Train, Don't Complain

The Most Common Questions about Bringing Home a New Puppy

Congratulations! You have made a commitment to bring a new puppy into your family.

Read on for answers to some of the most common questions about bringing a puppy home, and information you will need to successfully integrate your new puppy into your family. 

Click the links below to view the answers.

Who should take care of the new puppy?

Have a family meeting to decide who feeds the puppy, who walks the puppy and who cleans up poop in the yard. Bring everything up for discussion, and all questions in need of answers, to the table prior to bringing home your puppy.

Some other points you will need to consider are rules for your children, such as consistency with commands like "down" or "sit". Does "down" mean get down from the couch or does down mean lie down? Is it okay to pick the puppy up? And if so, how should it be done? For small children, having them sit on the floor and placing the puppy on their laps is the safest way. Too often, we hear of a puppy wiggling in someone’s arms and being dropped and injured. Although it doesn’t happen often, this is a risk not worth taking.

Should I "puppy proof" my house?

New puppies are very curious. They will want to explore everything they can reach, especially things that smell like you (such as your shoes!). First, let’s talk about dangerous items that could poison your dog.

Many things that are safe for human consumption are not safe for dogs to ingest. For example: alcohol, apple seeds, caffeinated drinks, chocolate, grapes, macadamia nuts, onions, xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in some types of peanut butter) are all toxic to your dog. In addition, there are many common house plants that can pose a danger to your new puppy. For example: aloe vera, chives, crocuses, daffodils, ivy, lilies, tulips, and rhubarb all have toxic effects if ingested by your puppy. For a complete list, please search for “Toxic and Non-Toxic Plant List or Food List – Dogs.” The ASPCA provides a complete list for you to view.

In a nutshell, a puppy is just like a small child who is exploring and full of wonder wanting to learn about her environment. All poisons need to be placed up out of reach or secured behind child-proof cupboards. Things like computer cords, pills dropped on the floor, electrical outlets, soap, low drawers left open, clothes lying on the floor, pens or pencils left on a coffee table within reach, and pretty much everything else in the house could present a danger to your puppy!

A puppy can’t yet distinguish between his favorite chew toy and your best pair of shoes (that’s right; this has to be trained into them) so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take the time and be diligent moving everything out of the puppy’s reach and tucking it all out of the way so that she's safe.

Choosing a collar and leash and your first trip home.

We recommend that you do not get a collar until you get your puppy home, as most of the time people don’t get the right size (that being a size that can be fastened with 2 fingers of space between the collar and neck).

For the trip home, simply buy a training leash to use, as you will need it anyway. A training leash is a short rope, maybe 2-3 feet long, with a loop to hold on one end and a slip knot at the other. That end will fit around any dog and will be great for the trip home. You'll use this leash during training over the course of the next year. A second long lead of up to 50’ will also be important to keep your puppy safe when he ventures away from you, and will aid you in training him to come when called from a distance.

You will also need a doggie bowl and some water if your trip is more than an hour or two. Longer trips should include breaks during which the puppy can walk/run, relieve himself and get a drink if he needs one. It is the safest for the puppy to travel in a travel crate for your car, which should be fastened to the interior of the vehicle so that it can’t go flying in the event of a sudden stop.

If you are picking up your puppy and flying home, ask your breeder to approximate his weight upon your arrival. This way you can plan to purchase the right size carrier for him on the plane. Don't forget to put the puppy down outside for a bit before travelling to relieve himself before beginning your journey.

Should I wipe a blanket where he was sleeping for the scent?

This is a bad idea, and here’s why. Your puppy will have been away from her mother for a while prior to your picking her up to ensure she is eating well on her own. When she cries, she is not crying for her mother, but because she thinks she is lost from her pack. The whining is a way to help the pack locate her. Since she will never be with that pack again, and you want her to become attached to her new pack (your family!), you don’t want anything reminding her of the old pack.

Dogs don’t possess the emotion “sadness” in relation to a complex thought as humans do, so don’t let your human emotions get in the way of training your dog properly. The quicker you can make your puppy feel like she belongs to your pack and forget about her old pack, the sooner she will cease her whining for them. Focus on creating some consistent scents in her new world with her new pack.

How should I introduce my puppy to our house?

Introducing your puppy to the house is something that you will have to take control of. Training has already started at this point (for instance, how you reacted to your puppy during pick up and in the car ride home).

Establish yourself as the leader by taking your puppy around the home on leash to the areas you want them to frequent, and don’t introduce them to the rooms you want them to stay out of. This begins by you walking into the home first and having the puppy wait at the door until you invite her in.

In the beginning, it’s best to limit the amount of rooms you expose your puppy to. You’ll need to supervise your puppy closely at all times to catch him for bathroom breaks, and having to do this in every room of the house would be exhausting. For now, limit it to perhaps the kitchen, the living room and a bedroom or laundry room where his crate will be. Count any doorways you will need to block off and purchase some baby gates.

