stands, screw in the wall, and free standing. If you’ve no wall to screw into, then you have little choice other than to buy two “shorter” ones at around
3 months old, and then - for Labradors - two taller ones a few months later.
Why buy a stand? - because it eases digestion, and reduces the strain on the puppy’s
back and elbows when lost in that world of “food - glorious food!”
For a fully grown Labrador, a 12” / 15” stand with a 10” bowl is ideal.
Toys and Chews
I once saw a kitchen chair leg that had almost been eaten through by a puppy - great for the mother-in-law, or the rentman, but no use to anyone else! Seriously though, puppies do chew, so the answer is to give them the right thing to do it with. As with children, “squeaky” toys are fine and great fun, provided the nasty bits don’t come apart and get swallowed.
The National Canine Defence League have a good choice - and the profits go to a good cause.
Hide chews are good for teething puppies - and for dogs of all ages ... see ... "CHEWING".
Collars and Leads
In the old days, dog collars were made of leather and had to be fairly chunky to withstand fair wear and tear. Nowadays, there’s a very good selection of lightweight and brightly coloured collars and leads made of a nylon based webbing. The collar has only two purposes - to attach a lightweight lead, and to carry a small disc with your name, full address, post code and ‘phone number on it - but not your dog’s name.
Tailgate Prop and Lock
If you need to need to park with your tail gate open, this can be a very useful piece of
kit, combined with a padlock on the cage doors, it allows added ventilation with good
security. It enables the tailgate to be locked open and help prevent the cage doors being
unlatched. The hooked end may require adjustment to account for different style
tailgate locks. Remember to lock your vehicle with the sound/motion sensors disabled.
Brush and Comb
Don’t buy your little puppy a brush with teeth that’d burst your car tyres!
A child’s medium bristle is ideal. Yes - they do need brushing - and if you start at an early age, will absolutely love it and enjoy the “cuddles and fuss” and “bonding” that goes with it and probably chew the brush handle!
Insurance is often overlooked - but very important
We don’t allow puppies to leave until they at least have temporary cover.
Your breeder should be able to arrange this.
The period of temporary cover gives you a chance to shop around for a policy that suits you, and your particular needs.
Any questions? - don’t be afraid to ask - any caring breeder will be only too pleased to help.
It’s about time for ... "PUPPY CARE" ... should be good fun!