When preparing your home for your new puppy it can be alot like when preparing for a new baby. You make a room for baby and with items to call his own. A dresser filled with his own clothes, and a place for diapers and his own toys. The same arrangement should be made when bringing a new puppy into your home.
Your puppy will need a place to call his own, a crate will do. We recommend getting one big enough for him to grow into and adjusting the divider as he grows. He will also need food and water bowls, a high quality food, chew toys, a collar and leash, and newspapers or potty pads for potty training. See our "Shopping List" for Recommended products.
The big day arrives, and it is off to pick up the new puppy. Coming home will start out with a car ride. Try to keep this from being an overly stressful experience for the pup. The main problem dogs have with car rides usually is not what we humans refer to as motion sickness, but simple anxiety about the vibrations, sounds, and to a lesser degree, the movement. Many dogs that have developed problems with car rides get nervous or even nauseous before the engine is even started. It is important that this first trip not be a bad experience that regresses into a repetitious behavioral pattern.
Before you leave, try to get the pup to go to the bathroom so there are no accidents stimulated by all the excitement of the ride. On this first trip home, we break a rule about traveling with pets. We do not put them in a crate for traveling. Remember, they are small and easy to hold. Instead, we have someone other than the driver hold the puppy in a blanket or towel and talk or in some way try to distract him from the ride.
If you have a long way to go and need to stop for the puppy to relieve himself, do not use a highway rest stop. At his young age, the puppy has very little, if any, protection from common dog diseases, and these areas can easily be contaminated with the organisms causing these conditions.
Leaving mother and litter-mates will probably bring about some anxiety. However, this can be greatly diminished if you plan your schedules so that you will be home with the puppy the first 3 to 4 days. Some authors suggest leaving the puppy alone and give her time to herself to adjust to the new surroundings. We disagree. In our homes, we plan for this introductory period by keeping the puppy involved with plenty of attention from children and other family members. When we are not with the puppy, she is sleeping. You will be amazed how time spent in this manner will speed up the housebreaking process. If the children are young or are not familiar with how to handle puppies, you should spend some time with them during these first few days explaining common rules on how to play with the puppy.
One of the first things you need to do is get the puppy into a veterinarian for an initial puppy examination. Many families who receive puppies take them in for a vet exam the first few days. The vet will do a well check, which sometimes includes doing a fecal test. Please be aware that only the expensive SNAP test is a conclusive one, so any other test is not 100% reliable. There can be false positives or negatives. If they do run the SNAP test and it shows giardia, they will likely want to treat with metronidazole or fenbendazole even if your puppy is not showing symptons. If coccidia shows up in a fecal test, that is common. Research is showing that EVERY dog harbors this in their system.
Our puppies are raised in a non-kennel environment where they are allowed to experience the world as they grow. They are taken out for romps around our property. They walk over the ground where the deer have been, the chatty squirrel that loves to tease them, and the numerous roaming cats that love to search for mice in the fields. Our puppies enjoy learning about life and living in the real world, which means they are exposed to real world things, like giardia and coccidia. We do everything we can to prevent this but we will not restrict our puppies to a kennel life. Puppies can be infected with giardia by simple things such as walking over dirt and licking their paws, drinking water from a puddle, licking the grass where a wild bird pooped, etc..
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