The moment you decide to own a Dalmatian puppy, you need to start planning for his arrival in your home. Both you and your new family member will find the transition period much easier if your home is properly equip in advance of the arrival.
One of the first things you need to prepare for the arrival of your new Dalmatian puppy is a crate. Every dog should have a crate of his own from the very beginning, one that he will come to know and love as his special place where he is comfortable and safe. The crate will provide an ideal setting; when you want him to be free, you can just leave the crate open. Otherwise, you can securely latch it and know that the pup is safely out of trouble. Also, if you travel with him, his crate can fit nicely in the car. A crate therefore is a very sensible and sound investment in your puppy's future safety and happiness and for your own peace of mind.
The crates that are most preferred are the wooden ones with removable side panels, which are ideal for cold weather where the panels in place to keep out drafts and in hot weather where the panels are removed to allow better air circulation. Wire crates are all suitable in the summer, but they give no protection from cold or drafts. Aluminum crates, due to the manner in which the metal reflects surrounding temperatures, are not recommended. If it is cold, so is the metal of the crate; if it is hot, the crate becomes very hot.
When you choose the puppy's crate, make sure that it is roomy enough not to be outgrown. The crate should have sufficient height so the dog can stand up in it as he gets older and sufficient area so that he can stretch out full length when relaxed. When the puppy is young, you can give him shredded newspaper to use as a bed; the papers can be replaced with a mat or towels when the dog is older. Carpet remnants are great for the bottom of the crate because they are inexpensive and can be easily replaced in case of accidents. As the dog matures and is past the chewing age, a pillow or blanket in the crate can provide warm and comfort.
If you live in an apartment, a baby's playpen for your Dalmatian puppy works great. For an older puppy use a portable exercise pen which you can use later when traveling with your dog or for dog shows. If you have a yard or an area where he can be outside in safety, it should be fenced in prior to the dog's arrival. This area does not need to be huge, but it does need to be made safe and secure. If you live in a suburban area where there are close neighbors, stockade fencing works out best. If you are out in the country where no problems with neighbors are likely to occur, then regular chain-link fencing is fine. For added precaution in both cases, use concrete blocks or railroad ties inside against the entire bottom of the fence; this reduces the chance of your dog digging his way out.
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