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tag.png Bringing Puppy Home

The Supplies You Need

Before you bring your puppy home, be sure you have the following supplies:

Puppy Food. If you get no other puppy supplies beforehand, be sure you have some food! We feed Costco puppy food in the yellow bag. If you find your puppy is not wanting to eat when you get it home, that's very normal. So much is going on! Puppies love their food a bit moistened with a spoonful of canned high quality puppy food. If you have a small puppy s/he will still be eating moistened food with a little canned food to insure s/he are eating well and not losing weight and also will have dry kibble available.

If you change your food, the change should take about 4 or days and this will avoid any upset tummies. Begin by mixing 75% of the Costco kibble w/25% of the new food. Over 4 or 5 days, lower the amount of Costco kibble and increase the amount of new food. We do not recommend a change in diet until you've had your puppy for a few weeks. This will be one less stressful situation when you first bring him home.

Food and water bowls. Stainless Steel or Ceramic work best. Easy to clean and puppy chew proof. Look for ones with the rubber around the edges. Less likely to tip over.  Plastic food/water bowls are no good, they harbor bacteria.

A flat cloth collar that will fit with about 2 inches of room to spare. I recommend a 6" to 10" collar. If your puppy is on the small side you may want to consider buying a cat collar.

A short leash, usually 6 feet.

A crate. I would suggest a crate made of plastic so that your puppy does not get his legs, paws nor his/her mouth stuck in the wires of wire cages.  When s/he is older you may change to a wire cage/crate if you wish.  The crate will serve as a "den" and your puppy will grow to love it and feel comforted by being inside it although not for longer than 4 hours or so at a time.  I get my wire crates at Ross Dress for Less or T.J. Maxx.  They often have one or two in their pet aisle, and much less expensive for the same crate you get at a pet store.  They have other well priced dog items.  Supervise your puppy with toys that contain squeakers and/or strings of any kind, even if braided.  If torn apart and swallowed they can cause bowel obstructions that can seriously/fatally injure your puppy.

Bedding for the crate, something easily washable. You can start out with old towels or old t-shirts you have with your scent on them for comfort.  We will also give you a scent blankie and/or toy as a transitional object for your puppy.  It will have his mama's and littermate's scent on it.  Don't wash it until you absolutely can't stand it anymore.

A way to confine the puppy while it is in your vehicle. This can be its crate, if the crate fits in the back. There are hard sided crates used for airline transportation that work well in vehicles. As well, you can find a soft sided crate that works well, too. We suggest getting a medium sized crate so you will not
have to purchase another when your puppy is an adult.

A puppy Kong, a Nylabone, and maybe a few other toys. Be sure the toys don't have buttons are other things that could be a hazard if the puppy chews the toy to shreds.

If you want to use rawhide bones, only get good quality ones and only let the puppy have them when someone is watching.  I use the tiny twisted ones with no dye or flavor from Petco, made in the USA.  50 for $10.99.

If you want to feed treats, I just give them little bites of fresh chicken or just a piece of kibble at a time.   Do a little research and experiment if you like, but too many treats can cause loose stools.  Please no milkbones or begging strips.

Dog shampoo, a gentle one good for puppies. I suggest Oatmeal Shampoo and Conditioner. If you have fleas, use Blue Dawn Dish Soap. It will instantly kill fleas on dogs. It does not kill the larvae or eggs or so you will need to repeat in a few days. Follow up with your conditioner to be sure all the soap residue is out of the hair and off the skin of your dog. It will also prevent the skin from drying out....keeping it moist and reduce itching dry skin can cause.

Grooming tools: nail clipper, dog brush and greyhound comb. A comb is best so you will be all the down to the skin. Be sure to comb and brush your dog. I recommend a Scalpmaster brush and a Greyhound Comb.

Here is a link on how to properly clip your dogs toe nails. If you are squeemish about doing this, ask your groomer to be sure the nails are cut each time they are groomed. Also, your vet will be happy to clip toe nails when you take your puppy for a vet visit.

One or more ways to clean up the poop that your puppy will producing regularly. If you will be walking your puppy in neighborhoods,you can use a little waist pack and some plastic bags from the grocery store (my habit when I am in a city) or cheap sandwich bags. Place one over your hand, pick up the mess and turn the bag inside out over the mess and close up the bag. Also, for yard use, a long-handled pooper scooper is very useful.

