CARING FOR YOUR PUPPY
We are happy for any-one to print off this advice sheet. If you are supplying it to some-one else, we would appreciate acknowledgement of our website http://www.caninefunsports.com.au
SOCIALISATION, PUPPIES AND CHILDREN, FEEDING, VACCINATIONS, WORMING, HEARTWORM PREVENTION, MICRO-CHIPPING, DESEXING, DENTAL CARE, FLEAS, TICKS, HOUSE TRAINING, HOME ALONE TRAINING, GROOMING, SOME DO’s and DONT’s
Bringing a new puppy home is a big deal. Two things you can be sure of. Firstly, it will not be all smooth sailing – there will be some mess to clean up, some of your belongings will be destroyed at some stage (unless you are never careless about where you take your socks off!), and there will probably be a few holes dug in the back yard. But at those times, you must remember the second certainty – there will be a lot of fun and a close bond that will build up between you and your puppy. And that second fact always outweighs the first – by miles.
Remember, if you are well prepared, there will be fewer problems and a lot more fun.
- Food and water bowls.
- Collar and lead – remember that first collars and leads usually get chewed up or outgrown so it might be a good idea to make the first one a cheap one.
- A crate, or other confined area for him to sleep in. A small crate will be fine at first, but you may find in the future that having a crate large enough for your adult dog is also useful. Therefore, it may be better to get one that will be big enough for when your pup is fully grown. An escape proof “play pen” can also be used.
- Tug toys, soft toys and food dispensing toys (such as kongs and treat balls.)
- A training plan that involves positive reinforcement training.
- A copy of “Culture Clash” written by Jean Donaldson. This is absolutely the best book to help you understand training your puppy. Ot you can checkout this ling for her very detailed training videohttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAFw2Pb_Mb8Other recommended early reading (free downloads from the internet) are:
This one is in purple because it is important!
Socialise your puppy well. Take him out to as many places as possible, and have him meet as many people as possible right from when you get him. Let him meet adults, children, babies in prams, seniors on walking sticks and as many unusual places as possible, while he is still very young. This is important in having a well adjusted puppy. Remember that your pup is not fully protected against some nasty diseases until after his last vaccination, and some vets will recommend that you do not take him out until he has had those vaccinations. Our recommendation, however, is that socialisation at 6 to 10 weeks of age is also of critical importance. Do not take your puppy anywhere that has a lot of dog droppings around, or where there might have been unvaccinated dogs. But do take him out to as many other places as possible. One great way to socialise puppies, is to take your puppy for a walk at the local primary school at about the time the kids go home. Every kid will want to have a pat. Supervise the interaction and be sure that your puppy is enjoying the experience. Some pups can become a little overwhelmed.
We have already started your puppy’s socialisation program. We play thunder tapes to reduce the chance of your puppy being frightened of thunder. We play with our puppies every day – as a group and individually (this is a tough part of our job!) And we give them as many new experiences as possible – meeting new people, having new things happen around them and taking them on exploration expeditions around our property. We cannot over-emphasise the importance of this need to socialise your puppy when he is young.
Puppies and children get on very well together. Kids and puppies play games well together, and puppies just love kids because they are great food dispensers. But some things that kids like to do, puppies do not like to have done to them. Most puppies do not like to be poked and prodded, or have food taken away. And children do not have the right to do unpleasant things to dogs, even if they do not mean them to be unpleasant. Some of the less obvious things that a lot of dogs do not like include: to be hugged, dressed up, picked up or sat upon. In this picture the pup does not look exactly comfortable – but the pup chose this position and is not being held in any way. And our young friend is just giggling at a clumsy up-side-down puppy. They are having a great time together and the pup soon wriggle himself right-way-up.
We do let a lot of kids play with our pups. They are socialised well, and will put up with a lot from kids. But if it is something the dog does not like, then the dog should not have to put up with it. So we have to teach our kids how to play with pups, and sometimes that even means that the child must learn to let the dog leave the game.
Most dogs do like running with kids, chasing balls and toys with kids, learning tricks and, when they are tired, they love to curl up with their kids (but rarely do they like to be hugged.) They enjoy being stroked or to have an ear rubbed, but they generally do not like being patted on top of the head.
Remember, when kids and dogs play together they should always be supervised, not only to be sure the dog does not damage the child, but also to be sure that both the child and the dog are enjoying the time.
If you have children please take a little bit of time to watch this video.
A balanced diet is extremely important so that a puppy can develop into a healthy dog. This is easy because the pet food companies have done all the hard work in preparing diets that are nutritionally correct. A diet based on the reputable brands of dried dog food has everything that a puppy needs. There are also some moist foods that are fully balanced diets. A dash of Essential Fatty Acid supplement (e.g. Megaderm, Fish Oil Capsules or Omega 3) will make the coat shiny. Goats milk yoghurt can prevent an upset tummy when the pup’s environment changes. Table scraps can be added but not in excess and no sugary foods.
