New Food Recommendation
a year ago
So, for the past couple of years, we have been feeding our dogs a grain-free food, basically because we got several requests from people buying puppies from us that that is what they wanted for their puppies. So rather than feeding their puppies separately, we just switched the food we were feeding all of our dogs to grain-free.
However, this past week, our vet asked if we were aware that studies are now showing a connection between heart issues in grown dogs to the grain-free diet. We had not heard that. It is unclear, as of yet, whether this is caused from the lack of grain, or if it's because of the things they are putting in place of the grains.
So, we are now switching back to our old dog food of choice. Our vet recommended the Costco's premium food because of the bone and joint supplements and the variety of ingredients including brown rice, fruits, veggies and Glucasamine and Chondroitin. We choose this particular one because it's ingredients are closest to that of the puppy food. We give this also to the puppies because we find that actual "puppy food" often cause soft poop. That's no fun. The Kirkland brand offers differnt options but this one in the purple bag is the one we like best.
We have always believed that a BALANCED diet was best. To us, the "grain-free" and the "raw meat olnly" diets are not balanced. Even carnivorous animals in the wild eat a variety of things including grasses, roots and berries in addition to their meat proteins. So, even though we haven't had any health issues with our adult dogs yet, we are confident that switching back to a diet that includes grains is best. When you get your puppy, we will give you a small quart sized bag of this food and you can gradually transition him/her over to whatever food choice YOU think is best.
WHAT YOU NEED IN PREPARATION FOR YOUR NEW PUPPY
4 days ago
We have compiled a list of things that might be helpful in preparing to bring your puppy home. It probably looks lengthy, but not everything listed is "essential”. These are things that have made our lives easier as we have learned by experience. We're STILL learning, by the way.
*Vest-type harness and a leash* We prefer this type of harness over a plain collar because it is safer when the puppy is small and perhaps there develops an emergency situation. Maybe an aggressive dog unexpectedly attacks. With this type of harness you can snatch your puppy up into your arms much quicker and with less harm to him than if he was just wearing a collar. You wouldn't want to choke your puppy or injure his neck. Also notable is that puppies usually rebel less against a harness than they do with just a collar that's tugging on their neck. Once they are bigger and less vulnerable, a collar is fine.
*Travel crate* big enough for them to be transported in as an adult. This will also serve as their bed until their potty training is completed. (See the previous post “Crate Training and Benefits”) If the crate is too big it will be easier for the puppy to decide to make a "potty area" inside the crate. It's better if it's small enough that the entire crate is viewed as it's bed. Not as it's apartment.
*Several thin bath towels* for using as easily washable bedding mentioned in “Crate Training and Benefits”. These towels are great to use until potty taining is complete.
*Water bowl and food bowl* We prefer separate bowls because it's less hassle when you need to clean one out. You can also remove access to food while still leaving water. We also like heavier ceramic or the wide bottom dishes so they don't tip and spill easily.
*Rubber chew toys* They like to chew on things that are kind of spongy.
*Squeaky toys* No plastic eyes or noses that can be chewed off and swallowed.
*Ball* appropriate to the size of the puppy. Tiny puppies love the ping pong balls. But you have to make sure that as they grow the ball has not become small enough to be a choking hazard.
*Rope Toy* for tug-of-war.
*Jerky chews or pigs ears and bones* Encourage chewing for recreation as well as their dental hygiene and health. VERY IMPORTANT! Bones clean their teeth. If their teeth stay clean, there will be less vet bills for teeth cleaning and health issues related to gum disease. Some pet owners prefer to brush their puppy's teeth instaead of allowing them to chew on things that might be a choking hazard. Supervision is always a good idea.
*Treats* that are relatively soft so they can be broken into tiny tidbits for training. You don't want them to “fill up” on training treats.
*Good dietary supplements* for healthy skin and coat as well as for their bones and joints (Glucosamine/Chondroitin) should be started as soon as they meet the appropriate age and weight for the supplement you choose. We shop for these supplements at Costco or online at https://www.swansonvitamins.com/pet-naturals-skin-coat-dogs-30-chews
*Gate or barrier* to keep puppy confined to a non-carpeted area (like the kitchen) until they are potty trained.
