Helpful Hints For The New Puppy Owner
by Ms Dany Canino
A GOOD RULE OF THUMB TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR PUPPY IS: "IF THE PUPPY HAS A GOOD APPETITE, GOOD HEALTHY STOOLS, IS PERKY IN HIS ATTITUDE, IS DRINKING A NORMAL AMOUNT OF WATER, HE IS PROBABLY QUITE HEALTHY. YOU SHOULD ALERT YOUR VETERINARIAN UPON ANY SIGNS OF: EXTREME LOSS OF APPETITE, A STOOL CONTAINING BLOOD/MUCOUS; OR IS VERY RUNNY, IF HE IS LISTLESS AND DOESN´T SEEM TO BE DRINKING ANY WATER; THIS IS NOT HEALTHY"
Young pups, like babies, need their rest. So if you have young children at home don´t let them play too long nor too hard with the pup. The same rule applies if you have another dog in the house. Don´t let the other dog use this pup as a toy and play too hard or too long. This young puppy is going to be a bit overwhelmed by his new surroundings, so take it slow and easy. At the same time don´t let the new pup hassle the older dog that´s at home. Your other dog might feel intruded upon by this new addition to the household. He might resent this new intruder enough to want to hurt it, so you´ll need to make the introduction of the two as described below. Don´t forget to spend some special time alone with each dog too.
The best way to introduce two new dogs to each other is off of your property so that you are on neutral ground. I like to use a man´s after-shave lotion to aid the process. You splash a bit of it on the older dog and do the same with the new addition. This way, when they sniff at each other, they´ll think they´re smelling themselves. No foreign smell will occur and therefore the pup will feel safe and the older dog will not feel threatened. This first meeting is best done with both the dogs on a leash, and watch that the younger dog doesn´t hassle the other dog too much. Then you can take them home and with patience and a "watchful eye" you´ll have two dogs co-existing well in the same household.
Now, back to the new puppy. Don´t pick the puppy up too much, especially right after eating. A puppy usually needs to go potty fairly soon after eating, upon awakening, and after about 10 minutes of playtime.
Don´t give the puppy a toy that he could tear up and ingest. He doesn´t really need too many toys right now. A good hand made toy is a plastic litre bottle filled with kibble or uncooked rice. It makes a fascinating sound when rolled around and, if the pup should break it apart (pretty hard to do), the inside contents won´t hurt the pup.
Your pup also doesn´t need a lot of rawhide chew bones at this time. When he starts to teeth you should introduce him to ice cubes or put a Gumabone in the freezer about 30 minutes before you give it to the puppy. The extreme cold of either of these things will numb the gums (where he´s feeling pressure) and the hardness of these things helps to satisfy the pup´s needs of teething. If you´re using a Nylabone before introducing this to the pup, melt a beef bouillon cube in water and soak the bone for about ½ hour. This will heighten the flavor and the pup won´t find it to be a dull bone. Remember it´s at this time that the pup will want to use your furniture as a teething ring, so be prepared to keep an eye on your pup or put him in his crate if you´re too busy to watch him. I suggest you put a bell on the pup´s collar so you can hear where he is and, you can tell if he is too quiet.
Don´t ever give your young pup free run of your house. Don´t leave him loose inside while you go out for a couple of hours. If you do, you´ll come home to a different house then when you left. Pups are as curious as a 2-year-old child and when left alone will get into things. The damage can be tremendous and the danger of the pup eating something that could injure it is assured.
The introduction of a collar to your pup can begin as young as 7-8 weeks of age. A lightweight nylon collar will be fine to start off. Actual leash breaking should begin around 9-10 weeks of age. Go slow and have patience. Don´t expect miracles. Children seem to have a natural instinct for leash breaking a puppy, so let them help.
It´s a good idea to let the puppy know you have the right to take his food dish away or a bone or toy. If he growls at you, RAP HIM FIRMLY ACROSS THE NOSE WITH A COUPLE OF FINGERS AND SAY, "O U T"! in a growling tone. Then praise him for having stopped. This need not be practiced on a daily basis, but do test him out periodically so that he gets the idea that you are the Alpha dog.
Always be sure the puppy has plenty of fresh water available. If he doesn´t finish his food within 10-15 minutes, take the food away. This way he´ll always be a good eater. If you´ve chosen not to feed any moist food to your puppy, be sure to moisten his food with some water. Dry food is like eating a stack of crackers and then he´ll want to drink a lot of water. He is then a candidate for stomach bloat, which can be life threatening. You don´t have to soak the food for more than about 10 minutes.
If your pup is going to spend any time outside be sure that your property is "puppy proof". Be sure he can´t scoot under the fence and if you have a pool be sure he can´t get to it until he´s older and has learned where the steps are. Be sure that the pup is secured in the house when the gardener or the pool man comes. A gate accidentally left open is a guarantee of a lost puppy.
Be sure that your puppy gets his weekly grooming time. Nails should be done, (even if you don´t get any nail, go through the routine anyway). Nails that are allowed to get too long can cause a dog to have splayed feet or even become crippled. If you happen to "nick" the nail don´t panic. Simply apply some Quick Stop or rub the nail across a bar of soap. The bleeding will stop right away. Be sure to give the pup a cookie treat after he´s had his nails done.
Get your puppy used to having his body touched all over. Practice examining the pup´s mouth. Even if you didn´t buy this pup as a show dog, your Vet will appreciate the fact that this pup is used to this routine. Making it a regular routine to examine your pup´s body will also make you very familiar with his body. Therefore, you will automatically "alert" when something feels different. You´ll know if there is a lump or anything else that feels different that might necessitate taking your pup to the Vet.
When your pup´s adult teeth come in you´ll need to start brushing them about 2 x´s a month, (once a week if you care to). This will help to prevent any gum disease or tooth decay. You´ll also be assured that your dog won´t get any tarter on his teeth. Giving a dog bones to chew on for this problem just isn´t enough. There are good commercial dental products on the market to make this job easy.
Don´t forget to brush your dog´s coat once or twice a week. On short-coated breeds a good rubber brush and/or an Evergentle brush works well. You can bathe your pup once or twice a month. If your dog is being fed properly and brushed frequently, there is no need to bathe him more often. If you prefer to bathe your dog instead of taking him to a professional groomer, be sure you get all the soap out of his coat. On the last rinse cycle add a little vinegar to the rinse water. This will ensure that all soap is rinsed out. Be sure to dry him well. Use a good pet shampoo or a human shampoo with a good PH balance.
There are many good flea preventative products on the market. Feel free to discuss these with your Veterinarian and/or your local pet supply store. You may also have to have your yard sprayed to prevent fleas during the peak season.
- Dog Owner´s Home Veterinary Handbook" by Carlson & Griffen
- Koehler Method Of Dog Training" by William Koehler
- Mother Knows Best" by Carol Lea Benjamin
I´ve tried to cover as much as possible for you to better enjoy your new puppy, but if you think of anything else, please don´t hesitate to contact your pup´s breeder or your Veterinarian. If you are worried about something don´t feel you´re being bothersome. It´s better to be cautious than to be sorry.