Educational Information
Puppy Care


Bringing Your New Pup Home

Q. What is the first thing I should do when arriving home with my new pup?
A. Immediately take your new pup to the spot where you want him to potty, and remain there until he eliminates. Then praise him, and give him a treat. Then take him inside to the safe place you have created for him.
What do you mean by creating a safe place?  You should set up a safe place for your pup in your home, even before you pick him up at the breeder's. Your pup needs his own space, where he can be comfortable and interact with you:

  • Remove HazardsThe space should be free from dangerous items such as cleaning products. Puppy proof the area and remove any possible choking hazards, and keep electrical cords out of reach. Secure cabinets, as needed.
  • Find a Central Location. Find a space that is in a central location, such as the kitchen, close to your family's action. Your pup needs to get used to new sounds and new people. He also needs to be free to explore, but only within his designated area.
  • Crate. Toys. Place your pup's crate in this area with the door open, so he can take a break in his cozy den when things get too busy, or overwhelming. Place your pup's chew toys and water bowl in this area, as well.
  • Find an Area With an Easy to Clean Floor Surface. It just make clean up that much easier
  • Gate. Restrict your pup's access to other parts of your house by putting up a child-safety gate.
  • Keep Things Calm. Family members should be careful not to get too excited. You don't want your pup to become frightened or overstimulated.  Be patient. If the pup wants to sleep, let him sleep. If your pup is calm, you may pet him.



Supplies Needed

Q. What kind of supplies do I need for a new puppy?
A. At a minimum, you will need the following supplies on hand for your new pup. (note:  to save money, it might be wise to ask your breeder which of these supplies will be provided by him when you pick up your pup)

  • Food and water dishes- You will need dishes to hold your pup's food and water and puppy food to feed your new family member. Ask your breeder the exact name of your pup's dog food.
  • A cage or crate and a dog bed- All  pups need a cage or crate to be their cozy den, as well as a dog bed to go inside their crate. 
  • Puppy toys and a nylabone
  • Grooming supplies- Grooming supplies, including a metal comb, a pin brush, puppy shampoo, and conditioner are essential.
  • Collar and leash- All pups need a collar and leash appropriate to their size.
  • Health care supplies-A puppy toothbrush, toothpaste, and shampoo will keep your pup hygienic.
  • Potty pads- Potty pads, also known as piddle pads will be needed if you plan to housetrain your pup indoors.
  • Puppy care books-  Books on housetraining and puppy care can be very helpful.
  • Identification tag-This tag should indicate your pup's name and address, just in case he gets lost.



Choosing a Vet

Q. How important is it to choose the right veterinarian for me and my pup?
A. It is very important to choose the right veterinarian. You should choose a vet that you are comfortable with and able to easily ask questions.  Author Margaret Bonham says it best, “your dog can't tell you how he feels or what's wrong, so good communication between you and your vet is essential."

Q. What criteria should I use?

A. Here are some of the criteria you should consider: 

  • References. What vets do your dog-owning friends and neighbors recommend? Why? Ask your friend's about their vet's strengths and weaknesses. Also ask your trainer and breeder who they recommend and why.
  • Visit several veterinarians, interview the staff, and review the friendliness and helpfulness of the office and the vet.  Is the office staff cranky and rude? Does the vet have a gentle and caring manner?
  • Communication ability of the vet. Is your vet able to answer your questions in a clear and polite manner. Does the vet give clear instructions?  
  • Cost. What is the cost for vaccinations, and office visits? Do they offer a multipet discount? Are the prices in line with other vets that you are considering?
  • Breed familiarity. Is your vet familiar with health conditions common to your breed.?
  • Office cleanliness. Is the vet's office clean and sanitary?
  • Office location. Is it convenient? 
  • Hours and services. Are the hours convenient? Do they offer after hour or emergency services? Is there a vet on call that has a pager should an emergency arise.



Crating Your Pup

Q. Do pups like crates?
A. Yes, pups usually like their crates. Canines are pack animals that like to have a den that gives them security. In fact, a crate is a snug, cozy place where they can sleep, chew a toy, or watch the world around them. Like humans, dogs sometimes like peace and quiet.

Q. Why do some pups hate their crates? 

A. Pups hate their crates if their masters use them in negative ways such as for punishment, or to keep them locked up for excessive periods of time. They may get spooked or full of anxiety if their owner forces them inside a crate and slams the door loudly. On the other hand, if pups are allowed to gradually get used to their crate, and the crate door is left open at first, pups are more likely to go inside. Then, if given a treat, a small "security blanket" with the smell of their mother,  and an interactive toy with a treat inside, before long they will really enjoy their new home. 

Q. Can pups be overcrated?

A. Absolutely! The biggest mistake humans make is keeping pups in their crates TOO LONG!  Pups desire to get out and be your companion, not be stuck all day in a canine warehouse. And pups we need to get out every 3-4 hours to go potty. Please don't buy a pup from a breeder who keeps his dogs in crates all day...these dogs are likely to be lacking in human interaction, and sometimes skittish!

Q. How big should a pup's crate be? 

A. A crate should be just big enough for a pup to move around in. This means enough space for him to comfortably stand up (without hitting his head), turn around (without bumping the sides), and lay down in. If the crate is too big just use a divider or a box to block off the back of the crate.  If not, your pup will think the rear of his crate is a bathroom!




