Before you bring home your new addition you will want to have some essentials ready. These include but are not limited to:
Food and water bowls
The breeder or shelter will usually give you some of whatever they feed so you can get them used to what you have chosen gradually. Don’t go changing food on your puppy all the time. That can upset some dogs’ stomachs. And talk woth your breeder or rescue person about the food they feed and why. The right food is very important. Shelters often have limited resources and consequently feed whatever they can get as donations. Also, when bringing home a shelter dog, be prepared for some digestive problems as a result of poor diet and constantly changing food. In this case, ask someone with experience with your breed of dog or a similar breed for advice on what to feed.
Something soft to sleep with, and squeaky toys are usually a big hit. You might also invest in something more durable as well. Another important note: don’t leave bones or other brittle dog toys in crates or otherwise unattended. Dogs may choke on the fragments.
Noisy wind up alarm clock
This is for puppies. Wrap it in a towel and the “tick, tock” will sound like mom and siblings’ heart beat, helps for the first few nights. But don’t let the puppy get dependent upon it! Take it away after a few nights.
A dog crate
You will want to get one that will be big enough when the puppy is an adult. A dog crate is a perfect way to keep the puppy safe and secure while you are asleep or at work. It is imperative that you do not use their crates as a punishment. Dogs should like going into their crate on occasion, otherwise they won’t sleep in them. You can, however, use a crate as a quiet-time place for the dog to stay if you feel you want some time away from dealing with him for short periods of time. You wouldn’t try that with a child!! (grin)
Collar and leash
Basic obedience classes
Socialization is imperative for dogs, and this is most easily done in puppy kindergarten and basic obedience classes. While you don’t want to overwhelm a very young puppy, you can start training them even before starting classes. If they do something you like, give it a name and praise him. For example: if he comes and sits in front of you, as soon as his butt hits the floor tell him “Good sit” Keep it short, simple and very positive. This works for bad things as well ie: NO bite. Short and simple. Your tone of voice is also important. Happy and up for good things. Firm for bad things. If your puppy nips or bites, tell them no bite. Be consistent. Don’t let them chew on you. Tell them no and give them something they can chew. Never call your dog to you and spank him – that will just teach him that coming to you is a bad thing. And when you praise him, make sure your praise is effective; if he’s not wagging his tail, you need to do something different – maybe pull out a favorite toy when he does something good. Remember that while they are cute when they are small and some of the things they do are just adorable, they are going to grow up and it won’t be so cute. When a five-pound puppy jumps on people it’s cute, but you’ll be on your butt if he’s still doing it when he grows up to be a hundred pound dog. Never start or allow a behavior you will have to change.
These are especially handy with puppies and potty training, but are very useful for older dogs who don’t know the rules of your house yet. You will want to limit the areas the puppy is allowed in even with supervision until you have figured out some of his behaviors. You want him to succeed in your house, so don’t turn him loose and then get upset if he goes potty where you can’t see him. Pick up the water bowl around 7PM so he can’t fill up before bed. Most puppies will not soil where they sleep so make sure you give him frequent potty breaks. Remember as fast as it goes in it usually comes out.
Lots of newspapers
Line the area where you keep the puppy to aid with potty training.
Another good idea is to have a tracking microchip implanted in your dog so that if he ever gets lost, even if he loses his collar there will be a record of ownership and care for the dog. These usually cost less than $30 and are available at most veterinary clinics and animal shelters. These same places have scanners that can detect the information stored on the microchip – your contact information as well as instructions for immediate care.
When you enter into an agreement with a breeder, rescue organization, or animal shelter, expect to sign a few papers and recieve a few more in return. Here are some papers to expect from a breeder:
An application for AKC registration (sometimes refered to as puppy papers)
Or if the dog was registered already, you’ll get the actual AKC registration papers.
A sales contract spelling out guarantees and criteria for owning this dog (such as possibly the “no open-bed pickups” clause stated earlier), whether the dog is “show quality” or “pet quality” (this is just a term to describe how well a dog conforms to the AKC standard and says nothing of the health or personality of the dog) and limited registration information if the puppy is sold on a limited registration.
