Congratulations on the arrival of your new family member.
This is usually a very busy time as you try to stay one step ahead of your new canine. Even experienced owners learn something with each new dog. This page outlines the basic information that we think is important for all dog owners. It should help you establish a good relationship with your new dog and a healthy environment for the rest of his or her life. We hope to be able to discuss at least some of this information with you in the course of your pup’s first few visits. We encourage you to review this information and ask us any questions you may have.
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Elimination Training (“House-breaking”) - Supervision, consistency and patience are required. Don’t count on it happening on its own. Provide a set feeding and exercise schedule and then observe and learn the timing of your puppy’s elimination pattern. Bring your puppy to the same area outside, on leash, and wait for results. Reward immediately when the job is done (don’t wait until back inside). Do not punish accidents you don’t see happen; only if you see it happening should you startle the puppy and try to get the rest of the job done outside. Leash your dog to you when inside if you are unable to completely supervise. Crate your dog when you cannot watch it at all; this will help prevent accidents and teach your puppy to “hold it” longer.
Crate Training - This is recommended as a house-breaking tool and a life-long behavioral aide. Plan to use the crate as a safe “den” for when your puppy cannot be supervised or needs quiet time. It should not be treated as a place of punishment – expect it to become your dog’s life-long safe place. Choose a location your puppy will recognize as regularly used living space, especially if your puppy will be alone for much of the day (the crate is not exile). Design an appropriately sized space (i.e., not too big) to encourage “holding it”. Dogs don’t want to soil where they sleep. Determine the appropriate length of time for your puppy to be left alone (and expected to “hold it”). and schedule puppy care around that. A rule of thumb is the hours a puppy is expected to “hold it” equals its age in months plus one. Downplay your departures and arrivals to avoid encouraging separation anxiety. Set up alternatives to going outside such as puppy pads or newspaper in a gated space or playpen if you choose not to use a crate, though house-training will be more difficult. Decide where your dog will sleep at night if not in a crate.
Socialization - The more positive experiences puppies have, the happier, more confident and less fearful an adult they may become. Actively plan to expose your puppy to as many new things as possible during their first 3-4 months, their key developmental period for learning what’s “normal” rather than potentially stressful. Introduce your puppy to other (healthy, vaccinated and friendly) dogs, people of all appearances and new environments, including other homes and cars. Dog parks and other uncontrolled large groupings should be avoided. Enable your puppy to experience time away from you and your home to help build their confidence.
Leashes, Collars and Harnesses - These are good tools for safety and training. Most puppies would rather run free, of course, but it is not their decision. Get your puppy used to this form of control regardless of its expected adult size. Think harnesses for small dogs and those with flat faces (more prone to neck/windpipe injury and breathing issues with collar misuse) and for dogs that pull all the time. Consider choke collar alternatives for exuberant dogs, such as head halters and squeeze harnesses. For dogs that pull all the time, a choke collar becomes a choking collar and not a correction device. Do not forget the risk, albeit small, of severe injury from non-breakaway collars left on unattended dogs. Choke collars should always be removed after outings.
Exercise - You need to keep all dogs, but especially puppies, busy or they will find their own entertainment. Make the time to exercise your puppy both mentally and physically, including play time and training time. Provide opportunities for your puppy to stay busy and entertain itself. Keep your puppy as busy as possible by day and it will be more apt to sleep through the night. Understand that “tiring” your puppy won’t happen just by dog walks alone.
Handling and Examining Your Pup - Practice techniques now that make it easier to work with your dog in the future.Handle your puppy’s mouth, ears, eyelids, legs, paws, nails, belly and under the tail as much as possible and give rewards for allowing you to do so.Train your puppy to accept these manipulations to make future handling easier.
Basic Obedience and Beyond - Behavioral problems are a leading cause of owner dissatisfaction, pet abandonment and worse. Guiding your dog’s behavior is a lifelong process. Be your dog’s leader first, friend second, much like parenting children. Give your dog rules to live by; this creates a framework of expectations for your dog that reduces uncertainty and anxiety; this makes for a happier pet. Sign up for puppy and obedience classes; we cannot overemphasize the benefits of working with a trainer in a distracting environment.
