When is the best time to get my puppy?
8 weeks is the ideal time to take your puppy home providing that he is completely weaned from his mother and of a good weight. 7 weeks is when the Human Socialisation Period starts. Taking a puppy home at 8 weeks gives you a whole eight weeks to work with your puppy over this incredibly important period. Your puppy now has the brain waves of an adult dog, but his attention span is short. This period is when the most rapid learning occurs. Learning at this age is permanent so this is a perfect time to start training but make it fun.
This is also the time to introduce the puppy to things that will play and important part in his life. Different people, places, animals, hoovers,washing machines, and unusual sounds, in a positive non threatening way. This is also the time to work with any perceived problems, especially aggression. If dogs are showing aggressive behaviour under 16 weeks then get it treated immediately. The dogs personality and future temperament is formed around the age of 16 weeks. This relates to the same age as a 5 year old child. It is at this time that a child's personality is fully formed, any learning after that is just based on knowledge and experience. The personality will not change and that is exactly the same for your dog.
How do I introduce my new puppy to the resident dog?
Most dogs learn to get along with a newcomer (and some super-sociable souls accept them right away), but if your older dog is treating the new baby with something less than unbridled enthusiasm he won't be the first to do so!
When choosing a new dog to integrate into your family, it's best to choose one of the opposite sex to the resident dog. Two same-sex dogs are less likely to get along as adults but saying this many people have no issues whatsoever, however if you are going to run into trouble it is generally if they are un-neutered and if there is an entire bitch in the mix.
Also consider size and temperament, an older dog with a high prey drive may not be the best match for a tiny puppy but we always recommend that you do not leave a puppy with a dog that has had tendencies to chase or attack small animals.
Always make the initial introductions under supervision, and expect some hesitation on the part of either pooch.
Always remember to show lots of affection to your older dog and praise when he is showing calm behavior.
It's sometimes difficult to tear yourself away from an adorable new puppy, but make a point of greeting, feeding and petting the older dog first, as it reinforces his status (in both his eyes, and the eyes of the new puppy) and helps to maintain a natural transition into the 'pecking order'.
What's the best way to housebreak a puppy?
The simplest and easiest way to housebreak your puppy is by using a crate. Crate-training works WITH your puppy's natural instincts and helps speeds up the whole potty training process. Any puppy of 7 weeks of age or older can begin crate-training.
We use a 30-32 inch crate for our puppies but a larger crate works just as well. To start we will put a small plastic bed the one side containing a vet bed and the other side of the crate we will place a puppy pad or news paper - our puppies are already used to not spoiling their sleeping area so will come out of their bed to urinate or defecate on the paper. As they grow and their bladders are able to hold more fluid for a longer period the paper and plastic bed can be removed and replaced with a larger vet bed to cover the base of the crate. We always encourage our puppies to go outside to defecate so after every meal we will have 30 minutes play in the garden, when your puppy does his 'business' you can then praise him and go back inside.
What vaccinations does my puppy need?
(updated vaccination information below)
We no longer give the first vaccination and here are the reasons why (unless puppy says with us until at least 10 weeks);
Firstly too many times the new vet decides that they will use a different brand (although it is normal practice for the vet to get the same vaccination ordered in) and therefore start the course again! This is totally unnecessary and very dangerous to pump so much chemical into such a tiny body.
Secondly there is a lot of controversy with giving the vaccinations before 10 weeks and also with giving LEPTO2 and LEPTO4. We personally have had two adverse reactions since giving the LEPTO vaccinations and although both puppies luckily made a full recovery we feel it is something that requires serious research. Bearing this in mind we are now asking puppy owners to have one vaccination of DHP at 10 weeks which is licensed by the vaccination companies to cover the puppy (two vaccinations are simply not needed) Many breeders are taking the same route with vaccinating puppies later on and much research (including titre testing) proves that only one vaccination is needed. With regards to LEPTO we will no longer be using the vaccination. The vaccination is said to last in some cases a mere 6 months and it is not a preventative measure against the disease but only makes the diseases symptoms lessened if contracted.
If you wish that we vaccinate prior to you collecting your puppy we will only do the DHP and NOT Lepto. Our vets use NobiVac and the vaccination is a combination vaccine that protects against 4 separate diseases: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus. The version that give does not contain LEPTO and under no circumstances will we vaccinate with Lepto before collection.
PLEASE NOTE: If you choose to vaccinate with LEPTO once your puppy has left us and for any reason your puppy has to return we will have to have your puppy cared for by a puppy nanny until other arrangements can be made. The reason for this is that the LEPTO vaccination sheds - this means that LEPTO can be carried and transferred to other dogs even if vaccinated. We can not take this chance with our dogs or puppies we have kept back for ourselves.
Quantity and times to feed my puppy?
I feed my puppies 4 times a day until they are 12 weeks old, I then go down to three meals and by 6 months 2 meals to which I carry on for the life of the dog.
I feed my puppies as much as they will eat in one sitting, if they are still hungry I will put more food down, if food remains and the puppy is full I take this food away. I try to let the puppy tell me what they need as opposed to measuring quantities of food as every puppy is different and they will eat more during times of growth. Sometimes you can get a very greedy puppy who will eat beyond his limits, sadly this can lead to diarrhoea so in some cases free feeding some puppies isn't the best idea and weighing the food is a better option. We are always on hand for a chat if you are worried and to find the best feeding routine for your puppy.
We feed at around 6-7am, 11am-12pm, 3pm and 7pm. By feeding on a set schedule, the dog will then go to the bathroom on a more set schedule and make housetraining easier and faster.
Make it a habit to give the puppy some quiet time after the meal. Do not let the children romp and play with him for the first hour to an hour and a half after eating. This can lead to some stomach upsets that can sometimes be very serious. The puppy will probably need to go to the bathroom within 30 minutes after eating so this is the best time to take him out into the garden and remember to praise heavily when he does his 'business'.
Now that you've taken your new puppy home
your are probably wondering what's next!?
What to feed?
When to feed?
We have added lots of information so it is always on hand should you be a little unsure about anything.
Note: Please read our updates on vaccinating
What to feed?
When you collect your new puppy you will receive two 500g tubs of raw
frozen food (generally Nutriment puppy).
We have been feeding your puppy a raw diet from weaning and advise that you continue this. We understand that some people do not have the freezer space or facilities to keep raw food so what you feed your new puppy is completely up to you but we feel that feeding raw is the BEST for your puppy and would prefer that our babies are fed this way.
As you can tell raw feeding is our preference but we understand it isn't for everyone. There are many websites that specialise in the BARF (raw) diet and if you would like to know more please feel free to contact us for advice.
If you decide to change from Raw to a brand of your choice please do it gradually.
For the first few days you have your new puppy home, it is a good idea to continue feeding the same type and brand of puppy food and use the same feeding schedule the puppy was on before he came to you. Then you can slowly start using the food you have chosen based on information you received from the breeder and veterinarian. A pet needs to be switched to a new food slowly to prevent intestinal upset. By 'slowly' we mean over the course of 7-10 days go from feeding 100% of the previous food to 100% of the new food. For example, make a mixture that contains 25% of the new food and 75% of the old food and feed that for several days. Then make it 50-50 for several days, then 75% new food to 25% old food for several days. Then you can start feeding 100% new food. If at any time your puppy starts vomiting, or has loose stools or appears constipated, slow the rate at which you are switching him over.
*This does not apply if you are going from Kibble to Raw as raw digests very quickly so will be out of your dogs system twice as fast as a dry food.