Tips for the New Owner
Here are a few things you should know when looking for a new puppy, and after you have brought your new dog home. Click on the link to be taken to that particular topic.
- Critical Period in a Puppy's Life
- When Buying A Puppy
- Puppy Test
- Dog Arrives Home
- Grooming Your Dog
- Timed Punishment
- Dominant Dog
- Dental Care
In the first 2 weeks of a puppy's life, the puppy should be held.
The more a puppy is handled the less stress he has in accepting humans and their ways.
It is so important for a puppy to stay with the mother and its mates until 7 weeks because the mother teaches them better than we ever could. If the puppy it taken away too soon it will develop bad habits such as sucking a blanket etc.
- A puppy's eyes open at 14 days and at 21 days they have no trouble following movement.
- Puppies are sitting at 15 days.
- Puppies can stand at 21 days.
- Puppies are walking at 24 days and in some cases even sooner.
- Puppies go outside of the nest to do their defecating.
For the first 4 to 7 weeks the puppies are the breeders problem. From the 7th week on, the puppies are the new owners problem.
4 to 12 weeks is the critical learning period in a puppy's life.
At 4 to 6 weeks, dogs learn their social skills. It learns to play, fight, both dominant and submissive behaviour.
You will get extreme behavior from a puppy that has been taken from its mother and litter mates too soon.
At 6 to 12 weeks a bond is formed with the new home and owner IF it has NOT been deprived and permanent damage done.
DO NOT let a dog lick you - it is a sexual attraction.
At 6 weeks of age put a collar on your dog for 1 hour a day. Play ball with the puppy to distract him from scratching the collar. NEVER put a choke collar on a dog until you know how to use it properly, and NEVER put one on a young puppy. When your dog is used to the collar put a leash on and let him drag it around for 2 days. Follow it for those 2 days and after that the dog will follow you.
Remember - Don't buy from a puppy factory.50% is environment, and 50% is genetic.
It is very important the puppy spends a full 6 to 7 weeks with his mother and litter mates. The puppy will be learning all this time and it will have a definite effect on the dogs behaviour in your home.
It's a good idea to buy from a breeder but remember they are ONLY selling their breed. So make sure that you know the breed suitable for you home and lifestyle. See the personality of all the dogs and ask to see the parents. Ask the breeder if you can test the puppy. If they say no, then don't buy it.
- Check to see who is the litter boss. The dominant pup will be MORE work for you.
- Don't pet or talk to the puppy and take the puppy to an area away from familiar places or people. Carry the pup to the test area.
- Do the test at 7 weeks of age.
- DO NOT buy a pup before or after 7 weeks of age.
- Before testing the pup it should be well rested and not fed for a while.
- Test the pup twice with in the week. Like people, animals have off days.
- Test the heartbeat - it should be fast (feel under the front leg).
- When you have carried the pup to the test area have a stranger (not the owner or breeder) hold the pup lightly and clap hands for the puppy to come to you.
- If the pup jumps up or nips at you, you do not want this puppy.
- What you want is the puppy to come to you with its head up and tail wagging - this is going to be the recall later on in training.
- Walk away from the pup - make sure he sees you leave.
- If there is a door, walk away from the door to make sure the pup just isn't going toward the door.
- Lay the pup on it's back for 30-90 seconds. The puppy should struggle a bit but then give in.
- Hold the dog with hands locked beneath front legs and let the puppy hang.
- The puppy should be trusting and NOT fight you in the position.
- If you squeeze the webbing between the feet for 1-3 seconds its fair. 3-5 seconds is middle of the road. 6 -10 seconds is very good in its tolerance.
- Throw something - see if the dog sniffs it, or does he go away?
- Sound test-drop something that makes noise. The puppy should NOT run away.
When buying a puppy from anyone, if the dog is registered ask to see the parent's registration papers. Be sure to make sure there is no extra fee for the puppy's papers. If registered your puppy should be tattooed, micro-chipped or nose printed before going home.
Always make sure your puppy has a vet certificate stating what shots he has had and how many times he has been wormed. Never buy a puppy from an owner who has not gotten the puppy at least his first shots.
See where the puppy has been raised. Does it get to see people? What are they getting fed and how clean is their area. Of course it cannot be spotless with 10 puppies running around but an effort to keep it clean should be obvious.
Now that you have made up your mind and are ready to leave with your new puppy, be sure to be ready. If you are driving a fair distance be sure to stop and let the puppy out of the car once or twice. Don't forget, this might help prevent the pup from becoming carsick.
Going home the pup should have a comfortable place to lay and do not fuss over him but have your hand near by so he knows you are there. Never allow him to be all over the car or you as this is a pattern of behaviour you want to avoid when traveling now and in the future.
