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Puppies 101

Puppies 101

Congratulations on your new family member!
For the first few days, take things very easy, your new puppy will be confused by leaving their mum and siblings and we don't need to add any more stressors. Stick to the same food that they are used to and just let them get used to the household routine. 

Sleeping arrangements
Start out the way you want to keep going. Unless you want your dog to sleep in your bed for the next decade (or more), don't bring the puppy into the bed. Crates are a wonderful option as the pup can't get into too much trouble while you are in bed. The crate will also provide a lovely 'den' for your dog to use for the rest of its life. Crate training will also come in very handy if your dog ever needs strict rest, eg after surgery.
If your pup is going to sleep outdoors, make sure the outdoor area is sheltered from the weather and has lots of nice bedding to keep them warm (preferably not something they might eat!)

We want to establish good eating patterns and a balanced diet early. Every household has their own preferences, but at this stage we need to avoid creating a fussy pup or worsening any joint issues with an unbalanced diet. We recommend feeding a good quality puppy biscuit for at least 70% of the pup's food intake. Ideally choose large breed puppy biscuits for large breeds, regular for most and small breed puppy biscuits for minis. Rather than looking at branding, check the sides and back of the packaging. We want to see the words 'Complete and Balanced' and 'meets the recommendations set by the AAFCO'. You do not need to exclude any specific ingredients as food allergies are incredibly rare at this age. Save the really good treats for training, and don't go too hard on the rich foods. Puppies still have developing gut flora so keeping it simple and introducing new foods gradually will help minimise any tummy upsets.
If the pup is still learning about hard foods, we recommend Advance Puppy Rehydratable biscuits as they can be softened to a porridge consistency and less water added over time so the pup learns to eat chewy things. 

In our area we recommend that puppies receive 3 puppy vaccinations between weaning and 16 weeks of age, at 3-4 week intervals and not finishing before 14 weeks of age.

  1.  A C3 vaccine at weaning (6-8 weeks). This is for parvovirus, distemper and infectious hepatitis. This is considered a temporary vaccine and not expected to last very long in the pup's body, but helps to carry them through the weaning period as immunity from mum's colostrum wanes. If your pup did not receive this vaccine and is now over 8 weeks of age then we will likely just start with vaccination 2. 

  2. A C5 vaccine four weeks later (10-12 weeks). This comprises the C3 and the two main forms of Kennel Cough (Paraninfluenza virus and Bordatella).  The Bordatella vaccine may be given orally or included with the others in injectable format. 

  3. A C5 or C4 (depending if the oral vaccine was given last time) four weeks later (14-16 weeks)

  4. In Rottweillers and Dobermanns, mum's immunity can interfere with the pup developing an appropriate level of immunity until later in life. For these breeds you can consider an additional C3 vaccine at 20 weeks of age.

  5. Thereafter we recommend annual vaccination and vet check for all dogs. At this time we are not carrying the three yearly C3 vaccines as the dogs still need to come in for an annual check and Kennel Cough anyway. 

I recommend thinking of the kennel cough vaccines like a flu vaccine in that they are likely to prevent hospitalisation with pneumonia, but the pup can still get a cold. 
Titre testing for Parvovirus and Distemper are available after 6 months of age for dogs that cannot have further vaccinations for any reason. In this situation we recommend annual testing and Kennel Cough cover where appropriate. Reminders for titre testing and vet check will come as Annual vaccination reminders. 

Parasite Control
Please give your pup an intestinal wormer fortnightly until they are 12 weeks old. From then on they can start a monthly 'all in one' product appropriate for your lifestyle.
eg Advocate/ Moxiclear for suburban dogs that don't spend time on bush blocks/ bush walks. This will cover fleas, heartworm and most intestinal worms. Tapeworm tablet(s) every 3 months are also recommended.
or Nexgard Spectra/ Simparica Trio for dogs who will spend time in the bush. This will cover fleas, ticks, mange mites, heartworm and most intestinal worms. Quarterly tapeworm tablet(s) are also recommended.
If you find monthly treatment impractical, we can start an annual heartworm injection (Prohart SR-12) and quarterly intestinal worming and flea/tick/mite treatment (Bravecto). However the easiest and most cost effective time to start this is your pups first annual vaccination (16 months of age), as the Prohart needs several boosters if started while they are still growing.

Toilet Training
Be patient! Toddlers have tiny bladders and attention spans.  Punishment is just likely to teach your pup to hide where they are going to the toilet or wet themselves when they see you. Give them every opportunity to get things right and reward them when they get it right.Take your pup to the designated toilet spot whenever they wake from a nap, finish a game, have a drink or have something to eat. And of course before bed time or if they are sniffing around looking like they need to go. Wait till they start, then make a huge fuss of them with lots of pats and rewards. If the pup squats in the house then pick it up take it direct to where you want them to toilet, even if you are carrying a doggy fountain the whole way. Then reward them for finishing the job in the right place.

Per the amendments to the Dog Act in late 2021, all dogs need to be sterilised by 2 years of age unless you have special dispensation from the local Shire Council. There are links to the Dog Act and its amendments on our website. 
In general, we would like dogs to have finished their skeletal and emotional growth before sterilisation so they can be as healthy as their genetics will allow. Saying that, if your female dog is at risk of a teenage pregnancy or if your boy is developing undesirable hormonal behaviours (cocking his leg in the house) then we recommend sterilisation sooner. 
Ideally we will sterilise girls before they lose the protective function of sterilisation against mammary cancer; ie before their second heat.  With boys we can leave them longer so long as their testicles are not doing their thinking for them. 
In broad strokes, this means we recommend sterilisation from around 5-6 months of age for small breeds (mature weight <15kg), around 12 months of age for medium breeds (15-25kg), around 18 months for large breeds (25-40kg) and 2 years for giant breeds (40+kg). 

In WA, all dogs need to be microchipped to be registered with the local Council. We can do this at any of your puppy visits. If your pup was microchipped whilst in the care of your breeder then please make sure the chip details are correct and the pup is now in your name on the national database.

Pups will always do silly things including eating random objects and injuries due to foolish choices . We recommend having some sort of insurance policy to cover against this. This might mean a formal insurance policy, credit card or savings account. 
For some breeds we will strongly encourage an insurance policy as the breeds are well known for very expensive health issues at a much higher frequency than other breeds. This includes French Bulldogs, Australian Bulldogs, British Bulldogs, Pugs and Daschunds. Some of the Poodle crosses and Retrievers are also fairly notorious for eating foolish things during their puppy phase. 

The key socialisation window for pups is from birth to 20 weeks of age. In this time, they need to meet as many people and animals as possible, always in a positive and low key fashion. Like babies who haven't finished their whooping cough cover, we need to be sensible about how we do this so we don't expose them to infectious diseases. Try to socialise in closed environments like family homes and puppy classes and avoid public dog spaces until they have finished their vaccinations. Make sure the adult dogs they meet are polite and calm so the pup doesn't get overwhelmed or bullied. Make sure the pup meets dog-savvy cats early so it learns to be respectful. We encourage a 'paws on floors' policy from day one so your dog doesn't go jumping on someone's white couch when you are out visiting.
The more your pup sees and does in that crucial socialisation period the happier they will be in the future and the nicer a member of society they will be.
Want a more structured training and socialisation approach? We recommend joining a puppy class run by an IMDT approved trainer.

We recommend;

Dogs United Training Academy | Perth WA | Facebook

Dog training in Mundaring: 0417 980 614 (

Puppies 101: Resources
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