Choose a dry food intended specifically for puppies, avoiding generic
foods, corn-based or corn-meal as the first couple of ingredients and
those that sell for unusually low prices. We suggest brand name puppy
food because it is impossible to distinguish good dog food from poor dog
food simply by looking at the ingredient list on the label. Many things
that owners look for, such as high protein levels and extra vitamins,
are more likely to be harmful than helpful. For example, overfeeding and
over supplementation are factors contributing to hip dysplasia and
often to feed
Offer food to young puppies three times a day. If your puppy isn't
hungry that often, reduce the frequency. At twelve weeks of age, feed
twice a day. Even adult dogs should have their food split into morning
and evening feedings. When fed once a day dogs become overly hungry and
are more likely to overeat at mealtime. Ask your breeder for feeding
directions for your pup. Having food continually available encourages
overeating, and chubby puppies are more likely to have hip dysplasia,
health and weight problems later in life. Also, because free-fed puppies
never get very hungry, they don't enjoy their food unless given special
treats. The combination of special treats and freely available food
encourages them to become bored, overweight and picky.
Do not give people food. If you start with a balanced diet and add
goodies from the table, you won't have a balanced diet anymore, and your
puppy will have more digestive trouble. Treats that are reasonably
balanced, such as Milk Bone Biscuits, but since they are not
really all that great nutritionally, don't let them become an important
part of the diet and offer them as what they are a special treat.
Between six and sixteen weeks of age, puppies lose the disease
protection they received from their mothers and become able to form
their own immunity to disease. Unfortunately, we never know when this
will happen, so there is often a brief period when puppies have lost the
disease protection they received from their mothers but have not yet
developed strong immunity of their own. Fortunately, new vaccines for
distemper and parvovirus are much more effective than what we had even
two or three years ago, and eliminate much of this problem. Also, since
the new vaccines work better we don't have to give as many, which saves
money. Until your puppy has received the last of his shots (at about 4 months
old), try to prevent contact with stray dogs, sick dogs and avoid
boarding your puppy or taking her places like highway rest stops where
lots of other dogs go to the bathroom.
When we say "distemper shot" we are talking about a
combination vaccine (DHLAPPC) which protects against a group of
highly contagious disease caused by a virus similar to the germ that
causes measles in people. It will attack brain cells and cells that line
the surfaces of the body, including the skin, conjunctiva, the mucous
membranes of the breathing tubes and the gastrointestinal tract.
canine distemper (ICD)
is a highly infectious viral disease that attacks the lungs and affects
the brain and spinal cord in somewhat the same way polio affects people.
canine hepatitis (ICH)
spreads between dogs most often by contact with infected urine. ICH does
its worst damage to the liver and can cause loss of vision.
causes kidney and liver damage and is spread most often via infected
urine. The leptospirosis portion of distemper vaccine can cause a
reaction if given repeatedly. For this reason, and because Leptospirosis
has become a fairly rare disease, we immunize for it only twice during
the vaccination series.
adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2)
a respiratory virus that causes a severe form of "kennel
is another highly infectious respiratory virus that causes coughing.
attacks the lining of the intestinal tract, and in very young puppies,
damages the heart. It remains our most common fatal infectious disease
and is the most difficult to protect against. Dobermans, Rottweilers and
boxer or bulldog type dogs are especially susceptible.
coronavirus (CCV) causes or contributes to parvovirus-like intestinal disease and
severe diarrhea. Because coronavirus vaccine is expensive, and since the
disease is usually not fatal, many veterinarians omit coronavirus
protection from their puppy series or immunize for it separately at
spread by animal bites or through the saliva of an infected animal,
rabies is always fatal. Because infected pets can give the disease
to people, rabies immunization is something you don't want to ignore.
Rabies shots are started at sixteen weeks of age, boostered a year
later, and every one to three years after that, depending on local laws
and your veterinarian's recommendation.
is spread by ticks and is caused by the spirochete
bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and is acquired by the bite of an infected
tick. The disease is characterized by the sudden onset of lameness and
generally lameness is often the only sign of infection. Joints may
become swollen and painful to the touch. Some dogs experience weakness,
lethargy, loss of appetite, and weight loss. Dogs that roam in brushy
areas and get lots of ticks should be vaccinated. Those restricted to
their own immediate area and never get ticks probably don't need it.
Immunization is given as an initial series of two injections three weeks
apart followed by an annual booster.
a common cause of "kennel cough” is a severe but rarely fatal
respiratory disease. Because it spreads through the air in confined
areas, kennel cough is common even in clean, well-run boarding kennels.
If your dog will be at the groomer frequently or periodically left at
a kennel, it is wise to protect against the disease. Most boarding
kennels require it. For dogs that don't need year 'round protection, the
best time to administer the vaccine is two to four weeks before going to
& Hookworms roundworms
(Ascarids) Adult worms can live in the stomach and intestine
and can grow to seven inches. Hookworms (Ancylostoma) are small thin
worms about one-quarter to one-half inch and fasten their mouth parts
onto the mucosa of the small intestine and suck blood and tissue from
the host. Take a sample of the puppy's feces to your vet to have them
check for worms. Heartgard Plus is a combination of heartworm
medications that also kill the intestinal worms common in our area.