First day home - again see that the dog has a comfortable place without a lot of fuss. Give the dog a chance to check out it's new home but take it outside every now and then as it will not be housebroken at this early stage of life.
When your puppy is between 4 to 12 weeks of age, do not isolate the puppy any longer than 3 hours. Don't use isolation as punishment. Gradually introduced your pup at this age to people, cars, etc. Don't put a dog right beside a vacuum cleaner and then turn it on - use common sense.
Behaviour through reward. FEAR IMPRINT - If the dog has a great fright between 8 and 12 weeks, it will be permanent. Remember to be consistent.
Full expression will come out at 2 years.
- Bringing your puppy home: In the car, if the puppy fusses or makes a lot of noise don't pet it. Just lay your hand near the pup.
- If the dog should throw up, keep quiet! The dog night try to fight, flee, or freeze with you carrying on.
- When the dog gets sick don't say a word. Just clean up the mess without a fuss. Whatever you fuss over the dog will repeat. Dogs repeat what is pleasant or rewarding and if you go on and on about "oh you poor baby", you will have created a problem. Behaviour problems are often learned problems.
Leave it to investigate. Make a nice sleeping area near someone but in a crate. Don't open the crate if the dog cries. Leave it alone and avoid an excuse to start petting or picking the dog up. This is when the dog is learning.
If another dog is in the home leave them and give them time. The first dog or older dog is the boss. Don't scold the older dog. The older dog should be fed first and petted first. It is interesting to note that a dominant dog does not like its feet to be touched.
Teaching a dog to go down stairways: Put the puppy on the last step close to the landing. If he takes a step down, praise him. Always put him on the last step, then two, then three, etc. Don't force a pup.
Grooming your dog shows dominance. Start as soon as you bring the dog home. Be careful of nail clipping. Licking or pawing at you to try to stop you is a dominant gesture. Sometimes the dog will look and try to pull away. Be firm without making a great fuss.
If a dog goes for your mouth, he is looking for food as that is how it got started on solid food from the mother. Tell them NO-NO FOOD.
Remember 8 to 12 weeks is the dogs fear imprint.
13 to 16 weeks the dog learns to be dominant. It works as though in a pack be it people or dogs. The dog can show this while you are trying to groom it by a nip at you or the brush.
Unless you can punish the dog within 3 ½ minutes after it has done wrong, don't bother because after that the dog doesn't remember. An example of this is an owner coming home to find that the dog has messed in the house. The owner does not know whether that happened right after the person left or later in the morning or just before the owner arrived. BE CONSISTENT. Often there is bad behaviour because of stress. Punishment without reward is cruel because it is always negative. An example is the heel. People are quick to always tug, haul, or drag the dog in position, but when he's there how often to we hear "what a good dog, that's where I want you". Confusion will result from mild punishment. Let the dog know you are not pleased then go onto something else. Don't punish it and then the next time let the dog get away with it. If your dog is good one day to brush it and then the next time it won't sit still do not let it be the boss. Always avoid hitting the dog with hands, feet, or leash. If you want to correct the dog at a distance use your voice as in a growl or throw something but not in the imprint period. Dogs are similar to a wolf pack. Dogs stare, growl, and bite. Break a prolong stare by a growl.
If your dog is young teach it some manners. If it has a bone it must learn to give it up to you. Take it away often and don't give it back until the pup does not resist. Don't let a dog get over-protective with its bone, ball, sleep area, etc.
A dominant dog doesn't like to be petted from above. You should pet them by the chest.
Often a dominant dog will wander from home.
This type of dog will jump on people.
They don't like their feet to be touched, or any of their toys, bed, etc.
When buying a dog of any age make sure it has had its shots and has been wormed. Ask if the parents hips have been x-rayed clear.
You can use a soft brush or a damp cloth with baking soda on it. Go over the teeth once a week. This should help older dogs with bad breath, however always have your dog vet checked if you think there is a problem.
Take the dog off food for 24 hours and give it Pepto Bismol. If it is a young pup with a fever, call your vet.
If the toe is cut it usually looks worse than it is. Put pressure on it for 5 minutes. To stop the bleeding you can also use a matchstick.
Check your dogs gums by pushing their teeth up with your finger. It should come back a healthy pink. If in shock the gum is pale or white in colour. Put a blanket over your dog and waste NO time getting him to the vet.
Never leave a choke chain on a dog. Put a leather collar on if it has tags. Stay away from small sharp bones such as chicken. If you can't dislodge it get the animal to a vet. Try and work quietly and be calm as stress to the dog makes matters worse.