You Wanted To Know About Puppies
But Just Forgot To Ask
Dan Karas and Shirley Greene
OK, maybe not everything, but here are 30 of our
best random tips for new puppy owners. They're all the things learned
from experience. And, experience comes from making mistakes! Feel
free to add other tips you've collected over the years. If you are
a trainer, attach a business card and use this laundry list as a
handout at your next puppy socialization or kindergarten class.
If you are a breeder, add one to your puppy packet. And, of course,
don't forget to ask your clients to share their best suggestions,
Make a puppy tote bag and take it with
you whenever the pup goes along:
wet rag(s) in a ziplock baggie
Soft dry rag(s) in a ziplock baggie
Empty ziplock baggie to contain a "mess"
Leash/collar or harness
Copy of shot record
Support system: Start a list of the
names and numbers of experienced dog people you can call for advice,
referrals or just to brag. Start this list using your breeder, veterinarian,
trainer, feed store and then collect cards from "dog people"
you meet during outings with your pup.
Is this the vet for me? For each visit,
prepare one or two questions for your veterinarian. After two or
three appointments, ask for a copy of your dog's records. Then,
read them. If they seem complex, or if your pup has been ill, ask
a knowledgeable dog-person to review them with you. If you've had
the pup in for check ups and shots and the written history only
lists inoculations, search for another vet. Good records should
include the pup's weight, appearance, and vital signs, etc. plus
any questions or concerns you've raised. A good medical history
is worth its weight in gold as a future diagnostic tool.
Chew treats: Puppies are chewing machines.
That's how they explore their world. Much like human infants, everything
goes in their mouths. Especially at teething time, provide your
pup with a variety of textures for chewing pleasure. Some of my
cubes - made with water or low sodium broth
*Large carrots - especially nice if
dipped in water and placed in the freezer
*Kong toy with natural peanut butter rubbed
inside - leave a little extra for
the pup's exploring tongue
5. Pup meets cat: Separate the new
pup from your house cat until the pup is tired. Make the initial,
supervised introduction or get-acquainted visit when the pup is
energy depleted. If your cat is extremely testy, consult with your
veterinarian about mild sedation for the feline.
Be mentally present: When you can't
be with the pup mentally and physically, the pup should be crated.
Years ago, my 10-week old poodle managed to chew an Indian rug that
was sitting under my chair - while I rubbed her back with my foot!
I was physically present, but my mind was concentrating on the computer
screen and not the pup's mouth. Her slurps were coming from a frozen
carrot - right? Wrong!
Internet advice: The Internet is a
great place to meet other pet owners, do research on your breed
of choice, and pick up health and training tips. However, do not
believe everything you read on the Internet, in books or in dog
magazines. Use common sense and when in doubt, consult your veterinarian
or members of your support group.
Puppy poop: As often as possible, especially
if your pup is not totally housebroken, clean up puppy poop while
it is fresh. This gives you the opportunity to check for parasites
or possible foreign materials. If you notice these, blood, mucous
or extremely foul odor, it's time for a trip to the veterinarian
for the pup and the stool sample.
Not in front of the puppy: Be careful
what you do around your pup. Spading weeds from your flowers may
be a chore for you. However, the dog may find it's a great way to
learn about digging holes.
Poke privileges: All family members
must be able to handle any part of the pup - including feet, teeth,
under the tail and genitals. From the first day your pup becomes
part of your household, make certain to practice gentle handling
of all body parts.
What's normal? To determine normal
ranges for your pup's temperature and pulse, practice taking these
readings. Ask your veterinarian or technician to show you the proper
method of taking a rectal temperature and where to find pulse points.
That way, if you pup isn't acting quite right, you have a baseline
from which to judge illness.
Different strokes for different dogs:
It is possible, and often desirable, to have different rules for
different dogs living in the same household. My toy poodle is allowed
on furniture. My German Shepherd Dogs are not. This isn't unfair.
The rules are consistently trained and always enforced.
Kodak moments: Take a photo the day
your bring the puppy home and weekly, thereafter, for the first
year. What a great way to chart growth and create a scrapbook. An
album of these pictures makes a wonderful gift from family or friends.
Dear diary: If the pup exhibits periodic
behaviors or symptoms, begin a diary. List the day, time, symptom,
what happened a few days before, etc. From skipping meals to occasional
scratching, your diary can provide important information and clues
to your veterinarian, as well as helping you decide when to seek
professional help. This is also good for training issues.
