Taking Puppy home.....what you need, how to deal with baby, etc
Good, responsible breeders do not let their puppies leave their family till 10 to 12 weeks of age. When we hear that someone has gotten a 6 or 8 week old puppy, I hope that the new guardians will be dog savvy and patient because that puppy is not psychologically ready to leave his/her mother.
Getting that out, what do you need to prepare for your puppy? A bed, preferably with sides as dogs love to lay their heads on something, bowls, ceramic or stainless steel, never plastic, a safe, comfortable harness with a tag with all the necessary info. I microchip all my dogs so the new guardian has peace of mind. Besides good holistic, organic, non grain kibble, or preferably raw food, will blog on that next time, you should have wholesome treats. I give my dogs organic kale, pieces of romaine lettuce, regular carrots not baby carrots, apples and treats I make myself. Toys, especially ones for teething, you can put those in the freezer and that helps dull the pain when they chew the frozen teething toy. Do not buy dog food from the supermarket! It is all garbage. Do your homework, check out Chewys or go online and join a dog lovers group where you can share ideas of all the wonderful and novel things being made for dogs. The pet industry is one of the few that never go down no matter how bad the economy.
Puppies love to play and it enriches them to have different, but safe toys. If you notice a toy has been torn, toss it out as the puppy has started to chew it and swallow the plastic or fabric. Avoid toys made in China. They are cheap and toxic and it isn't worth it. Paying a little more for a toy that will last much longer and is safe is a better investment. Do not give rawhides!!! They have caused damage getting stuck and ripping the insides of dogs or choking them.
You need to establish where your puppy will be when you are not home that is safe, no electrical cords, wood or anything dangerous they can chew. A playpen is what I have and you can put a bowl of water, a pee pad and toys besides his/her bed so baby is safe but happy. I highly recommend 2 dogs, they are not more work, in fact they are much happier as they have each other and less likely to howl in loneliness or want you to play fetch for hours. You can have a crate whether metal or a travelling crate is up to you. If metal, put a sheet or something to cover it so puppy feels like he/she is in a cave and is happy and cozy.
I breed dogs which are quite small and small dogs tend to need their teeth brushed or given a good dental chew to keep those toofies clean. A yearly dental is a very good idea but brushing your dogs teeth is simple and quick. You can buy a human baby toothbrush but buy doggy tooth paste. The earlier you begin, the better. Brushing and combing your dog daily or every other day is essential to avoid matting and a professional groomer every 6 to 8 weeks. If you have a trusted groomer, great but many groomers can be abusive or , at the end of the day, get annoyed as it is back breaking work. I take my dogs to a groomer where everything is visible, the dog isn't whisked back into the hidden depths of the back where who knows what is going on. Get referrals, and when you decide on a groomer show up earlier to see how dogs are being treated.
If you are reading my blog I assume you have small dogs, or extra small because none of my dogs are over 8 lbs. so they use Xsmall harnesses; I do not use collars because they tend to mat my dogs' hair. However, if you want your puppy to wear a collar with his tag, that is fine but check frequently, while your puppy is growing that the collar isn't too tight.
I begin potty training my puppies at 4 weeks of age. I use pee pads and take them out with Mum up to 6 times a day and tell them "pee". You can use whatever word you want but keep it short and consistant. Obviously, puppies need to go out more often than adult dogs and small breeds need to go out more than bigger dogs. If your puppy soils somewhere that is forbidden DO NOT SCREAM NOR HIT your dog. That is abuse. My mother used to use a rolled newspaper but by the time she had the newspaper and banged it on the floor next to the dog, he had no idea why this was happening. You can only say NO if you catch him/her in the act, not a second after. Otherwise they don't associate the NO with what they have done. With time, your puppy will learn where he/she should go and you will know when he/she needs to go out. I feed my dogs twice a day. Puppies 3 times a day as tiny dogs can go hypoglycemic very quickly. I do not believe in leaving the food down so they can "graze". I put the food down for 15 minutes and then pick it up and wait 15 to 20 minutes, then I take the dog out as I know he will need to evacuate. Dogs intestines are quite short so they eat and poop pretty quickly.
One last thing, do not pet your dog if he/she is doing something that will become an annoyance. For example, I see people petting their dogs while the latter are whining because of a storm or thunder. Well you are rewarding this behaviour! Ignore the whining. If the dog is really terrified, put him in his little home or a closet with his bed and favourite toy. And remember, whatever you feel, goes right down the lead and the dog is a highly intuitive, intelligent being. Never underestimate them and love them forever.