Bringing puppy home
This page will deal with some of the initial issues surrounding bringing home your new puppy. I hope to add to it, but wanted to get started with this information.
When you first bring your puppy home, be aware that it is a HUGE adjustment for him. Up until then, he has lived with his littermates, and before then also with his mother. To a social animal like a dog, relationships with his family are a big source of comfort and security. In going to a new home, he loses all that and has to build new relationships. Spending quality time with the puppy, and understanding what he is going through, will really help him adjust faster. I don't recommend comforting or rewarding fear, but using understanding and patience, and setting things up to make him comfortable. He may feel real panic that first night or two, when he is left to sleep alone. If you can set up his sleeping area to be near a person or other dog, that can help. The nice thing about puppies is they adjust pretty fast, especially when younger.
If he is going to be crate trained, placing the crate near people especially the first few days or weeks, will help him feel less abandoned. Know that it's likely the pup will cry the first few nights, but as times goes by he will get better. In learning a new routine he will know what to expect, and that also is a source of security.
With crate training, I really recommend making it a positive thing. Put the pup in for short periods of time, with some really yummy chew toy that he only gets then, and before he is bored with the toy, remove him and the toy. You want to leave him wanting more. He only goes in the crate when he gets that high value treat, and isn't left in so long he becomes uncomfortable or unhappy. If you take time to build a positive association with the crate, you will set your puppy up to be comfortable in it at other times. It can be a lot of work at first, but is worth it in the long run.
I will share a story that illustrates an example of this. One litter we had was born in spring, and we had a hot spell when they were about 5 to 6 weeks old. The puppies wanted to play outside at night or early morning or evening, but wanted to be inside in the air conditioning during the day. So I used that to build a positive association with crates. I put the pups in a huge crate right by the AC and they settled right down for a nap. After a couple hours I put them out for a potty break, and it was hot enough they wanted right back in. So, back in they came, to go in the crate with toys. They played quietly in the cool air. Over the next few days, they learned the routine that crates meant cool time and fun toys, and almost demanded to be crated rather than be loose outside, in the heat! They would still have to adjust to being crated individually in new homes, but at least built a positive association while still together and in a familiar environment. You can use this philosophy to make crate training an easy transition for a puppy. Making the crate a good place will make the puppy WANT to be there.
One final note. Please do not crate your puppy or dog for long periods of time. Crates are a nice tool to help with house training and getting the puppy safely through the chewing stage. But like any tool, overusing a crate is a form of abuse, especially if the dog is kept in there so long it must soil the crate. With young pups, an hour or two at a time is plenty, and with adult dogs, I still would never go over 5-6 hours.
Puppies want to be clean and not mess where they live, so that gets them started on the idea of going potty outside.
I generally follow the rule of taking them out about once an hour at this age, and especially after meals, play time and naps. At night we go longer, maybe 3-4 hours at this age.
If they have an accident, don't rub their noses in it. That teaches them to fear you, and to be dirty. Just clean it up. If you see them getting ready to go or starting to go, make a noise like "no" or "ack!" to get them to stop, and then pick them up and take them right out. I use the command "go potty" as we go, and if I see them doing the deed outside, I say "potty" as they do it, so they learn that is what I call it. I don't give a treat for going, so they don't just skip the potty part and want to come back in for their treat.
They will have accidents so I recommend a good cleaner and lots of paper towels. Just keep your cool when it happens, clean it up and watch closer next time. A lot of folks get mad at the puppy for it and all that does is make the puppy scared of you, or scared of going potty in front of you. Each week that goes by they get more control, and they will be house broken before you know it. Remember at this age they are just babies, and don't know they have to go until right before they HAVE to! The key is management (keep them on easy to clean surfaces) and prevention (take them out A LOT!)
