top of page
_DSC1444.jpg

HOW DO I GET READY FOR MY PUPPY?

Almost time to bring that brand new family member home? This is such an exciting time, but there are also so many questions. What food should I feed my puppy, should I crate train, and when can I take my puppy to the dog park? We answer these and more below! Have additional questions? Drop us a line, we love to chat!

Rita.jpg

FOOD

  • We feed our pups Purina One Large Breed puppy food. You're of course welcome to switch to a dog food of your choice, but you will want to mix their old food with the new to make the transition easy on their tummy. The important thing is to keep them on puppy-specific food until they are about a year old.

  • We feed our pups three times a day. An eight week old puppy is similar to a newborn baby - they are growing constantly and need plenty of nourishment. While you don't want to overfeed them, most dogs don't become overweight until they are older and have stopped turning that food into growth. We recommend putting a bowl of food in front of them, and letting them eat as much as they want for 20 minutes, three times a day. 

  • As your puppy gets older, have your vet give you a recommendation on how much they should be eating, or take a look at the portions recommended on the back of the dog food bag.

  • A snack of a spoonful or two of canned pumpkin and cottage cheese once a day is also highly recommended for probiotics and healthy digestion!

  • Most of our dogs aren't huge fans of store bought treats, and we usually end up using cheese or deli meat as a reward. However, these dried liver bites are one treat most of our dogs do like, and they're great for training!

HOUSEBREAKING

  • Each of our pups has begun the housebreaking process with US to give YOU a head start! Our pups spend most of their time in nice, big indoor runs, divided into two so that the puppies have a distinct "potty area" and "play area." (When weather permits, the pups are also taken outside for playtime where they get to hang out in the grass in a large x-pen.) By the time the pups go home, they have a good foundation for potty training.

  • There will of course still be a bit of a transition when moving the puppy to a new environment and setup that they aren't used to. This is completely fine! Potty training will take a bit of time and lots of patience, but you can do it!

  • Good rules of thumb are to take your puppy out immediately after they wake up from a nap. If your puppy is going off in a corner away from you and sniffing around, they are most likely looking for a place to potty. Your pup will probably need to go out around 30 minutes after eating, if not sooner. 

  • If the puppy is in the house, it should be in one of three places. 1. Right with you, where you can keep an eye on them take them out if they are showing signs of needing to go potty (keeping puppy on a leash is best!). 2. In a crate (more info on that below!). 3. In a pen if they are going to be alone for a longer period of time (again, more info below!).

  • Whenever your pup has an accident, (which they will from time to time!) place them in the area you want them to go, be that puppy pads, litter box, or outside. Clean the area with a scented cleanser to cover up any smell and place the icky paper towel in the litter box with them. Animals return to the place with the right scent. This is super important! This cleaning spray is the best disinfectant we have found, and great for cleaning up messes. We love this odor eliminator for getting rid of smell!

CRATE TRAINING

  • Crate training is something we absolutely believe in. Although the puppy will not like it at first, they will eventually learn to love their crate. It will end up becoming a "safe space" for the dog to go when they want to be alone or go to sleep. Our puppies do not go home crate trained, but training can begin as soon as you bring them home.

  • There are many options when it comes to choosing a crate, but the most important thing is to choose the correct size. A dog instinctively wants to keep its living area clean. If there is room in the crate for the puppy to potty on one side, and still have a clean sleeping area on the other, then the crate is too big and the puppy will learn to go inside its crate. If the crate is the correct size, your puppy will not want to potty while inside.

Dior - Maple-3.jpg

  • Something this size is recommended to start out with. Don't get one too much bigger than your puppy, and you will need to size up at least once. If cost is a factor, you can also try a bigger crate that comes with a divider. This divider splits the crate in two to make it smaller for when the puppy is little, but can be removed when the puppy is old enough for a bigger crate. Something like this.

  • In order for crate training to be most effective, consistency is key. As hard as it is, your puppy WILL whine. This is normal, as they have never been in a small confined space before. They need to learn that whining will not get them out of their crate. If you need to - put the crate on the other side of the house where you can't hear them and let them "cry it out." Eventually, if you are consistent, they will learn to be happy and peaceful in their crates. Most dogs with the correct crate training think of their crate as their home, and learn to prefer it when they are sleeping or want to be alone.

