Preparing for Your Puppy
Maintaining Your Puppy's Good Health
Training and Socializing Your New Puppy
What to Buy for Your New Puppy
- Iams Smart Puppy Food
- Feeding Bowls - Stainless steel dishes are recommended.
- Collar - Your puppy will arrive with a puppy collar. You may want to wait to purchase another collar until the puppy is close to outgrowing his puppy collar.
- Lead (Leash) - Although it is not necessary to lead train before 10-12 weeks, it is good to have a lead on hand to protect the puppy in areas that are not fenced. Training classes will require a 6-foot lead rather than a 4-foot lead.
- Crate - Wire or plastic crates are recommended. Wire crates are great because the puppy can see out in all directions. You may want to cover the crate at night with a blanket to avoid drafts and encourage sleep. Most wire crates come with a divider that can limit the space in the crate until house training is completed. With a divider, you can purchase the crate that will be a suitable size for your puppy as a full-grown adult. Plastic crates also work well and are easy to wash. Helpful tips about house training your puppy are in our Crate Training Your Puppy section.
- Bedding - Washable bedding, such as towels, is best for the crate. Accidents will happen.
- Carpet Cleaner - Be prepared with a product that will take care of the stains and eliminate the odors that can cause the puppy to return to the same spot.
- Bitter Apple or Bitter Yuck - This product will help train your puppy not to chew items that are not his toys. I have found it to be safe for plants, carpeting, furniture, and shoes, but read the product label before applying it to surfaces.
- Chew Toys - A good variety of chew toys will help your puppy occupied and not bored. My favorites are Nylabones and Kongs. Avoid rawhide; it is not completely digestible and can cause intestinal blockage.
- Play Toys - Ropes and stuffed toys with squeakers are recommended. If the stuffed toy is torn, be careful to take the squeaker and throw it away.
- Treats - Treats should be used mainly for training. Never give your puppy a treat without asking for a simple behavior task to be performed. The puppy should learn to earn the treat. Do not use treats in excess. This can cause diarrhea and an upset stomach. Puppies are very happy to receive praise or a treat.
- Grooming Products - Please refer to our Grooming Tips section for instructions and helpful tips.
- Shampoo - Choose a tearless puppy shampoo.
- Cowboy Magic - This grooming product is great for maintaining a good coat and eliminating mats.
- Brushes - A medium slicker brush and a comb. During the puppy to adult coat transition, a mat breaker may be of use.
- Ear Cleaning Solution
- Nail Clippers and Kwik Stop - Scissor or guillotine type clippers.
- Blunt Trimming Scissors - To trim between the eyes, ears, and feet.
How to Cut Your Puppy’s Nails
- Have your puppy sit beside you. Then place one of the puppy's paws in your hand and gently pull it forward. If your puppy dislikes being handled this way, slowly accustom the puppy to it by offering treats and praise.
- Gradually shorten one nail. Be sure to stop before you reach the quick, which is the part of the nail that contains nerves and blood vessels. If you cannot see the quick clearly, stop cutting just behind the point at which the nail begins to curve downward.
- If you cut into the quick, do not panic. Put some clotting powder on a moist cotton ball and press it firmly against the nail for several seconds. The bleeding will stop.
- Repeat the process until all of your puppy's nails have been trimmed.
- Do not forget to trim the dewclaw, which is located on the inside of each front leg just above the paw.
How to Clean Your Puppy's Ears
- Check your puppy's ears weekly. The skin inside and on the flaps should be pale pink. If there is a foul odor and/or any red, brown, or black skin, have a veterinarian examine your puppy's ears.
- There are cleaning solutions that can be bought at your pet store or veterinarian's office. Squirt enough cleaner into the canal to fill it. Gently massage the ear. Use a cotton ball to remove any dirt or wax from the flap and the opening of the canal. Do not probe too deeply into the canal.
How to Bathe Your Puppy
- Place a rubber mat in your bathtub or a towel in your sink for secure footing. Then place a cotton ball in each of your puppy's ears to prevent water from entering.
- Rinse your pet with warm water. Use a spray hose if one is available but be sure to keep the nozzle very close to your puppy's body. Never spray your puppy in the face.
