So you have a new puppy...

Tips for sucessfully raising a new puppy

 

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Puppies need lots of structure, consistent rules, and a place to feel safe. 

Crates are a very good way to give them a safe and successful place to be.   I like to make sure puppies have lots of ways to be successful.   When no one can watch your new puppy, put him in his crate.  Once he learns that his crate is a nice quiet place, he will go there for comfort or naptime.  You can feed him in there, which will enforce the feeling that it is a happy place.  Just because he whines when you first put him in there does not mean that he hates it.  It means that he doesn't want to be away from you.  A blanket, a toy, or a chew treat will help distract him.  He will settle down and be content.  A crate is not a place to put a puppy, then scold.  For obvious reasons, they'll associate the crate with being in trouble.  Do not leave food or water in the crate at night. 
 
And speaking of food, I would feed him twice a day.  Except at night, he should always have fresh water, changed daily.  I pick up water bowls in the evening after 8:00ish for puppies.  If you do pick up his water dish at night, make sure he doesn't get strenuous activity after that, because then he'll be thirsty.  And don't forget to put it back down in the morning, after he goes out.  At some point, when he's older, you might be able to switch him to feeding him once a day, but right now, as a puppy, he needs food twice a day because he burns it off quickly.  I always make my puppies sit before they get their bowl.  You may have to wait, but say "sit", wait for the sit, then put down the bowl and say "eat".  Every time. 

Because of the stress of going to a new home, if his stool is a little runny, I wouldn't worry overmuch.  If you are taking turns taking him out, you need to have one person that's making sure his stool isn't runny more than a few days.  Watery stool can be a sign of other problems and needs to be addressed immediately.  Puppies can dehydrate quickly, leading to further problems.  Do not give your new puppy table food, more than a couple treats a day, or anything other than his normal puppy food.  These will contribute to diarrhea.  Feeding table scraps is an undesireable habit, in any case.  It encourages begging, stealing off people plates, and jumping up.  Cute now, not later.
 
If given the option, your new puppy will chew on a shoe or a dish towel as quickly as a doggie chew toy.  He is a puppy.  That's what puppies do.  Make sure he doesn't have inappropriate things to chew on.  If he does pick something inappropriate, take it away, say "no", and immediately give him something that he can chew on.  Some people say "mine" when they take away the inappropriate chew item, and say "yours" when they give him the good one.  I see benefits there, but we've not had a big problem with innappropriate chewing.  "Mine" would apply to anything that he can't have, including food.  "Yours" would tell him what's safe.  Whatever you choose to say, be consistent.  Every family member needs to use the same words.
 
Here are some typical commands:
Sit...obvious command.  Use sit before eating, before petting, when he meets new people, etc.  Don't make him sit before he goes outside.  It is way too easy to pee in that position!  But he can certainly sit before coming back in. 
Stay...he may not be ready for this yet.  Get him on a leash, then you will have a little control.  I always use the hand signal for stop when I say "stay".  There's a lot of training advice out there for stay, when he's ready.
Come...can be very difficult to teach without treats.  It's also one that you need to be able to control.  Don't ever ask him to come if you can't make him come.  For this reason, a leash is imperative.  Of course, this is also a command that you can reinforce when he's coming to you naturally.  If you have your hand out, and he is walking towards you from 5 feet or less, say "come" while he's coming toward you.  Then pet him a lot when he gets there.
This way...on a leash, I use this to get him to go around something, or to change directions to follow me. 
Eat...another obvious command.  Use this when you put down his food.
That's enough...used to quiet a dog that is whining or barking.  When a dog barks, it's usually a warning that something new has happened.  After the initial "hey, something's going on", they need to stop barking.  That's when you use "that's enough".  Say it as a finality, in a calm voice.  Do not allow him to continuously bark at anything.  Sometimes they need to be re-directed with a toy or conversation.  Don't praise him when he barks.  Don't give in to him when he whines.  Just walk away, unless he could be whining to go outside to potty.
Which brings us to...
Go Potty...whatever word you use, use it every time, as a precursor to peeing or pooping, and then while they are peeing and pooping, but do not interrupt the act.  
Off...this is used when he jumps up on you.   If he does, turn away and ignore his request for attention.  When he gets down, then you can pet him.  Never pet him when he's up on you.  Don't let anyone else pet him when he's up on them.  You can also use this command if he's on a bed or couch that he's not supposed to be up on.  