Leave the crate open during the day if you are at home so your puppy can walk in and relax, nap or chew on a toy if he wants to. Let the crate be a safe place where he can go if he wants to be alone, for instance for a quiet break from the kids. Placing the crate in the kitchen is a good strategy, since it's a hub of your home, and you'll be able to keep an eye on the puppy at all times.

It’s also important at this time to not discipline your puppy. You want him to like his new home, so make it a happy place, not a stressful one. If he picks up something you don’t want him to that you missed when you puppy proofed your home, simply take it away and replace it with an appropriate chew toy. This is called redirecting your puppy.

How can I make the first night go smoothly?

The first night doesn’t have to be stressful. When puppies cry when they are alone at first, they are making an effort to help their pack find them. Puppy instinct tells them that being away from the pack is as dangerous (as it would be in the wild) so they whimper and whine (sometimes loudly) so that their pack can locate them.

Keep in mind that it’s not necessarily that they are sad because they are alone. This is a human thought, not a dog one, so don’t let it weigh on your mind. It is the first time in your puppy's life that she has been by herself, so it'll take some getting used to!

To help make the first few nights go more smoothly, feed your pup around your dinner time, as feeding  too close to bedtime will cause her to need to relieve herself during the night. The same goes for water and napping. Remove the water a bit before bedtime to prevent night time pee breaks. Avoid letting your puppy nap right before bedtime, and keep her active from roughly dinner time on.

It’s important for you to adjust your puppy to your schedule as well. So if you go to bed at 10 and are up at 5 am, then you would feed and water earlier than you would if you went to bed at midnight and woke up at 8 am. So, let her out for a final potty break and then it's time to get into the crate and sleep.

If you can handle it, place the crate in your bedroom at night for the first little while so that you can check on your puppy, and let her out if necessary. Even better, if you can hear the puppy cry from the kitchen that will help eliminate sounds from you in your bed that might wake the puppy. Though we recommend not leaving your puppy in her crate for more than 3 or 4 hours, she can handle longer periods during the night. Normally, one pee trip during the night is to be expected for a brand new puppy. If you’re lucky, she will sleep all night.

Try placing a light blanket over the top and 3 sides of the crate so the puppy feels safe in a confined area. Resist letting your puppy sleep in bed with you. Why? The risks that she may fall off the bed and injure herself, eliminate on you (before she has been potty trained), or perhaps that you squish her during the night should be enough to dissuade you. And, in order for a puppy to develop properly, she needs to learn to settle in her own space. A puppy that sleeps and cuddles you all the time will not have the opportunity to learn her own space, and may become needy as an adult which can contribute to anxiety.

Your puppy will develop confidence being on her own, which you will appreciate down the road. When she wakes up in the morning, carry her right out to do her business, as letting her walk through the house result in an accident. Do this as soon as possible, as in the beginning she’ll need to relieve herself right away.

How can I stop my puppy from crying at night?

There is no magic cure for this. The sooner your puppy learns how to self-soothe, the sooner the crying will stop. There are a couple of things you can try to help move things along, though. If the puppy has been quietly sleeping for a while (an hour or more), then he may need to go potty. Take him out. If it’s not potty, then you can try playing some music or providing some other background noise like a fan or a television.

Reaching in and touching the puppy a bit could sooth him enough to lie down and fall asleep. If he doesn’t stop right away, you are in for a sleepless night. Though some people can’t handle the crying and take the puppy out so that they feel better themselves, this is not the solution! Resist the urge to give in, and train your puppy that whining doesn't get results! After all, the puppy is not being hurt; there is no blood, and no broken bones. You'll only have to use this tough love approach for a short time, and you’ll have achieved success! If you give in and take the puppy out, you're actually training him to think you'll "rescue" him whenever he whines. Do it once, and he will expect it again and again.

How much water does my puppy need?

Clean water should always be available for your puppy, except before bedtime. The larger the dog, of course, the larger bowl you will need. In general, stainless steel bowls are the best as they are durable, won’t break and cause a hazard, and are almost impossible to chew (unlike a plastic bow). They also fair well in a dishwasher.

How do I house train my puppy?

First, you need to keep a schedule of when your puppy goes and if she relieves herself for both #1 and #2, or if it’s just #1. A schedule will also help track accidents; after all, accidents that happen again and again are training the dog to go in the home. There is a potty training schedule, a socialization schedule and also a document explaining why puppies need different toys to develop, what those toys are and how to rotate them in the Members Area

For the first 5 days or so, you will want to try to bring your puppy outside to the same spot to do her business right after eating, and right after drinking. Bringing her to the same spot can help cue her to go as she will sniff the area and smell a previous elimination. Puppies have bladders as small as a humming bird (well, not really... but they're small), so a tiny bit of fluid can go right through them.

