Without sounding too dictatorial, here comes a bitesize disclaimer, a puppy/dog is for life not just for Christmas or Covid comforts.

Since childhood I have been blessed with a lifestyle that has seen pets as a regularity, from horses to dogs, to owls and Bengal cats, so it’s certainly not my first rodeo when it comes to new furry friends, however it is outside of my family home back in Kent.

So, I enter the world of providing solely for a puppy! Back in August I began my search for a specific breed – the Australian Labradoodle, combined with there hypoallergenic coats, placid nature and extremely smart behaviour it certainly wasn’t an easy find. I scoured breeder websites from as far afield as Scotland, all the way to Ireland, however many had 2 year waiting lists and had no guarantee of that soon, after multiple phone calls and recommendations I checked the website Pets4Homes, with sheer reluctance may I add. However, two months passed and I found a breeder that had a small litter due for collection in December and whom was located 20 minute’s drive from me, bingo! Deposit placed and we have lift off.

Puppy collection day was certainly an overwhelming one, the journey home seemed scarier for me than the pup, I followed guidelines of play pen training, puppy pads and 1 room introduction, the first week seemed to go past in a flash, with an endless list of do’s and don’ts fired at you, I can honestly say, just do you – there is no right or wrong, take advice and make it your own.

From my 2 weeks experience I have socialised my puppy to over 10 friends, taken 1-hour car journeys, trained him to sit and wait at the traffic lights, climb up and down the stairs, full pad training and have introduced a weekly bath schedule. Call me crazy but many new pup owners’ may shudder at the thought of this, my mantra is learning and development, I have undoubtedly learnt more in 2 weeks than my pup!

My tips for new pup success:

Get them used to being alone EARLY! – The thought of leaving an 8-9 week old puppy is certainly an anxiety attack waiting to happen, however at a young age they sleep 8-10 hours a day, so get into a routine from day one of leaving the house for 10 minutes and gradually build upon it each day.

Providing they have had worming treatment and their first jabs, get them out and about, even if you are carrying them, visit pup friendly café’s get them used to sights, smells and surroundings.

Buy a harness! They may not look as visually pleasing as a cute bowed collar but they are so much safer for you and your pup.

Use natural and organic treats – AVOID pedigree chews they are packed full of cereals, additives and who knows what else! When you are puppy training you are going through a large number of treats per day, so make it healthy – my pups fave’s are cucumber, apple, celery and cheese pieces.

Avoid shutting your puppy out, I have unfortunately found this out the hard way, shutting doors such as the bathroom or bedroom door provokes your pup to believe they have done something wrong, and ignorance of crying and barking ISN'T bliss, as you will find a mess once you return. Best thing to do is pre-occupy them, give them some new and fun to chew – empty kitchen roll holders work wonders, and keep your voice heard, talk to them with a reassuring tone, even when you’re behind the door.

Needless to say, puppy proofing your home is 100% necessary, no matter how many toys they have they will find something to chew on that is out of bounds, many puppies experience painful teething, so buy plastic bones and chews specifically for this, a cuddly elephant will be the last thing on their radar.

Lastly, don’t shy away from other dogs, my pup is a miniature so his approximate sizing now is less than 30cm, of course be aware some dogs are not very friendly so try and avoid, but others its worth letting them have a sniff or two!

There are daily curveballs with puppy life, as new experiences beckon, life adventures take place and exciting travels happen, so just keep prepared. Medium size handbags will now become a necessity! So, what’s in mine? A zip lock bag of treats, a baby wipe, poo bags, teething bone and a blanket for sitting outside!

More recommendations and advice coming soon!