Deference / Nothing is Free - This is the single MOST important leadership and training technique. Teach your puppy to sit and wait for everything; your puppy will then learn to sit and wait when it wants something or when it doesn’t know what else to do. View this just like a child asking “Please” for something rather than just demanding it (and even worse, getting it).
Appropriate Play and Entertainment - Dogs need things to do or “jobs” or they may come up with activities you may not like. Provide physical exercise and the just-as-important mental stimulation games. Teach hide and seek and other games; play fetch; teach tricks. Play retrieving games so things are brought to you, not kept away. Offer “busy toys” such as rawhide and other consumable chews (with supervision), food-filled Kongs and other food-containing toys, when you can’t be entertaining. Maintain a toy basket and rotate what’s out to keep toys novel and interesting. Recognize the downside of any tug of war game or mouthy roughhousing if played without appropriate rules and limits.
Rewards - Timing is everything. Reward good behavior immediately (within seconds) or your dog will have moved on mentally and you’ll be rewarding the next activity. Supply plenty of praise and positive attention as readily available rewards. Furnish food rewards which can be extremely helpful in getting and keeping the attention of puppies. Pick food rewards that are small and handy like Cheerios.
Consequences For Unacceptable Behavior - You can’t always just ignore bad behavior and reward the good but make any consequences fit the crime. Do not hit or resort to other physical punishments; dog brains are not programmed to learn anything more than fear and anxiety from such acts. Make sure consequences are well-timed to be effective; if it didn’t literally just happen, you can’t effectively punish it; consider it your fail, not the puppy’s. Consider appropriate consequences such as: take away attention (don’t even look down at the puppy jumping on you, turn away); redirect to a positive behavior (if the puppy is chewing on your hand yelp loudly and hand over an appropriate chew object); time out (puppy running around out of control can be leashed and made to lie down or confined in a small room or crate with a toy).
Bad Habits - What your puppy is allowed to do one day will be done better and more persistently the next, especially if they think they’ve been rewarded for it. Make training easier by deciding early on what is or is not acceptable and then have everyone be consistent. Recognize how bad habits develop and how bad behavior can be inadvertently rewarded; we’ve listed some of the more common bad habits: Jumping up (reaching down to pet or push away can both be rewards) Mouthing, biting, nipping (don’t let puppies teethe on you unless you don’t mind them possibly being mouthy when they’re big) Begging at table or in kitchen (once you start the association between you being in the kitchen and food, it’s hard to break so be careful with offering anything when you are cooking or even just in the kitchen) Getting on furniture (decide early on what’s okay or not okay) Sleeping in bed (decide early on where your dog will sleep) Attention seeking (think child screaming at you while you’re on the phone) Getting into garbage or other places they don’t belong (part of puppy-proofing) Playing keep away (if you have to chase, the dog wins) Pulling on the leash as they walk (who’s leading whom?)
How Much to Feed The best way to judge is by how skinny or plump your puppy is; skinny is preferable to plump. Use rules of thumb (e.g., for pups under 6 months of age, feed 1 cup of dry food per 7-10 pounds per day) only as a rough starting point, and expect to adjust it based on weight gain and how the puppy looks. Underfeed when in doubt rather than overfeed; you’ll never affect adult size by underfeeding, while overfeeding can cause too-rapid growth and increase the chance of bone and joint trouble, like hip dysplasia.
Calorie Control This is absolutely the NUMBER ONE life-long health concern for all dogs. How much you feed is even more critical than what you feed. Dogs are hardwired to look for food so don’t let them tell you how much to feed. Remember that overweight dogs get sick sooner and die younger than dogs kept thin; controlled studies prove this; don’t shorten your dog’s life by feeding too much. Create a feeding system that takes into account meals and treats so that overfeeding won’t occur; make sure everyone follows the feeding rules. Give treats that are small or broken into small pieces (Cheerios make good puppy treats because of their size) to minimize calories; dogs care more about getting a reward than its size so break that 2” bone into 10 individual rewards.