The best practice is to take your puppy out every 30 minutes or so, use only one word to associate with emptying of the bowels or bladder (I use "pee" for both pee and poop), and say that word on the way to the spot outside, and once you get there. Accidents will happen, but if you are diligent, the puppy will be house trained within a week or two. Though simply because we are not able to drop everything and focus only on our dogs, accidents happen and it is more likely that it may take up to a month to completely train your puppy. The more consistent and clear you are, the easier you will make it for your puppy.

How do I crate train my puppy?

Crate training is one of the best ways to house train your puppy in the beginning. The crate should be large enough only to accommodate your puppy sleeping in a stretched out position, as dogs will rarely go potty in the spot where they sleep. Purchase a crate large enough for your puppy's final adult size, and use a divider to reduce the size in the mean time.

Some puppies take to the crate right away and feel very comfortable in it, while others need time to warm up to it. It’s important that the crate not be used as a punishment for your puppy, and the best way to get them into the crate is to let them walk in themselves. Sometimes just a bed or blanket is enough to cause them to explore, but if you need to, you can place a favorite toy or even the food dish right into the crate.

After your puppy enters the crate, close the door and let him experience some alone time. If he cries right away, try waiting it out a bit. If the crying gets worse, simply put your hand in and quiet him. Once he quiets down, reward him with either a treat or your praise. Remove your hand for 5 seconds, and if he stays quiet reward him again; if not, decrease the time with your hand in to 3 seconds. You want to consistently reward quiet, calm behavior so that he sees what is good and what is not.

Gradually increase the time with your hand out of the crate until he can stay in it for longer periods without crying, and gives in and lies down in a relaxed, calm state. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your puppy learn everything he needs to to in one day, or in one stint in his crate. Rewarding tiny bits of progress little by little will result in the results you want over time. Young puppies are okay 3 hours a day in their crates, possibly 4 hours at the maximum if you need to slip away for a bit.

If you need to leave for longer than that, you will have to get someone to come in and let your puppy out for a bit and give him a walk and relieve themselves.

What is the best way to train my puppy?

In short, positive reinforcement is the best way to train your puppy. This is the method explained in our training videos Member's section. An old myth goes that you need to find a dog with good bloodlines so that you don’t have to train her. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Bloodlines don't matter; all dogs need to be trained. Training should begin from the moment you pick up your puppy. The way you act toward her determines how she will behave back to you. Just like all humans are born perfect and then are altered by their environments (or trained), so too are puppies. In many ways, training is more important for owners than it is for dog; you need to learn how to train/act around your puppy so that she behaves in the manner you want her to. A little time spent training your puppy in the beginning will come back in the form of huge rewards for the next 12-15 years. It is important to understand that all people in the house need to act the same way to the puppy during training, in order to avoid confusion. An example might be where you say  “sit” once and expect the puppy to sit, whereas your 8-year-old son might say “sit, sit boy, c’mon boy sit for Joey, sit boy, sit down.” In our video series and articles, we explain how to train your puppy so that you enjoy success in owning a great dog for years to come. Our members section consists of many videos showing you exactly how to train your new puppy in the right way to sit, stay, come, off, heal, down and more.

What type of shots does my puppy need?

Your puppy should have had his first set of shots between 6-8 weeks old, along with his vet health examination. Be sure to ask your breeder for a record of his vaccinations and health inspection. It’s a good idea to visit your vet within 48 hours of picking up your puppy to arrange the 2nd set of shots at 10-12 weeks and the third set at 14-16 weeks.

Spend some time before picking up your puppy researching veterinarians in your area to find one who is reputable. It’s also a good time to ensure that you picked up a healthy puppy; this will be confirmed by your veterinarian.

Responsible breeders will de-worm your puppy three or four times while with them. Worms are common in young puppies and you will need de-worming medicine from your vet when you see him. You should also ask about heartworm medication while you are there. Many brands also treat common worms, fleas and ticks.

Finally, be sure set up your next appointment for vaccinations.

How much exercise does my puppy need?

This will vary with the breed you choose, and will also change as your dog ages from puppy to adult to senior. Once you get to know your puppy well, you will come to understand that if he is acting up, he is either hungry, has to relieve himself, or requires exercise. It is important to understand your specific breed’s needs and accommodate them.

How can I socialize my puppy?

Socializing your dog is something that will have begun with your breeder, and it's up to you to continue this each and every day in order to have a stable dog. "Socializing" means exposing your puppy to as many things in our world as you can between the ages of 8 and 20 weeks and continuing this afterward.

Your breeder will have started this process by providing positive human experiences in the early weeks. The period between 8 and 20 weeks is the time when the puppy absorbs what "normal" will look like in his world, and as long as his experiences are positive during these ages he will grow up to be a normal, well-adjusted dog.

