Tips for taking home your new puppy

Remember these tips to make your transition go well:

* Limit the space in the house where the puppy gets to go. Expand it over the next few weeks.
* Walk the dog (not carry) to the door and show where they should potty.
* Potty the pup after every transition – after eating, drinking, playing, sleeping – potty them!
* Withhold food and water after 8 pm, do the final potty around 11pm, and wake yourself (and the puppy) up around 2am to potty again, and then again at 6am. That should do it! You will need to keep this up until the pup isn’t pottying at the 2am time.
* If there is a potty accident in the house DO NOT correct the puppy unless you see it happening! Pups only relate a consequence to the behavior that happened 3 seconds prior. So if you see a puddle, call the pup to you and scold it, you are in essence, scolding the puppy for coming to you.
* Remember this rule – any talking, comforting, and removing from the crate will reinforce the behavior that happened right before (usually crying, whining or scratching at the crate). If you don’t what those behaviors, don’t reinforce them!
* Keep the energy low for the first two weeks. It will feel like you are ignoring the puppy but it is the nicest thing you can do to give them the time they need to acclimate. If you have kids, limit the amount of time they get to interact with the pup.
* Keep the crate open and accessible during the periods of the day where the pup isn’t confined – that way when she/he needs comfort or respite, she/he can retreat there.
* Try to match the energy of the puppy – when they’re quiet do quiet activities (cuddling) and when they’re active do more active things (playing and not cuddling).
* Remember to give them access to food four times a day for the first two months home. Then move to three until 5 or 6 months old and then to twice a day. Feed amount suggested on bag.
* DO NOT keep a collar on a young pup who is confined to a crate – it is a strangulation hazard.
* DO teach leash manners, inside, after the first few days home – just let the leash drag for a day, then pick it up and encourage the pup to follow you, do not tug or reel them in.
* Do consider signing up for a puppy class anytime after the pup is 2 months old.

AND MOST importantly …

Good luck!! Trust your instincts and you’ll do fine.

A puppy with a biting problem

Most puppies are mouthy but they rarely bite to draw blood.

Most puppies are mouthy but they rarely bite to draw blood.

I’ve been working with a very sad case of a puppy who bites when frustrated. Ordinarily, that isn’t that unusual as all puppies need to learn (and therefore be taught) to tolerate frustration. They need to learn patience and self control much like people need to learn those skills. They are the foundation of what we consider “manners.” When young puppies are very frustrated, it is normal for them to bite. However, all puppies who are healthy and have been raised with their mama and littermates have a natural respect for those in charge. And they all learn something called “bite inhibition.” They learn to hold back from biting full strength, and to use a bite only as a last resort. Their mama teaches them by her reactions when they do bite too hard or too quickly – she swiftly puts them in their place, usually by a nip of her own and a hard growl. And as puppies play together they learn that a hard bite stops play and that a soft bite lets it continue. Through these daily interactions all puppies raised well learn this important social skill.

Puppies learning how to inhibit their bite so that play can continue.

Puppies learning how to inhibit their bite so that play can continue.

Not this little puppy. At 2 months of age this puppy would bite hard enough to draw blood, whenever it was even a bit frustrated. By the time I saw him at 4 months of age, he was confident in his ability to boss people around and bit frequently and with very little provocation. He bit me three times before I even knew what had happened, and that isn’t a common occurrence for me! What is so sad is that this sort of behavior in a puppy so young is highly unusual – to the point of being considered abnormal. It suggests that something has gone very wrong in this puppy’s neurological development or upbringing. I suspect that a large piece of the puzzle is that this particular puppy, even though he is registered with the American Kennel Club, was purchased at a pet store. It is likely that he wasn’t a product of one of the notorious puppy mills, but he could have been. It is more likely that he was taken from his mama and littermates far too young – I’d guess at about 3 or 4 weeks. And his mama is likely mentally unstable herself. It is such a sad story. The family who owns him loves him dearly but the pup has bitten everyone, and there are young children who live in the home. It is my strong opinion that this dog should be rehomed, if there is a home who could work with him. But I strongly suspect that this pup will likely have to be euthanized.

puppies learn how to playSo, please, I cannot stress this enough, please do not purchase puppies from pet stores. Adopt a homeless puppy from a shelter or a foster home (H.E.L.P. is a great resource!). If you must, use a reputable breeder. Make sure they insist on keeping their puppies until they are at least 8 weeks of age. Make sure they keep them in such a way so that they have frequent contact with their mama. And make sure that they are willing to (and interested in) making any problems like this one, right.