 
The thing about commands is that they always need to be enforced.  If you let them get away with not doing it, then they know that they CAN get away with not doing it.  Be consistent.  Be firm.  Don't scream the commands.  Try not to let your frustration come through.
 
Some things you want to have on hand...
 
Food and water bowls.  Glass or plastic.  I rarely use metal, but some people swear by them.  Some dogs are prone to carrying around their food bowl.  So if he does, or as a preventative, you might get a nice big wide bottom ceramic bowl.  Hard to pick up, chew proof, and not easy to tip over.  I use separate water and food bowls, then the water bowl can be easily picked up and refilled without having to mess with the food bowl.
 
Food.  There are a lot of very good puppy foods on the market.  There are also some very not-good foods on the market.  Your new puppy is growing and needs proper and appropriate nutrition during this time.   Canidae is what we feed all of our dogs.  Follow the package directions, but make sure he gets enough.  Don't worry about over feeding him at this stage.  If he eats a lot, it's because he is growing.
 
Collar and leash.  When you get a collar, get the biggest one that will still fit him.  He will be growing, so it's a waste of money to get one that he won't be able to wear very long.  Either a standard neck collar or a harness is good.  Don't get a chain collar, or a choke collar.   Leashes are 2 types.  Either retractable or a standard nylon type single length leash.  The retractable leashes are wonderful for walks, where he could go a little further to do his business.  But be aware that retractable leashes pose a serious danger if they are tangled around someone's legs.  A retractable leash should always be locked in public, with 4 feet or less of lead.  Always.  The last thing you want is to be in a public place with your dog 10 feet away...his leash wrapped around some child's legs...and be trying to get him untangled.  Not only will the child get rope burn, but someone is liable to fall over.  That's a nightmare.  And always lock them when crossing a road.  A standard leash is best for training and purposeful walking.  Better control, less opportunity for danger.
 
Toys, toys, toys.  Get lots of different types of toys.  They don't need to be expensive.  They need to be replaceable.  Rope toys, plastic toys, stuffed toys, squeaky toys.  There are a million to chose from, and if you can get a variety pack (sometimes Sam's Club has these), that's even better.  Rotate the toys so they are "new" again.  That will keep him interested.  Keep his toys where he can find them.  Be careful about buying bones and offering rawhide.  These are not always suitable, nor are they all that digestible.  You are better off to offer a stuffed toy 6 days of the week, and a rawhide as a treat just 1 day a week.  Very sparingly.  Even if your puppy hasn't shown a tendency to chew, all puppies like toys.  Be careful playing tug of war (although I know it's very popular).  You are teaching your dog not to give you what is in his mouth.  Ideally, you want him to "drop it", when you tell him to.  If you play tug of war, he will hold on until the very end.  At some point, you may really need him to drop whatever is in his mouth--especially if it's poisonous, breakable, or valuable.  So it's best to not start the whole tug of war thing.
 
Nail Trimmers.  You won't need these for awhile, and you may have some.  They will go dull over time, so make sure they are in good shape, not rusted or bent, and will quickly cut through the nail.  I always keep corn starch handy, in case I cut too close.  That will stop the bleeding.  
 
Your new puppy will probably need some puppy vaccine boosters. Stay on schedule and make sure you get annual boosters.  There are low cost vaccination alternatives.   
 
He will need flea preventative, monthly.  You can get that at your vet, or at somewhere like Petsmart.  We use Frontline Plus on our dogs.  It's for ticks and fleas.  Our problem is always ticks, and we've found Frontline Plus to work the best.
 
When he is 6 months old, he'll need to go to the vet for a heartworm test.  It's not effective before that time.  They will put him on heartworm preventative.  It's usually a monthly pill or treat-type biscuit.
 
One other thing, we find that a baby gate is very helpful.  It's the kind you use for keeping children where they need to be, or out of where they ought not be.  Baby gates work great for puppies.  If you have a certain place you want to keep him in...or out...they run about $20 at Walmart.  We have the really cheap one that can fit in different size doorways. 
 
This is a work in progress.  If you have questions, contact us.