Choosing a puppy - Tin Box Dog at home
Travel tips & gear

Choosing a puppy: Tin Box Dog’s tail 

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Out of our whole travelling gang, there’s someone who is always well behaved. One who rarely complains about long car journeys and certainly never pipes up with that question all parents dread: ‘are we nearly there yet’. She always packs light and her only holiday requests are walks, swimming in the sea and quiet evenings in. Yes, Tin Box Dog is a delightful travel companion. 

Choosing a puppy - Tin Box family

It’s now nearly eight years, or 42 dog years, since we first met our lively Labrador Retriever. Since then she’s joined us on many a great adventure from Devon to Ayrshire and the Gower Peninsular to the Suffolk coast. We do love dog-friendly holidays.

It’s always a bit heartbreaking when she can’t join us on our travels as our family is never really complete without her. Luckily for us there’s a Tin Box Dog fan club of family and friends who help us out by giving her a home from home when we are away.

I’m always sharing stories from our travels but most are well after the arrival of Tin Box Dog as this blog started when our other girls came along. However, Tin Box Dog was our fur baby and one of the reasons why we decided to get our first caravan, as it was a type of holiday she could always be involved in.

So, when pet insurance experts Agria asked me if I’d share the story of how Tin Box Dog joined our travelling family as part of its Puppy Love campaign, I thought it would be great fun to reminisce.

Choosing a puppy - Tin Box Dog on beach in Wales

Preparing to buy a puppy

Mr Tin Box and I talked about getting a dog for several months before taking the plunge. There had been four-legged friends in my family since I was a teen and Mr TB had taken a shine to them as soon as we met. He loved the idea of us getting our own pet. I was the one who held back a bit, knowing it was going to be a big responsibility. 

But, as is often the case, Mr TB won me over. Once the decision had been made we knew this was the start of our family, so we wanted a breed that would be good with kids. It was important to know exactly what we were getting ourselves into and that our new puppy would be coming from a reputable breeder. 

Choosing a puppy and breeder

Our search for a family-friendly dog breed had us settle on a Labrador Retriever, which is known for being fun, good with other animals, and great with kids.

Choosing a puppy - Tin Box Dog and Baby

Next we had to find a breeder.

We found Tin Box Dog’s breeder through The Kennel Club and made several visits to them before bringing her home.

Our first visit was just to look and make sure we were happy with the breeder. They were Kennel Club registered and had bred several litters of Gun Dogs in the past. When we rang the door bell on that first visit we were happy with our research, but didn’t want to commit emotionally too early. 

Choosing a puppy - Meeting Tin Box Dog

However, as soon as we clapped eyes on the pups we knew we’d be putting down a deposit. Research by Agria has found that it’s not unusual for puppy love to grab hold during that first encounter. For more than half of people (56%) it only takes up to 30 minutes to realise their dog is ‘the one’. In fact, more than three quarters of people (76%) say it was love at first sight when they set eyes upon their furry friend, in comparison to 49% of people who said it was love at first sight when they saw their partner!

Nearly all the boys in the litter had been promised to families and there was one girl left, Tin Box Dog. Luckily, we had our hearts set on a bitch and were immediately smitten with the blundering bundle of fluff that was pointed out to us. 

I remember her being a greedy little thing, bullying her mum to give her some milk, when weaning was already well under way, and bossing her brothers around the play pen. She had character and we loved that. We visited twice more in the next six weeks, and her personality and paws continued to grow. She was the perfect puppy for us.

Preparing to bring our puppy home

In the meantime we made arrangements to bring Tin Box Dog home, including creating her a place to sleep, dog-proofing our garden (although her ability to wriggle though fences proved to be far in advance of our containment skills), and finding dog training and puppy socialisation classes. 

Choosing a puppy - Tin Box Dog puppy bed

We also invested in pet insurance. I knew from experience with my parents’ dogs that this was essential. They were no strangers to head cones. A monthly payment was easier to budget for than unexpected fees for medication or operations at the vets.

Luckily, Tin Box Dog hasn’t had any serious problems since we brought her home at nine-weeks-old. There was the time she showed her true Labrador colours and gobbled something disgusting in a hedge, giving herself a tummy upset. And there was an incident with a sharp fence when she needed some stitches. Otherwise, our pet insurance has given us peace of mind that if something worse did happen we’d be able to give Tin Box Dog the treatment she needed.

So, all that’s left for us to do is indulge her in those walks, swims and lazy evenings that she loves. Oh, and getting caked in mud – she loves that too!

Choosing a puppy - Tin Box Dog muddy

I’m working with Agria to help promote their Healthy Start campaign which includes a great offer to pet owners taking out a policy: £50.00 to spend on anything with their vet that supports their pet’s health, such as vaccinations, dental checks and puppy packs. It sounds like a great helping hand when you welcome a new pet into your family.

Are you choosing a puppy? Or do you have a puppy love story of your own to tell? I’d love to hear about it.

Disclosure: I have been paid to put this post together to help promote Agria’s Puppy Love and Healthy Start campaigns. All opinions and advice are my own.

If you’re thinking of choosing puppy to join your family why not pin this post for later?

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