The puppies have all been leaving to go to their new homes this week. It's bittersweet to have them leave! Every dog is going to a really great family though so that makes us happy.
I thought I'd put together a new puppy essentials list.
Here are some things that have helped us through those first few puppy weeks:
1. Crate. We like to have a crate that is big enough to hold the dog for a least a year. For these puppies that means the crate needs to be able to have a dog up to 40 or 50 pounds. Crate training is really helpful for house training and for those times when you just need the dog out of your hair.
2. Clicker and treats. We can't say enough good about clicker training. Haven't heard of it? Read through a few articles here. We just discovered freeze dried liver treats from Petsmart. We have been cutting them up in smaller pieces so they can be swallowed in one bite. They are light weight, they don't smell and they don't get our hands dirty. And the dogs go crazy for them.
The puppies beg to be picked up every time we go near the pen so we do 'gate training' a lot. We just lean over the puppy pen gate (totally quiet--we don't talk at all) and treat the pups who are sitting politely. Sometimes there is only one sitting to begin with but as soon as the others notice that the sitting pup is getting treats they all join in.
Who was fastest to figure out that sitting earns the treat?--Cheddar (Orange)
3. Flat buckle collar and non-retractable leash. Retractable leashes aren't sturdy enough to walk an unpredictable puppy. And they can cause some serious damage if they tangle around feet or hands! We like a plain six or eight foot leash.
4. Food. We use Nature's Domain (high quality and cost effective) from Costco and we also love Taste of the Wild dry dog food. We feed our dogs NuVet vitamins. When the puppies are together as a litter we have food and water available at all times. When we have a new puppy in our home and we are potty training, we feed on a schedule-- three times a day.
Feeding on a schedule helps predict when to take the pup out to potty. (What goes in must come out!) We like to measure out the entire day's food amount and then use it throughout the day to help with training. We almost always hand feed our puppies. Hand feeding helps the pup learn that we are the food providers and that food belongs to us not them.
We feed adults twice a day.
5. Enzyme based Carpet Cleaner. Of course the goal is to avoid potty training accidents but cleaning up an accident promptly and correctly is an important part of the process. Dogs will pee where is smells like a 'bathroom.' We like Nature's Miracle but any enzyme based cleaner will work. Our advice?--just buy the gallon size. It cleans up all kinds of messes.