A couple of weeks ago, me and my family travelled up country to collect our new puppy! I wanted to give her time to settle in to our way of life before writing this as I wanted to get some really good quality photographs of her with my camera – which required her to sit still for a short amount of time (this is very difficult to achieve with a pup!)
Her name is Jess and she is a cockapoo breed, which is a poodle and cocker spaniel mix. She is an F2 pup, which means her parents were both cockapoos rather than one being a spaniel and the other a poodle. Her temperament is absolutely wonderful – she’s so gentle and loving towards everyone. She has a doleful expression and with her big eyes looking up at you – it just completely melts me every time she does it!
In terms of what we bought before we got her, we just kept to the basics. We bought her a collar and lead; a flexi lead and a standard short lead, a bed, a ‘puppy pack’ of toys which had a selection of 3 or 4 different toys, a pig toy, a water and food bowl, puppy pads for her to do her business on in the house – her breeder had gotten her used to using these so it has been a fairly easy process to toilet train her to use the pads. We are also borrowing a dog crate from friends of ours, which we are using at the moment to train her to stay in when we go out for short periods of time and to eventually sleep in as she wakes up whoever she sleeps in with at the moment with her puppy ways!
Her breeder also gave us some dog food to last us a week or two, however we’ve now transitioned Jess onto Burns food which is much better for her and we’ve noticed she eats a lot more as well as being a lot less loose out the other side!!! We mix the Burns biscuits with a little bit of meat for puppies.
The reason we got Jess is because we used to have a wonderful westie named Snowy, who sadly passed away due to cancer at the end of July this year. We were truly heartbroken and anyone who’s lost a pet will understand what a loss to the family it is. Snowy had been in our family for 11 years, and I had grown up with him. We still talk and think about him every day, but a month or so ago we felt we were ready to have another fluffy companion to join us as we are a family who loves having a dog. This time I am much older and able to have more of a hand in caring for Jess and I can’t wait for her to be able to go out on walks.
I also can’t wait to do updates about Jess as she grows more and more. She’s getting her next set of vaccinations in a couple of weeks and then we’re going to be attending puppy training classes. I managed to teach Jess to sit last week, which was extremely easy and she’s incredibly obedient despite being a bouncy, energetic pup. All my friends and my boyfriend absolutely adore her and the house has been busy with people coming to visit her all the time. We’re really trying to socialise her as much as possible. She’s so good with noises such as fireworks and thunderstorms on the television, which Snowy was always so scared of. My little brother is also only 3 years old, so she’s very used to small children now and our friends that live down the road from us bring their 5 month old Jack Russell puppy, Ginny, up to play with Jess and get her used to other dogs. She was so scared at first but she has now met Ginny twice and they play until Jess literally crashes out (much to Ginny’s disappointment).
In terms of looking for the right puppy for you, definitely buy a puppy from a breeder who’s willing to answer all of your questions without hesitation and has done ALL their research. Me and mum found that some breeders were confused about or trying to avoid certain questions and this is where you immediately have to say thank you for their time and move on to a different breeder. The lady who raised Jess was so helpful and gave us details about Jess’ mum, who we were able to meet and saw her interact with her litter, her dad and her grandparents’ medical history.
With cockapoos, it is important to know if they are PRA clear, and the breeder was more than happy to provide information about this as well as all veterinary visits. Always research about the breed of dog your interested in; their temperament, common health problems, how much they shed (cockapoos aren’t supposed to shed however you can get the ‘grandad effect’ which means you can’t guarantee what traits they will inherit), whether they require lots of exercise, etc. Also, we felt that the time was right to get a puppy as my stepdad is now working from home full time in the evenings and my mum works three days a week, which is really important factor when thinking about getting a new fluffy addition.
Puppies shouldn’t really be left for excessive amounts of time as they are just hairy babies that need attention and care as well as patience. They will bite you, your furniture and have accidents everywhere! Try getting a chew toy or chew stick treat for them to gnaw on if they get into a manic biting session, and if they try to gnaw up your arm like Jess does, take your arm behind your back and ignore them – if it gets too much, just get up and walk away. Jess really responds to reward based training. This means really praising the good behaviour and completely ignoring the bad. Puppies do not respond well to being shouted at – you are only scaring them into submission which is not a positive behaviour for your dog to pick up on. There have been a couple of times that I have raised my voice at Jess for biting or pooing in my brother’s bed (this did happen) but when I have ignored her, I find she stops the behaviour a lot quicker.