Part 3 - Collecting the Puppy

John is an extremely experienced member and trainer of Gun Dogs. Hints, tips and general advice can be found in here which will build into an extremely useful souce of informatation

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Part 3 - Collecting the Puppy

Postby LabRes1 » 14 Sep 2007, 19:50

PART THREE

Collecting the puppy.

OK, so this part is about collecting your puppy but there are things to consider and planning to be done before you get around to this.

Some people like to give the breeder an old sweater or the like, something with their scent on which can go into the puppy’s bed so the pup will get to know your scent before arriving. This can be a good idea, helping to make it’s new home feel familiar, but just think, if there are ten puppies and ten owners bringing sweaters the whole idea gets clogged under a mountain of sweaters! With this in mind some breeders refuse to take them on the grounds that as they cannot take everyone’s it is fairer to take none.

Where is the puppy going to live? In one room? Downstairs, the whole house? A friend keeps her dogs confined to the kitchen and because this is “Their Place” the dogs are perfectly happy. She allows one or two into the living room with her cycling the dogs around so they all get their turn. The up side of this is that any mess with hair or muddy feet is confined to one room. The down side is that as a young puppy is not being supervised 100% of the time occasionally some damage does occur! My own personal preference is to give the dogs the run of down stairs. Because dogs are gregarious this really means that the dogs are in the same room as us so at least I can monitor their chewing!

If you are going to confine the puppy at all then some form of gate is going to be needed. It is possible to make something although dog gates are available and regularly advertised in the dog press. But before parting with hard earned cash, go and have a look in “Mother Care”. Child gates seem to be nearer half the price of dog gates and just as good!

Where is the puppy going to sleep? I prefer to confine my puppies to the kitchen at nights. I put paper on the floor do soak up any accidents. I must say now that I am not really sold on crates! I must also say that I have used one for a puppy who was a confirmed chewer! If you are going to use one then take the time to get your puppy used to the idea. Feed him in there, leave the door open and encourage him to sleep in there during the day. When he’s asleep quietly push the door up but don’t latch it on, allow him to push it open so he is not frightened by being in there. Never scold him when he does something wrong by ordering him into the crate or he will associate it with punishment. Everything about the crate should be “His little haven” There are dogs coming into rescue where “His little haven” has turned into “His little prison”!

Food and water bowls will be needed. It has been said that plastic bowls can adversely affect a dog’s pigmentation. I really don’t know, except the only tine I used a plastic bowl (Before I had heard the rumour!) was for a bitch who had poor pigmentation! I must say I have steered very clear of them since then although of course I cannot prove what her pigmentation would have been like had I not used a plastic bowl!!!

How are you going to bring the puppy home? I have always thought the best way is laying or sitting on the lap of a friend who is sitting on the back seat of the car. Take plenty of towels and possible a kitchen roll to soak up accidents. Keep the windows in the rear closed. I did have one puppy, my Bethany, who really struggled and I get the feeling she would have jumped out given half a chance!
If there is no one to hold the puppy then other arrangements will be needed. I think the back of the average estate car is too big for a young puppy. Hard breaking or cornering can throw the puppy around and give him a bad start to car travel. A small travel crate is possibly the ideal. Failing this it might be possible to pack out around the edges to reduce the overall size. Puppy or adult, I like a piece of Vet Bed in the back of my car, I find dogs cannot get a purchase on the standard carpet and slide around too much. A dog guard is an obvious necessity, not only to stop the puppy climbing out but also to prevent him being thrown about in the event of an accident. 70lbs of Labrador hitting you on the head at 50mph could easily break your neck! The universal type dog guards are notoriously unstable and if you are using one make sure it cannot fall on the puppy. Purpose made guards are usually more stable.

You will no doubt have made arrangements of a time to pick up the puppy. Given a choice I prefer the morning. It gives a puppy just that little more time to get to know you before night comes. Try not to be around all the time, when he sleeps try to not be there when he wakes up. No doubt you will not be around when he wakes first thing in the morning so getting used to it during the hours of daylight helps prepare him for the night. You will naturally want to show your new puppy off the friends and neighbours but more important the first day is to settle the puppy in without too much fuss and disturbance. Plenty of time for everything else later.

Your breeder will have almost certainly given you a meal chart. No matter what you later intend to feed start by sticking the same as the breeder has been feeding. This is not the time for change. Any change you want to make should be phased in over the course of days. At least keeping to the same food helps to avoid upset tummies although even the change of water can be enough to cause a temporary upset.

When night time comes expect a disturbed night! You may not get one but the chances are you will! If puppy has been asleep for three hours or more then that would be a good time to take hip out into the garden. Watch him and encourage him to perform. I use the words, “Be Quick!” and plenty of praise when he performs. For the first few days it will probably be advisable to take him out a couple of times during the night but later, when he has started to gain some control, cut it down to once.

It may seem tough going, that first night but you are building for the future. Get the early day’s right and the future gets easier.

Next time it is those big problem areas, house training and hand biting!

Regards, John
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Postby Glenys » 14 Sep 2007, 20:51

This is excellent information written for our rescue by John Weller to share with people especially if you are looking to own a dog for the first time or to help with any training you may need with an existing dog.

Also do not forget to ask if there are any questions you would like to put to John in particular I am sure he would be able to advise.
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