Our goal at
Friendship Kennels is to place our puppies with well informed,
responsible and loving owners. Below we have listed some of the best Puppy Care information that we have seen. If you are planning on adding a new puppy
to your family you will find some very useful tips to make the
adjustment easier for the both of you. There is a wealth of
information here that will help you in raising your puppy, especially
during that first and most important year. It is adapted by permission from "Having to Do with Puppies," from Kennels and Kenneling by Joel McMains, Howell Book House, New York, NY 1994.
Having To Do With Puppies
Feeding Puppies attain 80 percent of their eventual growth within six to twelve months. In the process, they burn nearly double the daily calories, pound for pound, that mature dogs do. From weaning (which is generally around four weeks) until a year, litters should be fed the best puppy-kibble (dry food) that can be had. Price should not be a consideration. When this solid food is first given, stir in water to facilitate mastication and ingestion. Gradually phase out this liquefying practice so that by seven or eight weeks of age, the young ones' nourishment is presented to them completely dry. Feed the pups four times daily from the time of weaning until they are ten or twelve weeks old, when the night feeding should be eliminated. At five months, switch to a maintenance-grade kibble during the warm months, and to one slightly higher in fat and protein content for the cold seasons. While I would never remove a dog's food bowl while the animal is in mid-bite, nonetheless I allow my pets only ten minutes or so to consume a meal. Then the food dishes are removed, washed and put away until the next scheduled feeding. Dogs are naturally fast eaters, hence the existence of such expressions as, "Dogs wolf their food." The main reason for this canine tendency of eating quickly is that in the wild, a canine's natural setting, one eats as fast as possible, lest other animals covet the meal or circumstances cause its abandonment. Avoid the practice of "on-demand" feeding, whereby food is available at all times. The procedure can cause boredom, finicky eating habits and obesity. Of equal importance, it eliminates from the animal's emotional menu the possibility for intimate daily contacts between dog and human, the essence of which has as much to do with positive bonding as with proper nutrition. Scheduled meals also afford the advantage of letting you know right away if your pet should go off his feed, which can often represent the first sign of numerous physical and emotional disorders.
Snacks and Such As far as when tidbits are appropriate - and when they are not - consider this example. when calling puppy into the house, present a biscuit once the dog arrives indoors. Rather than make this a constant practice, reward about three times out of four. that way, curiosity whether there will be a tidbit can operate and draw him or her to you. If a puppy learns that a biscuit will always be offered, the little one may begin to take the practice for granted. However, do not use food to bribe. That is, in calling puppy to the house, do not stand by the door and wave the treat as you the pooch. Otherwise, you are offering the pup a choice whether to come, which is not a good idea at any age: Pooch could decide that he would rather persist at whatever he is doing than stop for a snack just then. Get the dog inside, then present the morsel. You may feed certain table scraps in small amounts (but not chicken bones and the like, which can be harmful - even deadly) as part of scheduled feedings. Permissible between-meal snacks are dog biscuits, which should be given in moderation. Cool, Clear Water Dogs of any age should have fresh water available during waking hours. Providing it in galvanized pails ensures they receive a daily trace of zinc, often unavailable in commercial foods. Zinc is an important nutritional element of canines, especially to breeds with erect to semi-erect ears, as the chemical is thought to contribute to strong ear stance. Teething A puppy begins to cut permanent teeth around sixteen weeks. Ease this uncomfortable time by providing rawhide chews, Nylabones and the like. Gently massaging the young one's gums not only alleviates discomfort, it further strengthens the bond forming between you.
