Preparing for Your New Puppy

7:00 AM

You guys, this post has been a long time coming, we got our sweet baby Banjo on Christmas of last year and boy has it been a journey! It took weeks of begging from my husband as well as a few spreadsheets and presentations to partially convince me to get a dog. I didn't want the commitment but my stone-cold heart definitely took a turn and now he is our whole world!

There’s nothing I look forward to more than coming home to his little butt wiggling and his kisses. He really is the sweetest and he has brought us so much joy! Banjo is about to turn six months old and I could cry every time I think about when he was just a 5 pound ball of fluff! Now I can’t imagine my life without him. So for all of y’all who are not dog people, just like me, there’s hope for you yet!

Now, in terms of preparing for and taking care of Banjo I was definitely a type A / helicopter mom and really tried to cover all the bases (and more). I’m going to share with you the essentials that you need for preparing for your new puppy! Fellow blogger Sweet and Petite put together a puppy essential post that really helped me, you can read here.

Breed: Miniature Austrailian Shepherd
Weight: He will grow to be 25-35 pounds
Breeder: Valley Essence Minis in Lenoir, NC 

We chose this breeder because they did all of the genetic testing that we were looking for, we could tell instantly that these dogs were loved (and not just bred for profit), and there were positive reviews as well as others who had gone back to them for their second or even third Mini Aussie. I’d say it is very important to do your research especially if you are going to a breeder for your puppy.

Side note: I’ve had a few people say we should’ve adopted and not shopped and I just have to say that this is a personal choice that my husband and I made. It is not fair to judge or attack those who decide to “shop” instead of adopting. I respect and truly admire everybody who adopts their fur family but I also think those who get their fur family should also be respected for their decision. Just my personal POV on the topic. So if you are an “adopt don’t shop” supporter please be careful on who you are imposing that on!

These are the essentials we definitely needed the first few weeks that we had Banjo
-          Collar (Banjo came with one from our breeder)
-          Harness
-          Leash
-          Crate and/or Play Pen
-          Dog Food (Your breeder should send you home with a ziploc bag of food!)
-          Toys
-          Food and Water Bowls
-          Treats
-          Apple Bitter Spray
-          Enzymatic Cleaner (for accidents)
-          Doggie Bags
-          Snuggle Puppy (for sleeping)


We crated Banjo from day one. I think we were lucky (or maybe he is just an independent puppy). He came home with us when he was just 8 weeks and Joe had to wake up once to take him to the bathroom but Banjo cried for about 2 minutes and then he fell asleep in his crate. I was a bit obsessive with getting Banjo used to his crate. As soon as we brought him home we practiced getting him in the crate by putting treats in there. We did this repeatedly throughout the day so that by the time it was time to sleep, Banjo had already been in his crate about 30 times.

The number one thing I was told to do was to crate Banjo because it would help us on so many different aspects of training. It would help with potty training because puppies generally do not like to soil the area where they sleep! (If you are getting a crate make sure you get one with an insert so that you can change the size of the crate, they should only have a bit of room to move around for when they’re sleeping.) So if they have to go, they will make it very apparent to you. It would also help him as he grew up especially in those instances where we would have to step out for work or for an errand, crating your puppy will ensure he is safe (and that the rest of your house is safe from his puppy shark teeth!).

We bought a plush insert for the crate to keep Banjo comfortable but we found out he actually slept better when the bedding wasn’t in the crate. I think Aussies get really hot and Banjo tends to go toward cooler flooring so it made sense that he preferred the cold hard floor of the crate. The human in me was baffled that he didn’t like the bedding but we did what made him most comfortable!


We knew that Banjo was going to have accidents no matter how strictly we kept to the potty-training schedule so we got an enzymatic spray to clean up his accidents. It’s important that you get one that will break down the scent of your puppy’s urine because if they smell it, they are very likely to go potty at that spot again. We also got pet wipes because when your puppy steps outside to use the bathroom their paws are exposed to outside elements that may be harmful for them. There’s a reason why so many puppies are forbidden from going on grass. I was worried about PARVO but I checked and our area is not known to be highly infectious for it so we decided to just wipe his paws after he went out each time.

Potty Training
I almost trained Banjo on puppy pads the first few weeks because I was so terrified of him getting Parvo but we asked our friends in our neighborhood and they had all potty trained their puppies outside so we felt a bit better about potty training him outside! If you ask around, you’ll hear that puppy pads are a BIG. FAT. NO NO. It trains your puppy that it is okay to go potty inside your house and that is generally not something that you want but you have to do what is best for your situation, we just decided Banjo would be completely potty-trained outside. It was definitely a struggle because we lived on the second floor of our apartment complex! 