Also, feeding them meals on somewhat of a schedule helps a lot too. If you leave food down all the time, they eat whenever and potty more irregularly. As the leader, I like to control the food, since some dogs need that reminder to respect their owner. I do leave water out most of the time though. Besides raw food, I also feed a little premium quality dry food, in this case Holistic Select chicken and rice for pups and then I mix/rotate between that, some of the Fromm Four Star line, and Eagle Pack Original (blue bag). You can find a dealer by using the website On top quality foods, the pups eat far less and also potty less often and less quantity. If you use a cheaper, grocery store brand they eat up to twice as much and their stools are bigger and messier. Also, the quality of the ingredients is lower, making the pup less healthy and robust, and more prone to skin allergies, excessive shedding and poor coats, and other health problems. Think of the cheaper foods as junk food for humans. You wouldn't raise your child on potato chips and candy bars, and that's all the better the lower quality dog food is. I worked in the pet food industry for years, which is why I feed a mostly human grade, raw diet with some ultra premium dry food. You don't want to know some of the ingredients in the cheap food! Puppyhood is definitely NOT the time to skimp on food quality. Expect to pay at least $2 a pound or more for the good brands. Some of the best are closer to $3-$5 a pound. In the long run you will save though, since they eat less and will have less health problems like skin irritations, allergies and other issues. I can't stress this enough. Feed those babies well!
I add salmon and fish oil supplements to improve the coat, and it seems to dramatically cut down shedding when they are grown, as well as give them a healthy coat and skin, and a stronger immune system. I usually get it at Meijer in the people vitamin/supplement section. I give a puppy 1 of the 1000 mg capsules on their food every day. I don't pop it open, just add it whole in the meal and they generally eat it. As adults they get 1 of the 1000 mg capsules daily. My dogs also get natural Vit E a couple times a week, in the form of 400 iu gel caps. You may want to wait until the pups are about 10-12 weeks old to start this, and start gradually. They won't be shedding this early anyway, but it will really, drastically cut shedding in your puppy as it becomes an adult, and less shedding means a healthy coat and skin. For variety I may rotate with coconut oil once or twice a week, but mostly stick with fish or salmon oil.
I don't feed any calcium or multi-vitamins though, as you can do more harm than good if you don't know how to balance them. I just give a top quality food, and the oils and kelp powder.
I also use probiotics on a weekly basis, either Forti-Flora by Purina, or Probiotic Max from www.naturesfarmacy.com I included a few packets of Forti-Flora in your puppy folder.
Even if you don't want to feed a raw diet, using fresh or frozen green tripe is a GREAT addition to the diet. It has a great calcium/phosphorus balance so is ideal for growing puppies. Mine get it daily.
The salmon or fish oil is also good for the immune system, as well as the coat and skin. The Vit E helps the body process and store the beneficial omega acids in the salmon oil. Kelp has trace minerals that are good for the dog as well.
I know some of you won't want to do this, but I also feed a lot of raw meats, bones and organs. All my dogs get that, even at this age since I wean pups onto raw. I feed ground chicken parts (bone, meat, organ.) They also get a bit of venison or beef heart, organs like liver and gizzards, and even eggs and fish. If you want more info about adding raw ingredients, let me know. Done properly this is even better than premium kibble, but it takes a little time to learn how to balance the diet and shop for ingredients. I have 2 big freezers full of stuff for the dogs, since I buy in bulk to stock up! The dogs here eat VERY well, and it shows in their health and the health of the puppies at this age. If any of you want detailed information on raw feeding, feel free to contact me. I can get you started with a menu, the "why" part of doing it, and where to buy your ingredients, and answer any other questions you may have.
VACCINATIONS AND WORMINGS:
I will have started the pups on their vaccination schedule, and wormed them at least 2-3 times. (See their health records.) They'll need at least two more shots, 3-4 weeks apart, until they are 12-16 weeks old. I generally go at either 8, 12, 16 weeks, or 7, 11, 15 weeks. A month after that they get their rabies vaccination. They can be wormed a couple more times too. I give my dogs heartworm preventative at the first of the month from May-November. Heartworm disease can be deadly and is VERY common in many places in the country. This is something to talk to your vet about. I'd recommend getting a good relationship going with your vet of choice soon after you bring the puppy home. The vet can answer some health care questions, and I will always be available to help as well. DO NOT USE TRIFEXIS WITH AUSSIES!!
