New Puppy Care
Your First Few Days
The first few days that you spend with your puppy will be a time of separation and bonding for him. He will be getting used to the idea of being away from his litter mates and at the same time will bond with you. Don’t be surprised if he howls or whines during this time. Continue to be loving, assertive and above all, calm. You and your family will become his new “pack”. Between 8 and 10 weeks of age is the idea time for bonding to take place, although it can happen at any age. Your puppy will look to you for how he should behave, so if you’re calm, he’ll be calm. If you are excited, he’ll be excited. Dogs are very adaptable and will love unconditionally, provided they have not had negative experiences in their lives.
Your puppy’s training begins the minute you receive him. Everything you do now will either be positive or negative training. You will need to decide what habits you want him to have as an adult, and make the necessary changes now before they become habits. For example, do you want your dog as an adult jumping up on you or up on the furniture? If you allow your cute little puppy to do this now, you can be sure that he will continue this behavior as an adult. It is a lot easier to teach a puppy good habits than it is to break him of a bad one. How do you feel about him sleeping in bed with you when he’s an adult? Would you want him to bit and chew on your fingers and clothes? Do you want him to bark when people come over? These are some things that you should be thinking about in the next few days, as everything that you do with your new puppy will impact how he behaves as an adult. To correct bad behavior, firmly say “no” and turn his attention to something else. The tone of your voice will go a long way in teaching him whether you are happy with him or not. Be a consistent, calm pack leader and it won’t take long for him to understand what you want.
Who’s The Boss?
From day one, when you first get your puppy, you will need to establish who is in charge, who is the pack leader. There are a few things that you can do to establish yourself as pack leader.
The first is when you have been gone from the puppy and you enter the room, chances are he will run up to you and maybe even jump up on you. From the beginning, I don’t allow jumping, as I don’t like this behavior. If the puppy jumps up, I simply lift up my foot, so that he meets with a foot to the nose. I use the word “off”, it will help to teach him not to jump up on you, other people, doors, gates, etc.
Secondly, when he runs up to you, don’t give him attention right away. As hard as it is to ignore him (don’t look at him, speak to him, or touch him) for a few minutes, then once he’s settled down, call him and have him sit in front of you, then give him lots of love and attention, being sure not to use an excited voice, as this will excite him all over again. I never pet puppy until he sits.
The third thing you can do involves meal time. Fill his dish with food (while he is watching you) set it on the counter, then get yourself a snack and eat it while he’s watching you (the leader of the pack always eats first). All members of your family should eat a small snack while your puppy watches and waits. I don’t recommend that you ever feed your dog “table food”, or allowing begging while you are eating. I either ignore my dogs while I’m eating, or have them lay in a different room, until we’re done. Here again, ask yourself how you want your dog to behave when he is an adult, and what do you want to live with for the next 10 plus years.
Potty Training and Using a Crate
Once you get home with your puppy, before you take him in the house, take him out to go potty in the spot you want him to use from now on. If you continue to take him to the same spot and say “go potty”, he will quickly learn that this is where you want him to go. When he has gone, give him lots of praise and say something like “good job”, or “good dog”. Once the puppy does his business, you may want to leave a stool there, as he will be more apt to go in the same area again.
Don’t take the puppy in the house until he has gone potty outside! Puppies usually will need to pee every 30 to 60 minutes, so anticipate this and take him out before it happens in your house. If you see your puppy sniffing around, pick him up and take him right out. When your puppy wakes up, and/or has just finished eating, after playing, are also times you will need to take him right out. Make sure you stay out long enough, as many people will give up and go inside just in time for him to relieve himself on your floor. I don’t let my puppies have full run of the house until they are potty trained. Then I gradually give them a little area, as they gain more control and can go longer between potty stops. If you are not able to watch your puppy, place him in a smaller area (your kitchen, dog fenced area, a playpen, etc).
