Puppy Care! Lesson 1
- Thursday, 01 March 2012
Hi friends, woof!
As promised, mummy and I said we will write a Puppy Care post for you guys to give tips on taking care of a new puppy. This is lesson 1 woof!
A puppy is for life, not just for Christmas
Some of you watch puppy videos of Domo and I and then want a cute puppy for yourself. Some of you like to use our puppy videos (sneaky move eh?) to persuade parents to agree to a new pup. While mummy is happy for you guys, she also wants to remind everybody that we can be hard work. Yes, us doggies are little bundles of joy but we also require time, patience, money, love and lots of effort. You will need to deal with this responsibility for about 10-15 years. Think of the extra bills for dog food, vet bills and grooming costs. We require frequent exercise (you may need to walk us even on cold days) and we may even destroy your furniture. Have a good hard think before you decide to take us home. We will love you for life and stay loyal as your buddies but your life will never be the same again. For example, mummy doesn't really go on holidays anymore because she needs to take care of us. She says she doesn't mind because we are worth it but you can see what we mean by compromising to adjust to our needs.
I was (and still) a little terror! I'm curious and I often get myself stuck in gaps.
If you've considered all of these factors and can make peace with it, well done! You are ready for a puppy. We will be able to cheer you up when you're feeling down and make you laugh with our silliness. All we ask for is for you to love us whole heartedly. You will be the closest and most important person to us.
Bringing your puppy home
Before you bring a little bundle of fur home, make sure your home is puppy proofed and puppy ready. Make sure you don't have any small or dangerous objects lying around. Puppies will chew and lick anything so keep anything toxic away and keep cables/wires out of their reach. Clean out the place because we have low immune systems and can get sick easily from germs. Make sure the temperature not too cold or warm. It's chilly in Hong Kong lately so Mummy keeps the heater on for Domo. Sometimes, she lets him snuggle up to a water bottle. Here are the essentials you need for your new puppy:
- A Crate
- Mini towels
- Puppy training pads (to potty train them)
- A food bowl
- Water bowl (or water bottle if possible, these are more hygienic because it keeps the water clean and prevents the puppy getting wet )
- Safe dog toys (or rolled up socks, we love them!)
- Dog stain/odour eliminator (We pee everywhere during our puppy days.
Other stuff like dog lead, dog collar, dog shampoo and dog treats etc can be purchased a little later if you want.
Why crate train your pup?
Many misunderstand the crate as a 'cage' but don't realise that us doggies are not like human. We don't feel trapped inside crates. We are natural 'den' animals and we feel safe in cave environments. Especially when you introduce a puppy into a new enviroment, a crate can help a puppy feel protected and ease into it's new home. Mummy trained Domo and I in a crate and it's also even helped to potty train us.
Make sure the crate isn't too big or small. It should be big enough for the puppy to turn around in comfortably. Mummy also clipped a water bottle on to make sure I have access to water at all times. It keeps the water clean but prevents the puppy getting soaked. This protects us from getting wet and falling ill.
Chug chug chug chug! Chuggin down the water.
She divided the crate into two parts. One half is the sleeping area and the other half for peeing/pooing. They are handy because they keep the puppy safe when you can't look after them 24/7. It doesn't mean you keep us inside the crate constantly. Let us run around with your supervision. Mummy lets Domo run around in her work room because it's small enough but doesn't have any gaps that he can crawl under or on to.
Little me back then inside my crate. You can see how the crate is split into two parts. I pee on the training pad (left) and sleep on my towel (right).
Towels allow the puppy to rest comfortably and cosy. They can be washed and changed easily. Puppy beds look comfortable but wait until we are a little older because we WILL pee on them and they can be difficult to clean.
A little tip: When your puppy pees. Soak up the training pad with their pee. Dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell and this helps them to know that they can pee in that area. They are also naturally clean animals so they generally wouldn't like to pee/poo where they sleep. However, remember that puppies can be very forgetful and can still pee where they sleep. Be patient and encouraging. Us doggies are all about routine so all it takes is persistence, time and effort. When you see us urinate or pee in the pad, praise us lots and give us a doggy treat. This helps us reinforce this action to a approved behaviour. Puppies tend to need to go soon after they wake up, eat and sleep so keep a good eye on us. Little signals to watch out for includes sniffing around and spinning in circles (this means we need to poo soon). Once you notice this, position them over the training pad and wait. Remember, be patient and keep the tone of your voice soft. You can use a word like 'wee wee' or 'poo poo' to reinforce the command too.
