Puppy's FAQ

Everyday living questions

Is there a recommended temperature in the house for the puppy at night?
If it is comfortable for you, it is comfortable for the puppy. 7 weeks old Labrador puppies can be comfortable at 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

When can I bathe my puppy?

You can do it the first day you have him. Use a puppy shampoo and warm water. Towel dry and use a blower if it is too cold. Labs love water, and this should be fun. If the puppy is getting stressed out, stop, rinse and try another day. DO NOT use flea & tick shampoo.
How often can I bathe my puppy?
Little puppies need to take a quick bath often because they get dirty all the time and sometimes they soil in the crate. Once he is past this stage, once a month is about right. I bathe my dogs very sporadically, maybe once or twice a year. Brush once a week and your dog will have a healthy coat and will not smell bad. A stinky dog should be checked for underlaying skin problems.

Crate training questions

Should I Crate train my puppy?
Dogs feel secure in small, enclosed spaces. A dog crate makes an excellent and safe place for your puppy to stay when you're away or when you cannot watch him. Choose a crate where he has enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down. Dogs do not like to eliminate where they sleep or eat. However, if you get a huge crate for a small dog he may do so in one end and sleep in the other. For a Labrador puppy you may need to purchase a crate with a divider you can move as he grows. If you can’t get a crate, place your puppy in a small-delimited area like the kitchen or bathroom.
Should we leave a light on at night for the puppy?
You can try leave it on, and if the puppy falls sleep fast, then it is ok. If he keeps on crying and crying, then try to turn the lights off. Some people recommend leaving a TV or radio on for the puppy. I don't recommend it, for it will keep the puppy awake longer. Though, Classic music seems to help.
Where should I place the crate the first few nights?
You should try first to place the crate as away as you can from the family and the regular busy areas. You want a calm and quiet environment for the puppy to fall sleep faster. If you puppy feels very insecure and cries for more than 15-20 minutes, place the crate open in your room where he can see you. Some puppies are more independent than other. Some will not fall sleep unless they are touching you. A hand hanging from the bed might be all the puppy needs to feel secure. After he falls asleep, place him quietly in his crate, and close the door. The first few nights are key for the puppy to bond with his new family. You want to avoid any traumatic experiences.
If the puppy cries at night, should we leave him or comfort him?
Play with your puppy a lot right before bed time. Make sure he is very tired. If the puppy first cries when you leave him, leave him alone. The average crying should last a few minutes. Do not pick on him. If the crying last for more than 15-20 minutes, then, he needs some comfort and company. Take him out and play for a little while until he is tired.
If he wakes up in the middle of the night crying, he needs to go potty. It'll take longer this time for him to fall sleep, but sure enough he will.

Feeding questions

How often do I feed my puppy?
At 7 weeks, 3 times a day about 3/4-1 cup each time. After he is 10 weeks old you can feed 2 times a day. Divide the total daily amount of food in 2 instead of 3. Make sure you adjust the amount of food as the puppy grows.
What do you feed the puppies?
Pro Plan large breed puppy formula.
Can I give treats/snacks to the puppy?
Not until he is 10 weeks old, and only as a reward. Been the cutest puppy in the block should not warrant a reward....
Do I leave a water bowl over night in the crate?
No, He'll spill it all over. Make sure he has water at all times when out of the crate.

Potty training

How often do I have to take the puppy out?
At the beginning, as often as you can. Give him plenty of opportunities to relieve himself outside. Every hour or so is about right for day time and every 3 hours at night time. 1 time in the middle of the night should be enough for a 8 weeks old puppy. My puppies will hold it over night by the time they are 10 weeks old.
How long does it take to potty train my puppy?
It depends on the puppy and how hard you and your family work the first few days. I've had several new owners that tell me that despite a few accidents the puppy got potty trained right away. The system with wood chips I use, does the job for you. By the time the puppies leave my house, they are 90% potty trained. They should be 100% potty trained by the time they are 100 weeks old.
Can I use puppy pads or do I take the puppy outside?
My puppies are not used to puppy pads. They'll rip them apart and it can be potentially dangerous if they swallow them. They are used to wood chips and outside.
If the weather is freezing outside, do you recommend letting the puppy ‘go potty’ outside anyway?
Yes, they need to go out very often, and if the weather permits it, take him out. Low temperatures should not be a problem, but raining or hazardous weather should.

Training questions

When can the puppy socialize with other dogs?
If you know the health status of the other dogs, I don't have a problem with the puppy playing with them. If playing with other puppies, ask where the puppy came from. If the puppy came from a shelter, pet shop or puppy mill, do not allow them to get even close. Rescued and pet shop puppies commonly carry deceases that are highly contagious and often fatal. Do not take the puppy to dog parks or pet shops until he is at least 10 weeks old, and has 2 sets of shots.
When do we start puppy training classes?
At 10 weeks.
When Do I start training my puppy for the shows?
Right away. Start rewarding when he stacks properly. Puppy show classes can start at 4 month.

Health questions

What shots should a puppy have when I take it home?
I do one Parvovirus at 4 weeks, and one Distemper, hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza at 6 weeks. De-worming starts at 2 weeks and then every 2 weeks until they leave. Heartworm prevention starts at 8 weeks.
When do I take the puppy for his first vet check up?
I like people to take their puppies in the next 3-4 days, but not right away when you take him from the kennel. The reasons are simple, first, it is too much stress for the puppy, and second, you won't really have anything to say to the doctor, as you haven't have your puppy long enough. I'll give you the date that the puppy needs the next set of shot. It is extremely important to do the shots on schedule. A couple of days won't hurt, but if you miss for more than 1 week your puppy is at risk of not getting the adequate protection vaccines give.
How often do puppies get shots?
Every 3 weeks until he is 4 month old, when he will get the rabies. After that it depends on your vet, county, and your own criteria.
How often do adult dogs need shots?
I vaccinate adult dogs every 3 years with DHPP. Bordetella every 6 month. Rabies once a year by law. If in doubt, you can always do a titer reading of antibodies for every decease.
When do puppies start Heartworm Prevention?
At 8 weeks to prevent intestinal parasites, and 4 month to prevent heartworm.
When do I have to start applying flea and tick prevention?
Only if you have a problem in your area you should apply flea and tick products. Why put on your dog something potentially toxic if your puppy is not going to be exposed to them? I recommend having a small supply at home, and use it right away if you see any signs of fleas or ticks.

Should I Neuter my pet?

Yes, you need to neuter your pet, but not before he or she is 7-8 month old. If you have a male and you want him to look like a big muscular well developed “macho” dog, wait until he is 2 years old to neuter. Females need to be spayed before their first season.
The AVMA issue a new policy after years of research:
"Although spay/neuter is an important part of effective population control programs, and may benefit individual dogs and cats if performed at the appropriate time, whether and when to spay/neuter specific animals requires the application of science and professional judgment to ensure the best outcome for veterinary patients and their owners. Prevention of unexpected litters; reduced incidences of some cancers and reproductive diseases; and prevention and amelioration of certain undesirable behaviors have been documented as benefits to spaying/neutering dogs and cats. However, potential health problems associated with spaying and neutering have also been identified, including an increased risk of prostatic cancer in males; increased risks of bone cancer and hip dysplasia in large-breed dogs associated with sterilization before maturity; and increased incidences of obesity, diabetes, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and hypothyroidism."

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