It’s at this time when you should expose your puppy to as many different experiences as possible, such as going to the vet, going to visit friends, a wide range of different people (including children), car rides, bus rides, different sounds, quiet time, television, hair dryers, cell phones, touch in different places (such as their paws, ears, tummy, teeth and mouth), and how to greet and play with other animals. Seasonal things such as a snowman, fireworks or thunderstorms are often overlooked if you are not in that season. Try to replicate those things using Youtube videos or in a different way so that your puppy grows up understanding these events are a normal part of life. 

It is important though that you don’t introduce your new puppy to strange animals until he has his final set of vaccinations at 16 weeks. If you are unsure of whether a strange dog has its rabies shots, then keep your unvaccinated puppy away from her. Animals who you know are vaccinated will be ok.

So, socializing means providing your puppy with a wide range of experiences during his early weeks, and making those experiences positive (yes, even thunder storms) so that he learns these things are normal and nothing be afraid of.

How often should I feed my puppy?

Some breeders will place their hands into the dog's food as they eat so puppies do not become territorial over it as they grow up. It's a good idea to continue this at your home. If your puppy feels threatened that someone is going to steal her food, she will growl as a warning. If this happens, it is important to address it right away. Other things like seeing your feet walk up as they are eating and then walking away so they know your behaviors will not result in their food being taken away are good to implement as well.

There is some debate over what food is best for dogs; we’ve found that a super premium kibble works best (We use this four star food and you can enter this discount code for $5 off of your order 28146-1025) A high quality kibble is best in terms of safety (as opposed to keeping raw meat to feed them), and provides high quality, balanced nutrition. Remember, a high quality kibble with ingredients selected from a dog's ancestral diet means feeding less, as they are more nutrient-dense than cheaper foods. This means less food will be required, and there will also be less stool to pick up. In addition, the healthier the food you feed, the fewer the chances of health issues, and thus the lower your vet bills will be.

All dog food is not equal, and the old saying “you get what you pay for” certainly applies across the board. Puppies normally start softened food around 21 days old and can switch to hard puppy kibble around 7 weeks old. These timings are slightly longer for the very small breed puppies. In general you don't want to pay for corn or rice in the first few ingredients listed on the packaging. These are fillers and the first few ingredients should always be meat or meal (meal is nutritious for dogs and includes other things required such as bones, cartilage, and so on).

The amount you feed your growing puppy will vary by size and activity level. The more active your puppy is the more calories they burn and the more food they’ll need.

Should I give my puppy treats?

Treats are fun to give your dog and they normally gives us as much pleasure as it gives the dog. We carry a single ingredient, slow baked from human grade raw treat with no additives and no preservatives in our store here. The training treats are specifically designed to be low calorie and only 3 ingredients so they help keep your dog at a healthy weight. 

It's important that when you introduce any new treat to your puppy that you do it one at a time and observe their stool for at least a few days or a week. This way you can monitor any allergic reaction they may have and if they do, you will know what treat is to blame. 

Another issue is that low-priced treats from other countries often are not subject to the same guidelines we have established in North America for continued pet health, and some have been found to contain toxic substances. A final note on treats is that they are also food. We suggest you rotate through five or six different types of dog treats so that your dog will get a balance of nutrition. Be sure to reduce their kibble in the amount that you give to them as treats so they do not become overweight.

Does my puppy need dental care?

Preventative dental care is something that should be started right away. Just as in humans, if a dog’s oral health is not very good, bacteria can get into the dog through unhealthy teeth and gums. The best way to care for your dog’s teeth is to take a threefold approach.

First, get her onto a good kibble so she has to crunch it to eat it. This will help to clean some of the plaque off at least twice a day. But this may not be enough, so the second approach is to use dental chews as a treat. Some treats like these beef trachea are good at cleaning teeth while naturally providing glucoasamine and condroitin required for joint development. Large breeds especially require these ingredients. These treats help clean your dog’s teeth, but again, they don’t always get every area. So another measure is to brush your dog’s teeth every day or every other day. Plaque will build on a clean tooth within hours and will start to mineralize into tartar in a couple days, so brushing less than every other day provides no benefit.

Begin by touching your dog’s muzzle and lips. Soon enough she will allow you around it and then you can begin touching the teeth. Make it a game and fun for both you and your dog. Start at the back of the outside of one of the rows of teeth and hit every tooth systematically. It is less critical to get the tongue side of the teeth but be sure to get that side as well. Brush as you would your own teeth starting at the gums and going in the direction of the tooth.

You can use a normal toothbrush for human use, or you can get one from a pet store. There are also types of doggie tooth brushes that fit onto the end of your finger if you prefer.

It’s important to recognize that brushing your dog’s teeth is a trick they will have to learn over time. Sitting and letting you do this is new for her, and you can expect to get her into a routine over a period of about a week or two. Accept less than perfect coverage of all teeth at first, and expect to be able to reach every tooth thoroughly by the end of a couple of weeks.