When your puppy pees or poos in an undesirable place (like your carpet), don't raise your tone at them. This will only scare them. It's pointless to yell after the crime because we are forgetful and we won't know what you are yelling for. Just quickly clean up the mess and keep your eye on them better for the future. If you shout at them, they may associate pooing as wrong behaviour and it can cause your pup to only poo in hiding places. Sometimes, it goes as far as dogs eating the poo (yuck!) so you won't find it. Be patient with us because how fast we learn also depends on your teaching and attitude. Do not let your puppy roam free around your home without your guidance because you are asking for unpleasant surprises.
As the puppy gets a little older and is able to differentiate between the sleeping and pooing area, it still doesn't mean they can roam around your home. Puppies are forgetful and they may not even be able to remember where the potty training pads are. However, you can section off a small area of a room and you can gradually increase the size of this little space in time. This is what mummy is doing for Domo right now. It will take months before Domo gets properly potty trained but with time, patience, encouragement and effort- he will eventually get there.
Here, you can see Domo is now sectioned off (with boxes to create walls around him). Mummy will gradually increase this space exposing more floor space in time. Ps, do you notice something? Those are cables behind Domo, mummy covered them with a board but it needs shifting to the right. Domo doesn't chew cables (fingers crossed) right now but things might change in a month or two. Some people skip the crate training and just do the sectioning method. It's up to you =) As long as your puppy is safe from danger, you're good to go.
In this picture, you can see floor space got gradually bigger. In fact, I hogged mummy's study room for a little while. She cleaned the floor daily for me too =) Mummy used to worry because I "slept a lot" but that's what puppies do =D
Some people walk their dogs far too soon. Puppies are much more vulerable to illnesses because their low immune systems. The number one killer for puppies is 'Canine Parvovirus'. This disease is highly dangerous and contagious. If a puppy dies (sniff sniff) from parvo, even if the house is contaminated- the virus can still linger for up to a year. Some people go through another heartbreak by introducing a new puppy into a home too soon and the puppy ends up getting parvo again which is very heart breaking. Puppies are especially prone because they have a low immune system and they can catch it in a park, in a street and anywhere! The safest place to keep your dog is at your own home until your pup gets it's 3 vaccinations. When you go outside, remember to keep your shoes away from your pup because again, it can bring home the virus. To be honest. you just have to be extra careful really. However, you can still keep your puppy stimulated at home by playing tug-o-war, indoor fetch etc.
Earlier we talked about puppies and their low immune system right? Another mistake some people do is bathing their puppies too soon. Puppies can catch a cold and fall sick when not handled carefully. Unless you are certain that you can bath them and quickly have their dried- avoid doing so until the puppy gets all 3 injections. This can be a bummer because puppies tend to smell the most during their earlier months (we roll trample all over our pee/poo) but it's something you may have to deal with.
No such thing as bad puppies. Only bad owners
Some people also like to blame their dogs when they don't behave the way they want them to. Your puppy won't understand how much you paid or went through to bring him/her home. Your puppy won't understand that you are giving up time and effort to look after them. They are like little children and they only want to be loved and love you back. We can't understand why we can't go to places with you because our World revolves around you. No human in this World is perfect either right? Puppies are cute and fluffy but they are also most time consuming at this age. Give your pup at least a year to mature and by then, we will be much easier to handle =)
In our next post, we will talk about dealing with problematic issues such as chewing, crying,biting and commands.
I hope this was helpful friends!
Love Chubbi, Domo and Bubz xx
Note: Hey guys! Just a little heads up. I'm not a dog training expert or anything, just an owner of two adorable dogs. These are just methods that I used for Chubbi and Domo and I know other people may follow different methods but these are just the techniques that were recommended that worked really well for me. If you guys have more puppy care tips, remember to comment down below! Thank you so much! Bubz xx