Preparing for Puppy
Thinking about what you might need to get ready for puppy coming home? Here are our suggestions.
We use Diamond Puppy food for our puppies & adults, and have never had any digestive issues. We also give a daily vitamin (from Walmart, Menards, or PetSmart...we haven't noticed any significant differences). We also just use Cheerios or small training treats for training sessions & small milk bones for crate training & keeping weight on through big growth spurts. If you decide to switch the formula or brand of dog food please add in the new food gradually. We feed unlimited food to our adults and puppies, but you may need to adjust the feeding schedule to make potty training a little more predictable (for more training tips see our "Training/Therapy" page).
Many veterinarians seems to have a different recommendation regarding vaccinations. Some veterinarians recommend 5-way vaccinations--including Hepatitis, Distemper-Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Coronavirus [where it is a concern]--at 6 & 8 weeks; Bordetella (kennel cough) before boarding or obedience classes at 6 to 12 weeks; then Rabies at 12 weeks; then the 7 way--including Hepatitis, Distemper-Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, plus Leptospirosis, Coronavirus, & Lyme--at 12 & 15 weeks. This common vaccination schedule can prove to be too much for pups. Further, they should still be covered under their mama's natural antibodies through nursing. Our most nurturing mama nurses until her pups are 8 weeks old or older.
Therefore, according to our veterinarian and those concerned about over-vaccination syndromes, We do the 1st full set of shots ("5-way") at 6 1/2-7 weeks so that they can overcome any minor side effects or soreness before they go home at 8 weeks. Then, we suggest following your own vet's recommendations. We, typically also stagger the Lymes & Bordetella to be completed before boarding or classes (maximum of 16 weeks). Follow up with boosters.
We recommend getting your puppy into training early on. So, I strongly recommend getting his/her boosters before you start classes.
We administer de-wormers at 4, 6 & 8 weeks of age (and every 2 weeks after until they go to their new homes). We typically use SafeGuard for 3 days, which covers the 4 main types--round, whip, hook, & tape worms--& for 5 days, which covers the four main types plus giardia & coccidia. We fully de-worm each of our adult dogs.
We usually recommend getting a large metal crate with a partition being they grow so quickly. Then we adjust the partition so that the puppy only has enough room to turn around & lay down. It goes against their natural instincts to go potty where they eat/sleep. So, you will most likely have minimal accidents in the crate. (See more on crate training on our "Training/Therapy" page).
We also have found that a few chew toys with a variety of textures help with teething!
Travelling home -- Crate or No Crate?
If you are travelling a distance of several hours to take your baby home, you may want to bring a crate along for backup. However, bare in mind that these pups have never been confined to a crate and it will be the first time they are away from all of their siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, familiar environment, etc. Please allow time for several breaks along the way. They are happiest when they are snuggling in one of their new family member's arms. The car ride home is also a great opportunity for bonding.