- Apply shampoo designed especially for puppies in small amounts, working from the head to the tail. Be sure to clean the rectum, between the toes, behind the ears, and under the chin. Try to avoid getting shampoo in your puppy's eyes.
- Thoroughly rinse your puppy with warm water.
- Dry your puppy with a towel and/or hairdryer on a low setting.
Crate Training Your Puppy
Crate Training and "Potty" Training
Keep in mind also that your puppy does not know what is expected and must be shown the proper place to eliminate and when.
Your best potty-training friend is your crate. When you cannot watch your puppy, use a crate. Think of the crate the same way you think of a playpen for a human child. Even if you are only leaving the room for a "minute," either take the puppy with you or use the crate. After all, you would not leave a toddler in the house alone "for just a minute," would you?
Crate training can be fun for the puppy if you make it a POSITIVE experience. The DEN is an integral part of wild dogs’ upbringing and safety zone. The same thing applies to the "crate.” Giving the pup special "treats" is a great way to introduce him to his crate. The only time the puppy receives these special treats is when he is in the crate; the treats become associated with the crate.
Use the crate wisely. Don't crate only when you are leaving the house. Place the puppy in the crate while you are home as well. Use it as a "safe" zone or for "time outs" (thus keeping your sanity).
By crating when you are home AND while you are gone, the puppy becomes comfortable in the crate and not worried that you will not return or that you are leaving him/her alone. This helps to eliminate separation anxiety later in life.
Most puppies will not soil their "den." The first couple of tries, you might have some accidents, but don't be discouraged. An easy way to avoid accidents at night for the first few weeks is by following this routine:
- Set your alarm for about 3 hours after your normal bedtime. When the alarm goes off, get up immediately, go to the crate and CARRY the pup outside (I do this in my robe, with my shoes kept by the door to the outside). Place him on the ground and encourage him to eliminate. PRAISE when he does, and bring him back to the crate. Go back to bed.
- Set your alarm for another 3 hours, and get back to sleep. When the alarm goes off, repeat part 1.
- After about a week of the above routine, IF it has been successful (no crate messing), then you can set the alarm for * way through your sleep time. Follow the remainder of part 1. When you arise in the morning, TAKE the pup outside BEFORE you do anything else. Feed the pup and then crate. Follow your regular waking routine, then walk the pup one more time before going off to work.
- Repeat the feeding, walking, and crating at lunchtime. Pups from the ages of 2 to 4 months CANNOT control their elimination for much more than 4 hours, so if you cannot return home at lunchtime, arrange for someone to do this for you at lunch.
As the puppy grows, provide more room by putting it in a smaller box or cutting down the size. When the puppy reliably asks to be put outside to eliminate, remove the box so the puppy can use the whole crate.
If the puppy messes the crate, replace the box size to the point at which the puppy was reliable and give the pup a little more time to learn. In conjunction with crate training, potty training starts immediately.
Whenever you remove the puppy from the crate or just want the puppy to "go potty," take the dog to the door that will always be used to "go outside." Use the SAME door throughout the training period.
On the handle of this door, tie a bell to a string, dropping it even with the height of the puppy's nose. When you bring the puppy to the door, lure the puppy to touch the bell with either its nose or paw (using a treat), causing the bell to ring.
After the puppy rings the bell, give it the treat (use a SMALL piece of meat or dried liver), and say "OUTSIDE" in a happy tone of voice. Take the puppy outside on a leash.
Continue to wait. When the puppy poops, again praise the puppy with "Good Outside" and give a treat. Go back inside, stop at the door again, and treat once again. If the puppy does not "potty" even after staying outside for 15 minutes, return back inside, place the puppy back into the crate, wait 15 minutes and start again from the beginning.
If done religiously, this training process should take only about 2 weeks for the puppy to understand. This method will work with any dog, regardless of age. If you adopt a dog from a shelter or a rescue program, follow the same routine. Remember, even though the dog is older or even an adult, he still does not know the rules of your home and may not have ever BEEN in a house. Be PATIENT, and this method WILL work.
Take it slow and easy...be PATIENT....and have FUN with your dog!
Reprinted from NetPets