This weekend we welcomed a new member to our family, a puppy named Venus!
We had been wanting to add a second dog to the family for quite a while now. We’re so excited to have finally gotten the opportunity to add a new member to our adventure team!
Venus is a staffordshire bull terrier just like Mojo. She’s a real sporting dog, and has such a high amount of energy! We can’t wait to raise her into a well behaved and steady dog (but also a bit naughty).
Raising Venus will however be a tad bit different from when we got Mojo a little over 3 years ago. We are currently converting a van into our offgrid home on wheels. Our small apartment now functions as a garage, which will prove that it will be a bit more difficult to puppy-proof our home this time around!
Since it’s quite a challenge for us we know it can be similar for some of you guys, but even if it’s not too difficult, it’s always good to have a checklist of things to do to prepare for the arrival of a new four legged family member.
Today, we would like to explain how we have prepared our home for the arrival of our puppy. We’ll explain what’s important to look out for when puppy-proofing your house, but also dive into other subjects such as diet and creating a personal space for your new family member!
We have written a thorough explanation of our entire puppy-prep below. It can however be handy to have a checklist at hand of things to do and buy to prepare for the arrival of your puppy! Every item on this list is explained in full below.
Puppy-proofing your home
Although not everyone will (have to) do this, puppy-proofing your home can be very important. You might not realize it, but danger is everywhere for a two month old pup. But as many know, it’s not just about protecting your puppy, but also your belongings.
Everything in your home is new to your puppy. They still experience so many things for the very first time. And puppies tend to use their teeth when exploring, so there’s always a chance for your furniture and other belongings to get harmed or even completely destroyed!
Although nobody can get rid of all of their furniture, it is definitely possible to remove items from out of your pup’s reach to prevent possible chewing damage. Think about books, shoes, coats hanging low, socks left lying around…
But something you might not have considered to be dangerous for pups, is electrical wiring! Those cables under your desk, or behind the TV, might no longer be visible to you as they are tucked away behind furniture. But this doesn’t mean that your pup can’t get to them! Not only can these wires be damaged, if your pup chews on them (s)he could get seriously injured!
Tip: kneel down on the floor and look at everything from the height that your puppy will be viewing your home from – you might see something that you missed when standing up!
Creating a safe space for your puppy
Although frowned upon by some people, and even illegal in certain countries, we personally love to have a crate in our home when we have a young puppy.
In our opinion, it will provide a comfortable and cosy place for your pup to call its own. We will allow Venus to enter and exit the crate whenever she desires, but will close the door if we leave the house for a few minutes or longer.
Why? You may ask. Well, we’d like to protect her from any unforeseen incidents. Things happen, and they happen faster than you might think. It’s simply more responsible not to let your 8 week old pup wander around unattended and let’s be honest, nobody can keep an eye on their rambunxious pet every second of their day.
A crate is not necessary, and many people have successfully raised dogs without a crate. It can however also be very convenient for other purposes. It can for example help out tremendously in housebreaking.
Key with using a crate, is to use it as a fun place for your pup to relax, instead of something that is associated with negative experiences. Your pup has to feel that their crate is its own little snuggly place where (s)he can go to relax and sleep.
Our crate, which was very kindly sent to us by Impact Dog Crates, will actually be installed in our campervan eventually. Mojo and Venus will travel safely with the crate door closed, and will both have plenty space to fully stretch out and play. During the day, if we’re not hiking or otherwise outdoors, they can choose use their crate as a calm spot to nap and they will sleep in this open crate at night.
Besides preventing Venus from causing havoc when we’re out of the house for a short while, she will also spend some time in her crate after consuming her breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This will help prevent possible bloat if she decides to play with Mojo after eating.
We’ve noticed Mojo to be most active when she just finishes her dinner, and many other dogs do this too. There’s quite a simple reason for this, and it goes back to their wild ancestry. There’s only time for playful behavior if all other needs are met! For those of us with dogs that get playful after dinner, it’s especially important to limit play shortly after dinner, in order to prevent possible bloat.