*Spray bottle* for white vinegar and water for cleaning and training - 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water. (See “Potty Training Part 2”)
*Tangle Teezer brush* from Sally's Beauty Supply is better in my opinion than any of dog grooming brushes that I've tried.
*Melaleuca Oil* to add a couple of drops to their shampoo for safe and natural flea and tick deterrent.
*Kitty Litter - Unscented clay non-clumping* to spread in the area that will be designated their potty area. (See the previous post “Crate Training and Benefits – THE POTTY AREA”.
Potty Training "Part 2"
3 years ago
For more complete potty training advice, please view the earlier post "Crate Training and Benefits".
We don't want to automatically start off on negative criticism. Our printed potty training info that we provide in the starter packet, consists of about 2 pages of good advice. (I've included it on an earlier post.) This additional information is for those few puppies who are having a little harder time catching on to what is expected of them.
Keep in mind that every puppy is unique. Just like every child has its own personality and emotional makeup, learns at a different pace by differing teaching techniques, puppies are the same way. You might need to approach things differently with each puppy. This will take time and discernment on your part to detrmine which is best for your puppy.
Some people say NEVER scold a puppy. In some cases the puppy is not attentive enough to automatically realize they've done something wrong. How will they know you are displeased if you don't let them know? It's okay to scold your puppy when he/she goes potty in the wrong place. SHOW him/her what they did, make sure they see and smell what they did wrong and immediately CARRY them to the correct potty area. (By carrying them, they won't be able to get distracted away from the issue at hand.) Don't yell or rub their nose in it. Just make sure they're paying attention and know WHAT you're scolding them for. Make sure they smell the potty and say, "That was BAD." Very stern but not excessivley loud. Make them look at your angry face. They read your eyes and facial expressions.
Then show them the right "potty place" and say, "Good boy/girl!". Leave some poop in the potty area so it reminds them that this is the "potty place". Small treats as a reward for doing it right gives them added incentive as well. Then clean the area where he/she pottied in the house with white vinegar. It's a safe and natural disinfectant. You won't like the smell of it, but neither will they.
Most puppies want to please you and be cuddled and praised. Don't neglect them and NEVER lose your temper. Happy "parents" make for happy puppies/dogs. Don't lose patience or hope. They WILL learn, but it does take some puppies longer than others. Hang in there. Your hard work and persistence will pay off. :-)
3 years ago
(This is an excerpt from a letter I recently wrote to one of my adoptive families that I thought might be a helpful "share")
Just a few reminders...
Most importantly DO NOT forget to get her final parvo/distemper vaccine before exposing her to other dogs. It should be almost time for that final shot by the time this reaches you. Then you can really start to socialize her. Socialization is very important. After that final vaccine, you can also enroll her in puppy classes if you want.
Second... remember that these first 6 month are crucial for her behavioral training. Small dogs like her can have a tendency to be especially bossy and disobedient because they are often allowed to get away with bad behavior because they're so tiny and cute. I know it's hard to discipline a tiny dog like her. But it's important for her to know that YOU are her pack leader. If you or other people are inconsistent with your training it can cause her to not understand the rules and confuse her. So if you have company, you might want inform them of your training rules or even put her away when company comes. I'd prefer her not to be put away because she needs the extra socializing from people outside your household. But if there are, for instance, small children who don't know how to make her behave and let her get too worked up, you might have no choice but to put her away. Once she's trained, interacting with strangers and other dogs will come much easier.
Don't hesitate to call if you have any concerns or need some input.
Crate Training and Benefits
3 years ago
Crate training your pet can be beneficial for several reasons: In the case of an emergency your pet may need to be transported or kept in a crate and if it is already used to being in a crate, it will not experience panic or anxiety from being confined and may even feel more secure inside a crate. Such cases could include a situation in which you may be separated from your pet (accident, illness, disaster, etc), a time when your pet may be ill and needs to be confined for it's own comfort and safety.
Crate training is also an easy way to house train your pet because it is usually a natural tendency for them not to use the bathroom in their sleeping area if they can avoid it and will try to hold it.