  • Making their crate enjoyable is a huge step toward making your pup learn to love it. We recommend lots of nice toys, soft bedding, a Kong stuffed with cream cheese or peanut butter for them to chew on, etc. They will soon learn that being in their crate means extra treats and will start to think of it as an awesome place where they really want to be. The whining and stress won't last forever! You just have to outlast them.

Sunday -7.jpg

LONG ABSENCES

  • While the crate is the first place your puppy should go when you are not watching them, if you are going to be gone for longer periods of time at work or running errands, they may not be able to make it in their crate without an accident. When this situation arises, having an X-Pen and puppy pads or a litter box on hand can be a lifesaver. Here is an X-Pen we recommend.

  • You should set up the pen with the main area as a their play space where they can run around and have fun with their toys. Then, in the corner, have puppy pads or a litter box set up for their potty area. Again, this is following the concept that a dog wants to keep its living area clean. 

  • You will of course also want to make sure they have access to food and water, as well as have a few toys to keep them busy. Our dogs LOVE this ball!

  • Finally, you'll want a "rest area" with either a crate or a dog bed where they can sleep and be comfy. It may take a few tries, but they will soon learn to be happy in this area as well.

  • Click here for an article we recommend for more ideas on how to set up this area!

A TRAINER

  • A well-trained dog is a happy dog. It's best for you and for your puppy to have boundaries that they understand - they want to please you. We have given you a few tips here on crate training, housebreaking, and food. However, a training program of some kind is well worth considering. Often, especially if you have had experience with dogs before, a trainer isn't necessary. However, we have heard story after story of people who had an unruly puppy that went to training school and came back a different dog.

  • If you are having any issues with your puppy, they should be nipped in the bud. As the saying goes, you can't teach an old dog new tricks! Any bad habits that you let linger will become harder and harder to mend the older the puppy gets. If it's looking like you won't be able to handle your puppy on your own, don't wait to get help or it'll be too late!

EXERCIZE

  • We know. You're going to want to show off that pup. But remember: these are infants. The fact that they can walk, does not mean they don't need to be made to rest. PROTECT THOSE KNEES AND ELBOWS! No high jumping, and no long walks/hikes OR RUNNING ON CEMENT until full grown. EXERCISE RULE OF THUMB: No more than 5-10 minutes of rigorous exercise per month of age, twice per day.

TRAVEL

Wish-11_edited.jpg
  • We always get asked what to have ready in the car after picking the puppy up. You don't need much! Have a leash and collar on hand in case you have a long drive home and need to let the puppy out. We'll send your puppy home with a blanket and our pups' favorite ball, so they'll have something to keep them cozy and occupied in their crate.

  • You're welcome to hold your pup all the way home! However, if this gets too much for you or you're driving alone, we love this crate for puppy travel. It has a grate on the bottom with a tray underneath. Your pup will be clean even if they have an accident in the car on the way home, and puppy pads in the tray make cleanup easy! If the pup does have an accident on the way home, it's nice to have a grocery bag and some cleaning spray on hand just in case.

HEALTH

  • Your new puppy will go home vet checked, dewormed, and up to date on all of their vaccinations. We will send your puppy home with a copy of their official vet record, as well as their vaccination and deworming record that we keep ourselves. 

  • Be sure to have a vet visit scheduled so that your pup can be checked out when he or she gets home. You should get in contact with your vet right away, as appointments fill up quickly! Finding the right vet is an extremely important step. A great vet is going to save you countless hours of worry, appointments and, yes, dollars. We have a few tips on picking a good vet - just ask!

  • You will want to keep your puppy up to date on recommended deworming, heart worm preventative, and vaccinations for the utmost health of your puppy. Vets have different opinions on which vaccines are required, and on which schedule they should be administered. Once you have found a vet that you trust and agree with, stick with the schedule they recommend!

  • As much as you will want to show your puppy off, you should NOT take your puppy to dog parks, PetSmart, or anywhere they have the chance of coming in contact with unvaccinated dogs before you have completed your vaccination schedule with your vet. This is generally around 16 weeks of age.

  • We recommend waiting to neuter a male dog until he is 12-18 months old, as a minimum. A female should be spayed after her first or second heat, typically occurring between 10-14 months. Cutting off growth hormones by spaying or neutering before the dog is fully mature can have a major affect their development, and the dog often won't end up filling out to that stocky English Lab look we all love. 

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?

Just ask!

bottom of page