Testing, Medication so named because the adult worms live right inside the heart.
is spread by mosquitos. The highest prevalence is along the
southeastern Atlantic and the Gulf Coasts. Dogs with heartworm disease
ordinarily have adult male and female worms living in the heart, and
microscopic baby heartworms throughout the bloodstream. Baby heartworms
become adults only after living in a mosquito and then getting into
another dog when it is bitten by the mosquito. If the problem is
discovered in time, heartworms can be eliminated, but treatment is
difficult, dangerous, and expensive. And even with treatment, heartworms
cause permanent damage. Although the treatment isn't nearly as dangerous
as many people seem to believe, regular testing followed by treatment
when needed is not a reasonable alternative to prevention. Heartgard
Plus is a good combination of heartworm medications that also kill the
some intestinal worms.
By using this product, we eliminate the need for routine fecal
examinations and separate worming medications. However, if your puppy
has persistent diarrhea please bring in a small fecal sample to check
for other less-common parasites.
if you see little short white rice-like worms (1/2 inch long or less),
these are probably tapeworm segments. When the segments dry they look
like kernels of brown rice and may stick to your dog's hair.
Prescription tapeworm drugs are extremely effective, very safe, and
cause no discomfort whatever. Non-prescription tapeworm medications
don't work very well and often cause intestinal cramps and diarrhea.
Training puppies have a strong natural instinct to avoid soiling their own area.
If you are consistent and patient, this natural urge for cleanliness
makes house training fairly easy. You can begin training any time after
five weeks of age. A little extra effort and patience in puppy hood will
make the difference later on between a happy, cooperative pet and one
that causes problems for you.
Take him/her outside to an area you want them to eliminate in and be
consistent. They will learn that this is their area to soil in.
Remember, dogs do not like to eliminate where they eat. If your dog is
urinating or defecating in a certain area, try feeding him right at that
spot (after clean up, of course.) Right after your dog finishes eating,
chase him out good-naturedly to his toilet area, ahead of you if
possible. Then let him sniff around for a good spot. Do not confuse
things by urging him to go. After he goes to the bathroom, crouch down
and point at the urine or fecal matter and say "good dog".
Look right at the stuff, not at the dog. If your dog sniffs it, praise
and pet him enthusiastically. Take your puppy outside: after waking up,
even from a nap; after extreme excitement; after drinking water; after
prolonged chewing on a toy, if he starts sniffing around the house for a
good spot etc. In about four days your pup should automatically head for
his proper place after meals or whenever the urge strikes. If it takes
longer, be patient. After this stage of house training, your puppy knows
where to go, but not when to go. Do not try to teach self control (the
"when" part) until you can be sure he will always head for the
door when it's time to go.
when to go
teach self-control, you must keep feeding times consistent. Don't feed
at 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and then sleep in on Sunday--you'll ruin the
whole program. Dogs can control their urine for as long as thirteen
hours when they need to. To teach self control, you should try to let
your dog outdoors only at times when you are ordinarily home to do so.
Whenever you see signs that your pup wants to go to the bathroom during
the forbidden hours, try to distract him by tossing a ball; playing with
a toy or doing any activity that will take his mind off the urge.
a teacher-learner relationship
use two types of rewards-praise and petting.
When your puppy asks for
attention, you probably respond by petting, which is only natural. Begin
using these requests to show that you are the teacher and your puppy is
the learner. It may sound silly but it's important to establish this
relationship early in puppy hood. Each time your puppy asks to be petted, respond by holding your hand
about a foot above his nose and saying, "Rover (substitute your
dog's name), sit." Move your hand back over his ears as you speak.
This makes him look up, which is the first part of sitting. Keep
repeating, "good sit" until he sits. Then pet him on the
throat and chest with your other hand for a few seconds as you repeat
the praise. If not successful at first, repeat. When your
dog sits from five to ten seconds, release him from the command by
saying, "OK", then pet and praise him again. Gradually
increase the sitting time until you have reached one or two minutes
before you say "OK". Be sure everyone who lives with the pet
follows this procedure. Consistent treatment from the whole
family makes for a better adjusted, happier pet. Insist that your puppy earn
possible, have your puppy sleep in a room with people. Because he will
be inclined to tune into your sleeping times, there will be fewer
accidents and less nighttime disturbance. Given a little blanket as a
bed, most puppies soon learn to sleep through the entire night.
How to deal with mistakes Old-fashioned house training methods tell us to grab the puppy, show him
the mess and punish him. This is not necessary and probably harmful.
Instead, if you discover an accident, just say "ugh"
disgustedly and whisk puppy out to his proper toilet area. Leave him
there while you clean up the mess. Make sure he cannot see you cleaning
up. Strangely, many dogs find it rewarding to watch their owner picking
up stools or cleaning urine, and often leave another such gift as soon
as they can. Because puppies seem to enjoy this game, it is a good idea
to have them watch you clean up after they go to the bathroom in the
discourage repeat visits, accidents must be cleaned up well enough to
completely eliminate odor. After blotting and cleaning as best you can
with paper towels, soak the stained area with an enzymatic cleaner. Let
it remain on the stain 30 minutes or longer, blot up the liquid, and if
still necessary, use regular rug cleaner afterwards. To work properly,
the enzyme cleaner must be used before using regular rug cleaner.
