Some information for you to help you through your first year with your new puppy:
Owning a New Puppy
Before the puppy comes home, choose a Veterinarian. Ask other dog owners, friends and family members to recommend a vet to you. I think this is important. If you have an emergency in those first few days you will be prepared.
Introduce your puppy to your other pets slowly. Be sure never to leave them alone until the puppy gets of a size to handle him/herself. You may think that your other pets will not harm your new puppy but do not trust them until they are well used to each other. Be sure not to neglect your other pets and give your new puppy all the attention. They will feel left out. Just like children, they can feel jealousy toward the new family member.
Remember that your puppy is small and it might be a good idea to place a bell on his/her harness or collar until you get used to him/her being under your feet.
AFTER you and your puppy have grown used to each other and the puppy has gotten adjusted to it’s new home, make sure you introduce him/her to many people. Introduce the puppy to other pets and take it in the car (even if it just around the corner). It is extremely important to socialize your new “baby”. You want him/her to be as friendly as possible and this early socialization is critical.
Begin training right away. “Come”, “Stay” and “Sit” are three of the more important things to learn right away. You also need to teach the puppy to drop something that it picks up immediately on command. Some people use the command of “DROP IT “. IF your puppy should pick up something it shouldn’t this command is important. Please use positive reinforcement training. Some training techniques use a “clicker” which works exceptionally well. Training smart puppies is FUN!
Animal behavioral problems are usually owner related. Yes, that means you. I recommend recording & watching “The Dog Whisperer”. You can also learn much from Cesar’s Web Site. A word of advice here: always get your basics down well before advancing on to 1st grade. Don’t skip steps in training. Here is where I recommend you start: Mastering Leadership Series DVDs. These 3 DVD’s cover the basics quite well and are not expensive at all! If after reading my favorite puppy book that I mail to you, studying Cesar’s web site, and watching many episodes of the Dog Whisperer, you are still having problems, you are always welcome to phone or email me. I HIGHLY encourage taking your puppy to puppy classes after his/her vaccinations are complete. They are FUN! And the people that you meet there are as wonderful as you are!! Animal loving people have big hearts!
Here is a direct link to Cesar’s very well put together advice on Raising A Puppy. I recommend bookmarking this page! Great training advice!
Teach your puppy to stop mouthing/biting/chewing on fingers & toes. My good friend “Sabine” down in Savannah has wonderful advice w video on this. She explains it so well I have included a link to her web page where she even has video of different puppies learning this lesson. Stop Puppy Biting. It is also reviewed on Cesar’s site very well.
I use and really like the radio fence and underground dog fence to keep your dogs from running into the road and getting hit by a car. It works really well. There are several types available, many that you do not have to even bury a wire at all. I did much research and finally settled with Dog Fence DIY. They always answer the phone and my email questions right away and were so helpful to help me choose the best set-up for me and then taught me everything I needed to know. Excellent family owned & ran company. They really care about my dogs (not just the sale)! I just can’t brag on them enough!
Your little dog will probably need bathed 2 times a month. I either use my kitchen sink or take them in the shower with me. I teach them to wait in the corner after they are clean until I am also clean. Then it’s time to dry off! That’s the fun part! He will need grooming (hair trim/ears cleaned/nails cut) about every 2-3 months. PLEASE do not let them “expel the anal glands routinely” unless needed – it can create problems. If they have shown irritation by rubbing their butts around on the rugs, then they may need expelled but only then. Trim the hair around the puppy’s little bum to keep poopy from getting stuck in it as needed. Andis & Oster both make good grooming clippers.
Puppy items to have on hand Before you get your puppy:
MegaCal/NutraCal/FortiCal: For replenishing sugar level – I will give you this.
Food and water bowl: Dogs like a lot of water. Use bottled water mixed with your tap water for the first few days until the little one gets used to your water.
Sleeping Crate and/or Bed: a good crate size is 18″w x 24″ d. X 21″ h. Like a crib the puppy will be more comfortable with a carrier to sleep in. Make it small enough they can turn around and sleep but not so big they can have a bathroom at one end and a sleeping area at the other. Crating is a great housebreaking tool but you shouldn’t ask the puppy to hold longer than he/she possibly can. See the book that I gave you. I usually tell folks not to expect complete house breaking until a puppy is 1 year. Until then there will be “accidents”. If you are consistent, you can do it in 3 months.
Grooming supplies: Shampoo, brush, comb. I like the metal combs with the rounded ends on the teeth. These work really well in the coat. Make sure it is not a flea comb though. These are too tiny a tooth to go thru the coat. This brush looks nice: Li’l Pals® Slicker Brush. and this comb: Gripsoft Rotating Comfort Comb. For matt removal, this is the very best: Vertrolin Detangler.