We recommend Ivory Coat or any premium, grain free dry dog food. Look up this website to see which foods rate 5 stars. Tucker Time (with added digestive enzymes.) and the prime100 brand sausages, available at most pet shops, are fully balanced dies. Puppies are less likely to have diarrhoea or skin problems on these diets. And, no, we do not get sponsored by these companies.
This balanced diet should make up at least 80% of the puppy’s diet, and 20% can be table scraps, extra vegies and our dogs even get the peelings from the carrots and outside lettuce leaves! If fresh meat (raw or cooked) is given, then the correct calcium supplement must also be given (just ask us). But you risk throwing out the calcium balance of an already balanced diet. It is easy to give too much or not enough calcium. Plenty of sunshine is also needed for good bone growth.
Raw meaty bones, pig’s ears or rawhide chews should be given two or three times a week to keep the teeth healthy. But remember that greedy puppies can choke on things like chicken wings. Your puppy should be supervised when he is given bones. Very large bones should only be left with the dog for a couple of hours – just long enough to chew off the cartilage ends. Once the dog starts crunching into the harder bone, they can crack their back teeth.
Ensure that fresh clean water is always available.
Puppies need protection from 3 potentially fatal diseases: distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. A vaccination against Parainfluenza & Bordetella (kennel cough) is also recommended. Puppies get their first protection against disease from their mother’s first milk. They need a series of injections as this wears off. Our puppies are vaccinated at 6 weeks using a 3 in 1 vaccine. Their next vaccinations that are due:
12 weeks………………….2nd vaccination using a 5 in 1 vaccine
16 weeks………………….3rd vaccination using a 5 in 1 vaccine
A pup is not fully protected until two weeks after his final vaccination. Although it is important to take your puppy out to learn about the big wide world, be sensible and do not let him near places where a lot of dogs may have been.
An annual boosters are needed to maintain immunity.
Worms in puppies can cause ill thrift, enteritis, anaemia and occasionally can even cause death. Children who come in contact with droppings of worm infested puppies may develop conjunctivitis and other problems. IF A PUPPY IS WORMED REGULARLY NONE OF THESE PROBLEMS WILL OCCUR. Our puppies are wormed every two weeks and this should continue until 12 weeks of age. We use Interceptor at 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 12 weeks, so that puppies are also covered for heartworm protection. And we use Canex Multispectrum, Drontal or a similar product at 2, 6 and 10 weeks of age. Talk to your vet about their recommendations.
Heartworm is a frequently fatal but easily preventable disease of dogs. The presence of adult heartworm causes problems with blood circulation. The first sign is exercise intolerance and a slight cough. The onset of disease is very insidious and by the time signs are seen a lot of damage has already been done to the heart. Eventually the dog will die with congestive heart failure. The incidence of heartworm disease in Sydney is quite high and prevention is better (safer and cheaper) than the cure.
We recommend once a month heartworm prevention tablets. There are several brands and some are combined with worming, flea and tick control. Once again, talk to your vet about what product best suits your situation.
Your puppy had his first Heart Worm Protection / worming tablets (Milbemax) at 4 weeks of age which will cover the pup from birth. Check your vaccination certificate to see when the next one is due. Purchase monthly HWP tablets from your vet when your puppy has his vaccination at 12 weeks of age.
The heartworm parasite is actually transferred by the mosquito. So keeping mosquitoes away from your pup is also an important part of prevention. It is a complex disease so do not hesitate to ask if you have questions
We microchip all our puppies (which is a requirement of law in NSW.) When you pick up your puppy, you will be provided with paperwork which you should take to your local council to have your pup registered on the government registry. This is compulsory, and should be done by the time the puppy is six months of age. Registration with your council is less expensive if your puppy is desexed.
If you do not plan to have a litter with your puppy, we would encourage you to have him or her desexed. There are very good health reasons to have this done. Desexing is best done at 6 to 8 months of age but it is also a very safe procedure for older dogs.
Females: Bitches are usually spayed to save the owner having to look after a litter of unwanted puppies. Puppies, although cute, take a lot of time, patience and expense to care for properly. There are also good medical reasons to have a female dog desexed:
i) There is no possibility of unwanted pregnancies, difficult births or Caesareans
ii) You eliminate the risk of the bitch developing a uterine infection technical name is pyometron, or pus filled uterus). These infections occur quite commonly in older bitches and can make them very, very sick. This problem is life threatening and may require emergency surgery. Desexing eliminates this possibility because the uterus is removed.
iii) The incidence of mammary cancer is much lower in desexed bitches, especially if they are desexed before they first come into season.