Puppies are leaving, but one remains

Ruffy needs a good home
Ruffy needs a good home

So sad. Anialduln (Ani) left on Sunday of last weekend and it looks like Fluffy is soon to part us too. That leaves poor little Ruffy…I figured he’d go last. He is such a sweet heart and so mellow and easy going. He’ll make some family with kids a great companion. Please, if you know of anyone looking for a sweet puppy, let them know we’ve got him.

So, Ani left and got a clean bill of health from her new vet! Yeah. Here she is getting her “time to go home” bath.

Ruffy lounging in the sun

Ruffy lounging in the sun

Ani Bath 3


Ani Bath 2


Ani Bath 1



Angel’s heart

Here is an update on Angel (formerly Violet), from Chloe’s litter…

Angel's heartHi Kristin,

I wanted to share this with you because my daughter spotted it on “Angel” She has a white marking on her belly that is in the shape of a heart, it is nothing like I have ever seen which makes her so much more of a miracle to us.

She is doing well, she has adjusted to her crate and our big yard which at times may be a little over whelming but she is great.

Saw her picture on your website and it was great. You did a great job with all those puppies and you should feel really proud, we can’t thank you enough for her.

Chloe’s puppies ready for their new homes

too cuteSo the end of Chloe‘s group is upon us…the puppies have all been spoken for and I am so thrilled by our group of adoptive families. They are a special group and I feel like I’ve made some good friends in the process – I’m that comfortable with them! One family even watched the pups for me while I walked the dogs! Everyone’s willingness to be supportive of me has meant a lot too. So, to all of you I say thank you and LOVE your puppies forever. That will make my work worth it.

Now, deep breath, on to more puppies!

puppies!This will be the first time we’ve done a group of pups back to back and I must say that I’m feeling a little hint of anxiety about it. Chloe’s group has been SO easy and has gone so fast yet the last two weeks of every litter, weeks 6-8, are always SO much work. I literally fill two large garbage bags full of wet and poopy newspapers each DAY now. Two bags a day – think about it! It is crazy. Our garbage man must think we are so odd. So anyway, the end of the process is always so much work that I usually relish the quiet house, the clean puppy room and the grass growing back in the puppy yard, not to mention all my free time! I was looking forward to it, I must admit. But these things have a life and a process of their own. I have said “no” to taking on a litter before and I will again but this time I just sort of knew that another one was coming. I wasn’t surprised to see Michelle from H.E.L.P.‘s email saying that there were not one but two pregnant dogs needing a foster home. We can’t take more than one…can one of you? Let us know.

The puppies are piled up by the door crying to be let in so I must answer their calls…

tired puppies

Choosing the right dog

pups at playChoosing a puppy is such a difficult decision. And then add to that the difficulty of finding one you fall in love with and having the puppy not be available to you…that is a heart breaker. It is rough work, what I do, but to everyone out there searching for puppies and coming close but not getting one, it is even rougher. I am sorry. There are so many unwanted dogs out there it seems like this shouldn’t be an issue, yet it is. That is because people want the PUPPIES, the cute cuddly balls of fur that they can shape into the perfect pet for their family. That I understand completely. And it is wonderful how many people out there want to be part of the solution instead of the problem – by your decision to forgo a pet store puppy you are helping dogs everywhere. The more people who decide against using a pet store the fewer there will be in the business of selling dogs and the fewer puppy mills there will be. But it is a difficult process and my heart goes out to all the families I meet, even the ones I have to say “no” to for whatever reason.


Chloe wonders who her new family will be

If you are reading this and are thinking about rescuing a dog, think about a dog older than a baby. Especially if you have experience with dogs or are an active person looking for a playmate or are someone with some time to devote to a dog – think about an 8 month old puppy, or a dog a year or two old…or a 5 year old dog…or a senior. These are the dogs that really need rescuing, that are living their lives in shelters behind bars, that are waiting for a second chance. These are the ones that have been treated roughly or neglected, who only want to cuddle up and love someone. These are the ones that are “rough around the edges” – who haven’t been taught (yet) how to be good family members but who have it in them to learn. These are the ones who deserve the time and attention. They will repay you. Dogs rescued after having known how hard life can be never forget your kindness and you will see it in the way they look at you – the trust and gratitude and devotion are there in their eyes. These dogs never forget that you are the one who saved them.

Think about it.