What to Feed We cannot offer simple answers but we do offer: guidelines, acknowledgment that old beliefs seem to defy common sense, and questions to help make you think more about what you feed your dog. Decide what you can afford; know you won’t get what you don’t pay for. Understand that less expensive food features less expensive ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, meat byproducts, grain byproducts (e.g., brewers rice, soybean mill run, corn gluten meal); also realize more expensive food doesn’t always omit inexpensive ingredients; research the negative aspects of these ingredients - or you can believe what we tell you. Learn to pay attention to package ingredient labels, not the marketing on the bag, because you cannot judge a book by its cover; unfortunately, even if you know the ingredients, you can’t be totally sure of quality and wholesomeness. Provide variety; we don’t think it’s healthy for us to eat the exact same thing our whole life, so why should it be okay for our dogs? Recognize that dry dog food is about convenience; despite what the packaging says, there’s nothing really natural about pureeing, cooking and extruding ingredients into a dry nugget; consider feeding more than just dry food. Suggested read – FOOD FOR THOUGHT #1
How to Feed Think outside of the bowl. Feed less than you normally would at mealtimes so you have more opportunities for using food as a reward for a hungrier and more attentive dog. Have your dog work for more of its food so it is more rewarding for you and builds your relationship with your dog. Food toys provide great self-entertainment and mental stimulation for dogs of all ages.
Is People Food Bad For Dogs? Is it “bad” for us? Avoid feeding so much people food, especially meat, that it creates dietary imbalances or adds excess calories; limiting the volume of people food to less than 10% of their diet is safe. Avoid potentially toxic foods (grapes, raisins), junk food and overly fatty scraps (if it’s not that good for us, our dogs don’t need it either). Avoid bones, especially cooked, which can become irritants, obstructions and impactions in some dogs. Encourage your dog to enjoy vegetables and fruits as treats; that piece of carrot, green pepper or broccoli is a much better choice than a Pup-Peroni stick.
We give a series of vaccines to stimulate your dog’s immune system to provide year-long protection against multiple infectious diseases. Avoid exposing your puppy to places where potentially sick or contagious dogs may have been such as city parks, dog shows, dog parks or daycares until their vaccination series is complete.
Core (Every puppy should receive these) DA2PP (acronym for the vaccine that protects against Distemper, Adenovirus 2, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus) is administered every 3-4 weeks starting at 8 weeks of age until your puppy is at least 18 weeks old, then boostered a year later and then no more frequently than every 4 years. Rabies is administered between 3 and 6 months of age, repeated one year later and then given every 3 years.
Recommended (Important for most puppies in Connecticut) Lyme Disease is caused by a spiral bacteria that is transmitted to your dog via deer tick bites. It has the potential to cause joint, nerve and organ injury. Vaccination consists of two injections given 3-4 weeks apart followed by annual re-vaccination. Leptospirosis is a spiral bacteria transmitted from wildlife, especially in backyards. It causes kidney and/or liver injury or failure. This bacteria can also infect people, meaning our dogs can infect us. Vaccination consists of two injections given 2-4 weeks apart followed by annual re-vaccination.
Optional (Available depending on lifestyle and exposure) Bordetella, the major bacterial component involved in causing infectious canine cough (Kennel Cough) is typically required for kennels, daycares and some grooming establishments. The vaccine is administered orally with annual re-vaccination. **Certain facilities may require boostering every 6 months. Canine Influenza is a true flu virus for which two different strains are presently recognized. It has become a growing threat primarily to dogs in the same situations that warrant Kennel Cough vaccination. For most dogs, these viruses cause only mild to no signs of illness. However, a small percentage of infected dogs do develop flu-like symptoms and, rarely, significant pneumonia. Kennels and daycare facilities are increasingly requiring this vaccine as it significantly reduces both the severity and duration of symptoms as well as viral shedding. Vaccination consists of two doses given 2-4 weeks apart, followed by annual re-vaccination.