If you do decide to have puppies with your female puppy, then please contact us for advice. We are more than happy to help information about health checks that should be done before breeding, and we can help with stud dog selection and help at the time of whelping.
It is best to have your girl desexed when she has had her first season. The sex hormones are responsible for closure of growth plates, and early desexing may mean the dog grows taller, but also that the bones may grow unevenly.
Males: Dogs are usually castrated for behavioural reasons, e.g. if they roam, if they often get into dog fights or if other dogs at the dog park try to “pick fights” with them. It is questionalbe whether desexing actually helps these problems. Desexing a male dog does prevent a number of “old age problems” such as prostate problems, testicular cancer, anal gland tumours and certain types of hernias.
It is best to be sure your dog is fully grown before he is desexed. I would even wait until he is 2 to 3 years of age unless the are issues with behaviour.
NOTE: a lot of behaviour problems are blamed on testosterone which can often be better handled with good training. Desexing is not a “blanket cure” for ill-mannered young male dogs.
Dogs are living longer so that their teeth have to last longer. Full dental care includes regular brushing with doggy toothbrushes and paste, regular dental check-ups with scaling and polishing (remember an annual check up for a dog is the same as once every seven years for humans) and regular raw bones to chew. Chicken wings are great, so long as your puppy chews them properly. Some puppies and dogs will try to swallow them whole, and it can cause choking. Meaty brisket bones and the cartilage ends of shin bones for older dogs. Do not leave the large shin bones with your dog for too long. Once they have chewed off the cartilage ends, throw them in the bin. Chewing into the hard bone can fracture the teeth. Also, keep in mind that some dogs get constipation if given bones. We like to give our own dogs rawhide dog chews and pig’s or cow’s ears. They make excellent “toothbrushes.” In nature, the action of chewing through the hide of prey probably did as much for cleaning teeth as chewing on the bones. But try to ensure you get Australian products. Overseas products have been associated with higher pesticide levels and other toxins.
Remember, prevention is better than cure. Extracted teeth do not grow back.
Fleas can irritate dogs and their owners. Fleas carry one type of tape worm tapeworm. Fleas can cause severe skin problems, the itching causes self trauma that will leave a dog red raw and bleeding. The best way to stop these skin problems is to prevent your dog becoming sensitised to fleas. That means keep the fleas off your dog right from puppyhood. It is possible to totally control fleas, but they must be attacked from two direction. We must kill the adult fleas and products such as Frontline, Revolution, Advantage or Permoxin do this very well. AND we must eliminate flea eggs from the environment. For this we recommend applications containing methoprene found in Frontline Plus or the use of the drug Lufenuron, either in Program or Sentinel which is “birth control” for fleas. The fleas do not produce fertile eggs. There are many new products around – too many to keep up to date with them all! All these products are extremely safe for puppies.
Ticks are potentially fatal- they can paralyse a dog including the breathing muscles so that the dog will suffocate. Ticks are common in quite a few areas of Australia. Permoxin, Advantix and Frontline (also used against fleas) are recommended for tick control. There are more recent, improved products, too. So check with your vet whether ticks are a problem in your area. We prefer to avoid the potentially toxic organophosphate insecticides used in tick collars, certain rinses and tablets. If you live in a tick area you must check your dog every day.
Success depends on your vigilance.
- Select a spot in the garden that will be his toilet.
- As soon as the pup wakes up, has a drink, has been playing or appears restless take him to his toilet. When he goes to the toilet, give him a treat and praise him extravagantly.
- If he makes a mistake in the house and you catch him in the act – pick him up before he finishes, saying “WHOOPS !”, and take him out to his spot. When he finishes going to the toilet praise him extravagantly and give him a treat. Next time take him out earlier – before he needs to go.
- Remember! You cannot do a thing if you do not catch the puppy in the act. Just clean away the mess. Scolding him after the act, or rubbing his nose in it just makes him think he should not go near the mess after it has been put there. He cannot think back to when he put the mess there!
- Always make sure your pup has access to his toilet area or that you are watching. When you are not watching him, put him in his crate or play pen where he has an alternative place where he is allowed to go to the toilet. Too often mistakes occur when the pup has tried to do the right thing and you are distracted.
- Remember that puppies develop a ‘preferred surface’ to go to the toilet. If they are used to going to the toilet on grass, and grass is not available, then they will find the surface that feels most like grass (often the carpet). We raise our puppies so that their preferred surface is grass, so toilet training may be easier if the puppies always have access to a grassy area. If your puppy must be left inside, for example, shut in the bathroom, then housetraining may be more successful if you get a metre square of turf and mount it on some masonite. That can be the puppy’s toilet when he is shut in the bathroom. You can use newspaper, instead, but then it may be more difficult to swap him onto the grass outside.
