PUPPY CARE & TRAINING 101
CONGRATULATIONS! You are the proud owner of a very special puppy. Just like a new baby, there is work to be done so your lifestyle isn't totally disrupted (I guarantee it will be disrupted to some extent!)
RAISING A HABIBI
You must remember this is a puppy who will be fully grown in just a few months, so you only have a short while to establish your ground rules. If you don't work daily with this puppy, you may end up with an ill-mannered adult dog. If given lots of love, and trained and handled properly, your dog will provide years of enjoyment. YOU are the adult and the boss, the PUPPY is the child, don't forget this! Our Habibi Bears are very lively, intelligent curious dogs by nature. You will be surprised how quickly they learn if taught with consistency and firmness. Below are some guidelines that will assist you in the upcoming months.
Vaccinations and Health Care
Your puppy is current on it's vaccinations as of the date it left our home, details of which are on the Sales Agreement & Health Guarantee provided in your puppy pak. However, you will need to consult your Veterinarian for his/her recommended future vaccination schedule. Please treat your puppy as if it has had no shots at least until all puppy shots have been administered. Please refrain from taking the puppy to the Pet Store, park, groomer, etc. until absolutely necessary. Parvo and Distemper are airborne diseases and puppies that have not had their shots are very susceptible to being infected, possibly resulting in death.
Dry Life's Abundance food is recommended, it is high quality with the appropriate combination of protein, fat, vitamins, etc. for a new puppy. These ingredients are essential in order to maintain a healthy pet with a nice shiny coat, and strong teeth and bones. You have been provided a sample of the food the food your puppy is currently eating and it is imperative to its health to remain on this food. We have researched and tried many premium brands, including 'raw' dehydrated, etc, and none of these options were without reactions from at least one of our dogs. Life's Abundance was the only food that ALL dogs and puppies did wonderfully on without any allergies or reactions---amazing! This is our food of choice for our breed. Switching foods at a young age can cause distress to the digestive system. If you decide to change food, mix 1/3 of the new food with the 2/3 of the old food for 2 days, then 2/3 of the new food with 1/3 of the old food for 2 days, then 100% of the new food on the 5th day. If you change the puppy's food rapidly without an adjustment period, the puppy is likely to get diarrhea.
Do not feed the puppy ANYTHING other than dog food! Feed the puppy 3 times a day if possible, but no less than 2 times/day. We do not limit the amount, we control the TIME they eat. (Do not follow amount instructions on the bag of food, as this is referring to adult dogs, not growing puppies that eat 3 times their weight in food!) Fill up bowl for each scheduled meal. Do not leave the food down for your puppy for more than a few minutes. At the end of his/her "mealtime", pick up the food (when your Habibi shows disinterest ) until the next scheduled feeding. Your Habibi will learn to self regulate and you will eventually be able to leave a dish out with food for your Habibi to eat whenever he is hungry! This is how we train all of our adult dogs, they are never overweight or have issues of gorging like most dogs that are raised to eat only the allotted amount at a time.
Do not feed only soft or canned food. If you do, you could possibly have an adult dog with poor teeth and gums, and bad breath! Remember, your puppy's eating and drinking habits directly relate to his/her potty training habits, so please read the articles CRATE TRAINING YOUR PUPPY, HOUSE-TRAINING, Socialization Puppy, which I have provided on this page, to help minimize problems associated with house training.
Puppies will get into things that will upset their stomach. Any kind of stress can also cause a loose stool. If your puppy is vomiting and/or has diarrhea, it is VERY IMPORTANT that it be stopped as soon as possible - consult your Veterinarian IMMEDIATELY! You should not let this condition go unattended, as it can easily result in dehydration and can be life threatening to your puppy within a very short period of time. Make sure you have no poisonous plants that your puppy can chew on. Be cautious of any plant that produces a white, milky substance when it is cut or you snap off a leaf. These can cause the puppy to become very ill, and if he/she has ingested enough, even die. Watch your puppy outside, he's very curious and can get into everything.
Most importantly, give lots of love and praise. this puppy really, really wants to make you proud of it and a little love goes a very long way. Remember, a dog's love is always unconditional - don't take advantage, and give them all the love they deserve.
DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES: In a Dog's Life
0 to 7 Weeks
Neonatal, Transition, Awareness, and Canine Socialization
Puppy is with mother and litter-mates. During this period, puppy learns about social interaction, plan, and inhibiting aggression from mother and litter-mates. Puppies must stay with their mother and litter-mates during this critical period if possible. Puppies learn the most important lesson in their lives - they learn to accept discipline.
7 to 12 Weeks
Human Socialization Period
The puppy now has the brain waves of an adult dog, but his attention span is short. This period is when the most rapid learning occurs. Learning at this age is permanent so this is a perfect time to start training. Also this is the ideal time to introduce the puppy to things that will play an important part in his life. Introduce the puppy to different people, places, animals, and sounds in a positive, non-threatening way.
8 to 11 Weeks
Fear Imprint Period
Avoid frightening the puppy during this period. Any traumatic, frightening or painful experience will have a more lasting effect on the puppy than if it occurred at any other time in it's life.
13 to 16 Weeks
Seniority Classification Period
or 'The Age of Cutting' Puppy cuts teeth and apron strings! Puppy begins testing who is going to be pack leader. You must discourage any and all biting because such biting can be a sign of dominance. It is important that you are a strong and consistent leader. If formal training is planned, this is the time to begin. Such training will help you establish your leadership.
