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hominid's avatar

What do I need to know to prepare for the arrival of a puppy?

Asked by hominid (7337points) May 15th, 2014

We’re bringing a puppy home in 3 weeks. My wife and I raised a puppy 20 years ago, but we’re going to need to brush up on our knowledge and make sure the whole family is consistent with our approach.

Are there any philosophies or approaches that you find are better than others? Books? Is there a youtube instructional series that you find invaluable?

I’m looking for the basics: crate training, peeing/pooing outside, etc.

Note: It’s a mini labradoodle, and she’ll be 8 weeks old when we get her. Don’t laugh. I have allergies, and this is what my wife came up with.

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21 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

How big is she and how big will she get?

hominid's avatar

She’ll be tiny when we get her (at 8 weeks), but she’ll grow to around 25lbs.

The last puppy my wife and I raised was a 100lb rottweiler/lab mix.

CWOTUS's avatar

You’ll probably want to know that your newspaper carrier is reliable and that you have daily delivery.

gailcalled's avatar

I have no advice but love looking at and learning about other people’s cute small dogs. These guys look adorable. She may help with your insomnia…a heating pad and petting machine all rolled into one (also better than b/p meds).

I am going to meet and greet the 8-month old Norwich terrier pup tomorrow, owned by my neighbors. I’ll ask them. So far, I know that there have been lots of accidents but the dog is so adorable that no one cares, for now at least. The doggie weighs about 8 lbs.] and will grow only to 15 lbs.(smaller poop, I guess.)

Crazydawg's avatar

I found the How-to’s at to be pretty helpful when we got our first dog.

canidmajor's avatar

Aside from the stupid name, this should be a great dog. Both poodles and labs are high quality breeds for intelligence, trainability, and loyalty, coupled with hybrid vigor. Labradoodles are new enough that they haven’t developed breed-specific medical issues. In other words, don’t take no crap! ;-)

Crate training: I have had great success with giving the puppy a teeny tiny treat every time she goes into the crate. Every time. All of you take turns rubbing a soft toy on yourselves (maybe under your arms) for her to sleep with, that toy stays in the crate. It’s comforting. The crate is her safe place, no yelling when she’s in there.

Dog school is wonderful for socialization, if the whole family can go, that helps.

Almost any puppy guide will help with the basics, Puppies For Dummies helped refresh my memory the last time around.

Enforce “no bites” consistently. I also, in the beginning, gently take kibble out of the puppy’s mouth a few times, to enforce the idea that you are absolutely in charge.

Don’t throw the puppy out of the car window at 65 miles an hour on the freeway when she throws up and poops in the car. You will get arrested and your kids will hate you. ;-)

Have fun!

hominid's avatar

Additionally, any suggestions for ticks? They are a huge problem in my area, and we spend a lot of time outside. The addition of the dog seems to increase the likelihood of ticks (deer ticks and the associated Lyme disease). I have to check the kids often, and we’re usually monitoring at least one tick bite for weeks after to watch for the bulls eye rash.

GloPro's avatar

Flea and tick collars are not for dogs under 12 weeks. Usually a dog wash place won’t take dogs until 12 weeks, either, because of vaccinations.

All puppies are born with worms. They come from the mother. It has nothing to do with the cleanliness of the breeder or the health of the mom/pups. Just make sure you are giving dewormer according to vet suggestions until the poop is free of eggs or worm evidence.

I agree with enforcing a no biting human skin rule right out of the gate. I also agree that you should put your hand in your dog’s bowl while she’s eating until she learns that she doesn’t need to protect food or show food aggressiveness.

Her little bladder cannot take the crate overnight just yet. Plan to get up every 2 or 3 hours for at least two weeks. Always take her to the same spot on the lawn, use a buzzword, take her right back in. Cuddle for a minute, then back into the crate. Repeat way more often than you want to. Being lazy or inconsistent with potty training just drags it out. Don’t even acknowledge inside mistakes unless you catch her in the act, then scoop her up mid-stream and run for that spot in the grass. She’ll get it.

Oda is now 13 weeks. I’m in the same boat. The first couple of weeks were exhausting.

OpryLeigh's avatar

Don’t get sucked into the whole ‘dominance’ bollocks. Your dog is not a wolf and is not constantly trying to establish himself as ‘top dog’. Many of the behaviours that we once thought were dominance related are, in fact not, and can usually be put down to over excitement, frustration or anxiety.

chyna's avatar

I personally do not agree with the pee pads. I feel it just teaches the puppy to pee in the house.
Take the puppy outside after eating and drinking and many times during the day. Then praise, praise, praise and give it a little kibble each time the puppy potty’s outside.
Post a picture when you get the puppy.
Congrats on your new addition!

longgone's avatar

Listen to @Leanne1986, and just forget about the term “dominance”. Literature now calls that severely outdated theory “the dominance fallacy”, but it’s hard not to get sucked in by what seems like such a simple concept.

I second @GloPro‘s house training advice and @canidmajor‘s recommending (good) puppy classes.

I don’t agree with taking away her food…you have children. You’ll want to teach that dog one very important lesson: humans touching her toys, bones and bowl are good news – always. Taking away something she likes would create the opposite scenario. Best case – you happen to have found a mellow dog, and all will go well. Worst case – dog realizes she is stronger than the children, and decides to protect what’s hers before someone grabs it.

So, to be safe, I would teach her that humans somehow always have an even yummier treat. Puppy is eating kibble – you drop a piece of cheese in her bowl. Puppy is gnawing on rawhide – one of the kids comes up and hands her a piece of liver. To prevent even the first hints of resource guarding, many trainers advise to not use food bowls for the first few weeks. Instead, they recommend hand-feeding. You’ll have to decide whether you want to go that far, it is not a pleasant experience.

