Puppy Care

Puppy Care

Congratulations on your new Aussie puppy! You’ve made a wonderful choice in picking your new family pet.  Here are a few tips to help you with new puppy care.

First, don’t forget that I am here to answer your questions and I welcome your phone calls about new puppy care.  Remember, your new puppy has no understanding of the world you live in, your family, your customs or language. Imagine if you had to go and fit into a new family with the above obstacles. Never fear, for I will tell you a secret about Aussies. The secret is, that they love to please you!

With that in mind, when caring for puppies always praise you’re your puppy when they do the slightest thing to please you!   Your voice, oozing with pleasure should say “what a good dog you are!” and follow with a vigorous petting or a small treat.  It only takes a few times for your puppy to learn that the above praise means you are pleased.  Once they understand, they will constantly try to gain your praise.

On the other hand, discipline needs to be immediate, simple, and to the point.  Do not hit your puppy ever.  A sharp tone of voice, filled with displeasure, is all you need.  Say “NO!” and then remove the puppy from the scene of the crime – and give the puppy something positive to do.  If she/he just pottied on the floor, say “NO!” and pick up the puppy and take him/her outside to potty.  If you don’t catch the puppy in the act of being bad, no amount of scolding is going to change the behavior – the puppy will have no idea what they did to displease you and they will just end up confused and distrustful of you.

New Puppy Care: Nutrition

We will send a small amount of puppy food home with your new puppy. The first few days, feed your puppy this food. Then, gradually start mixing this food with a quality puppy food that is available to you at your local store. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best puppy food to use. Never buy the cheapest puppy food as the ingredients are often the poorest quality hence the lowest price for the product.

Puppy Necessities Before You Bring Your Puppy Home

Quality puppy food
Food and water bowl that can’t be tipped over
Small, lightweight leash (a collar will be on your puppy when they come home)
Several toys including a toy ball, a soft tossing toy, and quality rawhide bones
A puppy crate (medium or large size) with soft, safe bedding inside

New Puppy Care: Establish Boundaries

You and your puppy have just arrived home. Let the puppy “go potty” in the yard, using a leash. Allow them plenty of time to sniff, and explore their new world. Don’t just walk out the door, plop them on the ground and stand there waiting.  It doesn’t work.  They’ll probably mark several spots. This will let them feel like the area is theirs and will seem more familiar to them next time out.  I won’t go into too many details about crate training and potty training, as there are many positive sources and handbooks from your veterinarian and books and on the internet.  I highly recommend crate training your new puppy which involves putting them on a strict schedule of eating and drinking, and a strict schedule of going outdoors to potty whenever they come out of the crate, and immediately following drinking and eating.  Please read up on this subject before you bring your new puppy home so you are prepared.

New Puppy Care: Inside the House

Two weeks before your puppy arrives at your home, start puppy-proofing. Imagine you have a toddler in your home and safety-proof your house accordingly. Remember, anything left within the puppy’s reach, or left on the ground, can be damaged when the puppy is in the teething stage. Shoes, remote controls and MP3 players, pens and pencils, trash containers without lids, and clothing left on the floor…everything must be kept out of the puppy’s reach.

Place your puppies crate in a secure area that’s slightly out of the way.  This could be a laundry room, the kitchen, a spare bedroom, or even a large closet with the door left open. Make sure you have the right size crate for the puppy. This is where the puppy will sleep and retire to when she/he is sleepy or needs a break. At first just have bedding and a toy or two (not one that can be chewed up easily), in the crate. The puppy will sleep well in its crate once you have established the fact that this is where the puppy sleeps at night. This is not inhumane, in fact they like having their own little den (just like their wolf ancestors). Tell everyone in your family that when the puppy is in the crate, it is their “alone time” and they are not to be disturbed.

They find comfort and usually will not potty where they sleep. This is a great housebreaking tool. It also protects your house (furniture/shoes/legs of chairs/counters) and protects the new puppy from chewing or eating something it should not, and that might make them sick. You wouldn’t let a toddler run loose at night unrestrained. The same is true for your little friend. Just remember, the moment you let your puppy out of the crate in the morning, or any time, immediately take the puppy out to potty!