- Success depends on how many mistakes you make. If you are watchful your puppy will learn quickly.
HOME ALONE TRAINING AND CRATE TRAINING:
German Shorthaired Pointers love people, and they can become very attached to their family, to the point that they do not like to be left alone. You need to train your puppy at an early age that sometimes he must be alone. We start to teach them to enjoy being in a crate.
At home on the first night, your puppy should sleep in a crate, or a similar confined area. It is often a good idea to have it close to the bed – he is likely to do some complaining. Give the puppy his soft toy, something to chew on like half a pig’s ear and maybe a hot water bottle. We give our owners a soft toy that has the smell of his litter mates – this will help them settle down. If they cry, you can reassure them that you are close. If the pup is getting too stressed then open the crate and reassure them, but it is usually enough to put your fingers through the crate door and let them chew on your fingers. They usually find this soothing and fall asleep.Over the next few nights, gradually move the crate further from the bed – to the end of the bed, to inside the bedroom door, to just outside to the door, then eventually to where you want the puppy to sleep.
The puppy will learn that the crate is a quiet place to rest. To make him like his crate, you can feed him in it, or give him his pig’s ear to chew while he is in there. Initially you will have the door open, then gradually start to close it for longer periods. Crate training is a very useful tool to use in later lessons. If he misbehaves, he can be put in his crate – it is not a punishment, but all privileges are removed – like sending a naughty child to their room. Crate training is also a useful tool to use during toilet training.
When you need to go out, be sure to make it is a good experience. Hide toys around the yard for him to find. Give him a kong (a type of rubber toy) stuffed with food. Prepare a kong to last for longer by stuffing it with moist food then putting it in the freezer. This will take time to thaw so it will keep a puppy entertained for a couple of hours. Treat balls can be purchased – the pup learns to roll these around and it dispensed the food gradually. We use treat balls to feed the pups their lunch. They think it is a great game.
You can purchase food dispensing toys such as this one that is keeping Fenrik Super Hero amused: https://youtu.be/FKQac_SBnb0
Choose one with bits that move, but do not come apart. Otherwise the pup may chew on the wrong thing.
Toys do not need to be expensive (since they will probably be destroyed). Smear peanut butter on the inside of a cardboard box (an old pizza box) and close it up so it is a challenge for the pup to first break into the box. Cut a hole in a plastic milk container and put some dry food in it so bits of food escape gradually as the pup rolls the container around. Hide bits of food in different spots in the garden.
When you come home each day act calmly for the first 10 minutes. I know you want to play, but if he learns that your home coming is a big deal, he will fret for your return. Greet the pup calmly, talking softly and stroking the dog calmly when you get home.
GROOMING A German Shorthaired Pointer:
Brushing will keep your dog’s coat healthy. Bathing should be kept to a minimum (at most once a month) and a reputable dog shampoo should be used. Frequent bathing washes too much oil from the coat. Nails should be clipped or filed regularly but do not take a lot off at each clipping – be careful of the cuticle. Ears should be kept clean and will need attention especially after baths or swimming. Teeth should be cleaned regularly.
Most of our dogs have never been bathed in their life. They swim in the dam or the ocean regularly, but have never been shampooed. It just is not needed with their easy maintenance short coat.
SOME DO’s and DON’T’s
DO NOT let your dog wander the streets. He may be lost, hit by a car or annoy neighbours.
DO give your puppy regular exercise – not too much at first, but gradually build it up. Free running at the park or beach is the best exercise to keep fit. And all our puppies love the water at the beach and dam. But when you take your puppy out, take a plastic bag or pooper scooper with you. We’ve all trodden in dog poo some time in our life and it is a problem that is easily prevented!
DO not let you puppy be overweight. Puppy fat is just extra strain on developing joint cartilage. He should have a waist and you should be able to feel his ribs – not so skinny that his ribs are obviously poking out, but you should be able to see his last couple of ribs when he is standing comfortably
DO teach him some basic obedience lessons or have him trained. Puppy classes at your vet and local dog training clubs are available – just ask us where. It is important to choose a training class that uses positive methods in their training. Contact us if you want any recommendations. On our links page you will find some trainers that we recommend. Training as a puppy saves a lot of stress while the puppy is growing up. Teaching tricks creates a fun bond with your pup.
DO take your puppy to puppy classes (most vets hold puppy classes.) These classes are not just for you to learn some basic training, but also help your puppy learn how to react when he is with other dogs. It also teaches your dog that the vet is a fun place to be.
DO have your dog wear identification with his name and how to contact you. Also include your vet’sphone number, just in case he is injured. He is also microchipped.
DO have your dog’s microchip number registered with the council.
DO enjoy your puppy and have lots of fun with him. That part is easy!