How to over plan for your puppy!

If you know you’re adding a new 4 legged (or perhaps tripod) to your family, here are some ways to over plan for your puppy:

  • Do a MEGA MEGA TON of breed research. 
    – Find every source you can about the breed (or breeds) your puppy will be. If you get a wicked cool Heinz 57 puppy, then this part is rather hard to do, especially if both mom & dad are of assorted heritage as well. (Opt for a genetic test like Embark or Wisdom Panel to get an idea of what your pup is made of!)

    – Once you’ve read every source of breed information – breed books, breeders, Reddit, Google searches – reread each at least 5 more times. Bonus if you purchase breed books.  

 

  • Read ALL the dog & puppy training books! (And buy them too!)
    – Borrow them from the library, collect them and if you want total overwhelm then head to the Google machine. There is TONS of information out there. 

    – Modern dog training has many approaches, though the most common you’ll come across are positive reinforcement, balanced training, and alpha/dominance (this is an outdated approach). You’ll also come across different tools, from clickers to electronic collars. Do AMPLE research and decide what method you will employ. 

    – Note that different generations of the same training books will have different approaches to training. The “Puppies for Dummies” method in 2000 leans on the corrective approach (correct the bad behaviors) whereas the 4th edition 19 years later focuses on positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement started in the 1940s, but didn’t really gain until the 80s. Now it is easily the most common dog training method. 

    – Reread as much as you can & revisit during puppy days especially when your puppy is napping or if there are any naughty behaviors that start to become habit in your pup. 

 

  • Buy all the basics you NEED & then buy all the cutsie things you can for your pup
    – the basics: collar (of course you need at least 2…), leash, crate, food, food & water bowls

    – everything else: treats, tons of toys, puppy Kongs, beds, washable puppy pads x2 (so you can wash one & have one on the floor), carrying methods for when you’re navigating the world before your pup is fully vaccinated, baby gates, brushes, nail clippers, enzyme cleaner, outfits (I’ve been collecting patterns… and baby clothes to turn into puppy clothes!), name tags, seat belts, blankets, more toys, more treats, bins for food, and AMPLE ideas for future things – collars, harnesses, coats & clothing – that you have to wait to get because you won’t be sure how big your pup will be when the fall arrives, the snow buries us, the spring thaws or the summer heats us. The first year (a few months less for those small dogs, and a few months more for the giant pups) will bring tons of changes in your puppy as they grow up. 

    – duplicate items as you see fit – double everything seems appropriate haha!

 

  • Pick your puppy’s color for collars, leashes & accessories!
    –  Obviously you’re in charge so there’s no wrong route to go here. Pinks, purples, seafoam & mint as well as pastel colors are great for girls, while richer bolder colors and blues, greens, red, black and grey are wonderful boy colors. Though feel free to mix and match to fit your style. Girls can rock bold colors as easily as boys can rock pastels. 

    – Your pup’s coat color ought to be neutral enough to go with every color, though black, white & brown toned dogs look best when not wearing colors that match their coat colors. 

    – And…. pick a theme if you have ample time on your hands haha! For our puppy we know he’s a boy and he has a baked goods name. Aside from baked goods & what makes them, I lean towards sharks & dinos for patterns for him. And definitely blues for his color!

 

  • Prep for cold weather & plan indoor adventures
    – Unless you’re in an area that negates winter by staying in the 40s or 50s or warmer in the winter season, you’ll be in an area where winter will arrive. The farther north you go the more brutal the winters can be (MN is notorious for sub zero winter temps). Cold temps and snow can be hard to handle for not only us, but our young pups too!

    – April pups will be 6 months in October, while a June puppy will be 6 months in December, and pups born September through March (at least here in MN) will experience winter in their youngest days. 

    – Prep, prep, prep and research a bazillion into indoor adventures you can have when the weather goes north for the winter. Look into training & further training especially if the lessons are held inside. Occasionally you can find “open gym” style playtime for your pup. Look into indoor dog parks (Minneapolis area has at least 2!), indoor patio spots (The Block Food + Drink in St. Louis Park has an enclosed dog friendly section with an epic Instagram wall and cozy fireplace!) and dog friendly breweries (if you happen to be in the Minneapolis area there are TONS of options that allow your dog inside, food trucks pending). Obviously pet supply stores – Petco, Petsmart, Pet Evolution etc – are dog friendly indoors, but did you know that most hardware stores are dog friendly? The general rule of thumb: if they don’t sell or prepare food, they may be dog friendly. Always call before you head out on an adventure!

    – Prior to your pup being fully vaccinated AVOID: pet supply stores, indoor dog parks (most require your pup to be 4-6 months old at least) and places that are heavily frequented by other dogs such as the über popular brewery or indoor patio. Once you’re clear with vaccines def add these places as spots to work on training, stretch your legs & build your dogs manners. 

Repeat each of these things at least twice paired with ample overzealous planning. Count down the days (10 days before our boy comes home EEEEEEEEEEEK!) and realize that for all the ample preplanning you’ve done, nothing compares to having your puppy home. You get to snuggle, absorb the puppy breath and learn your puppy’s personality.

From there the learning and teaching begins, the over planning lending to insight on how to lead your pup into adulthood. 

Best of luck! Congrats! And if you need puppy pictures, we’d love to coordinate for a series to capture your pup in his or her first year!