PREPARING FOR YOUR PUPPY
Basics of what you need to know
You will need a crate for puppy. I would suggest a wire one that will be big enough for her as she becomes an adult. It will save you buying more than one.
You will need food for her when she comes home. Our dogs and puppies eat TLC. You can order it online at www.tlcpetfood.com or call them 877-328-8400. They ship either to your door or to the post office if its a small town. They also have an autoship program so they send you the same order every month and it just comes off your credit card so you don't have to remember to order.
Your puppy is pretty little still- so she needs to pee about every 3 hours. She can stay in her crate for around 3-4 hours and can hold it. She won't be able to hold it all day to start with, so be prepared for accidents if she doesn't have access to the outside. When you are home, she will likely whine and pace a bit if she needs to pee and eventually they learn to ask by whining at the door to go out. Our puppies are trained to use a doggy door if they have free access to a fenced yard.
She has her first set of milk teeth, which are like little needles and puppies chew on everything! She will lose those teeth while chewing at around 12 weeks and then her permanent ones will come in. She will need teething toys, Peavy Mart, Bass Pro, Cabelas, Canadian Tire all have good tough rubber ones. Don't give her an old shoe even though she will want it- it will teach her she is allowed to chew on all shoes!
I've attached a link called Ditch The Bowl; it has some suggestions of where to buy interactive toys for dogs. These can be great training tools. Puppies have to solve puzzles to get the treat out of the toy. There are different levels of toys you can purchase, ranging in difficulty. Start with a level one and work your way up as they learn to solve them. It helps to train dogs to problem solve!
We also use TLC food as training treats. Just being able to eat out of your hand is special for your puppy! Your puppy doesn't need expensive treats to feel loved. Practise "sits" and reward with praise and a piece of TLC kibble.
The single most important investment you can put into your puppy, is good training!
This link is to a training video for puppies from 8 weeks to 12 months for Basic Obedience. This site also has lots of other resources. We are always here to help you with your puppy but taking some obedience classes really gives a good foundation after they leave our home. Further training for anything specialized (ie birdhunting, tracking courses) is recommended beyond basic obedience.
Your Puppy's Place
Give your new friend a special place it may call its own. Your puppy will use this place to rest and sleep, and it will feel safe and protected here. Make it a warm and cozy home, in a draft-free corner in an area, near family activity. The ideal situation would be a training crate. Some crates have dividers to make a smaller area for when your pup is smaller or you can place a smaller box or bed in the kennel to make it feel more secure. Why do this for your puppy? A cave was home to dog's wolf-like ancestors so your puppy instinctively feels cozy and safe in anything familiar. Add some warm, washable bedding for your pup to snuggle up in. With crate training you will know that it is not getting into any mischief, even when you cannot be there to watch. You will not have to worry while you are out on a short errand that your pup is getting into something.
Crates are very useful tools when house-training your puppy, because the dog's instinct is not to soil its bed. Although some people do not like the idea of crate training, most dogs learn to love their crate, which provides for them security and comfort.
Crate training is useful in a variety of circumstances:
it prevents vocalization at night because the crate can be moved into your bedroom
it prevents chewing or destructive behaviour and also prevents choking and electrical hazards
it is the best method for house training
a crate trained dog will travel calmly
crate-trained dogs are happier when boarded (you can take their crate along)
Steps in crate training:
The crate should be large enough for the adult to stand up and turn around.
The crate should be kept in the kitchen or bedroom at night; it should not be left in isolated areas.
To start with, put toys in the crate so the pup can go into it on its own. Associate the crate with fun things.
Put the pup in for a few minutes with the door closed. If it misbehaves, try to distract it. Try to leave the puppy in the crate for 10 minutes. Let the puppy out only when he/she is quiet. Do not let it out of the crate if it is barking, howling, or whining as that will reinforce the behaviour (i.e. if I cry I get out). Instead, try to distract your puppy by making a noise (shake a tin can containing pennies) and if your puppy is quiet for a few seconds, let it out of the cage and praise or reward it with an appropriate treat. Gradually extend the amount of time your puppy is in the crate. Once the puppy is comfortable in the crate for about a half-hour without making a fuss, then it can be left alone. By crate training in this manner you will teach your pup that he/she will not get out of the crate by making a fuss, and you are rewarding its behaviour with praise and attention.
Respect your puppy's privacy when she/he is in her/his special place; don't just reach in and pull your pup out, let your pup come out by itself. Don't let children bother or tease your puppy. It needs to feel safe when in her/his special place
You'll be glad you gave your pup its own place when it goes there for naps or happily snuggles down for the night without whimpering and crying. And you'll know that your puppy is not getting into mischief, even when you can't be there to watch it.