Housing and Housebreaking
A new puppy should sleep at bedside in a properly sized, individual airline cage. This practice can eliminate much grief from housebreaking because a sound animal will not consistently foul his sleeping area, provided that he is allowed ample opportunity to seek relief at suitable locations. At bedtime, afford puppy a final evening walk, then take him straightaway to the cage. While first placing the pup in the enclosure, repeat the word "Nest" several times. The word best expresses the idea to communicate to the little one. The weekend is often an opportune time to acquaint puppy with the nest, as some sleep may be lost that first night, by both of you. To lessen undue worry and whining, place in the cage ahead of time such puppy treasures as a soft towel, maybe a ticking clock, possibly Nylabone, or perhaps an undershirt you wore that day (probably for the last time). Do not let a dog - young or old - shred a cloth article, however, as ingestion of such material can be fatal. A pup finding himself alone in such a new situation may whine and fuss a bit, but after a time will usually settle. If the young one becomes unreasonably vocal, and if you are certain that the dog is not telling you that he must get outside (or is frightened), a squirt form a spray bottle filled with cold water can do wonders. Accompany such disciplinary measures with a curt (but not roared) "Out!" meaning, "Not now," or more specifically in this case, "Hush." As the puppy calms, praise "Good Out." Avoid moving the nest about the house. Part of its function is to create a sense of order and stability in and for a puppy. Periodic cage relocation can defeat this purpose. Similarly, other pets or children should not be permitted to enter or play with a pup's cage. The enclosure is something the young canine needs to think of as his, and his nose will tell him if there have been visitors. The very first thing in the morning, take the puppy outdoors, repeating the cue "Yard" as you transport him there. If the nest is some distance from the door, prevent undesirable stops along the way by carrying the pup. Once the animal is back inside, keep your attention on the dog and be ready to take him outside hurriedly. Should you be occupied with some activity for a time - even just talking on the phone - put the puppy on in his nest before proceeding. Bear in mind that puppies initially possess very little internal control. An active pup involved in play and such would rather continue with what he is doing than stop to expel toxins. Thus, nature has constructed him in such a way that until he gains some maturity, he is simply unable to hold back the dam for more than a few seconds after his little brain issues the word. Once your pup gets "that look" in his eyes, you have very little time to get him outside. The first time the puppy does goof in the house - and most pups do at least once - point his nose close to (but not into) the site of the transgression and repeat the word "No," in a firm, drawn-out manner. Do not speak harshly as that could frighten. More than one overly vocal owner has taught his pet through displays of righteous anger that the animal's natural urges were wrong. "Not here" is the message to communicate, not shame. After drawing attention to the problem area, tote the puppy outside, encouragingly saying the word "Yard," as you proceed. Gathering up the accident and placing it at the location you want frequented can be helpful. The pup will find and sniff it, and will soon begin to get the idea. As the young one performs his functions outside, praise (but softly, so as not to distract), saying , "Good piddle, good dump," or whatever phraseology you prefer. Later, during lengthy drives, telling your pet at a rest stop to "Go piddle" will often trigger the desired response. During puppy's waking hours, regardless of whether he sends signals, make sure to take him outside every couple of hours. Also, walk him after naps, meals and prolonged drinking; those are times when puppies often feel the need. Unless you have no choice, avoid using newspapers for relief areas. "Paper training" is just that - it can teach a dog to respond to the feel of paper underfoot. Not only can a pup not tell the difference between today's paper and the one you intend for him to use, but more importantly he is being taught to use your house as a bathroom. True, the animal is standing on a newspaper, but that does not change the fact that elimination is occurring in your living space. Exercise and Socialization Proper exercise is as important to the well-being of a puppy as is proper nutrition. Without either, healthy physiological or psychological development cannot occur. Your pet needs plenty of play area and lots of playtime with you. Socialization entails taking a new puppy with you, wherever and whenever circumstances permit. During life's first months, the number and quality of different situations, people and events a pup experiences can affect him for the rest of his days. Always keeping him on-leash, take your young dog to public parks, school areas or just for a drive. If you intend for your pet to be a member of your pack (family), treat him like one. When taking a dog (young or mature) for outings, never leave him unattended in a vehicle. The result can be chewed seats, a stolen pet or heatstroke. This last, which is often fatal, can quickly occur with outside temperatures no warmer than 70 degrees. Veterinarians Like your family physician, your vet should be someone in whom you have confidence. As a precautionary measure, any new puppy should be examined before or very soon after arriving at his new home. Should you not be familiar with a local veterinarian, perhaps being new to the area, meet and get to know one prior to need. An after-hours emergency is no time to discover that the doctor whose name you hurriedly gleaned from the yellow pages has an unreasonable fixation on keeping regular office hours. In choosing a vet, take your own dog for a cursory examination and observe whether the doctor is at ease with pooch. Of equal importance is whether the animal seems at ease with him or her. Should either seem overly uincomfortable with the other, look elsewhere. While there, check out the general cleanliness of the office an d the exam rooms. Also, note the attitude of the clinic staff. Should you detect tension, frayed nerves, short tempers or a decidedly lax, disinterested or distracted manner, be on your way. Not incidentally, during any visits to a veterinarian's office, leave the dog's obedience training in the car. This is not to say that your pet should not observe good manners