My puppy is biting/play biting. Is that normal?

Eventually, your puppy will grow out of this stage. The severity differs among breeds, and there is even a big difference in some puppies from the same litter. As always, you want to ignore the undesirable behavior and reward the behavior you are looking for. A reward can come in the form of talking, looking at or touching your puppy so avoid all of these if he is are getting nippy.

Teach children not to raise their hands up when a puppy approaches them as the puppy will think they are asking them to jump up to their hands. Have them make a fist so the puppy can’t get his mouth around. Always supervise children when around their puppy. If the puppy comes up and licks your hand reward that, but if he opens his mouth to put your hand or fingers in, remove them, ignore and give him a chew toy to chew on.

If he does get a hold of your hand, you can try making a high pitched “yipe!” sound, like a sibling puppy would make if she had her ear or tail bitten. This works with some puppies, but not all.

Just remember that any movement toward your hands could result in a play biting attempt. So if you call or approach your puppy, and you put your hand up to pet him on the head and he moves his mouth toward your hand, that is the beginning of the play biting... or it could be licking. If the puppy is in biting mode and moves toward you, remove the reward of your attention. If he doesn't move toward your hand as you pet hum, that is behaviour you want to reward.

On a final note, aggressive play will train your puppy to act that way. Avoid aggressive play if you don’t want your dog to become aggressive.

How do I prevent destructive chewing?

This can almost always be prevented if you understand what’s going on. Let’s go back to the idea that your puppy is a dog and not a human. Dogs chew things until they are trained to do otherwise. They have never heard of Armani or Gucci and don’t know that your purse cost $800.

So yes, we have to teach them what we want. If we do this in the first place, then there is little or no reason to correct behaviours we don’t want. So first, you need to remove everything from your puppy's reach that you don’t want her to chew on. Remote controls on the coffee table, shoes or socks laying around... pretty much everything, in fact, until she is trained and understand that all she should chew is her chew toys.

It's also important to provide enough mental and physical stimulation each day so that your pup doesn't go looking to get into trouble. Dogs that don’t have enough stimulation will often spend their excess energy chewing or digging. To provide stimulation for your pup, make a good variety of chew toys available so that you can rotate them in and out to keep her busy and interested. If after you do this and she still insists on biting a wall, railing, or chair, spray the enticing objects with a bitter spray. We find, however, that most times you can keep your pup busy by following the exercise/mental stimulation rule, and by directing her to what you want her to chew.

Why spay or Neuter?

The decision to Spay or Neuter your new dog is one which will require some reading and some discussion with your veterinarian, or a couple of veterinarians. Though the trend is toward sooner rather than later there is no clear cut time on when to do this in either sex. There are however pros and cons of both. Either way, the responsible decision is to get your dog fixed so that there are no accidental locks with the opposite sex which will result in unwanted puppies that you will have to find homes for. These accidental breedings are a large cause of animal shelters booming with business in an attempt to place dogs so they avoid euthanasia. The issues of fixing are different in males compared to females. Some of the issues found with males are that neutering soften some of the male characteristics such as fighting, chasing cars, jumping fences but I have seen no clear proof of any of these. As well, there is concern of neutering too early causing bone and joint development issues in males. On the female side fixing is a little less of an issue. Spaying prior to her first heat just about eliminates the risk of uterine or breast cancer and it also eliminates the possibility of you contributing to the unwanted pet population. Depending on the breed of dog you have there will be a new set of pros and cons specific to that breed so to cover everything here would not be possible. I’m leaving it up to you to carefully search for answers with advice from your veterinarians when the best time would be for you to spay or neuter your dog.

Beware of the many myths out there. You likely won’t believe some of them once you start hearing them. Whatever your decision may be in regards to timing keep your dog’s interests foremost. They should be mature enough mentally and physically to undergo the operation without issue. Recovery is about 14 days from traditional surgery and your veterinarian will advise you how long you need to leave the cone around your dog’s neck so they can’t lick or bite at their incision. It will begin to itch around 5 to 7 days and what do dogs do when they get itchy? They lick or bite it of course. Just as it will take your puppy time to learn to eliminate outdoors, it will also take them time to learn to accept the cone. Just don’t give in and allow them to take the cone off which could lengthen the entire recovery process. Most dogs will be a little slow for a few days but again this depends on the breed and age of your dog. As an alternative to traditional surgery is a laparoscopic spay technique only requiring two small holes. The result is less invasive, much less pain and recovery time is also shortened. In some cases the dog does not have to wear the cone. This procedure is however more expensive but those whom have gotten it say it is well worth the extra cost.

Can my puppy get along with my cat?

