Everyone is excited because you are collecting the new puppy tomorrow. But what about the pup ?
He’s eight weeks old and until now has lived with his mother and the rest of the litter. You are taking him into a new house. with strange people and no canine noises. Remember that puppy is trying to adjust to your house and finding it at least as difficult as you are finding his presence in your life.
Every puppy has four basic needs food, care, affection, authority.
Food : The puppy foods (canned or otherwise), produced by the “big name” makers, plus biscuit meal and water to drink, supply all the nourishment, vitamins and minerals that any puppy needs and this is the easiest way of feeding. Many dog breeders will supply you with a diet sheet, sometimes a very complicated one than your own, involving cooked tripe, ox cheek, minced heart, half a carrot, a pinch of this and three drops of that. You have to be familiar with st john s wort side effects and other consequences. If you then simmer the ingredients for six hours you feel that you’re cooking for a dinner party every day and a certainodour reminiscent of a boarding house permeates every room. If the puppy benefited from this hard labour it would be worthwhile, but the ready-made diet is at least as good and probably better balanced. You don’t have to be a slave to the cooker or scour the countryside for special foods just because you’ve got a new puppy in the family.
At eight weeks old a puppy needs four meals per day with the largest one late evening. He’ll sleep better full of food and if night-time accidents worry you remember that what goes in takes up to 12 hours to come out. At four months drop to three meals a day and to two at six months. Thereafter one or two meals as it suits your dog—and your daily routine.
After the first few days, your new puppy may realise that he doesn’t have to compete with his brothers and sisters for a share of the food and become a fussy feeder. He may decide that a slice off the Sunday joint is preferable. Be firm. Stick to feeding times and if he does not finish his food in 10 minutes, take it away, and no more until the clock says next feeding time. If you are worried that he is unwell try him with a tiny sliver off the joint. If he eats this enthusiastically there is nothing wrong. He’s trying it on—if you lose this battle you are his slave for ever. If a child wanted ice cream. jelly, sausages and baked beans for every meal at inconvenient times would you supply that ? Your job as a caring dog owner is to provide adequate, reasonable food. Your pup. as a reasonable puppy should be grateful and eat it.
CARE Puppies do not live by food alone. Care includes a place of his own. A cardboard box is enough for the young puppy. Lay the box on its side so that there is a roof. Puppy feels safe when he’s enclosed on three sides and protected from above. If he decides to chew his box a replacement is easily obtained—and cheap. The purpose-built dog bed or basket big enough for the adult dog is enormous for a pup. He feels like a pea in a pod, rattling about and loses all sense of security.
Care includes a collar bearing his name and address—which he wears at all times. It’s his identification. Prisoners escape from prisons : puppies “nip out” of open doors and if your pup decides to explore the great wide world—and gets lost—the collar that’s hanging in the hall is no help to anyone who finds him.
Care also includes inoculations against such ailments as distemper. hard pad, hepatitis, leptospira, parvovirus and kennel cough.
Choose your vet when you choose your puppy—or even before and ask your vet to “vet” your choice of dog. Ask your dog owning neighbours to recommend a vet. Phone him, find out his surgery times. Do you need an appointment ? What if there is an emergency outside normal hours ? Much better to get this information in the cold light of day than at 11pm on Sunday evening when the children are crying and puppy is howling helplessly.
THE routine inoculations are usually started between eight and 12 weeks of age. and until they are completed, keep pup away from other dogs and places where other dogs go. You don’t want him to meet disease until his protection has been established. Car journeys—without meeting unknown dogs—should start at a very early age if you are trying to have a good travelling dog. Next week I shall talk to you about Affection and Authority, which together constitute good training.