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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

My wife and I are going to pick up our lab mix puppy in about 4 weeks (he's 3 weeks old right now), and we want to be as prepared as possible for when we do so.

We're in the process of building a nice run in the back yard (40' x 20'), but obviously he won't be in there for a while by himself.

Ok question #1: What do I need to do with the vet in preparation for his arrival? Do I need to talk to the vet first and get a plan set up for visits and care?

#2: We're hoping to pick him up on a Friday so that we have the whole weekend to be with him in his new environment (and not have to worry about being tired at work!). When Monday rolls around, I'm planning on taking him to work with me in his crate so that I can take him out every hour or two and play a bit. Is this going to be ok being in two different new environments? I know it's not ideal, but it's what we have to work with.

#3: I've read that when you take the puppy out to go, he should be taken to the same place every time so that he knows that that is the spot he should go. As mentioned before, we are going to have a fenced-in area for him to eventually be during the day. Should we take him to the fenced in area to go, or another spot? The fenced in area is not attached to the house, so there is a gate which we would have to have open if we wanted him to go in there all the time. Or should we just pick an independent spot other than in the fence?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as we get closer, but feel free to lend any advice!
 

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I'm sure you'll get lots of good advice here.

I would talk to your vet about how and when to make appointments. My vet doesn't need that much lead time for a routine appointment. We set up the first appointment after we had our puppy and bring him based on the normal vaccine schedule. They let me know when to bring him back. If you're vet is that busy perhaps you should call them now.

I think that the reason people say to take your dog to the same place each time is so you don't to clean poop up from all over the yard. It won't actually hurt the dog to go other places, but it spreads out the mess. If you want your dog to poop in the same spot, then by all means choose a place where you think is most convenient. Some dogs potty out on walks. We have a fenced in yard, and my puppy won't poop anywhere but in his yard. That's where he thinks is the right place.

Maybe others will comment about the 2 different environments. I think it's better to take him to work than to leave him alone in a crate all day at such a young age.
 

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Different environments is not perfect, but it's way, way better than leaving him alone. I would just try to bring a couple items from home (like blankets, or pillows) which will pick up his scent inside the crate. Leave a few items there all the time, but rotate the others so that both your home and the crate share some familiar scents. If you've got some old clothes you're not attached to, you can use those, too - they'll smell like you. Just don't expect get the items back, and be very careful not to let the puppy eat the clothes (fibers can cause a blockage in an adult dog, and it's even worse in a baby's GI tract).

One thing you should definitely ask your vet is if they offer puppy socialization classes. Most vaccine schedules run from week 8-12, which is half of the critical phase for socialziation (weeks 8-16). It's tough to strike the right balance; you want to socialize as much as possible in those eight weeks, but you also don't want to endanger his life by exposure to potentially deadly pathogens. A clean, controlled environment approved by your vet is a great place to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for your replies!

That makes sense about spreading out the mess. I suppose that when he's in the fence he'll just have to figure out for himself where he wants to go.

That's a good idea about putting something from home into the crate with him. I have to read up a little bit more on crate training, but that's a good idea.

My wife called the vet earlier and I had her ask about puppy socialization, and they do offer it! So we will for sure be involved in that. They said it's 1.5 hours per week for 3 weeks for the socialization class for $40. Reasonable? Seems like it to me.
 

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My wife called the vet earlier and I had her ask about puppy socialization, and they do offer it! So we will for sure be involved in that. They said it's 1.5 hours per week for 3 weeks for the socialization class for $40. Reasonable? Seems like it to me.
That sounds reasonable to me. We took a 6-week puppy socialization course. I forget exactly how much it was, but I think I was about $25 per week. Our puppy LOVED it. He loves dogs and people at 4 months.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Good deal :)

Another question I have is about pet insurance. Is it worth it? If so who are good providers that are reasonable priced?

Edit: Just searched a bit and found some threads about PetPlan that seemed to be in high regard. Going to give them a call tomorrow and ask some Qs.
 

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Puppy Socialization class: My vet clinic had a 6 week course for $55. I would say a three week course for $40 is still reasonable. The knowledge you will get and the socialization benefits for your puppy are invaluable!