New Puppy Care: Other Pets

If you have other dogs, cats or pets that also live with you, allow some time for them to get used to the puppy. Slowly let them investigate each other. They will usually sniff each other and watch each others’ body language. If they are like most Aussie puppies, they will be very curious about the other pet. You may find it nerve wracking to introduce your new puppy to older pets. Give the time to get to know each other safely, perhaps a leash on your older pet would be wise. Your puppy should be naturally accepted into the pack within a day or two.

New Puppy Care: High EnergyAussies are high energy puppies. You will learn early on that a game of fetch will often leave you tired and worn out before your puppy tires. Frisbees, toss ropes, doggie balls, all are excellent toys for your puppy. Aussies excel at agility events, so think about setting up a miniature course in your back yard for your puppy and train them to “run the course.” Your children will love it and it is great exercise for the whole family!


New Puppy Care: Chewing and Digging

Aussies are notoriously “mouthy” puppies. Because they are herding dogs, the explore everything with their mouth. Start your collection now of “acceptable” toys for your puppy to chew on, such as rawhide toys, rubber squeaky toys, and large dental bones. Never give your puppy old socks or shoes to chew on as this will confuse them when you get upset at them for chewing your new pair of shoes. Again, ample exercise will help curb this behavior. There are all kinds of products available now for teething puppies including oral ointments and brush on or spray on anti-chewing products. When your puppy is going through a chewing stage, the crate comes in very handy, be sure to provide them with lots of the correct chewing toys for teething. You can also designate a “safe” room that does not have valuable furniture. Think two-year old child stage and keep everything off the floor and up to two year old height. Electric cords are especially dangerous to puppies in the teething stage!

New Puppy Care: Herding Behavior, Nipping and BitingIt is very important as a new Aussie parent for you to understand the difference between herding, nipping, and biting. Aussies rarely, if ever, bite out of anger. However, the herding instinct is alive and well in Aussies. They will attempt to herd anything from a pile of socks, to the vacuum cleaner, to people, even you. Discourage this “mouthy” behavior when you see it, and don’t assume that it means that your puppy is aggressive. Proper leash training and basic obedience classes are the answer to this herding behavior.


New Puppy Care: Time to Learn Some Manners

At about 4 months old, and after the puppy has had its first rabies shot, you need to enroll yourself and your puppy into a basic beginners obedience class.  This is a great way to teach your dog manners and to bond with the new friends of the canine family. If you have kids, get them involved with your new puppy’s training. I am sure your puppy will love it. Often the owners need more training than the puppies, so be prepared to learn and develop a WONDERFUL bond with your puppy at these classes.

They will soon be sensitive to your every whim, so please be sensitive to theirs now
Mini Aussies have extremely keen senses; more so than many other breeds of dogs. This keen sense of hearing, sight, and smell are what makes Aussies such able-to-please pets because they can almost read your mind. Many people say that Australian Shepherds are great judges of people because they can sense things that we cannot! But puppies can become overstimulated easily by sounds, facial expressions, a room full of over-active children, etc. Pay close attention to your puppy’s emotional state and remember they are very sensitive. Overstimulating can even have negative effects on your puppies stomach and digestion too.


New puppy care includes protecting them from your children.

Many children do not understand that continual loud noises, fast movements, and shrieking can be terrifying to a puppy. A week before your puppy comes home, join everyone in your family together and watch some puppy care videos and talk about what is expected of them when the new puppy comes home. Although our puppies are handled daily and are raised around young children, some children can cause your puppies stress. Startled puppies may overreact the first time they are startled, and owners may mistake their puppies fear for aggression. The sad thing is that just a little more understanding by the owner of their new puppy’s sensitivity to their environment would have kept the whole misunderstanding from happening. Please treat your puppy like you would one of your own children with patience and love. Friendship Farms Aussies are not aggressive towards people who are not threatening them or the people that they love.

Resources.

Below is just a sampling of videos and information about puppy care and training from reliable sources. Please gather your family together several days before your puppy comes home and watch these videos. Remember, new puppy owners need education too and the resources below are excellent sources of information.

Click here to visit Hills Pet Nutrition for a very comprehensive library of articles about puppy care and training.
Click here to visit Eukanuba to view their videos on new puppy care and training.

New Puppy Care: Finally!Take time to enjoy your new puppy!!! Cuddle up with a book with them or take a long nap on the couch, plop down on the floor for a game of fetch, or go for a long walk. Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy! Friendship Farms Aussies are well bred and a joy to own and love. Don’t forget to schedule that puppy class so that your new Aussie puppy will blend into your life safely and easily.