Remember, do not discipline after the fact, puppies will have no
recollection of what wrong they did.
Puppy's Place in the Family The reason dogs are such good pets and fit so well into human society is
that they are social animals by nature. Their greatest psychological
need is to be part of a group. Whether it's a family of just you
and puppy, or a boisterous household full of children and pets, in order
to be happy your new puppy must feel secure about her place in the
group. If you watch puppies at play, you will see a lot of growling and
tussling. There is more to this play fighting than meets the eye. Those
little guys are already deciding who is going to be "top dog".
Whether you realize it or not, something very much like this play
fighting is happening at home between your puppy and the rest of the
family. To be confident and secure what puppies need most is a master
they can depend on. For your dog to have a happy life and be a pleasure
to own, at least one person in the family must become such a master.
Dogs have no mental concept of "friends and equals". Somebody
has to be boss. Assertive puppies will grow up trying to be boss, which
won't make either one of you happy. A submissive puppy may spend its
entire life fretting and worrying, never sure what is expected.
Everything usually works out just fine automatically--puppies find their
place in the family without much trouble and everyone is happy with the
arrangement. If, on the other hand, you have a strongly assertive or
unusually submissive pet there are some things you should keep in mind:
with an Assertive puppy Assertive puppies tend to immediately investigate new people and
objects. They are quick to begin play-fighting activities with people.
When they want to be petted or fed, they are insistent and demanding.
These puppies fall easily into the role of family protector because they
think the people belong to them. This is well and good, but because dogs
cannot really understand human society, there is soon trouble. They may
try to defend you from everyone, and biting the UPS man because he
invades your yard is not ok. Biting the children is not ok. The most
serious problems happen when grandchildren are involved. Perceived
either as an outside threat or a competitor, it is not unusual for
grandchildren to be badly injured by big assertive dogs. The training
techniques used to establish your teacher-learner relationship are
especially important. Remember that your dog will be much happier in the
long run if he earns praise and pleasure by obeying you, not by
demanding it. It is especially important for you to be master. Do not
allow your dog to nip or bite at you in a friendly way. Do not stimulate
your puppy by waving your arms and acting excited or by playing tug of
war. Do not become what your puppy perceives to be an equal and
puppies don't know what is expected of them, particularly if they are
beginning to believe that people are supposed to do what dogs tell them
to do, they may react inappropriately to strangers. The puppy is afraid,
but psychologically unable to be completely submissive. They usually
show signs of fear and try to run away from a threatening situation, but
when escape is prevented, they bite. It happens when children insist on
petting a frightened dog, and happens at the veterinarian's office.
These puppies need the firm leadership and reassurance best achieved
through obedience training. Chesapeakes need a firm hand.
puppies and young dogs have a tendency to urinate in response to new
situations, when meeting a stranger, or even when their owners come home
and greet them excitedly. This is a sign that your puppy is uncertain
about what is expected. Never scold when this happens. Puppy is already
trying hard to please. Calmly reassure, ignoring the urination. Clean up
later, in private.
with a submissive puppy Submissive puppies tend to "shy away" from new people or
things, either by lying down or actually running away. It is normal for
most puppies to be slightly submissive. They wish for nothing more than
to please you and this makes them easy to train. Teach shy puppies
things they can do that will earn your calm, reassuring praise. Try to
provide a peaceful environment and a dependable schedule that includes
exercise, a daily obedience session, and reliable feeding times.
Meet both parents of the pup (if possible) to see how they react in
Chewing It is natural for puppies to chew--that's one of the ways they explore
and learn. Try to keep valuable objects that are chewable safely out of
reach and provide a satisfactory alternative like a Kong or Nylabone
chew toy. Destructive chewing is merely a way to work off excitement and
relieve frustration, not an insidious plan to get even with you.
Remember don't scold the puppy after the fact. They will have no idea
why you are upset. Help encourage your puppy to be calm. Be easygoing.
Don't encourage tug of war or play that involves chewing and biting.
you leave home for the day, don't make it into a big deal for the dog.
By showing lots of emotion of any sort (threats or cheerfulness, it
doesn't matter) you build up emotional stress. This is often vented in
destructive chewing. Your last three or four minutes at home should be
spent calmly reading or sitting. Then get up and leave, ignoring your
puppy completely--don't even say goodbye. Arrive home the same way.
Ignore your puppy at first and avoid the area where things are most
likely to have been chewed. A crate for the pup in the house would
eliminate having the pup running loose and possible injury to itself.
Work on teaching simple obedience and building the teacher-learner
relationship. Puppies need a calm, dependable master.
Treats, Bones and Toys
Don't give your puppy anything small enough to
swallow that can't be
digested, or things that can be chewed into large indigestible chunks
and swallowed. No rawhide!
consult with your Veterinarian for treatment or before treating your dog
with any medication