A crate will really help you in this potty training process, if you stick with it. Your puppy will whine and cry the first few times you put him in the crate, but don’t give in! Dogs are “den” animals and the crate will become a place of safety and comfort. Begin by putting your puppy in the crate after he has gone potty, has played, and is tired. Include a stuffed animal, blanket and a chew toy. Pet him and tell him what a good dog he is, then close the door and walk away. Leave him for about 1 hour the first time around and don’t give in to whining, crying, howling, etc. This will pay off later and you’ll be glad that you persevered! At first don’t expect more than a few hours at a time without a potty break, but eventually he will be able to hold it all night- 7 or 8 hours. If you use the crate at night, then limit the amount of time during the day that he’s in the crate. If you work, consider setting up a larger area for the daytime hours (x-pen set-up), or check into doggy daycare.
Feeding Your New Puppy
Your puppy is used to eating with his litter mates. Having company at meal time does make for some competition and finishing meals faster. Due to all the excitement of a new family and new home, puppy may be a little slow or not show a lot of interest in eating the first day. If he doesn’t want to eat, try mixing a tablespoon of chicken baby food on top of his dry kibble to entice him to eat. With the puppy food that we are feeding at this time, your puppy is only eating about 1/2 cup of dry food at a meal.
We normally feed the puppies a moistened food until they are 7 weeks old, and then we switch to dry food. The puppies are fed twice a day, once of the morning and again in the evening. We recommend that you keep your puppy/dog in ideal body condition. Don’t allow him to get over weight. Over weight Schnauzers can cause some health problems, such as pancreatitis and diabetes. The exact amount of food your dog will require will need to be adjusted according to age and how active he is.
In your puppy pack that we send home with your new puppy, you will find a small bag of the current puppy food that your new puppy is on. It should be enough food to transition your puppy over to whatever puppy food that you choose to feed, if you decide to switch brands of puppy food.
Instructions for Transitioning to New Puppy Food
We recommend at least a 7 day transition before you begin feeding the new brand of food by itself.
Start by mixing 75% of the old puppy food with 25% of the new puppy food on Day 1 and Day 2 of the transition. On Day 3 and Day 4, mix 50% of the old food with 50% of the new food. On Day 5 and Day 6, mix 25% of the old food with 75% of the new food. On Day 7, you can feed the new food exclusively. This allows your puppy’s digestive system to smoothly adapt to the new food.
Diarrhea in Puppies
Diarrhea and loose stools are common in puppies. It can be caused by a lot of different things, from something simple to something serious. Prevention is the best way to avoid and control diarrhea. It is not unusual for a puppy to get “stress diarrhea” when they go to their new home. Making sure there are no other factors contributing to the stress will help clear up the diarrhea fast. Here is a few good precautionary measures:
- Keep feeding the puppy the same type of food he is used to eating, if possible. Make any food changes slowly.
- Feed 2 to 3 small, regular meals. Establishing a feeding schedule will help with potty training also.
- Puppies are like babies; they will pick up anything they find on the floor, or the ground and chew on it. Watch him and try to prevent him from eating any foreign food or objects (pine cones, dirt, leaves, cat food, people food, wood chips, socks, cat poop, etc)
- Feed only puppy food, and use it for treats also, until your puppy is settled in and then introduce just one new treat at a time.
- Don’t give him any rawhide, ever! It can gum up in their system and cause problems (like obstruction that may require surgery).
- Provide fresh drinking water daily. Eliminate all other water sources (toilet water, standing water in old containers outside).
How to Treat Diarrhea
If your puppy gets diarrhea, even after you have done all the preventive measures that I have recommended, there are several steps you can take, before taking him to the vet.
- Give your puppy some Greek plain, non-fat yogurt and plain, raw pumpkin. They will usually lick it right off of the spoon, or you can mix it in their food.
- Buy some pepto bismol, immodium, or kaopectate. Make sure it does not contain aspirin in it. Give your puppy a small dose after each loose stool for a few days.
- Feed your puppy a bland diet of boiled white rice, a little boiled chicken, scrambled egg, pumpkin and plain yogurt.
- Make sure your puppy is drinking plenty of fresh, clean water. Check his hydration by feeling his gums. They should be moist, not tacky. You can offer chicken broth, if he’s not drinking water.
- Take a stool sample to the vet and ask them to check for parasites and bacteria. They should be able to do this without your puppy going in for an office visit.