Pet Insurance: I have VPI but am switching to PetPlan. It may not be "worth it" monetarily (i.e. you may be "throwing money away" if your dog never has a serious injury/illness) but IMO the peace of mind is worth the $$$. Just this past weekend I talked to two dog owners who are not getting surgeries their dogs need because they cannot afford it. One has a three year old lab with arthritis in a previously injured foot that the vet thinks he can repair: no money, no surgery. The other has a mutt with a torn ACL, needs a $1000 surgery. No money. No surgery. I will never have to worry about this with Luna because she's insured!
 

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Congratulations! I'm sure you're excited, but wait an additional week to pick your new puppy up, so s/he's at least 8 wks. old.

Taking your puppy to work with you is fine, and great for socialization purposes in addition to housetraining. You'll want to expose your puppy to diverse people, places, and things. I took my puppies to work with me, and they learned to potty on grass, cement, gravel, and dirt - a good thing. Some dogs will only go potty on grass (or whatever surface they became used to), which can be problematic if you're somewhere without grass! They were exposed to people of different races, with and without glasses, hats, etc., people with canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. I took them to the local fire dept., and the firemen were wonderful! They even fired up the truck, and moved it out and back inside! My dogs aren't phased by sirens, loud trucks, and such. Walking on various surfaces (carpet, tile, cement, close to grates, uneven surfaces, etc., is good for them, too. I also give food and water from different types of dishes and bowls. We "hung out" just outside the grocery store, to meet (and greet!) all sorts of people, so they were accustomed to, and comfortable with strangers (and we all know that some people will come up to, and pet our dogs without asking, first). Playgrounds are great places to have your puppy get used to the way children look, move, and sound.

Enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for your reply :)

I know some stress is good for the puppy, but getting him used to multiple environments at the same time won't be too much at 7-8 weeks? I just want to make sure :)

And how come wait until 8 weeks?
 

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Thanks for your reply :)

I know some stress is good for the puppy, but getting him used to multiple environments at the same time won't be too much at 7-8 weeks? I just want to make sure :)

And how come wait until 8 weeks?

Bring along his crate, and he'll do just fine. He'll be sleeping most of the time, anyway. Be sure to have an out-of-the-way area in your office at work to place the crate, where he's not going to be exposed to a lot of activity/noise/people all day long.

In most States, it's illegal to sell/give away a puppy before the age of 8 wks. He needs his mother, and his siblings to learn bite inhibition, how to interact with other dogs, and so on. Dogs who have been removed too early from their mother and siblings often have problems/problem behaviors. I, personally, prefer to wait until 10, even 12 weeks to take a puppy home with me. Makes a big difference in many ways. My last puppy was pretty much housetrained, and she was great with other dogs and puppies, because of her time with mom and siblings.
 

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Good deal :)

Another question I have is about pet insurance. Is it worth it? If so who are good providers that are reasonable priced?

Edit: Just searched a bit and found some threads about PetPlan that seemed to be in high regard. Going to give them a call tomorrow and ask some Qs.
I just checked their site for how much it costs. For my 1.5 yr old Cocker Spaniel (who is young so you'd think health costs would be minimal) they quoted me approximately $200 a year for their cheapest plan. For my other dog (10 year old basset who is probably going to have more health issues just given his age) they refused any coverage (which is understandable given the dogs age.)

What coverage do I get for that $200 a year? I get 80% reimbursement and have to pay a $200 deductible. Now, if I go up and get the gold plan with all the bells and whistles (kennel fees up to $500, $500 for reward fees for a lost animal, $500 reimbursement for lost animal, $1000 for death from injury/illness and up to $1000 if you have to cancel all or part of a vacation care for your bet) plus up to $20k a year in benefits I'm paying $550 a year for full re-imbursement and a $50 deductible. If I take only 80% reimbursement and pay the highest deductible ($200) I'm paying $245 a year (plus my $200 deductible if something happens).

Given that the average vet costs in a year are around $150 or so I don't think it's worth it. The $245 a year plan only re-imburses me up to $8k anyway and if things really, really, really get that bad I can pay that out of pocket. It also entails that I've already spent my $200 deductible out of pocket anyway so before I get any benefits I've already spent $245 (in premiums) and $200 (in deductible) so I'm out $445 before I get any benefits from the insurance. The surveys I've seen place routine vet costs (assuming you have a perfectly healthy pet) at around $100-150 annually and up to $400-500 in a worst case scenario. Soooooooooooo, long story short you're spending $445 to keep from having to spend that extra $55 ($500 worst case scenario a year) out of pocket. With the plan of that extra $55 you'd still have to pay $11 out of pocket (with only 80% reimbursement) so you essentially spend $445 a year to save $44. Personally I would rather pocket the $245 I would be paying annually into a rainy day fund for my pet and I think you'd come out ahead.
 

