What do you need to prepare when bringing a dog home for the first time?

Mom tells me that when she first laid eyes on me, she knew that we were meant for each other. Apparently she had a choice between me, a normal apricot-colored poodle pup, and a pure white, show-breed poodle. That one was a bit of a show off if you ask me, clambering over me to lick Mom’s fingers. I was a bit shy at first. Believe me, when you’re first taken away from the warmth of your birth mother and siblings at just 5 weeks old, you’d be more than a little frightened yourself. Despite the white poodle’s theatrics, Mom gravitated towards me. She said there was something about my eyes that made her melt. I can still do the googoo gaga eyes quite well to get my way with Mom. Works every time hehe.

Together with my mom that day was her brother, Uncle W, who’s a dog trainer. And he checked me out while she made cooing noises at me. Mom tried to engage me and I must say her fingers smelled interesting. And so I warmed up to her in no time. Apparently I met with Uncle W’s approval as well, something he said about my being structurally sound. Hurray!

I’m sure that some dog owners who pick up a dog without any preparation can make do with a cardboard box, some towels, and a bit of kibble. But Mom had about two weeks to prepare before she took me home with her. (Uncle W says that pups need to be at least seven weeks old before they can leave their mother.)

Walking into a pet shop was a first for her, as she hasn’t had a dog in many, many years. She says she couldn’t believe the range of products on display. And the prices! She had done her research and knew she needed some essentials. Feeding and drinking bowls, a crate for me to sleep in, as well as stuff like shampoo and conditioner. A pee tray and pee pads because she lives in an apartment and has no ready access to a garden. The vast array of dog food was totally bewildering so she took the advice of the pet shop and picked up a a bag of good quality kibble and some treats. She also got a harness and leash because she figured she’d have to bring me down to the condo courtyard to pee and poop. (Pet Lovers’ Centre)

Picking up some toys was the most fun for her because, well, who doesn’t like toys? The shop also recommended stuff that she hadn’t even considered, like a brush for detangling my hair (when she told them I was a poodle), and a carrier bag for taking me out and about because I couldn’t be exposed before I had all my vaccinations. They showed her some odor-eliminating spray for when I have “accidents” (I’ve had a lot of them. Jut ask Mom.) They also told her to get ready lots and lots of  pet wipes, paper towels, as well as old towels.

Mom will be the first to admit that she went a bit overboard with all the stuff (she’ll also admit to being a bit OCD). But honestly, when she finally did bring me home, I didn’t want for anything. Except well, toys. I would never say no to more toys.

Mom did pick up more stuff after I moved in. A modular pen that she confines me to when she needs to keep me out of harm’s way. That’s what she says, by the way, like when she’s cooking and doesn’t want me underfoot. I think she’s a big old meanie to stick me in the pen sometimes for when I misbehave (her words, not mine) and need a time out. But actually I don’t mind it too much. It’s got my water bowl and pee tray. When Mom goes out and leaves me home alone, she makes sure I have some toys and treats as well, so I’m pretty well set. (More on that later)

So that’s just the stuff you should buy when you bring a puppy home. Mom will also say that it’s a good idea to puppy-proof your house, like put away your shoes, wires, basically anything that we dogs might like to sink our teeth into. You humans might say that we’re being destructive but it’s just our way of exploring the world. I mean, who can resist a stinky old shoe, right? If presented with one, or two, who wouldn’t want to chew away at it?

Mom also had to make sure that all available holes and spaces that I could crawl into or over or through (and go plunging three floors! Remember, I’m not a cat.) were secured with wire netting. In the months since we got home, she’s had to make some adjustments, like tying up all the curtains out of my reach. Again, meanie! I’ve heard her telling others that basically I’ve been pretty good about chewing all through my teething phase. She did provide lots of chew toys as well as some old shoes for me to gnaw at. I haven’t chewed any of the furniture or wires. I know that other dogs can attack the strangest objects, like door frames, table legs and even car rims. When people ask her if I bite, she just smiles and says I only bite her. She does have the most delicious ankles!

As I said, it’s been a learning curve for both my mom and me ever since she brought me home. We’re both still adjusting to each other, but as far as preparing the home for me, I give her 5 stars. Good job, Mom!

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