while in the office, but a trip to the vet's is not the time to require precision heeling, out-of-sight Stays, Stand for Exams and the rest. Believe it or not, I once observed a person telling his, "Stay, Stay, Stay," while the good doctor extracted porcupine quills from the hapless animal's muzzle. Prudence dictates that two vets are better than one, in the sense that when your primary vet is unavailable you should have a reliable backup. As with your main veterinarian, you an your dog should meet and get to know this second person before a need arises. Worms and Other Internal Parasites Periodically take fecal smaples to your vet for examination. If the test are positive, treat the condition according to his or her instructions. As your DVM about heartworm preventive an the testing that must precede its initial use. Shots and Vaccinations AFter concluding puppy shots, your pet should be vaccinated yearly against Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parvo, Rabies, Corona and Tracheobronchitis (Kennel Cough). The vaccination for Tracheobronchitis is comparatively new. If the vet is unwilling to order it for you, find another doctor. A concerned professional realizes that your pet's health comes first. Medications Giving pills and liquids are simple tasks that are made easier by conditioning during puppyhood. Give the pups placebos occasionally, always following such treatments with much praise and a biscuit. The treat not only lends a positive accent to the event, it makes sure the medication went down. To give a pill, open the dog's mouth by reaching over the muzzle and inserting a fingertip directly behind a canine tooth. This causes nearly any dog to open its mouth. Holding the animal's nose upward, quickly but smoothly push the pill toward the back of the tongue. Withdraw your hand and gently hold the muzzle closed while softly stroking downward along the front of the throat. To administer a liquid, first draw the fluid into a syringe. Then remove the needle and place the instrument's tip (repeat: without a needle attached) in the fold of your pet's cheek near the backteeth while using minimal presure to hold the muzzle barely closed. Don't plunge the liquid in so quickly that your dog inhales the substance rather than swallow it. Grooming Canines usually shed two or three times a year. Gently brush your pup twice a week. Bathe him as needed but not more than six times yearly, lest you dry the skin and coat. Trim nails and clean ears at least weekly. Since there are breed differences as to how these chores are best performed, ask your vet or breeder to show you procedures that are appropriate for your pet. Training While formal obedience is generally best deferred until the sixth month, much groundwork can be laid during puppyhood. This is especially true in terms of bonding and attitude building. Precisely when to start formal training depends upon the animal's temperament and maturity, and upon the trainer's abilities and experience. Commencing at too young an age can do more harm than good. A puppy who experiences fright during a critical developmental period, whether it be of a collar, of a leash or - God forbid - of you, will never outgrow the feeling, regardless of ensuing positive learning experiences. Until you discern some maturation in th eyoung one - such as a lengthened attention span - allow the puppy to be a puppy. In other words, if in doubt, don't. Puppy Obedience Classes I have mixed feelings about the concept of puppy obedience classes. They are fine as a socialization vehicle, but that potential is offset by their inherent risk for spreading disease. From a training standpoint, they can easily be detrimental. For instance, in many classes a puppy is taught he may ignore or respond to his owner's Sit command (for example), as no meaningful compulsion is used to backup the command. The problem is that "Sit" does not mean, "Smack your butt onto the ground, then hop up and do whatever you please," though without enforcement that is how a pup typically responds when made to sit, especially when among peers. A professed puppy-class goal is to demonstrate obedience is a fun and pleasant activity. This sounds good on paper, but two problems exist. First, this positive attitude should be a constant: It should be operative in any training program, without regard for the animal's age. Second, while it is true that no puppy should be pressured - inappropriate force can scare him at a time when he is highly vulnerable - it is equally true that no dog should ever be taught that a command allows a choice on his part, especially during the impressionable phase of puppyhood. Puppy-class supporters promote the view that corrections - force - are added to the program when the pooch is old enough to handle them. That's mixed signals and that's my objection. From a training standpoint, to initially demonstrate that commands are open to a vote, and then later change the rules, can instill confusion and distrust in any animal. Unintended Lessons Consider the following example of subtle training that can take place inadvertently. While reassurance can be helpful with some children, it is a sure way to cause apprehension and anxiety in a dog. For instance, should a sudden sound cause puppy to startle, ignore both the noise and his anxiety. Rushing to him with, "It's all right, don't worry," and so forth, may only reinforce his nervous reaction to sudden noises. Yes, pet the animal as you normally would if he comes to you, but no, don't fly to him with the express purpose of reassurance. Stable canines have no built-in-fear of thunder - it is a natural phenomenon and dogs are beings of nature - but many owners have educated their pets to fear loud noises. A dog's reaction to pointless reassurance is, "If everything's so fine and dandy, then just what are you so concerned about?" If a given sound does not worry you, do not teach your pet to fear it. Your Always on Stage Along that line of thinking, remember that whenever you are near your companion, even if you are not actively engaged with pup at the moment, you are in fact teaching him, whether you mean to be or not. Be aware, and be careful. Collars Regardless of the type of collar you prefer, be sure to remove it from your pet's neck when you are not going to be nearby for a while - even for a few minutes! A curious and adventurous puppy can discover myriad ways of catching a collar on something. Such happenings are usually traumatic and can easily be fatal. The Play Toy When playing with a puppy, use tennis balls, laundered burlap sacks, Frisbees - whatever seems to turn the puppy on. Regardless of your toy selection, do