Some kind of flea control product approved for puppies if you live in a flea-ridden area and it's flea season. Ask your veterinarian about monthly flea preventative. I have found the best monthly flea treatment is a once a month pill called "Comfortis". It is less expensive thru 1-800-Pet-Med and most vets will let you have a script to buy from them or match their price. The best shampoo for killing fleas is the original blue Dawn dish soap. It will kill the fleas currently on your dog. You will have to repeat the bath every week for about a month as it will not kill the larvae or eggs. Follow up w/Pantene Conditioner. Rub a small amount on your hands and through the coat. This will remove all soap residue from the skin so no scratching.

Making A Home Safe

To make your home safe for your new puppy, eliminate potential hazards around the house and pay attention to the following items:
Keep breakable objects out of reach.
Deny access to electrical cords by hiding or covering them; make outlets safe with plastic outlet plugs.
Safely store household chemicals.
In the garage, be sure engine lubricants and other poisonous chemicals (especially antifreeze) are safely stored.
If you own a pool or hot tub, check the cover or the surrounding fence to be sure they're in good condition.
If you provide your puppy with an outdoor kennel, place it in an area that provides sun and shelter in the pen; be sure the kennel is large enough to comfortably accommodate your puppy's adult size.

The First Days at Home

The ideal time to bring home a new puppy is when the house is quiet. Discourage friends from stopping by and don't allow overnight guests for the first week with your puppy.  The puppy needs to get to know her/his new surroundings and her/his new family before being introduced to more people and places.  We are serious about this.  Please don't overwhelm your infant puppy when s/he is first home.  It's a big move.


 First establish a daily routine and follow these steps:

Step 1: Before bringing her/him in the house, take her/him to the area in your yard that will serve as her/his "bathroom" and spend a few minutes there. If s/he goes, praise her/him. If not, proceed into the house but be sure to take her/him to this spot each time s/he needs to use the bathroom.

Step 2: Take her/him to the room that accommodates your crate this restricted area will serve as his new "den" for several days. Put bedding and chew toys in the crate, leave the door open and line the area outside of the crate with newspaper, in case of an accident. Let her/him investigate the crate and the room. If he chews or urinates on his bedding, remove it from the crate.

Step 3: Observe and interact with your puppy while s/he's acclimating to her/his new den. This will help forge a sense of pack and establish you as the pack leader.

Special Puppy Concerns

Don't treat a puppy as young as 6 to 12-weeks old like an adult dog. Treat him the same way you would your own infant: with patience, constant supervision and a gentle touch. The way you interact with your puppy at this age is critical to her/his socialization. Use these tips:
Don't bring home a puppy while you're on vacation so you can spend a lot of time with him. Instead, acclimate him to your normal, daily routine.
Supervise your puppy at all times and interact with him regularly.
Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that he has to go to the bathroom, then take him outside immediately.
A young puppy has no bladder control and will need to urinate immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. At night, he will need to relieve himself at least every three hours.
Don't punish an accident. Never push her/his nose in the waste or scold him.  S/he won't understand, and may learn to go to the bathroom when you're out of sight.
Praise your puppy every time s/he goes to the bathroom outside.
Feed your puppy a formula designed for puppies. Like a baby, s/he needs nutritious, highly digestible food.

Meeting Resident Pets

Keep resident pets separated from your new puppy for a few days. After your new puppy is used to his new den area, put an expandable pet gate in the doorway or put your puppy in his crate. Give your resident pet access to the area. Let pets smell and touch each other through the crate or pet gate. Do this several times over the next few days. After that, give the resident pet access to the den area with your new puppy out of her/his crate. Supervise their meeting and go back to through-the-gate/crate meetings if trouble arises.

Children and Pets

Young children may be tempted to shout at a puppy if they think he's doing something wrong. Be sure they understand that puppies and dogs can be easily upset and startled by loud noises.
No teasing. Keeping a toy just out of reach will reinforce bad habits such as jumping up and excessive barking.
Wagging tails and play biting can be too rough for some young children. Supervise interaction and separate them if the play is too rough.
Teach kids to care for a dog by showing them how to feed and groom him.  Best to keep puppy off furniture for the first year so that they know they are not alpha over the children.   This is very important because your puppy may think your children are also siblings to dominate. Also, no playing chase and tug o war.  This encourages the wrong kind of play.  Fetch is much better.