Three-generation pedigree providing evidence that the dog is pure-bred and a quick way to check for genetic problems if the need arises.
You’ll get plenty more paperwork from classes and from vets, so have a folder or two in your filing cabinet ready to go.
Your Dog’s “Maintenance Schedule”
Your dog’s health is important, so be ready to make a few trips to the veterinarian’s office when you first bring them home. The most common of these are outlined below, along with the long-term health requirements of your dog:
As soon as you bring your puppy home you need to take him to the vet. Most puppies actually come with a short period of time where you can return them for your money back if there is a health issue, but you need to take them to the vet for a new puppy visit. The vet will do an overall exam on your puppy to make sure it is in good health and will set you up on a vaccination schedule. Puppies get a series of three vaccinations in the first few months of their lives. Usually the breeder will have started these and give you information on the type used and what week they are at. The vet will also check your puppy for worms. Again the breeder will have wormed the entire litter and should give you this information when you buy your puppy. Along with setting up the puppy series of vaccinations, the vet will let you know when the puppy will be old enough to have it’s rabies vaccination. Fecal checks, rabies shots and most vaccinations are done annually.
Unless you are a serious breeder, committed to improving your breed, doing the health testing, using stock that conforms to the breed standard, you will want to spay or neuter your pet. If you rescued a dog from a shelter or rescue organization, you’re most often required to fix the animal you adopt. There are too many puppies and especially adult dogs sitting in shelters and rescue groups nationwide because someone thought they could make a quick buck and breed puppies, or simply save a couple bucks by not fixing their animal. There are so many things involved in breeding dogs if you are doing it right that most breeders are lucky if they break even. And if something goes wrong and the bitch needs a C-Section to deliver the pups, the whole process can be very expensive, both financially and emotionally.
Fixing your dog will do a number or things:
Reduce dogs’ tendency to jump fences and go find their “significant others”
Less territorialism (i.e. marking)
Reduced likelihood of humping of visitors’ legs
No messy heat cycle
No pyrometra (a life-threatening infection of the uterus)
Reduced risk of mammary cancer
No testicular cancer
Reduced risk of prostatitis
Learn to brush their teeth at least once a week. Dentals are very expensive, dog toothpaste and brush are relatively cheap. Even if you feed a hard food and give them bones to chew on they need their teeth brushed. Your vet can show you how.
All dogs need to be brushed, even the ones with short, flat coats. Depending on the length of hair is how often this should happen. Weekly for dogs with a coat like a doberman or lab. Couple times a week for medium length like Springer Spaniels and pointers, setters. Daily for the long hairs like the Lhasa’s, maltese, Great Pyrenees. At the very least you need to brush out the areas that mat the most, around the ears, the belly, wherever it is the most dense. Mat breaking is very hard on the dog and most times end up being cut off leaving a very strange looking dog. You need to keep the hair between the pads on their feet trimmed, especially in the winter time. Snow and mud can ball up in there and cause the dog pain. Nails should be done once a week. Don’t forget the dew claws when trimming nails. If ignored they will curl into the dogs foot. You can use human nail trimmers, dog nail clippers are available and will probably work a lot better. Your puppy will probably not enjoy having this happen to them, so start them off gradually. Put them on their backs and just hold them there until they calm down, then let them go. Once they’re used to that, then you can start trimming nails.
Fleas & Ticks
If you take your dog for runs in open fields, the woods or go hiking, be sure to go over your dog when you get home. Grass seeds can work their way into the coat and into the dogs skin causing them great pain and risk for abcess. Ticks can also cause your dog illness. You will want to remove them or have them removed immediatly. Talk with your vet about Flea and tick preparations that are available now. They have improved greatly over the years.
We wish you many happy years with your new dog! Thanks for reading the advice we have to offer you. And please never forget that you can always contact us for further guidance.