Intestinal Parasites - These are extremely common in puppies and can sometimes infect people. Testing and de-worming treatments are therefore routine. Stool samples are analyzed for microscopic evidence of parasites including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, Giardia and Coccidia. Picking up stools as promptly as possible (at minimum daily) helps prevent parasite egg contamination of the soil. This is important because some egg species can remain infectious in soil for years. Keep your puppy’s rear end clean, especially if there is any diarrhea. Unclean rear ends can harbor parasite eggs and be sources of infection for other dogs and people alike. Repeat stool exams yearly, and possibly more frequently if tests were previously positive, or if required by your boarding kennel or day care facility.
Heartworm Disease Prevention & Monitoring - This disease has always been easier and safer to prevent than it is to treat. Mosquitoes can transmit larval worms from an infected animal to your dog where they can grow into long spaghetti-like worms that live in your dog’s heart, causing both heart and lung disease. Prevent the disease by giving a once-a-month dose of medicine like chewable Heartgard Plus or Interceptor Plus, which also protect against intestinal hookworms and roundworms. These are our most commonly recommended heartworm prevention medications. It is important to protect your dog year-round since mosquito and intestinal parasite exposures can be unpredictable and continual administration allows for better protection. Perform a blood test to screen for heartworms as well as five tick-transmitted diseases including Lyme Disease every year, starting at 1 year of age.
Fleas and Ticks - Control measures are critical in preventing tick disease transmission and flea or tick infestations. Expect your dog to have contact with a flea or tick at some point; few dogs are lucky enough to never come across either. Limit your dog’s risk of exposure by using a recommended monthly oral or topical product or a Seresto collar. Year-round product use is necessary since certain ticks, most notably the deer tick, feed all winter.
Spaying & Neutering - We strongly support spaying and neutering animals who will not be used for breeding. Intact (unneutered) male dogs are more susceptible to prostate enlargement, infection and abscesses, as well as certain undesirable behaviors. Likewise, spaying has many health benefits for female dogs, essentially eliminating the risk of life-threatening uterine infections and, if performed prior to the second heat cycle, drastically reducing the risk of mammary cancer. Newer research suggests that delaying the time of spay and neuter until after your dog has reached maturity may help reduce orthopedic issues and certain types of cancer, particularly in large and giant breeds. We may encourage some female dogs to go through one heat cycle, depending on their breed, size and other factors. Exact timing of spaying or neutering your dog is something that should be discussed with us during your pup's early visits.
Oral Care - Now is the best time to teach your puppy to accept brushing as well as accustoming you to pay regular attention to your dog’s teeth.Familiarize your dog with a tooth brush and handling of its mouth at an early age. For small dogs this is extremely important since periodontal disease can take a huge toll on their oral and general health at a surprisingly young age. Without care, some small breed dogs have over half of their teeth extracted by the time they are middle aged.Encourage your dog, regardless of size, to regularly chew on things that can help clean the teeth – this includes rawhide, bully sticks and dental treats like Greenies, Dentastix, VeggiDent Chews and Milk Bone Brushing Chews. Note that dry food and regular dog bone treats do not clean teeth – do your teeth feel cleaner after eating a pretzel? Dogs must always be supervised while they chew. Avoid hard chews or toys like antlers, hooves and plastic Nylabones which in some dogs can fracture teeth that then need to be extracted.Maintain the health of your dog’s teeth with life-long home care supported by in-clinic evaluations and cleanings under anesthesia (the only way it can safely and effectively be done).
Microchipping - Consider this to be a 21st century electronic tattoo. Implanted by injecting a grain-of-rice-sized chip between the shoulders Sends out a numeric signal when energized by a chip scanner Register your dog's chip through a microchip registry so that if your dog is lost, its chip number can be traced back to you We use the PetLink Microchip
Our trusted veterinarians and team have been helping people and pets from Manchester, South Windsor, East Hartford, Glastonbury, Bolton, Hebron, Vernon, Tolland and other areas of Connecticut in the same location for almost 50 years.
Manchester Veterinary Clinic - Trusted Vets For Your Pets - 8/11/22 - Copyright 2022