Nail file and clippers: Nails will need clipped if your dog is not out on concrete where they can wear down. Vets & groomers can do this if you feel uncomfortable about it. Get a small size nail clippers with a safety guard so you do not take off too much nail. If you do clip too short and it bleeds, stay calm and continue with the rest of the nails, it will stop bleeding in a few minutes on it’s own. If you freak out, so will your dog. If you hear “click-click-click” when your dogs walking across the floor, the nails are probably too long. You’re better off trimming them a small amount frequently than trying to cut too much off at once suddenly.
Treats and Rewards: You will want to reward the puppy with a treat when it does well on command. ALL my dogs LOVE small bits of hot dogs, or cheese and we know human food is safe.
Toys, Toys and more Toys: Puppies love their toys. Get toys, large raw bones, large pigs ears, large Bully Sticks, & cow hooves. The reason I say “large” is because oftentimes a puppy or dog will chew off and swallow too large of a piece and get it stuck in the intestines causing a blockage. Gumabone and Dentabones are good too. And plenty of toys! 🙂
Collar or Harness and a Leash: Make sure you can fit at least two fingers between the collar and the puppy’s neck when the collar is on. A “cat size” collar or around 8″ should do, especially great if you put a bell on it. The bell helps keep you from stepping on, tripping over, or loosing your new puppy! Here is my favorite harness: Lil Pals Step In Harness (XXS). I discourage harness for older puppies though they are good for their first few experiences on lead. Harnesses naturally encourage a dog to pull.
- Child type safety gate or pen
- Comfy bed and Crate or Carrier.
- Potty training pads -some have stickies on the bottom (I like the ones made for adult people beds – they are bigger & heavier)
- Puppy Shampoo – the puppy stuff doesn’t burn their eyes
- Food “Earthborn, Puppy Vantage or Primitive Natural”
- Few choices of high quality different flavors of canned food
- Powdered puppy milk (for the tiny puppies)
Here is a nice soft carrier/airline aproved bag on Amazon and here is a nice soft-sided Crate/Travel bag on Amazon. Although, a larger plastic or metal crate is best for home use.
These are my favorite training treats: Meal Mixers
Plenty of Large Yummy Cheweys – “Bully sticks” or “Pizzle sticks”, RAW bones & dental bones (read more about the benefits & hazards of Bones on my “Feeding Your Puppy” page)
Making Bath Time Fun for your Puppy!
Here is a link to another web site that has a wonderful article on this.
Even a healthy appearing puppy can have some form of parasite. When you get a new puppy, it’s always a good idea to have a fecal exam done by your vet, even if the puppy just had one by the breeder’s vet. I would have sold you the puppy in good faith, but as I mentioned, going to a new home can be stressful. Stress is opportunity for parasites to become more evident.
Don’t forget about heartworm preventative for your new puppy during mosquito season! This can only be gotten from a vet, so you should discuss the different options with him or her. I like Revolution for fleas. Revolution covers heartworms & fleas VERY well. Much better on fleas than Frontline which has become less effective. I find the Diatomaceous Earth to work fairly well as a natural approach to flea prevention applied once/twice a month during flea season although it can dry the skin. I am leery about Trifexis, but Bravecto has worked well for my dogs. Please note that you do not need to give these flea & heartworm chemicals year around unless you live in the south where it does not freeze in the winter. Mosquitoes carry the heartworms. If they are not present, there is no need to give your dog these chemicals. The same goes for flea chemicals. If your puppy / dog is scratching allot for no apparent reason, look at their skin. If it appears dry give them about 1-2cc/day of Alaskan Salmon Oil. You should see improvement in a week. If not, continue the oil and see your vet for possible allergies to food, treats, etc.
Coccidia is not a worm. It is a microscopic internal parasite (protozoan). Coccidia can be stress-related. A puppy may have a negative fecal check result from a vet, appear perfectly fine, but show evidence of coccidia as soon as he goes to a new home. Albon, the prescription medication for coccidia, doesn’t actually kill it. It washes the puppy’s digestive tract, taking the coccidia with it. It’s the puppy’s own immune system that eventually will kill any remaining coccidia. A young puppy’s immune system is not fully developed, so it takes time for the puppy and it’s immune system to mature. Most adult dogs have coccidia, but they also have the antibodies to fight and control it. A puppy with coccidia that is not well cared for and not treated will eventually develop watery diarrhea and can dehydrate quickly! This is when coccidia can become a serious condition – the coccidia replicates unchecked, and the puppy can become very ill and die. I give all my puppies Ponazuril (Marquis) that will prevent you from having problems with Coccidia.
Puppies can also get Giardia. This parasite is normally in the ground. Puppies raised in disinfected cages and concrete runs may not be exposed but puppies raised here on the real ground often are. This common parasite is more difficult to diagnose. It would probably not be detected by a vet using the normal “floatation” method of fecal screening. The “Snap test” tells if the puppy has been exposed to Giardia. My puppies snap test may show that they have been exposed, but they should not be having symptoms. It can cause periodic diarrhea and loss of appetite; a puppy with severe giardia is likely to die if very young and left untreated for 3-4 days. You should have no worries about the giardia if you give the Panacur as directed that I send along with your new puppy for giardia prevention. If your puppy has a positive test, and your vet wants to increase the dosage of Panacur, follow his/her instructions. Some vets like to treat the puppy even if the puppy is asymptomatic. That is fine. The med will not hurt your puppy.