Offer a comfortable bed
Young puppies still sleep a lot. Your new pup hence needs a comfortable bed, be it in a crate or in a properly puppy-proofed room.
We recently bought a memory foam mattress, topped with a vet bed. This is extremely comfortable and perfect for growing pups, older dogs, and dogs with joint issues. We placed it on the floor next to Venus’ crate. Venus will share this bed with Mojo when she’s not in her crate.
Next to comfort, is it important but especially handy, to have a bed that can easily be washed or cleaned otherwise. As you probably know, pups tend to have quite a few accidents during the first few weeks in their new home! We will have three of Mojo’s previous beds that will be alternated if one of them needs a wash.
Provide lots of entertainment
Puppies love to chew. On everything.
It’s hence important to provide your pup with plenty of toys that (s)he can chew on and play with, so that they will be less inclined to destroy your furniture and other prized possessions.
We have been loving our West Paw toys, that we were kindly sent to try! Not only do they offer toys that are soft and squishy (Zogoflex Air), they also create regular firm toys like balls and chew toys, as well as quiz toys!
For puppies, we definitely recommend the West Paw Zogoflex Hurley. It’s a super tough chew toy, perfect for teething puppies! All West Paw toys are toxic free, recyclable, and very durable! And no, this is not sponsored, we just really like the company and its products.
Stock up on food and treats
Before your puppy arrives home, it is important to have stocked up on both food and treats.
You will have to determine what food you’re going to feed your pup far in advance. Some foods are harder to get, might be out of stock, or have to be prepared at home.
We feed prey model raw and have to measure every item of Venus’ meals in order to offer her with a balanced diet. We filmed a meal prep video of how we prepared the first two weeks of food for our pup, and we’ll share that on our YouTube channel very soon, so make sure to subscribe if you don’t want to miss out on it!
Your pup is going to learn a lot in the first few weeks of being with you and it’s the best timing to teach the most important behaviors. Since pups still have so much to learn, it’s important to stock up on healthy treats that can be used during your training sessions.
We use dehydrated meat of all sorts, and we make sure that the pieces are small and relatively easy to chew. We even make our own if we feel like it, why don’t you try out our recipe for homemade single ingredient dog treats?
Buy a comfortable collar or harness
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that once you’re picking up your puppy, you will need a collar or harness, and a leash!
We are aware that some dog owners don’t take their pup outside of their garden before 12 weeks of age, but it is still very important that your pup gets used to wearing a collar or harness.
Whichever tool you decide to use, introduce it as early as possible. Since your dog will have to wear the product on most walks and adventures, it’s important that they feel comfortable wearing it!
We chose to go with a harness for Venus, that she will be able to wear for a few months. We already have an additional harness that belonged to Mojo, that she will be able to wear when she’s older.
She will also wear a collar with a tag eventually, but we think it’s a shame of material to buy several tools at the puppy stage if we’re sure that we won’t be able to use them in a very short period of time.
Prepare for puppy care
Like we mentioned before, your puppy is incredibly impressionable during the first few weeks of staying with you. During this time, it’s important to introduce items and scenarios that your dog will experience multiple times throughout his/her entire life.
One of these things is nail maintenance. The first few moments when your pup is sleepy and enjoying a cuddle on your lap, you can tickle its paws and very gently squeeze their little toes. Slowly, you can start filing the nails a few days later.
We know that Venus is already familiar with nail clippers, her breeder clipped her nails when we first met her and she was completely calm about it. We will continue filing her nails from now on, and do so when she’s tired so she associates it to relaxing moments. If you want to know more about nail maintenance, you will love this blog post!
Besides nail maintenance, it’s important to buy a natural doggy shampoo. We were kindly sent a very eco-friendly product by WashBar, a dog shampoo bar with a lovely citrus-y scent that comes in biodegradable paper packaging. Not only is this product great for the environment, it’s also soft on your dog’s skin and leaves it smelling fresh!
But above all, don’t forget to enjoy!
Although everything we mentioned here is important, the first and foremost thing to do, is to have fun! Spend every little bit of time you have enjoying the presence of that tiny ball of fluff. Before you realize it, they’re all grown up!