New Puppy Care
Congratulations on your new Rocky Mountain Companion Dog puppy. Our heart and soul goes into these little lives . The real truth is that YOU are the heart and soul of what we do. To help you take the greatest care of our precious pups, here are some pointers to help you through the first several weeks.
Potty Training - Housebreaking
Your RMCD puppy has been given a foundation for housebreaking. A schedule and routine has been established that coincides with each puppy's future people. For instance, if puppy's main caregiver works night hours, we attempt to wake that puppy earlier and put him to bed later. Otherwise we rouse them at 6 am and put them to bed at 10 pm. Breakfast comes right after waking, and three more times a day, as much as they will eat in 20 minutes. *See FEEDING below
Your waking/feeding/bedtime schedule will have much to do with your housebreaking success. The most important factor is to make sure puppy is confined in your house at all times. Do not let puppy have the run of the house. ALWAYS SUPERVISE YOUNG PUPPY WHEN THEY ARE NOT IN THE KENNEL. They will not be able to learn from you if you are not there.
It is almost certain that your very young puppy will potty right when he wakes up, and right after eating. During occasions of digestive upset and loose stools, this can become more difficult to predict. Allow extra time outside and patience.
The RMCD puppies are housed on straw for the second half of their young lives with us. Our housekeeping procedure makes going potty on the straw more pleasant for puppies. We pull some of the used straw outside to their yard, and pups will follow it outside. We will give you a bag of this straw to bring home. Put it where you want pup to go, and they will be more likely to potty in that area.
After a few weeks you and your RMCD puppy will find your own rhythm, but at first your routine should look something like this:
6 am -Wake puppy, get out of crate and out to potty
6:30 - FEED and directly back out to potty
7 - :30 playtime
No later than 8 am - back in kennel for 2 hours.
10 am Wake, potty, play, potty for 1 hour.
Back in kennel for 2 hours
Wake potty FEED potty, playtime, potty, repeat
for 1 to 2 hrs
1 to 3 pm
Back in kennel for 2 hours
Between 5 and 6
Wake potty FEED potty Playtime, potty for 1 to 2 hrs
6 and 8 pm
Wake potty FEED potty Playtime, potty for 1 to 2 hrs
8 to 9:30 pm , quiet time - in kennel. Pup should
spend some time being alone and learning to amuse himself.
Out to potty and a drink of water, NO PLAYTIME -
10 pm - Bedtime, in kennel for the night.
At 12 weeks, increase time out of the kennel by an hour, decreasing time in to one hour.
Put puppy in the kennel and say the command you wish to use at the same time. Many people say "Kennel!" Toss a small biscuit or favorite chew toy into the kennel and encourage them to follow the reward, repeating your command.
During playtime is when you are most likely to catch puppy getting ready to pee or poop. Boy puppies will kind of lean forward and hold their tails a certain way when they pee. Girl puppies will walk around kind of bobbing their heads and tails before squatting. It is detrimental and rather useless to punish or yell at a puppy AFTER they have eliminated in the house. Feel free to scowl and grumble angrily at puppy as you clean it up with an enzyme based pet-soil cleaner. Never use household cleaners for the first cleaning (always wash it twice), these will set in the stain.
If you catch them in the act, run at them all scary-like,
Schwoop them up and bring them outside to the straw.
You must change your attitude as soon as puppy is in the "potty area". Always a positive attitude and praise when they DO eliminate in the area you've designated. A common housebreaking issue that many dogs go through is to potty inside RIGHT AFTER spending some time outside.
If this starts to occur, rethink your leash-training-walking schedule be spilt entirely from your housebreaking schedule. It can make us very mad especially when its cold or dark outside. Please be patient, as this issue is a people problem not a puppy problem. A neato trick that can help adjust the issue is to take all poopies and bring them to the area designated for it. Any paper towels used to soak up pee accidents should be used as in the same situation. After 12 weeks, we recommend teaching the pup to use a bell when they need to go out. There's a ton of info on the web about it - there's no special trick - but the RMCD puppy picks this training up quickly. A general search of: "Train puppy to use a bell to go out" will bring up lots of results - from what I see they are all about the same. Mostly be patient, don't take it personally, be consistent.
Loose stools and diarrhea in young puppies - It is NOT UNCOMMON FOR YOUNG PUPPIES TO HAVE a GI upset that can cause loose stools or diarrhea. Stress, changes in food and water, travel, parasites can all cause pup to have runny stools. One or two episodes is perfectly normal. Pumpkin, a good pre/probiotic supplement and limiting exposure to visitors and overwhelming experiences will help soothe pups tummy. A 1/2 and 1/2 mixture of filtered water and pedialyte will help guard against dehydration.