As to books… I’m saying it again, even though, by now, it must seem as if I’m making money off it: Patricia McConnell. She has written several fantastic books. “The Puppy Primer” is a program especially for young dogs, which should be interesting. I haven’t read that one, but I have read the “Primer” for adult dogs, which was extremely helpful. My link should take you to Patricia’s “reading room”, which is an online database of articles of hers. You can find all kinds of information there, for free. Crate training and house training should be somewhere around. If you want to get into your dog’s mind and learn how to communicate effectively, I recommend “The other End of the Leash” (McConnell), or “Inside of a Dog” by Alexandra Horowitz.

mazingerz88's avatar

Prepare for a lot of cute. :)

hominid's avatar

Thanks everyone!

josie's avatar

In my perhaps valueless opinion, if you have to ask the question, you may not be ready for the responsibility of raising a good dog. There are very few bad dogs. Only poorly trained dogs.

hominid's avatar

^ I raised a puppy from 7 weeks to 12 years old. It was a 100lb rottweiler mix, and I read 3 books, took puppy kindergarten classes, and hired a professional trainer to come to the house on a regular basis. I’m asking because…

- partly because it’s been a long time
– partly because my wife has been the one doing the research this time around
– I thought I might tap the collective to get some insight on what new methods are popular and what have gone out of favor (Monks of New Skete, etc).
– I am a parent of 3 kids, and everything I do regarding parenting is done with serious intention and research. I plan on taking the same approach with this puppy.
– I know specific approaches/methods that we plan on using to raise this puppy, but it never hurts to reach out to make sure there is nothing new/different that I should consider.
– Fluther is just one resource that I am tapping regarding this issue. I am in contact with local breeders, trainers, and dog owners.

It would go against everything that I am about to just buy a puppy. In my “humble” opinion, anyone who adopts a puppy without asking questions probably shouldn’t own a dog. I’m suspicious of certainty.

wildpotato's avatar

In addition to the above: even though she is small, teach her 1) not to jump up and 2) to heel, or at least to walk without pulling. I often see people walking their little dogs who strain at the end of the leash constantly and even lean sideways into it while walking at a 45 degree angle. This has always struck me as both a bad idea for safety (crossing the road or walking next to the road, or if a bicycle goes by, for just a few examples) and for doggie etiquette. I taught my dog to heel using the Silly Rectangle technique in this excellent book, which is unfortunately now out of print. Basically: with your dog on the leash, position her on your left side and hold the leash in your right hand, so the strap crosses your body but is not taut. Then tell her “heel” and walk in a rectangle with her, keeping her on the outside of the circuit. The idea is that as you turn the corner and the dog (initially) doesn’t, the leash tightens up across your body and pulls the dog’s head around to corner with you. It worked really well with my dog, so that now she’ll even heel off-leash.

Regarding ticks – If you are in a heavy tick area, get her the Lyme vaccine. Frontline is your friend, but it won’t keep all of them off. Your dog probably has a single-layer coat, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find them. I find they mostly attach at the armpits and around the neck and ruff, especially under the collar. I remove my dog’s collar at night and feel her all over, especially at these trouble areas. This is usually enough to suffice here in Massachusetts, which is a tick hotspot. However, back in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and one time hiking on the AT in New Jersey, there were so many ticks she would get 20–50 every damn time we went into the woods. Our solution was this incredibly toxic tick spray for horses from Tractor Supply – we’d spray her, being very careful of her face, and not touch her at all while we were out. Then after we got back from hiking we’d wash the spray off with Dr. Bronner’s and then comb through her coat, removing dozens of dead ticks. It was a major process, and she still got Lyme. We are getting guinea fowl this summer just to keep the ticks down – well, and because they’re pretty cool.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I learned with my last dog something I consider important. If you never give the dog human food, it will never beg.

Enjoy the unconditional love.

janbb's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Yes, I never gave Frodo human food and he didn’t beg or hang around me while I ate dinner.

As far as the crate goes, you may also want to put the pup in for “down time” at times so that it is a calming place for them to be. If s/he is very excitable, you can partially cover it with a blanket to reduce stimulation.

And the thrust of most modern training is on positive rewarding rather than scolding or disciplining. Also, if you can, read up on body language and behavior so you know what the dog is reacting to.

hearkat's avatar

Frontline no longer works on our cats, the fleas and ticks are resistant. Our vet switched us to Activyl (available for dogs and cats), and we’re on our third month. I apply it the first weekend of the month, so some months are 5 weeks between applications. The day before I was going to apply it, there was a huge tick right in the middle of my boy’s chin (thankfully, they seem to hang out in the white fur, not the black). I thought the adult ticks would be dead now, so I was surprised to see it. Needless to say, I’m a bit skeptical of the Activyl, even though it’s definitely better than the Frontline.

janbb's avatar

My vet had me apply Parastar once a month and I didn’t have a tick or flea problem with either of my dogs. Had to remove one or two from Prince but that was all.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Don’t spoil it too much and allow certain things. I fell victim to her cuteness and those begging eyes and let her share my bed on the first night for a few hours. What a mistake, since then there is NO way I can be in a bed or a sofa without her glued to me. I love her but at times it can get too much. Same goes for food begging, you give in once and the dog doesn’ t let you ever eat in peace again. Don’t spoil it in any way that will frustrate you later. Enjoy your valuable friend. Mine is as spoilt as a rotten egg but still a friend for life.

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