HOUSE TRAINING USING THE CRATE METHOD
1. CLEAN BEDDING...I like to have a supply of the thinner bath towels (3 or 4) so that they can be replaced and washed easily if the puppy has an accident on it's bedding. It's important to make sure that bedding is kept free from the smell of urine, so it will learn to like a clean bed and try to 'hold it'.
2. REGULAR POTTY BREAKS..Puppy needs to be closely supervised while not inside it's crate. It should be taken out to it's 'potty area' 15 to 30 minutes after it eats and then every 2 hours after that. It might take 15 or 20 minutes before it finally goes, but keep giving the command “Go potty”, and when it does go, give it lots of enthusiastic praise,”Good girl! You went potty. Good Girl!” then let her run with you back to the house. If you should see it sniffing the floor and walking around in circles, that is an indication that it is getting ready to POOP. Quickly, but calmly pick up your puppy and take it outside to the 'potty area' and wait patiently until it goes. Don't forget to give it lots of praise, pats and hugs.
3. FEEDING...I feed my puppy as much as it wants in the morning and a snack in the afternoon about 3:00 but NO FOOD AFTER 4:00 in the afternoon. That will give it time to pass all waste by bedtime. TAKE AWAY THE WATER ABOUT 6:00 P.M. To help prevent bed-wetting.
4. BEDTIME...You will want your baby to have the same sleep schedule at night as you have, so be sure to take it out just before your bed time. Give the puppy a treat, a toy and maybe a rawhide chew to entertain itself with during the night because dogs don't normally sleep all night long like people do, but they can learn to be quiet so that you can sleep. To begin with, cover the crate with one of your shirts or something with your smell on it so the puppy will feel that you're near, or use a towel so that it can't see outside the crate. The puppy might cry at first but just ignore it. It should quiet down within 30 minutes or so. If it continues to cry, you might have to put the crate in another room and close the door so that you are able to sleep. If you go to bed around 10 PM, for the first few nights you might have to get up about 2:00 or 3:00 AM to take it out to go to the potty area. Be patient and give it 15-20 minutes to go if you need to. Each night make it wait 5, 10 or 15 minutes longer each time before taking it out. (The intensity of it's cry will let you know how desperate it has to go.) Within 2 weeks, it should be letting you sleep until 6AM or so.
5. MORNING...When you take your baby out of it's crate first thing in the morning, CARRY IT OUT TO THE 'POTTY AREA'. Don't let it run out on it's own or it will most likely stop and pee on the floor before it gets outside. Remember to watch it closely for indications that it needs to go, and to take it out every 2 hours. Immediately clean up any accidents with a lemon or vinegar scented solution so that baby won't think it's okay to go on the floor; and complain all the while you're cleaning, “that's baaad, you don't go potty on the floor, that's baaad.” so baby will know you're not happy about it.
6. CRATE TIME...If you have to leave your baby unattended for a SHORT (1-2 hours) period of time, put it into it's crate WITH A TREAT and a toy. Be sure to take it out to the potty area as soon as you return. These short unsupervised stays in the crate is good training so that 'baby' doesn't develop separation anxiety as it will soon realize that you will come back. If baby gets a treat each time you put it into the crate, it will go in willingly and the crate will become it's 'private space'. My dog actually likes it's crate.
THE POTTY AREA
I have prepared a “potty area” in my yard so that my babies will go to the same area every time and that saves sooo much time and frustration from having to look for and clean up 'land mines' all over the lawn. It also makes your yard cleaner and more usable...and it makes mowing so much more enjoyable
For my “potty area”, I choose an area about 3 feet wide and 6 to 9 feet long along a fence. I put bricks or landscape edging around the edges to hold the kitty litter in place and so that 'baby' will know the boundaries of the area. You can make it bigger if you want. You can use the non-clumping kitty litter, pea gravel or the wood chips that you can buy for pet cages. I like the kitty litter best because it's easy to rake up the poops. A kitty litter scoop would be fine for just one or two dogs. I bought a tiny little leaf rake from Wal-Mart garden department and one of the long-handled dust pans and that works good for me as I have 5 dogs. The area needs to be cleaned often so that it doesn't build up. If too much poop accumulates, the baby will go to a cleaner place and start pooping all over the yard.