Fighting like cats and dogs is not necessarily the way it has to be. To introduce a dog to a cat or vice versa, there are a few rules you’ll want to follow. In many situations you will find dogs and cats living together in harmony. This is true especially if they have grown up together from puppy and kitten stages. When they are young they will learn to tolerate each other quickly because they are seeking to understand exactly what is normal in this world they are living in. When introducing a cat and dog where one or both are older always have the cat at the dog’s eye level. Keep a good hold on one of the animals and have someone hold the other animal. Holding them will help them to feel secure and unthreatened. If you sense fear in one or the other remove them and try again in a little while. You want the experience to be as pleasant as possible and one fearing the other is not that. It could mean that you try this 3 or 4 times over the course of the day until they are comfortable sniffing each other. If that’s the case then that’s what you have to do. Never leave them alone in the beginning until you are sure they are able to get along and tolerate each other. If you do it could result in an injury for either or both of them. As you make attempts to get them to be comfortable with each other, and you have tried for a few days or more you may come to the realization that one of the animals just will not accept the other. This may be the case and you will have to re-evaluate your pet situation.

How do I introduce my puppy to my adult dog?

This could be a very easy thing to do. If the dog you currently have has been well socialized and is not the leader of the house so is not territorial, she may accept the new puppy without issue and simply consider it part of the pack. If this is not the case however and your dog has fought with other dogs or is dominant of the home and yard you will need to organize the introduction on neutral territory. It is also good to get the help of a certified dog trainer to assist in the meeting as they will be able to recognize signs of aggression and work around them. So if you choose to do this on your own, bring your dog and the new puppy separately to a neutral area. Perhaps walking in a park with no other distractions in it. Once there allow them to walk like they would normally on leash and gradually decrease the space between them. When close enough let the leashes go so they don’t feel restricted but leave the leashes on in case you need to separate them. With an adult dog and a young puppy the puppy will most often become submissive right away and show the adult their belly. After a little getting to know you sniff your adult dog may want to play or may just ignore the puppy. It’s important that while walking them on the leash you don’t create tension by holding a tight leash. Imagine a dog who walks on a loose leash normally and then around this new dog feels your tension through the tightened leash on his neck. You want to set them up for success! For the first week or two always supervise the two dogs when they are together in order to be sure there is no push for control over something like a favorite bed or a toy. After you are sure they are best new buds, they can be allowed to play on their own.

How do dogs get along with kids?

Well the answer is very well but only after some training for both the puppy and the children. Young children especially will need boundaries of what to do and what not to do along with careful supervision. There are a few rules you can follow to ensure things go smoothly until both the puppies and the children learn their boundaries. First give your new puppy respect by providing its own space where she can go if she has had enough and wants to be alone. The crate is perfect for this. Leave the door open to the crate and teach your children that when the puppy goes in there he is to be left alone. When he has a break or perhaps a nap he’ll be sure to come back out. Second be sure to read the article on play biting. Your children need to understand that’s how a puppy learns and he may try to play bite in the beginning. With proper attention and training on part of the puppy and by training the children what to do this should not be an issue. The third point to look at is to reward good behavior for both puppy and children. If you see your child playing with the puppy in a calm respectful manner tell them what a good job they are doing and to keep it up. Same for the puppy, reward calm play and expected behavior with attention and praise. When you see that your children are old enough and can handle themselves properly with the dog then it would be acceptable to allow unsupervised play.

What do I need to know about grooming?

Grooming care will vary based on the type of dog you have. Long coat, short coat, medium coat, wavy coat, wire hair coat dogs all need different combing and brushing tools. A short coat dog may need only a soft bristled brush and be brushed only occasionally, whereas a medium coat dog should have weekly brushing and a monthly more complete grooming session where the face, neck, eyes and feet might need a bit of a clip with scissors. Long coated dogs require daily grooming and along with any dog that may have an under coat may require two brushes-one stiffer wire brush and one softer. In general the longer coat your dog has the more frequently they require a bath as longer hair collects more dirt tangles. As well, the more they go outside and the more they roll in mud puddles the more frequent the bath. Dogs require a mild shampoo you can buy at a pet store or you can also use baby no tears shampoo. Don’t use regular human shampoo on them. As you bath them keep an eye on their skin, sometimes they may only need a rinse and not a shampoo. This will help to avoid developing dry skin. Dogs need their ears and eyes cleaned on a regular basis. For some breeds failing to clean the tears from their eyes could result in staining around the eyes. Keeping them clean will avoid this.