Q. Can you give us some useful tips on housetraining our pup?
A. Yes.  Here are eight useful tips:

  1. Be Consistent! Maintain a regular feeding and potty schedule for your pup. Feeding times are normally morning (7-9 a.m.), midday (11 a.m.-noon), early evening (2-3 p.m.), and dinnertime (5-6 p.m.) for pups up to 4 months. Potty times should follow feeding times, as well as first thing in the morning. After 4 months of age, you may eliminate the afternoon meal.
  2. Use a Crate! Crates can be an effective housetraining tool, since pups are unlikely to soil in our crates (which are our cozy dens). Caution: only use crates for limited periods-never for punishment and never for extended periods of time. Also, please be aware that pups that fidget, or whine in the middle of the night probably need to be let out of their crate to go potty. 
  3. Establish a Regular Toilet Area! Select a toilet area and take your pup to that area when you want him to eliminate. Be patient and stand still until your pup has eliminated. 
  4. Look for Pre Potty Behaviors! Watch for signs that pups are about to go potty such as circling, sniffing, and squatting. Take pups outside to our potty spot within 5 seconds of observing this behavior.
  5. Get Rid of Urine Smells! Should your pup have an accident, immediately clean the area with a cleaner that gets rid of (not just masks) urine smells. Otherwise your pup will return to urinate in the same spot.
  6. Never Use Ammonia Based Cleaners! To dogs, ammonia smells like urine. 
  7. Don't Free Feed Your Pup! While it is convenient to free feed your pup, it is not wise. If food is simply left out all day you won't know when and how much your pup eats, or when to expect him to potty. This will result in unnecessary accidents. Also, when you make pups wait for their food they are more likely to recognize you as their pack leader. 
  8. Praise, Praise, Praise! Praise pups after they eliminate. This gives them positive reinforcement.  



Pack Leader Questions

Q. What is a pack leader?
A. In the canine world, dogs establish a social order with a hierarchy. The "pack leader" is the dog at the top of the hierarchy; the rest of the pack are followers. The pack leader is in charge and dictates what happens when. He or she sets the guidelines and the rules of the pack. In the human world the dog owner, needs to be the pack leader.

Q. Why is it important for humans to be pack leaders? 
A. Canines live by the old saying, "lead, follow, or get out of the way." If they don't have a pack leader, don't be surprised if they get confused and have behavioral problems. Without a leader dogs may become hyper, frustrated, and unsure about their role as well as the rules of the house. They may even think it's up to them, (not you), to become the leader and determine when to sleep, go potty, eat, travel, etc. Bottom line is if you (the dog owner) don’t take on the role of pack leader, you may find yourself living under dog rule. Knowing who is in charge and what is expected will help your pup to feel safe and secure.

Q. How do I become a pack leader to my pup?

A. You need to convey an attitude or air of authority that is calm-assertive, as well as take actions that let your pup know that you are his leader. For example, once you have taught your pup the "sit" or "stay" command, you should use it on him on a routine basis to remind him that you are in charge. Also, you may wish to have him "sit" before you feed him, or play with him.

Q. Do pack leaders need to be aggressive, or mean spirited?

A. Absolutely not!  But you you do need to be calm-assertive and consistent.




Q. What is puppy socialization?
A. Puppy socialization is when your pup is introduced in a safe and pleasant manner to a variety of new people, new sounds, and new experiences, including different people, places, sights, and noises, etc. Pups that are socialized adapt better then dogs raised in backyard kennels or puppy mills with minimal human contact. (these dogs are more apt to be frightened, skittish, aggressive, or full of anxiety). Socialized dogs are usually happy, and have a higher comfort level around people and other dogs. 

Q. When does pup socialization begin? 

A. To be effective pup socialization should begin with the breeder, and continue with the new owner when the dog is brought home.

Q. Why is puppy socialization so important? 

A. An article in a kennel club e Newsletter by Arliss Paddock really highlights the importance of properly socializing your puppy. Arliss states in part that..."studies have shown that a puppy's experiences in the first three months of life strongly influence what kind of companion he will grow to be and how he will react to the world. Will he shy away from children? Will he be afraid of people in hats? ...Or will he be easygoing and adaptable in a variety of situations? The article goes on to say......" what can a breeder do to properly socialize each pup? The starting point is for the litter to be raised within a home environment with frequent human contact, rather than secluded in the yard or a kennel. This is the first step in ensuring that the pups will be prepared for life in a household, with all the sounds, smells, and hustle-and-bustle that this entails."

Q. How do I continue to socialize my pup?

  1. Introduce your pup to as many people as possible....tall and short, male and female, young and old. He should also meet people wearing hats or sunglasses, using a cane, or riding in a wheelchair.
  2. First have him meet one person at a time. Then when he becomes comfortable and confident, have him start meeting groups of people.
  3. Avoid introducing your pup to too many new experiences at once to avoid your pup being overwhelmed. It's best to do the socialization frequently, and for short periods of time. Then give the pup a rest.
  4. Expose your puppy gradually to new noises such as dishwashers, washing machines, hair dryers, vacuum cleaners, as well as your radio and television.
  5. Have relatives or friends (that have healthy, well behaved, fully vaccinated dogs) visit your home with their dog, and meet and play with your puppy.
  6. Take your pup to public places, but carry him (in any area that other dogs frequent) to keep him free of diseases until he is fully vaccinated.


Tom Rimmer & Young at Heart Cotons © 2015