Welcome home Atlas! After nearly a year of research, planning, budgeting and patience, Atlas, our first dog and Doberman is home at last! When we picked Atlas up, he was 9 weeks + 2 days old and weighed in at 13 lbs. The long journey to arrive here is just as exciting as the day we first held Atlas in our arms.
I got a call from Tony, our Doberman breeder, on September 26, 2019. He called to let us know that a few black and rust puppies were ready to go home. We placed our deposit for a Doberman puppy on August 6, 2019. But at the time of the call, we were not ready to take in a puppy. We renovated our backyard and it was a mess until early December.
Fast forward to November 2019; we were informed that the litter with our expected puppy from Clarence x Nala, was born on November 8. We were informed that the puppies should be ready to go home around early to mid January 2020.
This actually worked out better for us. The backyard project will be done, the lawn will be overseeded and reseeded for spring, etc. We would also have all the puppy supplies purchased and ready to go; dog bowls, toys, treats, food, leash, collars, shampoos, grooming supplies, vitamins, budget for obedience/training class, etc. The count down began as soon as Atlas was born and the excitement was real.
A New Chapter
When Tony called in early January 2020, I knew exactly what the call was going to be about. The idea that Atlas, our first dog and first Doberman Pinscher will finally be home, sent shivers down our spines. I asked Tony to give me some good news and boy did he deliver, as expected. Tony gave us a list of available puppies and the amount he has of each; gender and color. Then he asked us to FaceTime so we can see the puppies together and pick one out.
We arranged for a weekend pick up date that works for all of us. This landed on the weekend of January 10th. I scheduled a quick oil change for our Hyundai Tucson and booked a two night stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Onward to the Ranch
We got up early checked out of our hotel at 8:00 AM on Sunday, January 12, 2020. We had a hardy breakfast to begin the exciting and long day ahead. Then we drove an hour north to meet Tony and to pick up our puppy. We determined our puppy’s name, Atlas, way back in March 2019 while we were still actively searching for a breeder. Tony gave us a full tour around the ranch himself. During the tour, we received a crash course on how to care for our new puppy. The crash course included diet, hygiene and exercise requirements.
Tony also showed us how to properly post Atlas’ ears and prepare his food. In return, Tony spent another good hour answering all of the questions we came prepared with. We did not leave the ranch with Atlas until approximately 11:30 AM. It still hard to believe that our first dog and first Doberman will be home in a few hours.
The drive back from San Jose was smooth with the exception of rush hour traffic on the 405. It’s always rush hour on the 405 no matter the day or time, except wee hours of the night. Total time to get back down to Los Angeles from Silicon Valley was about 7 hours. This includes two half-hour breaks for Atlas, and a half hour meal break for us.
What Comes with a West Coast Doberman Puppy?
If you placed a deposit with West Coast Doberman, you are probably as eager to know what leaves with you on puppy pick up day as we were. But couldn’t for the life of me find any information online. West Coast Doberman’s social media accounts, with all due respect, are nonexistent except with periodic updates on their Instagram account. Online reviews mention nothing of the care package. And nobody who picked up a puppy at West Coast Doberman seem to share their puppy pickup experience in details. Besides the puppy itself, Tony includes a care package.
The care package includes the following.
- Puppy food. (You may ask Tony for additional amount to get you through until you are able to acquire the supplies)
- Instruction on how to prepare puppy food
- Catalog of supplements, food, posting materials that West Coast Doberman uses
- Flat collar color of your choice. (Your puppy will outgrow his/her puppy collar fast, so have a medium size, 13″-16″, collar handy)
- AKC registration papers
- Vaccination record
- Unlimited support via FaceTime, email or phone calls
I should mention that puppies leave West Coast Doberman Ranch with ears cropped, tail docked and 2nd round of vaccination. Uncropped / undocked Dobermans are also available from West Coast Doberman upon request.
What Should You Bring on Puppy Pick Up Day?
Besides the remaining balance of your puppy in cash, what you bring is contingent on the distance of your drive. If your drive is less than an hour, you’ll need doggy bags, a bottle of water, a blanket and leash. If your drive will be longer than 2 hours, like ours, you’ll definitely need to thoroughly plan the trip. This includes estimating stopping points for breaks. I recommend and packed the following items with us during our long trip:
- Bottle of fresh water (Pup Flask 40 oz. by Tuff Pupper)
- Dog ID tag (we ordered ours the day Atlas was born from Taglec)
- Collapsible crate – if you are planning to crate your puppy on the drive home; we wrapped Atlas in a blanket and allowed him to ride shotgun with my wife on the return trip home. (AmazonBasic Medium 36″, this is the crate we purchased for crate training purpose)
- Doggy bags (Earth Rated with Dispenser)
- 6′ leash
- Blanket (PAWZ Road, XL so Atlas can grow into it)
- Puppy chew toys
- Cleaning supplies (in case there are accidents inside the car)
- The entire family, make it a family affair!
We are excited to bring our first dog and Doberman home, but we need to prepare for the return trip. In doing my research on house breaking a puppy, the magic number appears to be (1:1)+1. A puppy can hold for an hour for every month (1:1) he or she is old plus an hour (+1). This doesn’t necessarily mean that they will need to relieve themselves on the dot. Our puppy was 9 weeks old at the time of pick up, or 2 months. This means we had to pull aside every 3 hours at maximum, on our drive. Overall, we stopped twice. Atlas urinated on the second stop, but did not defecate until he arrived home.
We asked Tony when Atlas had his last bathroom and meal break. We used this information to calculate our upcoming breaks. While the (1:1)+1 number is a pretty good guesstimate, don’t stick to it to a T. Rather, use it as a guide with flexibility. That is, watch your puppy for queues as you approach the estimated break intervals. If he or she becomes restless or whines a lot, it may be a sign for you to pull over. Use common sense and pay attention to your puppy to avoid unwanted accident(s)!
Our First Dog, Our First Doberman
We left the ranch around 11:30 AM and finally arrived home around 6:00 PM and it was already dark. The drive home was smooth. Atlas slept between stops.
We walked Atlas to a graveled area in our backyard where he could relieve himself. I chose this spot for easy clean up; I can hose the area down easily and in doing so, waters our thirsty lime tree. And, if I forget to hose the area down, our sprinklers will take care of it the next day. It also mitigates our backyard lawn from developing brown spots due to urine and stains on our patio from defecation.
After he took care of his business, I allowed Atlas to familiarize himself with our backyard for 10 minutes. And then I walked him back into our cozy home. Doing so allowed Atlas to pick up the scent attributed to our backyard. Once inside, we allowed Atlas to explore our home for 30~45 minutes, letting him explore every room in our house.
The tour ended close to 7:00 PM and concluded with Atlas enjoying his evening meal with fresh water. This worked out serendipitously because it fits right into his daily meal schedule while he’s under 4 months old:
- breakfast at 7:30 AM,
- mid meal at 1:30 PM and
- dinner at 7:30 PM
So his daily meal schedule is already in place on the very first day he’s at home! Our family is complete. Our first dog and first Doberman Pinscher is home at last.
I took the following three days off from work to spend time with Atlas and get to know him more. I also will also use this time to help further acclimate him with our entire house.
Treats Baked in Advance and Ready to Go
We baked treats for Atlas the night before we drove up to Northern California. These treats are by Knead Love Bakeshop. They specialize in 100% natural and organic, USA made easy-to-bake dog treats. I will be using these treats to start training Atlas and see how he likes them. A few weeks down, I’ll write a thorough review about this product.