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What coverage do I get for that $200 a year? I get 80% reimbursement and have to pay a $200 deductible. Now, if I go up and get the gold plan with all the bells and whistles (kennel fees up to $500, $500 for reward fees for a lost animal, $500 reimbursement for lost animal, $1000 for death from injury/illness and up to $1000 if you have to cancel all or part of a vacation care for your bet) plus up to $20k a year in benefits I'm paying $550 a year for full re-imbursement and a $50 deductible. If I take only 80% reimbursement and pay the highest deductible ($200) I'm paying $245 a year (plus my $200 deductible if something happens).
IMO, young dogs are still risky because they're silly/untrained. They don't just cover illnesses... but also accidents (think young dog with no recall escaping and getting hit by a car). The plan for Luna (5 month old GSD mix) is something around $250-$300 annually. That is with a $50 per visit deductible and 100% reimbursement.

Given that the average vet costs in a year are around $150 or so I don't think it's worth it. The $245 a year plan only re-imburses me up to $8k anyway and if things really, really, really get that bad I can pay that out of pocket. It also entails that I've already spent my $200 deductible out of pocket anyway so before I get any benefits I've already spent $245 (in premiums) and $200 (in deductible) so I'm out $445 before I get any benefits from the insurance. The surveys I've seen place routine vet costs (assuming you have a perfectly healthy pet) at around $100-150 annually and up to $400-500 in a worst case scenario. Soooooooooooo, long story short you're spending $445 to keep from having to spend that extra $55 ($500 worst case scenario a year) out of pocket. With the plan of that extra $55 you'd still have to pay $11 out of pocket (with only 80% reimbursement) so you essentially spend $445 a year to save $44. Personally I would rather pocket the $245 I would be paying annually into a rainy day fund for my pet and I think you'd come out ahead.
Never trust surveys. They not only survey responsible pet owners, but also those who pretty much never take their dogs to the vet, regardless of how severe the illness or injury. Luna's already cost between $1,500-$2,000 in vet bills.. and I've only had her since February. (If "worst case scenario" is only $500, where on earth does that put me?)

Your looking at this logically. I'm looking at it mostly with my heart. I'm not saying I'm right for thinking the way I do (quite possibly I'm wrong, LOL), but what I'm saying is that I'd rather have the security of an insurance plan. I am glad you have $8K that you could spend in an emergency. I do not. I certainly could pool it together if I knew it was going to be reimbursed (as is the case with pet insurance).

This is how I'm looking at pet insurance:
It may not be "worth it" monetarily (i.e. you may be "throwing money away" if your dog never has a serious injury/illness) but IMO the peace of mind is worth the $$$. Just this past weekend I talked to two dog owners who are not getting surgeries their dogs need because they cannot afford it. One has a three year old lab with arthritis in a previously injured foot that the vet thinks he can repair: no money, no surgery. The other has a mutt with a torn ACL, needs a $1000 surgery. No money. No surgery. I will never have to worry about this with Luna because she's insured!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
IMO, young dogs are still risky because they're silly/untrained. They don't just cover illnesses... but also accidents (think young dog with no recall escaping and getting hit by a car). The plan for Luna (5 month old GSD mix) is something around $250-$300 annually. That is with a $50 per visit deductible and 100% reimbursement.


Never trust surveys. They not only survey responsible pet owners, but also those who pretty much never take their dogs to the vet, regardless of how severe the illness or injury. Luna's already cost between $1,500-$2,000 in vet bills.. and I've only had her since February. (If "worst case scenario" is only $500, where on earth does that put me?)

Your looking at this logically. I'm looking at it mostly with my heart. I'm not saying I'm right for thinking the way I do (quite possibly I'm wrong, LOL), but what I'm saying is that I'd rather have the security of an insurance plan. I am glad you have $8K that you could spend in an emergency. I do not. I certainly could pool it together if I knew it was going to be reimbursed (as is the case with pet insurance).

This is how I'm looking at pet insurance:
I'm with you Nikelodeon. I like the security of the insurance. Especially since he's still a puppy and the insurance will not only cover accidents, but also any chronic problems that may develop AND the medication associated with it for the rest of his life.
 

