There’s obviously a lot you need to do to get ready for a new baby: find a good space in your home for the nursery, buy the crib, set up the crib, make it homey and inviting, buy a boatload of other stuff you’ll need for said new baby. Did you know that you have to do the same things for a new puppy? Granted, there’s less hardware required for a dog, but still a lot more than we were expecting.
At first, we thought we’d just have a crate, a dog bed, a few toys, and maybe a baby gate to section off our hallway where the dog could hang while we were out. Good thing we met with a trainer (and our future dog walker, Pamela Wyman of DogEvolve), who told us that it would be a while until our puppy would be ready for a whole area to hang out in. First, we should start with a crate inside an exercise pen. And in that ex-pen, we’d also need a patch of potty grass (for those long stretches when he’d be home alone between his playground and us getting home from work). And a water bowl. And some toys. And some chews. And a piece of linoleum under all of it for when he misses the potty grass or has an accident on the floor.
All of that stuff can make a city apartment feel small fast. The good news is that you probably only need the ex-pen and potty grass for the first 4-6 months (depending on how long you plan to leave your pup alone at home at a time, and how easy it is to take your dog outside to use the bathroom). And when you move into the crate-only phase, that takes up a lot less room. The bad news is that this stuff is pricey, and it really adds up. After our first shopping trip, my fiance asked how much I thought we would spend total, once we were done buying all this stuff. I estimated $300 and it was upwards of $500. Once you get the initial items, it’s less ongoing, but you still have to put in a chunk of your paycheck each month to food, treats, chews, new toys, dog walking, vet bills, etc. So you definitely have to be sure that you’re ready for a dog, emotionally, physically, and financially. The upside, of course, is a loving companion who will make you smile every day.