Behaviour

Wren & Rocco’s First Night

Trent Webb

Double trouble in the shape of two new puppies will be landing at the Pet Drugs Online office this week. We’re going to be following the arrival of Wren and Rocco, how they settle in, their development and growth over the next few months. So, we took time to talk to the puppies two owners Neil (Rocco) and Maria (Wren) to capture their hopes and fears – before the puppies indefinitely take over.

What changes have you made to the house Neil – what changes in what rooms? Downstairs only? Not on the couch? Anywhere they like?

We’ve set up a pen in the kitchen with Rocco’s new bed and toys. He is supposed to stay downstairs but I already know this is folly as my daughter will want Rocco to be part of her play and will end up being “the brother” in some epic scenario with Paddington bear. In no time at all, I’m sure the “not on the couch rule” will get overlooked. I can already see them being thick as thieves watching Paw Patrol on the couch together.

Are you prepped for car travel? What changes have you had to make? Did you re-use an old kit or buy new?

Yes, Rocco has a brand-new puppy car seat. Haven’t quite got my head around travel cages yet but will look into this once we’ve changed the car and he’s a little bit bigger.

How do you think it will affect your daily routine in the short term when the puppies are at their neediest?

Rocco is not my first dog but is the first for us as a family. I’d say our daily routines will be affected pretty dramatically at the start, as he’ll need lots of attention and confirmation that he is with people who will take care of him.

I am a little worried about the first few nights and can see myself downstairs with him in the wee hours assuring him until he falls asleep. The first few days is just letting him settle in. Once I feel he is happy, I will start light training. Just the basics like house and lead training. It will be a lot of figuring out as we go along so we won’t fully know how he is going to impact our lives and daily routine until we’re in the thick of it but, as a family, we are looking forward to the whole experience.

How do you anticipate your demeanour with your new dog? Would you say you’ll be strict? Hard but fair? Or just give in to their every whim?

Very relaxed, supportive and caring. Having said that, he will be trained for both his and our benefit. So from the basic house and lead training, we’ll hopefully be able to build a good relationship and understand how he learns. It’s about making sure he gets mental enrichment and physical exercise as much as keeping a close eye to make sure he doesn’t develop anxiety or any other stress-related behaviours. Our main goal is to make sure he is happy and content at the end of the day.

How are you going to introduce them to the family – especially other pets, farm animals and children?

As we have no other pets it will be more about introducing Rocco to his new environment and to us as a family. My daughter is currently playing the part of Rocco and I often find her in his bed pretending to be him (my daughter is 3, by the way). She is also playing at being with Rocco which is really great to see as it’s such a big deal to her, although at the moment, she has not got one clue how this little puppy will have such a big effect on her in the end.

What supplies have you laid in for the day? Food, beds, leads, harnesses… new or used?

So far, we’ve just got the essentials in like the dog pen to keep him safe during the night with bed and toys. Plus, we have bowls, collar, lead and food of course but that’s about it. I’m sure it will be very much like having the first child in that you will end up buying things, often, that you don’t need but seem like a good idea at the time.

How do you think they’ll handle the first night?

Fingers crossed like a dream. I expect by the end of the first day the little lad will be worn out but how he takes to his new surroundings, smells and people we will have to wait and see. I expect I will not have a good night’s sleep and if I think he needs me to join him, I will.

Your biggest fear?

Not so much a fear but I really hope that everything goes as well as expected and he feels at home and with people who love him. Oh, I do worry that he could swallow one of my daughter’s myriad of teeny tiny toy bits and pieces actually!

What excites you most about it?

We’re getting a puppy…what’s not to be excited about! We know there will be challenges ahead with many peaks and troughs but we’re fully aware of the this and can’t wait to have another addition in the Fitzpatrick household. Everything that comes with it… we’re excited about everything about it.

What changes have you made to the house, Maria – what changes in what rooms?

Not much has changed since our darling Buzz passed, but we will pop Wren in her cage at night so she can get used to her surroundings and so both puppy & Mary (the cat) can have a comfortable night’s sleep.

Downstairs only? Not on the couch? Anywhere they like?

No puppies upstairs but she may be able to twist our arms for cuddles on the couch.

Are you prepped for car travel? What changes have you had to make? Did you re-use an old kit or buy new?

We went ahead and bought a new car cage as our other one had seen better days. It’s in the car already set up and waiting to go and collect her!

Learning to share. Kind of.

How do you think it will affect your daily routine in the short term when the puppies are at their neediest?

I’m lucky to be able to bring her to work from day one. Also, having plenty of puppy obsessed colleagues who will be keeping her entertained throughout the day will definitely help. To get her fully socialised, I intend to take her everywhere that allow dogs.

How do you anticipate your demeanour with your new dog? Would you say you’ll be strict? Hard but fair? Or just give in to their every whim?

As a previous dog owner, I know the firm but fair route is the best to take. But I do understand that the first few days and nights away from mummy will be stressful for her.

How are you going to introduce them to the family – especially other pets, farm animals and children?

 Mary the cat will be fine, but living on a farm, I do worry about the bigger animals. I intend to make her understand from day one that cows and horses are dangerous and need to stay well away from them.

What supplies have you laid in for the day? Food, beds, leads, harnesses… new or used?

Practically have everything prepared now and it’s mainly all new – shopping is my favourite thing and its part of the fun!

How do you think they’ll handle the first night?

Hopefully, it isn’t too bad but a few tears are expected at bedtime. I will make sure Mary stays in with Wren to keep her company.

Your biggest fear?

As much as it’s all fun and games bringing a new puppy home, the thought of starting over again is a bit daunting.

What excites you most about it?

Training her to become an obedient dog that is a pleasure to own. Her mum is very well trained & dad is a field trial champion (FTCH) gun dog so we’re hopeful.

You need a vet. Same one as always or time/chance to pick a new one? If so what’re your criteria?

Our only criteria will be to always source a local vet with a good reputation.

Puppy parties good or bad? Can’t wait or can’t wait till their over?

Happy to get involved with Puppy Parties if needs be. In my opinion, getting as much socialisation as possible the better so will encourage Wren to interact with other dogs, children and get used to crowds of people. Dogs cannot get too much socialisation.

So that’s our first insight into life before puppies for Neil and Maria. Stay tuned for part two to see how the fared after the first week with the latest additions to their families and whether their hope and expectations were met or exceeded. Also, we’d love to hear about your new puppy experiences, so pop over to our Facebook account to share your puppy wisdom and woes.

This article is for guidance only and if you have any concerns about your pet you should always seek the advice of a qualified vet.

If in doubt contact your veterinary practice

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