We had 4 weeks to prepare our home and ourselves for Anna’s arrival. While at first one might think a collar and lead are enough for a start, there’s a lot more to do.
At first we had to make sure that the fences around our garden are puppy-proof. In some parts we put down cobble stones along the bottom part of the fence and along one side of the garden, we attached some rabbit fence for now, until the fence will be renewed next year.
The next step was to buy a kennel. To some this may sound cruel but it’s a good solution to toilet-train a puppy in the first weeks and also to get her used to being separated from humans. This way we can make sure she won’t get hurt, chew on the furniture or release herself inside the house, while we are doing something else.
The kennel will be placed indoors in our living room. We decided to spray-paint the kennel in a dark red color to make it look more like a cosy home than a kennel (I guess Anna won’t care much, but I do haha).
I then ordered a few things from Amazon like “Die Retriever Schule für Welpen” (the retriever school for puppies), a book by Nora Zvolski, a puppy kong teething stick, a prey dummy that can be filled with treats, a dog whistle which is still clearly audible for humans and a handmade collar and leash from www.10000dogs.com. Additionally I got a 10 meter setline which is a long lead that can be used for hunting or training. We will get a third leash&collar for Anna, which will be an adjustable and robust leather leash for forest walks and bicycle rides. I also ordered two dog tags with her name, our address and phone number.
On a rainy Sunday mum and I sat down and sewed three blanket covers and a very ‘unique’ teddy bear – my first self-made stuffed toy. I would say it’s my last one too haha.
I know, I know, some of you are probably shaking their head at the pink and red accessories. Well… you know… I can be one of those tough mudders who like to get dirty and roam through the forests on rainy days but there are days where you gotta go to the city and look pretty. Anna will be my companion in the forests living a proper retriever life, but she’ll also get to know city life.
Back to the preparations: Food-wise we got a small packet of the breeder’s recommended puppy dry kibble and a few chewy bones. We will try and feed a mix of dry and fresh food, trying to avoid chemicals, wheat, corn or any byproducts. I read a lot about BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) during the last weeks to make sure we provide a wide variety of healthy food but we will cook certain things anyway.
Four weeks have passed and I can hardly believe the waiting has come to an end. I’m excited and even a little nervous about picking up Anna tomorrow and having to keep her calm for the long 5 hour drive back home.