********REALLY IMPORTANT************ I wanted to let all Aussie owners know not to use Ivermectin products with their dogs, unless the dogs have been MDR1 tested and are normal. These ingredients may be found in common heartworm preventatives such as Heartguard or Iverhart. One third to one half of all Aussies may carry a gene mutation which can cause them to have reactions, sometimes serious or even fatal, to these drugs. Using Interceptor for heartworm prevention is generally accepted as safe. Make sure sure your vet knows this, since not all are kept up to date on breed specific issues. Aussies and other breeds have died after being given invermectin by a vet or owner, or eating livestock manure after the animals were wormed with an ivermectin product. There is a new genetic test you can do with your pup, to determine his or her status. It's called the MDR1 test. I have tested all my Aussies. For more info, check out:
I've lived with and raised Aussies for many years, and spend a LOT of time learning about health care, training, nutrition and breed traits. If you ever have any questions about your puppy, please feel free to ask.
SUGGESTED READING FROM IAN DUNBAR - AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE!!
ITEMS TO HAVE BEFORE PUPPY COMES HOME
Some of the things you may want to buy before your puppy comes home would include a leash and collar, age appropriate toys, food and water bowls, food, grooming supplies such as a brush and steel toothed comb and nail trimmers (I use the Millers Forge medium clippers), cleaning products such as paper towels and a stain remover (I use Odo-Ban), and if you are going to crate train, a crate. I use the bits of their dry food for training treats at this age, so as not to upset their immature tummies. Later you can use different treats, but avoid the semi-moist kind or any with artificial colors. They are bad for dogs.
I use different toys with my pups and dogs, depending on whether it's for supervised play, teething or heavy duty chewing, or interactive play. For more heavy chewing I use Nylabones, Kong Toys or cow hooves (some dogs chew too hard for these to be safe), and if I am supervising I use American made rawhide chips, bones or rolls. I can't stress enough to ONLY use rawhide processed and made in America, as those made in foreign countries, especially China, may be very unsafe. I do give them rope toys, plush squeaky toys and other such toys if I know they aren't destructive chewers. Mine LOVE to play ball, so I use a variety including tennis balls (don't leave them unattended with these), or something called a Jolly Ball which is a medium sized ball with a rope through it. I have also given them basketballs, which they pop so they can more easily grip them when retrieving. You will have to find what your pup likes best and how he or she chews, so you can make wise choices for offering various toys or chewies.
IF YOU CAN'T KEEP YOUR PUPPY
I also want folks to know that I will stand behind my puppies for their whole lives. If at any point you can't keep your puppy, please let me know before doing anything else with him or her. If at all possible I will take the puppy back here, or make arrangements for him or her to go to a foster home, rather than a shelter. If you do have a friend or family member willing to take the dog, I'd still like to be notified just so I can keep in touch with the new owner. I have been involved in rescue too, and want to ensure any puppy I brought into the world has a safe and loving home for the rest of it's life.
Last of all, enjoy that puppy! Puppyhood doesn't last long, but what you put into the baby at this time helps him or her to be the best dog possible!
A word about Aussies and Fenced Yards:
I get people asking about whether or not an Aussie needs a fenced yard. I strongly suggest that they do. I know some people use the invisible or underground type fences, but in my years in dogs I have heard of way too many cases where such fences have failed, sometimes with fatal consequences when the dog is hit by a car. Sometimes they make dogs afraid of the yard (thinking going out in the yard makes them get shocked.) But mostly they do nothing to protect your dog from other people or animals, and may allow an aggressive dog in your hard to hurt your Aussie. Since the fence can fail due to mechanical problems, or the dog simply may tolerate the shock so it can go out of the fence, it just isn't a safe way to contain a dog. I am not a fan of tie out cables and even less so of chains, but feel it's still safer than an invisible fence or no type of restraint. It only takes a second for an accident to happen and your dog could pay with it's life. So if at all possible make sure you have a safe and secure fenced area for your Aussie!
"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."