Fencing Options

Keeping your puppy safe in your yard requires good fencing. There are several options to choose from, and the one you should pick will depend on your puppy's personality, your property and your budget. Here are some of the options you should consider:

Privacy fencing. Privacy fences have no openings and provide excellent containment for both dogs and kids.
Chain link. Inexpensive chain link works well and is durable.
Underground fencing. These electronic systems cannot be seen, jumped over or dug under. Wire is buried, configured and connected to a transmitter. The dog wears a special collar that emits warning tones and issues a mild shock as he nears the buried wire. The problem with this is dogs can come onto your property and leave. Your dog may be so motivated to go and play on the other side of the fence the "shock" is worth the play time!
Kennels. A covered kennel run, especially one with a concrete floor, will keep your puppy from digging, climbing or jumping out. Ask your veterinarian or breeder to recommend an appropriate size.

Tips for Housetraining Puppies

As with most things in life, there are hard ways and there are easy ways to get things done. Rubbing a puppy's nose in a mess is an inappropriate way to housetrain. Using ample amounts of supervision and positive reinforcement is the easy way.

Starting Off On the Right Track

The first course of action in housetraining is to promote the desired behavior. You need to:

Designate an appropriate elimination area outdoors
Frequently guide your dog there to do her/his business
Heartily praise her/him when s/he goes

Timing Is Important!

A six- to eight-week old puppy should be taken outdoors every one to three hours. Older puppies can generally wait longer between outings. Most puppies should be taken out:

After waking in the morning
After naps
After meals
After playing or training
After being left alone
Immediately before being put to bed

Eliminating On Command

To avoid spending a lot of time waiting for your puppy to get the job done, you may want to teach her/him to eliminate on command. Each time s/he is in the act of eliminating, simply repeat a unique command, such as "hurry up" or "potty", in an upbeat tone of voice. After a few weeks of training, you will notice that when you say the command your puppy will begin pre-elimination sniffing, circling, and then eliminate shortly after you give the command. Be sure to praise her/him for his accomplishments.

Most puppies will eliminate within an hour after eating. Once you take control of your puppy's feeding schedule, you will have some control over when he needs to eliminate.

Schedule your puppy's dinner times so that you will be available to let him out after eating.
Avoid giving your puppy a large meal just prior to confining him or he may have to eliminate when you are not around to take him out. Schedule feeding two to three times daily on a consistent schedule.
Have food available for only 15 to 20 minutes, then remove it. Feed your puppy in its crate for 15 to 20 minutes. Tell him to "eat your dinner", walk away and leave the puppy, uninterrupted to focus on the task at hand, eating.
The last feeding of the day should be completed several hours before he is confined for the night. By controlling the feeding schedule, exercise sessions, confinement periods, and trips outdoors to the elimination area, your puppy will quickly develop a reliable schedule for eliminating.

Expect Some Mistakes

Left on his own, the untrained puppy is very likely to make a mistake. Close supervision is a very important part of training. Do not consider your puppy housetrained until he has gone at least four consecutive weeks without eliminating in the house. For older dogs, this period should be even longer. Until then:

Your puppy should constantly be within eyesight. If you cannot watch your puppy, your puppy should be in his crate. Never to wander the house without supervision.
Baby gates can be helpful to control movement throughout the house and to aid supervision.
Keep them in the crate when unsupervised.
When you are away from home, sleeping, or if you are just too busy to closely monitor your pet's activities, confine him to a small, safe area in the home.

Don't Make Things Worse

It is a rare dog or puppy that can be housetrained without making an occasional mess, so you need to be ready to handle the inevitable problems.
Do not rely on harsh punishment to correct mistakes. This approach usually does not work, and may actually delay training.
An appropriate correction consists of simply providing a moderate, startling distraction. You should only do this when you see your dog in the act of eliminating in the wrong place.
A sharp noise, such as a loud "No" or a quick stomp on the floor, is all that is usually needed to stop the behavior. Just do not be too loud or your pet may learn to avoid eliminating in front of you, even outdoors.