If the condition lasts more than two days, is accompanied by mucus or bloody stools, has a very foul smell (horribly foul, not normal ewwee). A vet visit may be warranted. Giardia and coccidia are common GI invaders that can cause chronic diarrhea. See this article for more info.
By the time your puppy meets his new food dish at your house, puppy should be eating between 1 and 2 cups of dry kibble per day. While puppies are here with us at Fennario, we feed a high quality kibble diet that is attainable throughout the country. Currently we feed IAMS puppy. Should you choose a different food, you MUST switch slowly at first. The first day, add JUST A HANDFUL of new food to the IAMS puppy. The next day two handfuls, with the normal portion of IAMS. The third day, three handfuls and decrease the amount of IAMS. Keep using this portioning until you have gotten to a handful of IAMS over a normal portion of the new food.
Traditionally speaking in a general sense, the RMCD does better with fish and beef than chicken or lamb.
We like to feed a variety of supplements that will bolster bone growth and deliver vitamins and trace minerals and fatty acids/omega's.
The puppy's stuff.
The idea behind crate training is that dogs do not like to potty where they sleep. Instinctually, mom will teach cleanliness to baby puppies. After weaning the sanitation of their environment and feeding schedule will begin housebreaking habits. The young puppy's sleep space must be comfortable enough that they can stretch out and turn around; but not so large that they can leave their "nest" in one area, and eliminate in another. We recommend a wire kennel with moveable divider that can be adjusted as pup grows. Most of our pups will need an extra large kennel by the time they reach 9 months old. (48x30x35)
HINTS FOR SAFETY IN THE KENNEL: never leave collars or harness on pup overnight. NEVER leave the leash on.
Don't leave anything other than hard chew toys with puppy. No beds, no towels and especially no rope or soft toys.
Our dogs tend to eat their beds until they turn a year old. After a year they savor the comfort with respect. Go figure.
I say it’s a small price to not pay for the magical creatures they are.
Collar Leash and harnesses:
Collar - An adjustable clip or flat buckle collar between 16" and 20" is average for an 8 week old RMCD puppy.
We recommend two leashes - one 6' and one long line of 15' feet minimum. (See training basics below)
Harness - We recommend that you train your RMCD puppy to collar and leash. There will be many instances in their lifetime that they will be more comfortable with that skill in place; vet visits, grooming tables, boarding, petsitting and dog walkers will need to be able to control them. Day-to-day use of a harness for outings and hiking has it's advantages.
We recommend an "Easy-Walk" or some other type of no-pull device until your RMCD is trained not to pull you on walks.
Our dogs are very much creatures of habit. For this reason, having different equipment for potty outings than for play outings or sniff-walks will make them much more comfortable and confident.
Grooming- puppy's nails will be clipped the day they leave us. Within three weeks you will want to trim off the sharp tip that will develop. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, then is a good time to interview groomers and expose pup to the sights and sounds of a groom shop. RMCD's don't truly shed until 7-8 months old, later if they hit that age during the winter.
Until then, brushing is a good way to bond with your pup and teach pup a few manners and tolerances. It is recommended to tether pup, and is you can find a surface that is non slip and slightly elevated, you will have much more control over the wiggle and slither of a pup trying to get out of grooming.
Training basics - Your pup has been exposed to a variety of people and people "things". , music, TV, cars, trucks, big dogs, little people and numerous wildlife. They know the difference between inside and outside (there's a roof over one of them)We have worked hard to make sure the pups have a good start, the key being a consistent schedule. We do not allow them to jump on ANYTHING, pushing them down gently but seriously with a stern NO! Most stay four-on-the floor at all times. Biting and mouthing on us is also not allowed. A firm NO! and then shove something else in their mouths. We pet them around their head, fondle their legs and feet, gently pull their tails, and smoosh their little faces with kisses.
If your puppy is enrolled in one of our training programs, we have done specialized conditioning for the field of service or therapy you are seeking. If your puppy has been bred for companionship only, then we have done extra conditioning to get them accustomed to home environments.
Your next steps are to train the Basic FIVE: - sit, stay, down, come when called and walk on a leash. We recommend clicker training, or other MARK/REWARD training, which our dogs seem to understand more than other methods.