Bringing Home Your Bernedoodle: The First Few Days

The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Bernedoodles" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.

Author Credit: David Anderson

Once your house is prepared for the arrival of your new Bernedoodle, you’re ready to bring your dog home. The transition to a new place can be stressful to a dog that may not know anything outside of its breeder’s home. Especially if your household doesn’t already have another dog, there are a lot of supplies to purchase and plans to put into place. This chapter is your guide for the first few days as a new Bernedoodle owner.

The First Day

Not all dogs enjoy car rides and you don’t want your new pup’s first experience with you to be a scary one. The journey home is a big transition. Your dog will be separated from people and other dogs that it knows. During the ride home, new dogs need a little extra comfort as they make their journey to their new house.

A good car ride experience can save you and your pet stress in the long run. A negative experience can possibly condition your dog to associate cars with fear. If cars become scary, it will be difficult to convince it to hop in the next time you want to go to the veterinarian or training class.

Barnedoodle on grassPerhaps the safest way to transport a dog is in a crate. If not properly restrained, your dog could become seriously injured in the event of a car accident. Even a bump in the road could send a dog flying through the car. For everyone’s safety, decide on a method of restraint before picking your dog up.

Crates are great because they provide a small space that can make a puppy feel at ease. The crates themselves can be securely fastened to the seat, so they can’t budge. As an added bonus, if your dog has an accident or gets sick, it’s much easier to clean up a plastic crate than the seat fabric.

The least-advised transport method is to let your dog move freely around the car. Even a well-trained dog can be unpredictable in a stressful situation. Not only is the dog at risk for being injured, but it’s dangerous for the driver to deal with distractions. Your puppy might want to cuddle and climb around you as you drive, but it’s extremely dangerous for everyone in the car.

Once you get home, it’s time to let your dog check out its new home. Since its boundaries have already been decided, it probably won’t have far to go. Let it check out where it will be sleeping and take it outside to see where it will be using the bathroom.

Introduce your dog to all of your family members. A new dog can be exciting, but try to keep everyone calm and relaxed. Let your dog sniff people out and give it a couple small treats. Give your dog sufficient exercise through lots of play time. If you have a puppy, chances are it will be exhausted from all of the excitement and will need a quick nap.

As much as you want to take your new dog everywhere with you, short breaks away from your dog are good. Most owners will eventually have to leave their dog home alone for at least a few hours each day, so you’ll want to prepare your dog for that separation. It doesn’t have to be more than a few minutes at first, but giving your dog a little alone time won’t hurt it.

The first few nights with a new puppy can be tough. Your puppy is probably used to being surrounded by its siblings and mother. Suddenly, your dog is all alone in an unfamiliar place. It’s bound to be tough on the little guy. It’s hard to hear your dog so upset, but your family members have to sleep, too. What do you do?

If you’re planning on crate training, your puppy should be put to bed every night in its crate. However, you may want to consider the best place for that crate at the beginning. New dog owners may be tempted to put their dog out of earshot, but that can make them even more uneasy. Some experts suggest putting the crate inside your bedroom or even just outside the door. This way, your dog knows that you’re near and that it hasn’t been completely abandoned.

Another reason for keeping the puppy near is so you know when it needs to be let outside. Puppies have tiny bladders, so there’s a good chance it’ll want to be let out during the night. Crying is its natural warning that something is wrong, so it will vocalize its needs to you. The crying may go on for a long time initially, but once it tires itself out, you’ll be able to hear when it has settled down.

Barnedoodle sittingYour puppy’s bedtime routine has an effect on how it sleeps through the night. Before putting your dog in its crate, take it on one last walk around the yard. Not only will it take this time to use the bathroom, it will also tire itself out by running around.  It will probably still cry a little at first, but eventually it’ll calm down enough to fall asleep.

The first few weeks may be tough on both puppy and owner, but once the puppy gets settled into a routine and becomes comfortable with being alone, it’ll soon be sleeping through the night. Resist the urge to either store it in the basement to escape its cries or to cuddle it in bed with you. This stage will eventually pass and your Bernedoodle will be on its way to becoming fully housetrained.

