If you follow us on Instagram you may just have noticed that in November last year we became the proud owners of Bramley, our Blue Road Cocker Spaniel puppy.
We are dog virgins and the closest we have ever got to this is being parents to 3 little human babies - not much help!
So we devoured every piece of information we could, Googling, joining forums and asking strangers on the road who were out walking their dogs.
We are now almost 6 months in so what advice would we give?
Create a secure area for your new puppy
We invested in a crate with a couple of doors which we set up in the kitchen and linked it to a play pen (both are easy to get hold of and we asked advice as to the best size). We popped a cozy mat in the crate and from the word go Bramley slept in his crate with the door to the main room closed.
At first we let him go into the play pen at night and put a puppy pad there in the hopes he would learn to use it (see later!) No promises for you all but he has slept through with no whining every single night - so much better than our human babies!!!
During the day if all his energy proved too much, we were able to pop him into the play pen to calm down.
Introduce him to as many new experiences as you can
When they are very young you do need to wait until they have their vaccinations done so we just let him go out in the garden.
However as soon as he was able we took him out for walks. We are really lucky to leave near the beach where a lot of other dogs go so he soon had to get to know his fellow dogs. He absolutely loves them! I don't know if this is just his cheery personality or the fact we took him out from a tiny stage.
Chewing - thank you random stranger!
Oh my the wires which have got chewed through! No gentle scolding, encouragement to do something else or removing the items seemed to make any difference.
The biggest trick we found out is that smearing Vapour Rub on the wire put him right off. Simple and very effective.
Enjoy the early puppy days
We are now almost 6 months in and cannot believe how fast the time has gone. So do make the most of it and record as much of those early puppy days as you can - you may even want to set up an Instagram account for them (Check out @bramleypaw for ours :) )
Our biggest mistake
It took 16 (yes SIXTEEN) years of nagging from our daughter to persuade us to get a dog. Do not leave it this long.