One set of rules, please: Make certain
all household members agree on the rules for the new puppy. From
the minute your pup joins the family, everyone should be using the
same command, enforcing the same boundaries and rewarding positive
What's the plan? What do you plan to
do, long term, with your new dog? Are you going to do tracking?
Agility? Schutzhund? Many of these activities require basic work,
now, while the pup is young. Make a game plan and a training schedule.
Start a notebook to chart your progress.
Just dropping by the vet: Take your
pup to the vet's office just to say "hi." That way, the
pup will have less animosity when its time for shots or a check
up. Familiarity with the smells, sounds, etc. makes the visiting
the vet more routine and less traumatic.
Look: isnt that sweet? Some things
you may find cute in a pup can be problems in a grown dog. A 10-week
old Fido playing tug with your socks is cute. But when Fido is two
years old and eating your shoes
its not cute; it is destructive.
Stop a problem before it becomes a bad habit.
You ought to be in pictures: Take lots
of videos of your pup when he/she is young. Youll really appreciate
this later. And, as an added bonus, reviewing the video will allow
you to objectively assess not only the pup, but also your behavior
while training, playing, etc.
Take it easy: Pups are little balls
of energy. Yet, they need lots of rest. Don't set your expectations
too high. Let your pup have plenty of down time. If
you have children, make sure they understand the pup must have time
and space to rest and be left alone.
Back off, kid: Kids and pups can be
the greatest pals in the world, or the dog can learn to hate children.
Supervise your children when they play with the pup. Make certain
they never tease or torment. When the puppy has had enough play,
give it "space" and a quiet place to nap.
Rubber ducky: Make bath time lots of
fun. Get the puppy used getting wet and having a bath early on.
Speak to the dog in a happy tone, rather than a soothing one. This
is fun, no reason to be afraid. Heck, you may end up with a dog
that tries to jump in the shower or tub with you!
No begging: Don't allow the puppy to
get away with begging. If you don't reward the pup for this behavior
now, you will not have to deal with it when company is present.
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
Go for a walk? Soon these words will
be magic. Take your pup for short walks. Exploring the world together
is a terrific way to expose your pup to new experiences. But remember:
they tucker-out easily, so don't overdo.
Stress is contagious: Puppies are sensitive
to your emotions. If you are upset or having a bad day, do not introduce
new commands or objects. For example, if you've had an argument
with your boss and then start introducing the pup to loud noises,
the pup may easily interpret the stress emanating from you to mean
that loud=scary. Wait until you are in "neutral" and can
be patient and encouraging.
Dont push it: Puppies learn better when you dont
try to teach too much at one time. Make the sessions short and always
end on a good note. Make sure the training is fun for the puppy
and he/she will learn faster and will be more eager to please. If
the pup is having difficulty with one exercise, end on a good note
and try again another day.
Keep them occupied: A bored dog can
be a destructive dog. Give your pup something to keep it occupied.
Toys are important to stimulate a puppy's brain activity. Choose
items that wont confuse the pup. Chew toys that look like
shoes are not a good idea.
The baby's crying: When you bring your
new puppy home, try not to over-pamper it, especially the first
night. Dont run in and offer comfort or tell the pup to be
quiet each time it whimpers or whines. If you do, your pup will
learn that crying brings attention. Bad message.
Gotta go: Dont forget that pups
have to go potty more often than adult dogs. Make frequent trips
outside. Also, when going outdoors, go to one area of your yard
and wait for the pup to do his/her "business" before playing
in other spots. This will aid in housebreaking and make clean up
Love lasts: Your pup will be a full-grown
dog before you know it. A dog is a long-term commitment. Some breeds
live 15 years or longer. That adorable puppy still needs love and
care when it is full-grown. If you care for your pets, they will
return the love many times over.
in closing, a few thoughts:
your pup home is a wonderful, exciting time. It's the beginning
of a life-long friendship. Plan to bring your pup home at a time
when the household is calm and not a lot of activities are scheduled.
Holidays and stress-filled periods are a "no-no."
be afraid to ask for help.
Should your pup become aggressive towards people or other animals,
or exhibit any traits that make you feel uncomfortable, immediately
seek help from a professional. This behavior will neither improve
nor will it go away without expert evaluation and training. Be responsible.
Make certain your pup knows the rules for being in public and is
a welcomed member of your community.
luck and good training!
article and more like it can be found at http://workingdogs.com