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IMO, young dogs are still risky because they're silly/untrained. They don't just cover illnesses... but also accidents (think young dog with no recall escaping and getting hit by a car). The plan for Luna (5 month old GSD mix) is something around $250-$300 annually. That is with a $50 per visit deductible and 100% reimbursement.
Let's be honest, accidents can happen with any dog the same as with a kid. We all keep an eye on our dogs, but stuff happens. I don't think anyone's immune. Even then, I think pet insurance is a bad idea purely for financial reasons if nothing else.

Never trust surveys. They not only survey responsible pet owners, but also those who pretty much never take their dogs to the vet, regardless of how severe the illness or injury. Luna's already cost between $1,500-$2,000 in vet bills.. and I've only had her since February. (If "worst case scenario" is only $500, where on earth does that put me?)
That's fair enough. Vet costs also vary very widely geographically. These surveys are factoring in everything from New York, New York to Podunk, Iowa. The minimum is probably assuming just a routine annual checkup which I think would run right around $100-150 (at least that's about what it runs here locally). To me an emergency for a dog is no different than an emergency with a car or a dishwasher that blows up or whatever. Financially, I plan for all of them the same way.

Your looking at this logically. I'm looking at it mostly with my heart. I'm not saying I'm right for thinking the way I do (quite possibly I'm wrong, LOL), but what I'm saying is that I'd rather have the security of an insurance plan. I am glad you have $8K that you could spend in an emergency. I do not. I certainly could pool it together if I knew it was going to be reimbursed (as is the case with pet insurance).

This is how I'm looking at pet insurance:
See, I think of everything logically. It's the way I am. I'm also somewhat of a financial nerd too. (Gee, I wonder why chicks aren't into me.) Part of that is what I've been there. Long story short I woke up 2-3 years ago in the middle of winter and discovered I was freezing my butt off in a crappy rental that I couldn't afford to heat because of it's paper thin walls. On top of that I was about $20-30k in debt, was staring at a credit card bill I couldn't pay and was overdrawn at the bank to boot. Needless to say I was scared to death. I swore then that I would never, ever, ever, ever be broke and scared ever again. A lot has happened since then (that's the long story), but suffice it to say, that's the main reason I'm sitting on the $8k+ in the bank. That is my insurance policy and that's what lets me sleep better at night.

I don't know that looking at things logically is the right way to look at things all the time. I think you've got to have both and I admit I lack in the emotional category when it comes to looking at things. My dog can try the puppy dog eyes on me, but it doesn't usually work.
 

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I'm with you Nikelodeon. I like the security of the insurance. Especially since he's still a puppy and the insurance will not only cover accidents, but also any chronic problems that may develop AND the medication associated with it for the rest of his life.
Hehehe, don't be too sure. Pet insurance policies typically don't cover chronic and/or genetic health problems, or even medications. Look the policy over very, very carefully before going ahead. A friend had what she believed was a great pet insurance policy, but they wouldn't cover the surgery he needed (OCD, right shoulder).

I put money away every month (instead of paying an insurance company), which works out very well. I also have a great relationship with my vet, who will accept payments, if needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hehehe, don't be too sure. Pet insurance policies typically don't cover chronic and/or genetic health problems, or even medications. Look the policy over very, very carefully before going ahead. A friend had what she believed was a great pet insurance policy, but they wouldn't cover the surgery he needed (OCD, right shoulder).

I put money away every month (instead of paying an insurance company), which works out very well. I also have a great relationship with my vet, who will accept payments, if needed.
Well the one I'm looking at, Petplan, does.

http://www.gopetplan.com/Dog-Insurance-Policies/Compare-Pet-Policies.html#

Comes out to about $20 per month for $12,000 annual limit of coverage. If the dog ever develops a chronic problem, this is going to be the way to go.
 

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Well the one I'm looking at, Petplan, does.

http://www.gopetplan.com/Dog-Insurance-Policies/Compare-Pet-Policies.html#

Comes out to about $20 per month for $12,000 annual limit of coverage. If the dog ever develops a chronic problem, this is going to be the way to go.
The default quote there is with a $200 deductible and 80% re-imbursement. So you're going to pay $240 a year out of pocket, plus the $200 deductible out of pocket if something happens (putting you out $440 before insurance even kicks in) and then insurance only reimburses you at 80% up to $12k so you could potentially fork over an additional $3k out of pocket in order to get there. ($12k is 80% of $15k.) I think it's a bad product. If I was you, I'd pocket the $20 a month and I think in the long run you'll come out ahead.
 
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