not leave the special play toy lying around where the pup can see it. lest the article lose its attraction. If the toy is always present, it can lose its specialness - a puppy can easily learn to take the object for granted. It is only to appear when you do, and then only sometimes. The idea is for the pup to learn to associate the pleasurable object with you. The few rules governing the proper use of play article come under the heading of "A Puppy Cannot Do Anything Wrong with a Play Toy." That is, if he is interested in the thrown ball, fine. Should he give chase and pounce upon it, fine. If he picks it up and runs away from you with it, fine. If he goes to the bathroom on it, fine. He cannot do anything improper with a play toy - that is simply not possible. Sending any negative messages that a puppy could infer as relating to the play item can easily lessen his attraction to the object. To install and heighten puppy's interest in a play toy, begin by kneeling next to him. (The dominating pressure imparted by body language when standing over a young animal can distract from the moment - in general, things above a dog seize his attention.) Roll the ball back and forth, staring pointedly at the object while observing the pup's reactions peripherally. As he develops interst, move the articel to the side of your leg so he will loook for the toy. As pupy fascination increases, allow him to pounce upon and carry off the object to the accompaniment of your expressed approval. The objective is to tempt the puppy with a play toy intil he displays strong attraction to it. Making capture of the article easy can cause lost interest for want of challenge and stimulation. At the same time, do not prolong the teasing to an extent that desire wanes. That could teach a pup to lose. When playing with very young or inexerpieced animals, roll a ball for them rather than throwing it. Until a young dog has had some practice in pursuing an object, he is uable to follwo visually the flight of a thrown ball, and can easily become confused or frustrated to the extent of losing interest. Field and depth of vision expand with maturity. Praise When your puppy does something that pleases you, tell him. For example, when he tropts back to you with his ball, pet and praise the young one repetitively, saying, "Good Bring." Do not be in a hurry to take the object from hi, lest he learn to come with his head lowered - or not to come at all. When you do take the article, immediatley throw it again. Do not tease excessively firt - take the toy, wave it in front of his nose a time or two and throw it. Dogs enjoy pursuit as much as they do possession. The purposes are to show your pet that it is in his interests to release the toy to you and to keep his eyes on you afterward. When petting a puppy, especially one with erect ears, confine the fondling to under the chin and along the underside of the neck and muzzle. The idea is to teach your pet to look up at you. This manner of touching is especially important with regard to outsiders whom you allow to pet your animal. Petting a canine atop the head can cause him to lower it while pulling down his ears submissively, and it is unwise to suggest a mind-set of automatic submissions toward strangers. Friendliness and curiosity, yes; submission, no. Identifiers Assign names to things for your puppy. In addition to their command vocabularies, my dogs have an understanding of objects and concepts numbering another forty-odd terms. Some handy words are: outside, yard, car, truck, house, chair, couch, bed, nest, (food) dish, dinner (feeding time), drink, ball, lead, collar, sack (burlap), rabbit, horse, bird, critter (bovine), deer, warm and cold. Protection Prudence dictates taking precautions for your pup's well-being and safety. One of these is an area securely fenced to a minimum height of five feet. That may seem excessive if yours is a small dog, but keep in mind that while a fence is intended to contain your pal, it is also to keep intruders out. There are those who are disposed to taking things that do not belong to them, your pooch included. Two other safeguards area watchful eye and no patience with anyone who attempts to tease your pet. Dogs possessing even minimum intelligence and spirit seldom tolerate such abuse for long, and they should not have to. Do not tie a dog. The practice can easily induce paranoia (as well as an aggressive attitude) since the animal's primary defense - the ability to run away - has been taken from him. Also, tying can create distrust toward yourself, as it is you who have done the taking. Discourage the behavior of cretinous types who seem compelled to act in an agitating or teasing manner when finding themselves near a Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog, Rottweiler or any other large dog. Similarly, waste no patience on the clown who habitually ridicules smaller members of the canine world. Such a person's frail ego may need the stimulation, but the pooch's spirit should be your first concern. On a related them, I never take my dogs off-leash to a public area, regardless of the animal's age or depth of training. I don't ever want to find myself in a courtroom, trying to phrase a disarming reply to the learned judge's query. "Has the dog been trained to bite?" The fact that the child was nipped while trying to stick the animal in the eye may prove a shallow defense. Irrespective of whether your dog has been bite-trained, keep him on-leash whenever the two of you are out in public, lest some yahoo winds up owning your house.
The Ten Commandments for Puppy Owners .
I. My life is likely to last ten to fifteen years. Any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you buy me.
II. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
III. Place your trust in me - It's crucial to my well-being.
IV. Don't be angry at me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your entertainment and your friends. I have only you.
V.Talk to me sometimes. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice when it's speaking to me.
VI. Be aware that however you treat me I'll never forget it.
VII. Remember before you hit me that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones of your hand but that I choose not to bite you.
VIII. Before you scold me for being uncooperative, obstinate or lazy, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, or I've been out in the sun too long, or my heart is getting old and weak.
IX. Take care of me when I get old; you too will grow old.
X. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it," or, "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, I love you.