Going to the Vet

If you signed a health guarantee with a breeder, going to the vet within the first few days of purchase is necessary to keep up your end of the agreement. Even if you got your Bernedoodle at a shelter, it’s not a bad idea to have it checked out soon after it comes home. Dogs from shelters occasionally pick up illnesses from the other dogs they share a space with.

It’s a good idea to choose a new vet before you bring your dog home, so you’ll be prepared for any sudden illness or injury. You want someone who is trustworthy, is knowledgeable about your dog, and gets along well with both you and your Bernedoodle.

If you live in a city with lots of choices of veterinarians, it can be tough to pick one. In this case, it is good to talk to other pet owners and see where they take their pets. Your friends and coworkers can also give you some inside information about vets, facilities, and prices. Another safe bet is to see which vet your breeder goes to. If you got your Bernedoodle from a shelter, ask about the vet that they use.

Once you’ve narrowed down your search, check out a few clinics and see if you can get any more information from their websites. Lots of websites contain information about the employees and facilities. Look for veterinarians that specialize in dogs and understand the needs of your Bernedoodle.  There, you can also see what their hours are. Check to see if their business hours work with your daily schedule. You will also need to know what their protocol is in case of an emergency.

Next, make a few visits to your top choices. Your clinic should let you have a brief tour of their facilities. First, you’ll want to make sure the clinic is clean. Make sure it is free of odors and bodily fluids, for your dog’s safety as well as your own. If possible, try to observe how the employees interact with the animals. You want employees who are kind, attentive, and knowledgeable.

Barnedoodle lyingNext, see what kinds of tests and procedures the facilities allow. They should have several exam rooms, a laboratory for running tests, an x-ray room, and surgery rooms. If they have all of these rooms, there’s a good chance that they’ll provide all of the services you may need for your Bernedoodle. Smaller offices often refer their clients to other labs or hospitals for procedures that their facilities cannot handle. You must decide if this makes a difference to you. Sometimes, having to send samples to other labs can delay a diagnosis.

Try to meet with a vet that specializes in dog medicine. You can ask a few questions to gauge his or her knowledge of the breed. Mostly, this meeting is to see if you get along, since you’ll be visiting a few times a year. Even if your dog doesn’t necessarily require a checkup or vaccinations right away, it’s not a bad idea to introduce your dog to the vet. Make it a positive experience with lots of treats and praise and it might even enjoy its regular visit to the vet.

Finding a new vet is an important part of preparing your home for a Bernedoodle. When illness or injury occur unexpectedly, you’ll want someone you can trust to take care of your dog. Veterinarians are an invaluable resource when you have questions about caring for your new dog.

Pet Supplies

Another necessary part of being prepared for a new dog is having all of the right supplies. Going to a pet store can be overwhelming because there are so many different products on the market. After a while, buying new things for your Bernedoodle can add up. There are some supplies that are absolutely necessary for your dog’s wellbeing, and other products that are nice extras. Here are some things to pick up at the pet store before your Bernedoodle comes home.

First, you’ll need somewhere for your dog to sleep. Crates are perfect for this because they also provide a cozy relaxation space for your dog and they are perfect for transporting your Bernedoodle in the car. Crates are most commonly made out of wood, wire, or plastic. Wire crates are good for letting your dog see its surroundings and provide good air flow, but they may need to be covered at night for optimum sleeping. Plastic crates are easy to clean, but it’s good to find one that your Bernedoodle can’t sink its teeth into.

Your dog’s crate should be large enough that it can stand up and turn around inside of it. However, it shouldn’t be too large, or else puppies won’t have any problem using it for a bathroom. Dogs generally don’t like to potty where they sleep, so a properly sized crate will help keep them from making messes. Because there is a large size range between the Bernedoodle puppy and adult, you may find it necessary to own more than one crate as it grows.

Barnedoodle adultEspecially if you’re bringing home a puppy, it’s good to have a few baby gates or a play pen on hand. If you give your new dog the run of the house, don’t be surprised when you find messes in unexpected places. Giving your dog its own space makes it easier to keep an eye on it until you know that its destructive behaviors are under control. Plus, having a special area keeps it safe by separating it from other dangers in your home.