Practice Patience

Do not continue to scold or correct your dog after he has stopped soiling. When he stops, quickly take him outdoors so that he will finish in the appropriate area and be praised.
Never rub your dog's nose in a mess. There is absolutely no way this will help training, and may actually make him afraid of you.


The basic principles of housetraining are pretty simple, but a fair amount of patience is required. The most challenging part is always keeping an eye on your active dog or puppy. If you maintain control, take your dog outdoors frequently, and consistently praise the desirable behavior, soon you should have a house trained canine companion.

Crate Training

Crate Training is one of the most efficient and effective ways to train a puppy or dog.

The single most important aspect of dog and puppy training is that you reward and praise your dog or puppy each and every time she does the right thing. For example: praise her when she chews her own toys instead of the couch or eliminates outside instead of in the house. The more time you spend with your puppy or dog, the quicker and easier it will be to train her.

The key to house training is to establish a routine that increases the chances that your dog will eliminate in the right place in your presence, so that she can be praised and rewarded; and decreases the chances that your dog will eliminate in the wrong place so that she will not develop bad habits.

It is important that you make provisions for your dog when you are not home. Until your dog is housetrained, she should not be allowed free run of your house. Otherwise, she will develop a habit of leaving piles and puddles anywhere and everywhere. Confine her to a small area such as a kitchen, bathroom or utility room that has water/stain resistant floors. Confinement is NOT crate training.

One of the most useful devices for raising a puppy, and perhaps one of the most misunderstood, is a fold-up wire dog crate. Properly used, this device can aid in housetraining puppies. It can also save hundreds of dollars in damage to household items. Since the crate is portable, it can be easily taken along on trips. Thus overnight visits or vacations with the family pet can be more enjoyable. People who raise, train, and show dogs have been aware of the benefits of crates for years. Unfortunately, the new pet owner is not as well informed.

I advise owners of new puppies to concentrate on housetraining, socialization, and crate training during the early weeks of rearing. However, before owners begin crate training, they should be aware of several tendencies in the normal, healthy pup.

Recommend Procedure to Introduce the Crate to Puppy

The procedure we use and recommend to clients for inhibiting the separation reflex is based upon several other canine tendencies. These are the pup's preference to bed down with, or in the presence of others; to bed down in a sheltered, den-like atmosphere; and to learn through association. The procedure we recommend is as follows:

Acquire a crate large enough for an adult dog to stand and turn unimpeded.
Assemble the crate in a bedroom of the house.
Introduce the pup to the crate by placing several treats in and around it. Also, feed the pup several meals inside the crate.
Well before bedtime, place the pup in the crate and offer a treat. Close and lock the gate.
Leave the room, but remain just outside in order to audit the pup's behavior.
At the first indication of any separation responses, intervene with a sharply raised voice. The idea is that the pup associate its behavior with the startling outcome the behavior produced. Some pups will not respond to a raised voice. We have found that most respond well to sounds generated by a shaker can (a small coffee can containing several coins) or a newspaper slapped sharply against a door or wall.

Usually the pup settles quietly in the crate after three to eight attempts at emotional responses, if they are followed by a startling sound. After the puppy is quiet keep it inside the crate for about ten minutes. Do not to praise or pet the pup immediately after releasing it. This can reinforce the desirability of leaving the crate.
After an interval of 30 to 45 minutes, repeat the procedure. Extend the pup's quiet time in the crate to about 30 minutes.

While the pup is inside the crate, provide one chewable toy. Other items such as blankets or newspapers are not necessary. Also, any collars or leads should be removed to prevent entanglement.

By the time bedtime arrives, the pup has already associated being quiet with being in the crate. Also, the effects produced by separation are negated if the crate is in a bedroom where a member of the family sleeps.

Overnight Elimination

Usually after waking the pup will eliminate. If the pup awakens while inside the crate and needs to eliminate, it will probably whine or bark, dogs tend to avoid eliminations in their bedding areas (den effect). The pup can then be taken outside to eliminate.  It is important to return the puppy immediately to it's crate after this potty break, and after a kiss/cuddle let it settle back to sleep.  It can't get the idea that nightime potty break is also playtime.



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