BRINGING PUPPY HOME
Finding a Veterinarian
Establishing a veterinarian for your puppy before bringing them home is incredibly important. We administer the first round of vaccinations at 6 weeks old, but they will be due their second round of vaccinations at 10 to 12 weeks of age. Finding a vet that is close to your home and available for regular appointments is crucial to keeping your pup happy and healthy!
Things to look for in a Veterinarian:
Good reviews from your friends, family, and other patients
Someone friendly that doesn't mind answering lots of questions
Similar pet care philosophies
Care plans that make the first year of your puppy's health care more affordable
Hours of operation that work with your schedule
Picking a Dog Food
Choosing what to feed your puppy once they come home with you can feel like a very daunting task. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your dog's food should be specific for their age and size. Large-breed puppy food is lower in fat and calories, and slows down the rate of growth in the adolescent phase. This helps keep large dogs from developing bone and joint issues in adulthood. You should also be careful not to fall into diet plan fads like the grain-free trend. While some dogs with allergies do need to avoid certain ingredients, most dogs actually require a healthy amount of grains in their diet. When your puppy goes home with you they will need to slowly transition from their old food to the new one, as to avoid upsetting their stomach. We provide you with a small sample of their current food to take with you, and that amount should help you make the switch.
Your Puppy's First Night with You
The first few nights with your puppy are very important, because they set the routine for your pup. We recommend taking them out to go potty one last time before sleeping. This will be their first night away from their mama and siblings, so make sure that their bed or crate is situated close enough for them to see you throughout the night. Our puppies are trained to sleep with all of the lights turned off, so they should calm down and fall asleep pretty quickly. If they start to cry, feel free to talk and reassure them, but resist picking them up or taking them out of their crate. Most puppies wake around 6am needing a quick potty break, but should go back to sleep for another hour or two once returned to their bed. It's important to remember that routines are best set from the beginning.
The House Training Challenge
We do our very best to establish good house training behaviors in our puppies from the start. Our whelping boxes have separate areas for sleeping and pottying, and once they are started on solid foods we begin taking trips outside directly after meals. Once your puppy is home with you, take them out every hour or two for the first week. When walking out of the house, use important key words like "outside" or "potty", or ring a set of bells on the door. As soon as they pee in their area of the yard, shower them with praise and treats. Watch out for signals like "circling" or sniffing around, and immediately rush them outside even if they have already started to go inside. It usually only takes a week or two for your puppy to get the hang of things, but remember that it takes patience and consistency.
How to Approach Socialization
Our focus at Riverside Goldendoodles is raising calm, gentle, and well-socialized dogs. We spend one-on-one time with each puppy, giving them lots of love and attention in order to get them used to being around other people and pets. Once your puppy has come home with you, slowly introduce new people to them in a calm and friendly manner. Avoid overwhelming them with large crowds right away, as it can ingrain a panicked and overly-cautious reaction to new situations. Also, make sure that you wait to visit dog parks or areas with lots of animals until after your puppy has received all of their booster shots. Our family pets in our home have all been vaccinated and are safe for your puppy to interact with early on, but double check that your friends' and neighbors' pets are safe too before introducing them to your new dog.
We are firm believers that the first six months of a puppy's life establish their personality and behavior. It is so crucial to train your dog from the very first day, in order to stop habits like biting, jumping, or barking from developing. Puppies are used to playing a little rough with their siblings, and need to know right away that they can't play with you in the same way. We have found that if you react to bites or nibbling with a high-pitched noise and a loud "OUCH", they will stop just as if their sibling had yelped. Immediate and consistent reactions to bad behaviors is the best way to encourage good behaviors. We recommend beginning to teach simple commands like sit, lay down, and stay, starting at about two months of age. Puppies have short attention spans, so keep your training sessions short and praise-based.
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