Realising that a new member is going to join the family can be quite daunting, even if it’s only a pet. Millo is our first dog but we knew that our lives were going to change as soon as he crossed the threshold of our home. However, we were more or less prepared. As we’ve explained in our previous posts, we’d carried out some research on dog training and we felt ready for what was to come. It was now time to arrange our surroundings to welcome a young puppy.
Most of the books and resources mentioned in our “Learning about dog training” post feature specific chapters about what to buy and how to set up your house for a puppy. Many of the things discussed in there hadn’t even crossed our minds, so we were really happy we’d done our homework before picking up Millo.
Essential dog gear
The first step was buying all the stuff we needed. Some of the equipment was quite obvious: stainless steel bowls for food and water, a collar and lead, or a tag with his name and our contact details. We also got some puppy pads, as we were sure that potty training was going to be one of our biggest challenges but, luckily, we never got to use them. As to a dog bed, we’d read that puppies could chew them quite easily so we decided not to purchase one, and we were glad we did. Millo slept on old towels and blankets for the first few months of his life with us.
However, we hadn’t thought about some of the gear that proved to be the most useful in the long run. It was only because we’d read it on the dog training books we’d been studying that we bought a crate, a puppy pen and a long leash. The crate was as vital for Millo as it was for us the first few weeks and, to be honest, even now. It became his safe place, where he would sleep and hang out, and where we could leave him unattended for a couple of minutes without worrying about what he might be doing. The puppy pen rapidly became an essential tool to isolate Millo in one area of the house, without access to potentially dangerous stuff, as well as to things he could chew and destroy. We’re convinced that the fact that he’s now so uninterested in anything that’s not a toy or food (except the odd sock and slipper every now and then… they’re just too exciting) is because we used a pen from the beginning. Finally, we’ve used the long lead practically every day since we purchased it over a year ago. This ten-metre leash is great not only to have control over the dog while training or hiking but also to know he can’t go anywhere when he’s in our unfenced garden.
Puppy-proofing the house
Following the advice on those books we also puppy-proofed the houses we were going to be staying in. And I say houses, plural, because we picked him up in Spain and then returned to France a couple of weeks later. So, in a little bit more than two weeks, he stayed in four different places. Obviously, the puppy pen was our biggest help here. Just by restricting the area where he could walk around unattended, we didn’t need to worry so much about the rest of the house. Anyway, we still looked for potential dangers and neutralised them, from electric cables to empty sockets or chemical products. We just made sure he couldn’t have access to any of them.
Preparing the trip
The final stage was arranging the trip. We had to drive for more than 16 hours to pick Millo up and, two weeks later, drive back home with a young puppy in the back of our car, not a small feat! We decided to bring all the gear needed from France, so the boot was filled with dog food, toys, a crate and other doggy essentials. We also bought a seatbelt for him to wear on the way back, a trip that we split up in three days sleeping in dog-friendly hotels along the way.
So, with a car full of puppy gear and a mind full of worries and excitement, we set off for a long journey to meet our new best friend.
Thanks for reading! Check out our next post to learn more about our journey with Millo. 🐾