The first week we had Banjo it was really easy to stick to a schedule to potty-training him because both Joe and I had taken an entire week off of work and school (it was during Christmas). I don’t know how we would have trained him if we hadn’t had this time! I think that first week was so essential for getting Banjo to learn that he was to only go to the bathroom outside. We took him out to potty every 15-20 minutes because puppies have absolutely no control over their bladder. Every time we went out we would say “go potty” and praise him and go crazy if he actually did go potty. Because we were so strict with this schedule we only had ONE accident that first week! We decided from the start that we wouldn’t give Banjo treats for going potty because that’s kind of just a natural thing he would have to learn to do and reserved the treats for when he was learning tricks!

We also got bells to hang at the door so that Banjo could ring them if he had to go outside. Banjo did try to test us a few times and ring the bell to go outside to play but we put a strict time limit and really only let him stay out a maximum of 3 minutes and made it absolutely boring so that he knew this was not play time. When we took him out at night (as in Joe actually woke up from sleeping to take him) we made it strictly business and let him out to potty and immediately came right back in and put him in his crate. Banjo’s a smart one and he caught on very quickly and I’m very proud to say we haven’t had an accident since he was probably 12 weeks old!

Grooming & Hygiene

We dived right into making sure Banjo was comfortable getting groomed. We started brushing his teeth that very first week, we clipped his nails, and brushed his fur every other day. We made sure to accompany each and every one of these grooming sessions with plenty of treats so that these sensations would stay a positive experience for him. We also touched his paws excessively so that he would get used us touching this for when we did have to cut his nails. We gave him his first bath at 10 weeks and made it a very positive experience by giving him treats the entire time. Now he doesn’t mind getting brushed and we have no problem clipping his nails or giving him a bath! He’s a good one!

In terms of food, I really wanted to feed Banjo Fromm puppy food but we decided to keep him on the food that the breeder had been feeding. We figured our breeder knew best and it has worked out GREAT for us! Banjo has never had any digestive issues and enjoys eating his food every day. I’m grateful for that.

For treats, we did have to experiment with quite a few different kinds to see what worked best for him. Some treats did give Banjo diarrhea and so they were immediately cut out. The treats that did work for him were *Crumps' Naturals *Salmon puppy treats, *homemade treats. I think this is different for every puppy so I would get recommendations and also give yourself flexibility to try different treats. They do get very pricey though! I used to cut up the treats that were big so that they were very small and were perfect to use to train Banjo. Eventually, I started making treats for Banjo at home and he loves them and we save a LOT of money!

Another thing that was a saving grace for us were chew sticks. We kept PLENTY of these around because it would keep Banjo occupied for 15-20 minutes and that was essential for getting things done around the house. Puppies really are like infants in a sense and need your attention about every second! This also helped with keeping his shark teeth busy. Our favorite chew stick has been the Himalayan Yak Chews because they last a very long time. I would also recommend the Bene bones, kong, and bully sticks if you get desperate. I got bully sticks in a moment of desperation, dealt with the smell for about two weeks, and we haven’t gotten a single bully stick since. I just couldn’t handle the smell y’all!


It’s very important to make sure that your pup is vaccinated so I would make sure you can set aside some time to take your puppy to the vet every four weeks to get their routine vaccine shot. Until they are about 4 months old you are supposed to limit their exposure to other dogs (for your puppy’s safety) but if it’s a dog with an owner that you trust then you can do whatever you’d like! We were lucky to find a vet that took Saturday visits so I didn’t have to take time off of work to get Banjo his shots.

I also remember we saw worms in Banjo’s poop one time and absolutely freaked out. Apparently this is completely normal and each puppy can get worms either from their mom or just the environment that they are in. We had de-worming medicine from our vet so that was taken care of fairly quickly once we treated it!


We focused on getting toys that were basically indestructible and had different functions. Banjo loves to chase his toys around and play fetch so balls have been the best for that. Also toys that you can play tug-o-war with or that Banjo can sit and chew have been great. You can also easy make easy toys by putting a water bottle in an old sock. Banjo tends to steal our socks, underwear, and shoes so whenever that happens we always replace it with a toy. Here are the toys that Banjo loves

We listened to the “Our New Puppy Podcast” and it was extremely helpful for getting us ready for all of the training that we should enforce early on. 

We also read the book “Don’t Shoot the Dog” to really dig into how we could effectively train Banjo. 

In terms of training, the “Puppr” app has been so helpful! Banjo is a breed that really needs to be actively learning all of the time so we’ve gotten a lot of helpful tips and ideas for tricks to teach Banjo with this app.

I hope this post helped you with getting ready for your new puppy! Best of luck, it will be hard but it will be so worth it to have a small furry friend you can always count on!

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