There are however commercial products which help remove these stains. Trimming nails is something that a dog owner will also need to do. If you walk your dog daily on a cement sidewalk, the constant rubbing may keep the nails filed down. If not, you will need to get comfortable trimming them at an early age. You will be able to see the quick inside of clear nails and you do not want to cut the quick. Trim below the quick at a 45 degree angle. If you begin this when your dog is a puppy you should be comfortable later and your puppy will sit for their nails trimmed as it will be a thing for them since birth. If you cut the quick by accident be ready for some heavy bleeding. Be prepared by having some silver nitrate on hand to facilitate clotting. There are specific dog trimming nail clippers available to do a proper job. Remember that you are in charge, and if your dog sits nice be sure to give them a pretty substantial reward. Once training has begun their sole purpose will be to please you for treats so make it fun!

Is my dog overweight?

It is estimated that up to 40% of dogs are overweight or obese. Again this will vary greatly by breed and is often hard to be seen on long coat dogs but as a general rule here is how to see if your dog is overweight. If you run your hands down the sides of their body from the head to the hind end you should to be able to easily feel the rib cage. As well there should not be rolls of fat around your dog’s neck. It can easily happen that a fit dog for years and years suddenly becomes overweight and catches you by surprise. The cause isn’t necessarily overfeeding or lack of exercise it could also be medical such as diabetes or hypothyroidism or simply the slowing of the metabolism. If you suspect your dog has a weight issue it’s always a good idea to see a veterinarian for their opinion. If the results are that your dog is overweight work with your vet on reducing the amount of your dog’s food and yes this might mean treats as well! Along with this modification in diet a moderate exercise program should be started if they aren’t already on one.

Can you summarize the training tips?

  • Be positive and reward the behavior you want.
  • Keep training sessions short. Stop before he gets tired and loses focus.
  • Make your commands clear and be consistent.
  • Don’t use down, lie down, and get down all for down.
  • Reward within 1-2 seconds. Waiting too long will result in your puppy forgetting what the reward is for.
  • Have a family meeting to be sure everyone is using the same words and only saying them once.
  • End training on a positive note.
  • Train, don’t allow jumping up, nipping, getting on the couch or up on your bed without being invited or because your puppy “likes it.”

How do I handle a puppy emergency?

What is an emergency and what do I do? In short, an emergency trip to the nearest open veterinarian would be warranted for serious bleeding, fractures, puppy is not breathing, a serious burn, your puppy having been poisoned or in certain locations heat stroke or frostbite. Most other things that you find serious may likely wait until regular business hours but if you are in doubt, take your puppy to the emergency veterinarian to be safe. Most problems are dealt with as they are in humans. For example, bleeding requires direct pressure to stop; burns should be rinsed with cold water to cool and clean the area and then wrapped with a towel and ice pack; poisoning should be dealt with first by a call to your pet poison control number to find out if you need to induce vomiting or not. Do not induce unless instructed to do so. It’s a good idea to keep hydrogen peroxide or syrup of ipecac on hand in case you are instructed to induce vomiting. For heat stroke you may notice your dog dazed, breathing rapidly, red gums, thickened saliva or an increased heart rate. If this is the case place your dog in a shower and cool him with cool, not cold water. Give him some cool water to drink as well. Doing this immediately may save your dog’s life. If you suspect frostbite warm the areas with towels soaked in warm water for 15 or 20 minutes. Don’t rub the areas. If they don’t return to normal transport your dog to the vet immediately. It’s also important that you know where the all hours vet is in your area and how to get there. Doing this ahead of time could save precious minutes when they really count getting your dog help.

How do I stop my dog eating his poop?

There has not been a great deal of research on this topic but from what is available it appears that the urge for a dog to eat their stool comes from ancient dogs doing so in the den in order to protect other dogs in the den from the parasites in the stool. So, the origins are of a protective nature...they're cleaning up! The practice is more common in situations where there is more than one dog in the home. As well, females tend to have a higher percentage of this behavior than males. For the most part dogs who do this prefer fresh, or under 2 day old poop. If your dog does this then there are numerous ways you can deter them. First keep your dog's living area clean. Second supervise them on walks closely. If they poop, clean it up and don't let them eat it. Training commands of "leave it" or "come" will work if your dog has been trained and you see them getting ready to eat some. When I get asked "why does my dog eat its poop?" I tell my clients they eat their poop because you let them. Again, train don't complain! If you are unable to train them to leave it, a few cases have shown success in supplementing with vitamin B or supplementing with an enzyme called papain. The final step would be to get some spray that you could spray onto the poop that would deter them from eating it, however if you are going to go through all that trouble and expense, it would just be easier to clean it up.

What foods are toxic to dogs?

This is not a comprehensive list but it does list some of the more common foods that your dog should not have exposure to. Keep in mind, that a dog getting into the garbage could have access to most of these so protect your dog by securing your garbage both in and outside of your home.

