Hundreds of health checks later, this HoM-found lovely pup has arrived in his new home. We bored his proud new teenage owner with a hideous list of advice and instructions. Here is a snapshot, in case the info may possibly be useful for anyone else?
He’ll arrive with a 4 day supply of his normal food, a vaccination certificate and a month’s free insurance.
Kit I’d recommend you get ahead of his arrival:
- A webbing collar, ideally with a pin fastener that can be adjusted to fit a growing neck; and lead. I wouldn’t spend a lot of money at this stage – he’ll grow out of it quickly. Save the fancy collars (of which there are many brilliant ones – it’s a whole new retail world out there waiting for you!) for when he’s finished growing / chewing.
- A crate – around 30” x 30” assuming you’ve got plenty of room in your kitchen for it. You could go down to around 24” if space is tight. And you want this crate to be his safe haven, so cover it with a throw or blanket to make it like a den and somewhere he can go to relax and be peaceful.
- Water bowl to hook on to the inside of a crate
- Metal food bowl
- A small soft bed, ideally with a blanket so he can snuggle inside something when he arrives and will be missing his litter mates
- A supply of Natural Instinct food
- Probably a pack of soil pads. You may not need them but for the sake of a few pounds I’d have a supply available if needs be.
- A name tag for his collar (ie this kind of thing http://rex.houseofmutt.com/products/brass-tag that we sell. You obviously don’t need to get one of ours but I’m just showing you what a name tag looks like! It’s now law that all dogs in the UK have to be microchipped and have to wear a name tag at all times)
- Chews of some sort – he will have sharp little teeth that need something to gnaw on so if you provide something it’ll save him choosing his own ie your shoes!
- Baby wipes to keep his eye folds clean. You may not need them when he’s tiny but it’d be a good idea to start getting him used to having his eye folds cleaned once a week as you’ll need to regularly when he’s older and if they’re used to it from an early age it makes the process easier.
He’s being weaned on to Natural Instinct raw food. http://www.naturalinstinct.com/raw-puppy-food I really rate this food and it’d be a good idea to keep him on it if you can – and certainly for the first month. If after that you decide you don’t like the faff of raw food, then you can gradually move him on to a dried food. I feed a lot of Natural Instinct and don’t find it tricky at all, provided you have freezer space for it. I just defrost one a day and keep it in the fridge until it’s used up. He would be on approx 300g a day to start with, divided into 3 meals. As I say, if you decide you’d rather he was on dry food, you can change but you must make the change gradual and you shouldn’t change until he’s around 3 ½ months old.
He will have had his first vaccination before he arrives. And shouldn’t go out in public until he has had his second two weeks later. This is because he won’t be protected against nasties like Parvovirus until he’s had his second vaccination. So for those first couple of weeks, limit him to your house and your garden.
If you are going to want to travel him later on, you can apply for a pet passport through your vet when you take him in for his second vaccination.
Another person to make contact with at this stage may be a dog walker – because the good ones get really booked up! Your pup obviously won’t need walking for quite a few months, but it may be an idea to get on the radar now if you are thinking of using a dog walker later as opposed to doing it all yourself.
He really won’t need much exercise to start with. Bulldogs are big boned and too much exercise at any early age will put undue pressure on his joints. A good guide is 5 minutes gentle exercise a day per month of life up until they are fully grown. So 15 minutes at 3 months, 35 minutes at 7 months etc. Particularly with a bulldog puppy you should go with what he is naturally wanting, not force more exercise on to him than he’s happy with. Also don’t allow him to jump down off sofas, down stairs etc while he’s growing. His joints will be shallow and shouldn’t be stressed by sudden jolts.
Finally on that note, don’t overfeed – bulldogs are obviously designed to be solid dogs but that should never mean fat! So I wouldn’t get into the habit of giving him treats etc (poor fellow!)
For all of the above I’d ask advice of your vet when you first go for the vaccination, but it’s a good idea to be aware of those exercise / weight issues from the start.
First principles are all about bonding, playing, encouragement. Everything should be focussed on him coming towards you and having fuss for doing that. Don’t do chasing games as that could encourage him to run away from you later on when he’s an inquisitive teenager and out in the park! Start him off with his little lead in the house so he’s gets used to walking alongside you without pulling. Don’t be afraid to tell him ‘No’ if he does something wrong. Dogs (like kids!) feel happy with boundaries.
House training – you will need to take him out regularly for wees and poos. And make a huge fuss of him when he does it right. And always take him out as soon as he wakes up and straight after meals. These are times when he will naturally go anyway and if you can tie them in with praise for going in the right place then he’ll quickly learn what’s right and what’s wrong. He will have accidents in the house when he’s tiny (so I’d recommend keeping him in the kitchen or somewhere with a tiled floor) but he should learn quickly what’s expected of him.
He will need lots of sleep when he first arrives. Puppies, like babies, get cantankerous when overtired! Work on the basis of half an hour’s play then back into his crate for sleep for around an hour. More play, maybe lunch, then sleep. And so on. And he will cry at night when he first arrives. It’s a shock leaving your mum and siblings and he’ll feel a bit lonely. Give him a good long play late evening so he’s tired; and then there are various coping strategies that we can talk through when he’s with you if you find he’s crying more than you’re happy with. And be assured, it won’t last long!
Things you may need as he gets older and goes out and about more:
- Travel crate or seatbelt (unless you have a car with a dog guard in it, which I’m guessing you don’t! He’ll just need to be securable in the car – you can get in all sorts of trouble if they learn to leap around when you’re driving. Like the indoor crate, he probably won’t need it once he’s older and has learnt to sit still)
- A zippy lead for teaching him recall in the park
- Chewy toys
- A posh collar and lead set (to celebrate getting all grown up!)