Order a bottle of this to have on hand: Safeguard Dewormer 125mL (also called Panacur) and have it mailed to you. I know this med says it’s for goats but its the same med for dogs – just much easier to dose correctly in this liquid form! Worm your puppy (1ml per 5lbs) every 3 to 6 months x 3 days in a row for his/her life. This Safeguard/Panacur is also the med that I will be sending with you in your puppy kits to prevent giardia occurring in their first week with you. If your puppy continues to have “pudding-like stools after completion of what I have sent with you, continue with this medicine, (doubling the dose that I have sent) for another 4 to 5 days. This prevents all worms except for tapeworm.
Puppies can get Tapeworms from fleas. A young flea will eat tape worm eggs, and puppies can get tape worms if they swallow even just a single infected flea. The tapeworm is segmented and flat, so what you will see are small, flat, cream colored pieces less than a half inch long. These are the only worms that can be seen by the naked eye (except for the spaghetti-like roundworms). The most common place to see them is in their poop. These moving pieces contain tapeworm eggs. When they’re dry, they look similar to uncooked rice. Tapeworms can cause a loose stool. Tapeworms require a special medicine from your vet – one dose- simple. You do not need to treat your puppy for tapeworms unless you see them in the stool. If you do see them, bring a stool sample to your vet.
Roundworms are more common but you will not see them in your puppy’s stool. Regular treatment with the above-mentioned Safeguard/Panacur will prevent these. The only time you are able to see these spaghetti-like worms are if you treat your puppy/dog for them, then they come out in the stool.
Never administer aspirin without a vet’s instructions. Never give an animal non-aspirin analgesics.
Please know that vets have been recommending for MANY years that animals need yearly vaccinations. It has become habit. Some of these habits are not necessarily good. Have you had yearly vaccinations all of your life – or did you “complete” them as a child with a life-long immunity achieved? Right. I recommend puppy shots, then a booster at 1 year old, then titers after that. Those “yearly” vaccinations usually are only needed at the most every 3 to 5 years. Please read this: Titer Testing vs Yearly Vaccinations
Spay / Neuter
It used to be that most vets would not spay/neuter your pet until they were 1 year of age. Therefore, when choosing an inside pet, most people would pick a female pet. Females will “squat” to eliminate. And a male will lift it’s leg and urinate on your — well— “everything”.
But we are fortunate that we live in the age we do. Veterinarian science has caught up with the medical world and are now able to spay/neuter at a younger age. This is not harmful to the pet and it is beneficial in the long run. Lower rates of cancers and some diseases if you spay/neuter. Females live longer IF they do not go thru any heat cycles. I recommend spay/neuter at 5-6 months of age. Some vets want to do it younger – please don’t for my small puppies. Just tell your vet that you want to wait until your puppy is 6 months old.
Males, when neutered at this age, will never know that they are male and will (usually) squat to urinate just like a female and makes it easy for inside training. And believe me, little boys are just as sweet and loving as little girls!
Article on “Reverse Sneeze”:
“My dog has spells where she snorts and gasps while taking deep breaths, panting in between. Sometimes the spells last 10 minutes or more and happen a couple of times a day. Then she might not have one for another month or more. What is this and what do I do?”
It sounds as if you are describing what many veterinarians refer to as a “Reverse Sneeze”. The formal term for the behavior is paroxysmal respiration. It occurs more often in small breeds or breeds with small heads, such as Lhasa Apso and the Boston Terrier, but any dog can experience it. It usually occurs as an isolated event, no more than once or twice a day, and the dog is normal as soon as it is over. No one is sure what causes it, although dogs with allergies or upper-respiratory infections seem more affected. As long as it’s not making your dog terribly uncomfortable, there’s no reason to worry. If your dog seems distressed while it is happening, try gently placing a finger over each of her nostrils so that she can’t breathe through her nose and must use her mouth. This creates a vacuum in the sinuses and seems to relieve many dogs. (I try and hold the dog and say soothing things to them to calm and quiet them down) If the problem is more severe or if you see discharge from her nose when this happens, have your veterinarian examine her. An antihistamine provides relief to many dogs with this condition: your veterinarian can prescribe an appropriate one.
Leslie Sinclair, DVM
I have finally written a whole page on my favorite way to house break a puppy easily even if you are often away at work all day. Just follow this link to my page on House Training.
Manners – Jumping up on you and/or your guests?
Maybe jumping up on you as a puppy is “cute” but please show your puppy what good manners are. Your puppy will appreciate it his/her whole life.
Since Cesar is so much better at teaching than humans than I am, I am going to leave it to him to help you here! “Jumping Up” and “Jump for Joy“. If you enjoy your puppy or dog jumping up on you as some folks do, then train them to do it only on your cue.