  • Alcohol
  • Apple seeds
  • Apricot pits
  • Avocados
  • Cherry pits
  • Candy containing xylitol an artificial sweetener, chocolate
  • Coffee including coffee beans and caffeine
  • Citrus fruits in small amounts will likely result in minor upset stomach but the leaves, peels, stems etc... can prove to cause more severe irritation
  • Coconut water, raw coconut both contribute to upset stomach, avoid these
  • Garlic
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Gum especially containing Xylitol
  • Macadamia nuts and nuts in general aren't good and contribute to pancreatitis
  • Moldy foods
  • Mushroom plants
  • Mustard seeds
  • Onions, onion powder and chives
  • Peach pits
  • Potato leaves and stems-the green parts
  • Raw or undercooked meat can contain salmonella or E. Coli. Raw eggs contain avidin that decreases the absorption of vitamin B leading to coat problems. Raw bones are also a hazard for these reasons and the risk of a splinter becoming lodged in their digestive tract.
  • Raisins
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Salt can produce sodium ion poisoning
  • Tea because it contains caffeine
  • Tomato leaves and stems green parts
  • Walnuts
  • Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets and is commonly found in peanut butter, toothpaste, candy, baked goods and chewing gum
  • Yeast dough
Feeding your dog anything other than a true and trusted kibble is always assuming somewhat of a risk with their health. For this reason we always recommend a tried and true super premium dog food. If you feed your dog properly, your dog will likely live longer and be healthier during that time thus helping to reduce your Veterinarian costs

Are there different developmental stages for puppies?

Yes! Puppy Developmental Periods:

Neonatal Period (0-12 Days)
Puppies cannot regulate body temperature or elimination during this period and are stimulated by the mother to eliminate. Their ears and eyes are closed and they respond to warmth.

Transition Period (13 - 20 Days)
During this period the puppy begins to control their bodily functions. Their sight is poor and they begin wagging their tails.

Awareness Period (21 - 28 Days)
Providing a stable environment for the puppy is important here as they learn that they are a dog. Their hearing and vision are well functioning.

Canine Socialization Period (21 - 49 Days)
The puppy is now aware of the difference between canines and humans as she learns appropriate behaviors from her mother and siblings.

Human Socialization Period (7 to 12 Weeks)
The pup has the brain wave of and adult dog and this is the best time for going to a new home. He now has the ability to learn respect, simple behavioral responses such as sit, stay, come, down, and heel. This is the time to begin housebreaking. He now learns by associating actions with either acceptance such as praise or treats or non-acceptance such as the word bad or no. The permanent man/dog bonding begins, and he is able to accept gentle discipline such as the word no and establish confidence.

Fear Impact Period (8 - 11 Weeks)
Try to avoid frightening the puppy during this time, since traumatic experiences can have an effect during this period. As you can see, this period overlaps that of the previous definition and children or animal should not be allowed to hurt or scare the puppy -- either maliciously or inadvertently. It is very important now to introduce other humans, but he must be closely supervised to minimize adverse conditioning. This doesn’t mean bubble wrapping your puppy rather providing a safe environment for them to learn in as learning at this age is permanent. This is the stage where you wonder if your dog is going to be a doofus all his life. Also introducing your puppy to other dogs at this time will help him become more socialized. If available in your area, a doggy day care is great for this but never introduce your puppy to dogs that you are not sure of being vaccinated as she is not fully vaccinated until 16 weeks.

Seniority Classification Period (13 - 16 Weeks)
This critical period is also known as the age of cutting both cutting their teeth and cutting apron strings. At this age, the puppy begins testing dominance and leadership. Yes I said testing! Biting behavior is absolutely discouraged from thirteen weeks on. Praise for the correct behavior response is the most effective tool. Meaningful praise is highly important to shape positive attitude while negative reinforcement will not be successful.

Flight Instinct Period (4 to 8 Months)
During this period puppies test their wings- they will turn a deaf ear when called. This period lasts from a few days to several weeks. It is critical to praise the positive and minimize the negative behavior during this time. However, you must learn how to achieve the correct response. Don’t miss this; “YOU” must learn to achieve the correct response. This period corresponds to teething periods, and behavioral problems become compounded by physiological development chewing.

Fear impact period II (6 - 14 Months)
Also called, "The fear of situations period", and often corresponds to growths spurts. This age may depend on the size of the dog with small dogs experiencing these periods earlier than large dogs. This is another period in which care must be taken not to reinforce negative behavior (so no attention such as taking, touching or looking at them). Force can frighten the dog in this period. His fear should be handled with patience and kindness, and training during this period puts the dog in a position of success, while allowing him to work things out while building self-confidence. Being patient sometimes means doing this over a number of days until behavior is stopped or successfully achieved.

Maturity (1 - 4 years)
Many breeds' especially giant breeds continue to grow and physically change well beyond four years of age. Average dogs develop to full maturity between 1-1 1/2 years and three years of age. Dogs can retest their quest for leadership during this period. This is a time where you will also need to be firm in leading your dog and showing you are in charge. Tiny breaks in the who’s in charge question could result in your doggie taking over which would result in undesirable behaviors.

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