DESIGNER PUPPYS: Everything you wanted to know about raising designer or mixed breed dogs,
featuring The BOYZ: Prince Alvin His Cuteness (on left) and Sir Simon The Sad, Cockapoo pups.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bringing Your New Pup Home continued

Besides the items mentioned in my previous post “Bringing Your New Pup Home – Are You Ready??,” what else do you need before your new pup arrives? You may read some of these items or activities and decide that you don’t really need to get or do them, but that’s up to you.

Dog bed
A dog bed is intended for a dog to sleep in overnight. That’s D O G, not P U P P Y. For a puppy, you set up a confined area with the dog bed in the area. Then you’re supposed to get up at approximately 3 hour intervals to let the puppy out. As the puppy gets older, the interval lengthens and the theory is that eventually the pup will sleep through the night.

Needless to say, Alvin disproved the theory and soiled the designated area well before the time limit was up. The other more-accepted method is using a crate (see below) during the night.

Crate and/or Carrier
Most experts recommend a crate for house-training and sleeping at night. Crates come in different sizes according to the puppy’s weight. Some dog lovers believe it’s cruel to crate a dog; but supposedly, if you crate-train properly, puppies accept the crate as a sort of den and will sleep in it on their own.

Initially, we decided Alvin would use the crate for the times we would leave him alone (if it was only for an hour or so) and during the night. Bottom line – he hated his crate and whined every two hours throughout the night.

And a tip you may want to consider – if you put padding in the crate because you want the pup to be comfortable, be prepared to wash it frequently. Alvin violated the crate law that dogs will not soil their sleeping areas when the padding was in the crate. When I removed the padding and he slept on the plastic bottom, the soiling lessened.

Carriers can be used for car trips. Alvin arrived from Missouri in a small dog carrier. Car trips with Alvin in the carrier are pure torture for both of us. His I-want-to-get-out-of-here bark is ear-splitting!

Grooming Equipment
This includes puppy shampoo, a comb, brush, and if the dog is long-haired and you plan to groom the dog yourself, consider buying clippers, scissors, and an electric shaver. Lots of luck grooming a pup yourself. I have no idea how groomers keep a dog still while they clip fur/hair and nails.

Lead and Ground Spike, Electric Fence
If you have a yard, but no fenced-in area, a long lead and a ground spike will give the dog some running room. Alvin’s main activity when on the lead is to chomp on the plastic covering the lead. To satisfy his need for exercise, we built him a makeshift 24 X 16 fenced-in area using 2-foot high trellises, wood posts and plastic ties.

Consider an electric fence; pups need to weigh a minimum amount, so read the instructions carefully before buying one.

Deodorizer, Rug or Other Surface Cleaner, and Paper Towels
When the pup eliminates on an indoor surface, experts recommend deodorizing the area to neutralize the odor. Pet stores sell a product created for this purpose. Face it, an untrained pup will soil in the house, no matter how conscientious you are about housetraining. Sop up urine or pick up poop with a paper towel, apply the deodorizer to neutralize, and use the cleaner as the last step. Fail to follow this process results in the pup using the same spot again and again. You need to do it right the first time.

Schedule a vet appointment
First, find a vet through friends’ referrals and schedule an appointment when you know the date of the pup’s arrival. It’s important to take your pup to the vet as soon as possible after you bring the animal home. An independent checkup is sometimes specified in a breeder contract and you need to know if the pup has any conditions that require attention.

Bring the breeder information about vaccinations, microchips, etc. with you to the vet.

Read about Alvin’s initial vet visit in this post: More on Designer Puppy Breeders.

Training Information (Internet notes, DVD(s), books)
Read about housetraining, socialization, and general dog raising, especially if it’s your first dog or you haven’t had a pup in the last few years. Catering to the needs of dogs and puppies is big business and you’ll be amazed at the amount of information available on the Internet, DVDs, and books.

The DVD "It's Pawsible" leads you through 5 weeks of training for the basic commands. If you have the time to train a few minutes a day, you'll be amazed at the results. More on training in future posts. I mention this DVD because it's structured and consistent in the approach to each command as well as using untrained dogs for demo purposes.

Anti-chew spray
A pup WILL chew everything if allowed to do so. The first line of defense is to remove everything the pup can chew from the floor (for example, area rugs, shoes, electrical cords). If furniture becomes a target, you can spray the area with an anti-chew spray purchased at the pet store.

Among other things, Alvin chews his dog tags (microchip identifier and rabies tag) to the point where he started to remove the rabies info. I tried the spray and also a little hot sauce, but Alvin persists in obliterating the tag data.

Dental cleaning bones, edible bones, and plastic chewing bones satisfy the pup’s teething needs. Remove bones when the pup starts eating plastic pieces. Although these pieces are supposedly not a problem, a persistent chewer (you guessed it – Prince Alvin) will break off pieces and swallow them. I always wonder if he’ll choke and how pieces of plastic get through his small digestive system.

A bell for the door
Dogs can be trained to hit a bell hanging from the outside door knob each time they need to go outdoors to relieve themselves. Alvin rang the bell a few times during his first two weeks in the house. Now, he ignores the bell and locates the first outside door he can find when he needs to go out. Without a bell sounding, we have to be vigilant about his whereabouts.

Hope these pup preparation tips are helpful!