Dr. Lori Cavitt
Puppy Care Tips
Updated: Aug 30, 2018
Who doesn’t love watching a new puppy grow? They are all clumsiness, fun, and love. As puppies mature, pet owners can teach them good habits as well as bad habits. In order to help your puppy to have a long and happy life, we have gathered some basic care and training tips. Training requires a little effort, but raise a well socialized dog is worth every bit of time it takes.
Puppies are born with maternal antibodies against deadly viruses such as rabies, distemper, and parvovirus. Maternal antibodies eventually leave the body and a puppy needs vaccinations to continue immunity. We base our vaccination schedule on the latest research recommendations and use the best vaccines available.
We recommend feeding a good quality puppy food until the puppy is 1 year old. (We would be happy to share our brand and type recommendations.)
Avoid Raw Diets that can contain bacteria such as salmonella, parasites, and protozoa.
Corn and other grains in a food are cooked, therefore easily digestible and are not common causes of food allergies.
By-Products are not low quality ingredients. Nutritious broth, gelatin, and clean parts other than meat (i.e. liver) are labeled as by-products.
Protect your puppy from parasites.
Heartworm disease is a very prevalent problem in our area. Heartworm prevention comes in many different forms to fit your schedule and your pet’s preferences.
Intestinal parasite protection is added to most forms of heartworm prevention.
Flea and tick prevention is also available in many different forms and can protect your pet from allergy issues and diseases carried by these parasites.
House Training Basics
When first starting, take the puppy outside every hour. Most puppies will be able to “hold it” for the number of months old they are plus one. (A 3 month old puppy can probably go 4 hours.)
During training, supervision or confinement is not an option. Any time the puppy has an accident in the house that you do not see are essentially your fault, and only lead to confusion for the puppy. Punishment will not work to prevent an accident in the future.
Crate-training is a popular and very successful method of potty training. Any time you cannot have full attention on the puppy, he should be in the crate. The crate should be just big enough for the puppy to stand (without head touching) and turn around in.
A common way to keep puppy close and in your view is on a leash tied to your belt.
Use a command such as “go potty” only when you want a puppy to eliminate right where they are, and use a word such as “outside” when you want to call the puppy to the door.
If you see the puppy start to have an accident inside, distract the puppy with a word such as “outside,” pick up the puppy, and promptly take it to an appropriate place and say “Go potty.”
Keep a regular feeding schedule. A puppy will usually need to defecate 10-15 minutes after a meal.
If the puppy does not eliminate while outside, especially if they will have an accident as soon as you take them back in, put them directly into the crate. Take the puppy back outside after 2-5 minutes. Puppies have a short attention span and will often be distracted by the exciting things going on outside and forget why they are there in the first place. Returning them to the crate reminds them that they need to go.
Use an enzymatic cleaner on any accidents in the house to remove the odor. If you do not remove the scent, a dog’s instincts will draw him back to the same place.
Teaching your dog basic commands i.e. sit, stay, down, can be helpful in stressful or exciting situations. A command that they know how to respond to will help to calm the puppy in a situation that they do not understand. Reward a puppy as soon as they perform the command, not after they get up.
Teaching the command “no” will help your puppy know when their behavior is unacceptable. Also, when your puppy is misbehaving, it helps to distract the puppy with a loud noise, an acceptable toy, or a command.
Early socialization (learning to be a part of society) is important to help your puppy grow up to be healthy, both physically and mentally. Between 3-12 weeks, puppies are very accepting of new things. After about 12 weeks, puppies start to be very cautious of anything they have not encountered yet. Puppy training classes help your puppy to become used to new people, places, and other dogs.
When your puppy wants to play bite, use “ouch” or “no,” remove your hand, and replace it with an acceptable chew or play toy.
For your puppy’s safety, wearing a collar and a leash are very important.
We sell Lupine brand leashes that are guaranteed, even if chewed.
Place the collar on the puppy at a time when there are other things going on, i.e. meal time or play time.
The puppy will probably scratch and fight the collar. When this happens, use a toy or play to distract the puppy’s attention away from the collar. Do not take the collar off when puppy is bothering it. Wait until puppy seems to be distracted.
To stop or prevent jumping, teach the dog to sit when a person approaches. Have everyone interacting with the puppy to say “sit” when approaching him. When you are expecting guests, either leash or confine the dog for 15 minutes until it has settled down.
Veterinary Partner has a series of articles on canine behavior that may help answer any other questions or address any issues you are having.