Thursday, November 29, 2012

Prepare for your Puppy


The season of giving has officially arrived, and you'll know it if you just take a drive out by the mall.  If your plans include adopting a puppy, make sure you and your family are prepared for this wonderful gift.  He will need a few things for his new life in your household.

COLLAR & LEASH – Adjustable collars are best for growing puppies who change size rapidly. A 6-foot leash is the standard for obedience class. There are many non-toxic materials such as organic hemp. Small dogs and dogs with short necks (i.e. pugs, boston terriers) often need a harness rather than a collar for safety.

CRATE OR KENNEL – Crates give your dog a feeling of security and a quiet retreat when he needs a place to call his own, and they are essential for training, housebreaking and travel. Foldable wire crates are good for inside the house--buy one that will fit the dog your puppy will become and use dividers to adjust the space to his current size.  Molded plastic kennels are required for airplane travel and are safest for riding in the car. Soft crates of quilted nylon are convenient, but can be easily chewed through by needle sharp puppy teeth.  A washable fleece crate mat makes your pup’s new home cozy and warm.  NOTE:  When traveling with your dog, the crate goes IN the car, NOT on top of it.

STAIN & ODOR REMOVER – The item most often forgotten until your puppy has an accident on the carpet. And he WILL have accidents because a puppy cannot physically control his bladder until a minimum of four months old.  Get the enzymatic odor remover to ensure your puppy isn't drawn back to the same spot for his business.  My favorite:  Anti Icky Poo, which works on cat urine, too.  (Found out the hard way, but that is another story.  Ugh.)

NAIL TRIMMER & STYPTIC POWDER – Start trimming your dog’s nails weekly when he’s young to get him used to it. Have styptic powder on hand to stop any bleeding if you nip the blood vessel that runs through nail – just dip the end of the nail into the bottle.

BRUSH & COMB – Again, start early so your puppy learns to enjoy grooming and consult with a groomer to find out what tools you need for your dog’s particular coat.

SHAMPOO – Choose a gentle formula that won’t strip the coat’s natural oils.  Tropiclean Puppy and Kitten Shampoo smells great and is gentle enough for babies.

Food and Water BOWLS – Stainless steel or ceramic are best, with a stand or non-skid rubber to avoid sliding or getting kicked over. Never use plastic, which can off-gas toxins, harbor bacteria and give your dog acne from scraping his chin against the bottom of the bowl. 

A Variety of CHEWS AND TOYS – Puppies have an urgent desire to chew and explore, and if you don’t keep them busy, they will entertain themselves--often at the expense of your shoes and furniture!  A good variety will save your stuff and your sanity. Bring out a few at a time from the toy box to prevent boredom. Rico likes any toy you put in front of him, but Lucy is more picky.  Try everything--ball toys, rope toys, and rubber toys for hard chewers, plush toys, squeak toys and raw beef bones.  Get something interactive like  A Cheerful Pet long felted Tugzees. Go for lots of digestible chews such as bully sticks and tripe braids. Avoid cheap rawhide chews. Hunks can break off and get caught internally, and formaldehyde and other chemicals are often used in bleaching and tanning.
He knows where the toys are.
RAW BONES TO CHEW – The best chew and the best nutrition for any puppy! Dogs that start raw bones when they are young have the cleanest teeth, freshest breath and are the happiest! See our post on Raw Meaty Bones for more information.

TRAINING - Your new puppy will need to learn some manners and will need to be socialized.  Find a good trainer, preferably one who offers puppy classes and one who uses positive reinforcement like clicker trainers, and get started early with helping your new friend fit into your home and know the rules.  We've had fun at A Good Dog's Life with Gail, who really knows her business.  The single most common reason dogs are turned into shelters is because they didn’t get early training and socialization.  Dogs have a small window of opportunity for learning to get along with others and not be afraid, so get them enrolled and started off on a good paw!

Have fun and Happy Holidays! 

And remember: A tired dog is a good dog.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome write up!
    Great pictures ... thanks for mentioning training and socialization along with all the other great ideas. A puppy is a commitment that is for sure!