Next, your Bernedoodle needs two bowls for food and water. There are so many different types of bowls on the market that it can be hard to pick one. A good, sturdy stainless steel bowl is hard to beat because it’s durable and easy to clean. Make sure the water bowl is kept full of clean, fresh water at all times, and the food bowl is only full during meal times.

In order to keep your Bernedoodle safe, you need a good collar and leash. Most dogs do well with a thick, flat collar that fastens with a buckle. These can easily be adjusted as your dog grows, A good fitting collar should be snug enough that your dog can’t slip out, but loose enough that it doesn’t cause discomfort. If you can slide two fingers under the collar, it’s a good fit. Alternatively, some dogs, especially shelter dogs, have throat problems that make collars painful. A harness is a good choice if collars aren’t an option for your dog. Whichever you choose, make sure to keep identification tags and license tags on at all times. When choosing a leash, pick something strong like leather or nylon. Choose a four foot or six foot leash, because shorter leashes make training easier than long retractable ones.

Your new dog will also need a few toys to keep it happy and entertained. Bernedoodles are big dogs that need sturdy toys that can’t easily be destroyed. When searching for new toys, make sure there aren’t any parts that can easily break off and choke your dog. Also, make sure nothing will splinter and puncture any of your dog’s internal organs if swallowed. Tough, rubber toys and bones designed specifically for your dog’s oral health are safe bets. If you have any concerns, ask a breeder or vet what they recommend.

You’ll also want to pick up a few grooming supplies to have on hand. Brushes, nail trimmers, and a toothbrush and toothpaste are necessary for keeping your dog looking good and feeling healthy. Depending on whether you’re planning on bathing your dog at home or visiting a groomer, you may also want to have a gentle shampoo.

Of course, you’ll also need to have some food on hand. Before you purchase a food, it’s important to find out what your Bernedoodle was eating at its last home. A sudden switch in foods can cause stomach upset, or just make it turn up its little nose. If you’re planning on switching dog foods, slowly transition by mixing the familiar food with the new food. Treats are also good to have for welcoming your new dog into your home and for training rewards.

The Cost Breakdown

Owning a dog is a huge commitment. As an owner, you must be able to cover the cost of keeping your dog healthy and happy for its entire life. While the initial cost of bringing a new dog home can be shocking, keep in mind that there will also be some expenses that continue for the rest of your dog’s life. Of course, the cost of your individual Bernedoodle may vary depending on where you live, but here are some estimates to consider before deciding if you can afford a Bernedoodle.

First, consider how much it will cost to get your Bernedoodle in the first place. If you’re buying a puppy from a breeder, expect to pay somewhere between $1,000 to over $3,000. If you’re going to adopt, fees will be around the $200-$400 range.

When you first bring your dog home, there will be a lot of one-time expenses. Toys, grooming products, a crate, gates, and other things will add up quickly. Expect to pay around $200 for necessary items. Training is another one-time expense if you choose to hire a professional or attend a class. These cost anywhere from $100-$500 for basic obedience training.

Yearly vet bills may cost somewhere between $200-$400 depending on what services are performed. A Bernedoodle from a good breeder should run into few health problems, but regular checkups and vaccinations are still necessary for good health.

Bernedoodles are big dogs, so they need to eat more food than most breeds. The cost of dog food is a huge variable because there are so many to choose from. The average dog eats about $300 worth of food in a year. Depending on how big your Bernedoodle gets and how expensive your preferred food is, it could easily be more than that.

Depending on all of the economic choices you make for your dog, the cost adds up quickly. If you get your Bernedoodle when it’s a puppy, a lifetime of care could run you somewhere in the range of $10,000 on the cheap end, and up to $40,000. This may seem excessive, but don’t fret—when you consider how much it cost to care for a human child, it’s quite doable in comparison. Besides, once you have your Bernedoodle in your arms, you’ll find that you’ll pay any amount to make sure they are as happy as can be!

There is a lot of preparation involved when it’s time to bring your new friend home, but its first experiences of its new home really makes a big impact on its growth and development. Having everything ready for your dog will make both you and your dog happier. Once your pup is settled in, that’s when the fun really starts.

To read more from "The Complete Guide to Bernedoodles" by David Anderson, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below:

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