4 to 8 Months
Play and Flight Instinct Period
Puppy may wander and ignore you. It is very important that you keep the puppy on a leash at this time. The way you handle the puppy at this time determines if the puppy will come to you when called. At about 4-1/2 months, the puppy loses his milk teeth and get his adult teeth. That's when puppy begins serious chewing. A dog's teeth don't set in his jaw until between 6 and 10 months. During this time, the puppy has a physical need to exercise his mouth by chewing.
6 to 14 Months
Second Fear Imprint Period or Fear of New Situations Period
Dog again shows fear of new situations and even familiar situations. Dog may be reluctant to approach someone or something new. It is important that you are patient and act very matter of fact in these situations. Never force the dog to face the situation. Do not pet the frightened puppy or talk in soothing tones. The puppy will interpret such responses as praise for being frightened. Training will help improve the dog's confidence.
1 to 4 Years
You may encounter increased aggression and renewed testing for dominance. Continue to train your dog during this period.
House Training Your Habibi Bear
Everyone looks forward to the day when their puppy will be trained to do their business outside. With our litter box technique, this process need not be a long, drawn out ordeal. Our puppies have already learned there is a correct place to go, now you can continue this training however you wish---outdoor pottying or cross training (Habibi Bear uses a litter box indoors when needed and goes outside too!)
Crate training your puppy goes hand in hand with house-training. When in their crates, puppies will not soil, unless the puppy absolutely cannot help it due to being left too long or due to diarrhea. The crate helps puppies to "hold it" and when used properly is an effective aid in house-training. All Habibi Bears have been acclimated to a crate in their puppy pen area. (Refer to our shopping list page to see how we set up our puppy area with a litter box and crate!)
Puppies need to relieve themselves a lot!! That is rule number one. Puppies pee whenever they wake up, after drinking, during play sessions, and well, just about every couple of hours other than that. They will poo after eating (right after eating) and in the morning and in the evening. A completely untrained puppy will relieve him/herself whenever the urge strikes. Training is the process of getting the pup to "hold" it until it is appropriate. As puppies won't soil in their crate, this is the first step in getting them used to holding it, and your puppy has been acclimated to his crate before leaving our home (just remember there are limits as to how long they can hold it even in their crate). Therefore, whenever you take the pup out of the crate, take it outside to where you want the pup to go. At first you will want to carry your pup to the spot otherwise they will squat to go on the way there. Whenever the puppy eats or drinks, immediately after -- take it outside. Whenever puppy is having a playtime, partway through -- take it outside.
Here Is Our Technique
Whenever you take your Habibi Bear puppy out to do it's business, be quiet, calm and assertive---do not interact much with puppy. He must learn he has a job to do before any interaction. Some families report that puppy goes out and plays, then potties right on the floor when they bring it back in! Guess what? This is fault of the family, not puppy! We need to make sure we are NOT sending the wrong message with our body language. Puppy must learn that there is play time and then there is potty time. When you go out to potty, make it a routine. Do the same things. Take puppy to the same place and tell him "Go potty outside". Stand there and ignore puppy, don't talk on the phone, fiddle with your smart phone...just WAIT patiently. Puppy can misunderstand your intent and think he is there for play, they are easily distracted. Once puppy goes in his spot, praise it as soon as it starts to do its business and continue praising in a happy, excited voice. Puppies respond very well to praise. Conversely, at first, when puppy has an "accident" in the house ignore it, clean it up and say nothing. The difference between excited praise outside, and dead silence inside becomes very apparent to a puppy. Scolding for indoor "accidents" should only occur if after a few weeks puppy is still messing inside and only if you catch them in the act. If you do, then say no firmly and take puppy outside. Continue hearty praising for business done outdoors. Never, never, never, rub the puppy's nose in it's mess. This achieves nothing, is disgracing to your pup, and quite simply, the pup won't understand why this is being done. In fact, I dare say the pup will think you've gone a little crazy!
House-training is a process involving commitment, supervision and patience. It is not difficult to house-train a puppy, but requires consistency and persistence. Most of all it calls for kindness and praise, as does all training with puppies (or any animal). We call it house-training, not housebreaking -- the difference being that anything called training involves kindness and patience.
Crate Training Your Puppy
We advocate crate training for puppies. Crates should be used to keep your puppy safe during times that you are away from home, sleeping, or preoccupied with something which precludes you from being able to completely supervise your new puppy. Some people think crating a dog is cruel, however it isn't at all. Dogs are a den animal, and thus they actually feel safe in a crate, and if you slowly acclimate the puppy to being crated, you will find your dog will seek it out on it's own for a quiet place to rest. Crating your puppy allows you to go about your required business knowing that your beautiful new puppy is safe and sound until you can once again return to him/her. Imagine being out, coming home, and finding that your puppy has broken/chewed something valuable or close to your heart, eaten something and is now either poisoned, has a bowel blockage, or is dead from something lodged in it's throat. Now imagine, coming home, your puppy is in his/her crate, the house is just as you left it, puppy is healthy, and both of you are thrilled to see one another. Personally, we would pick the crate.
Crate training is not only useful for keeping your puppy and your home safe, but also aids in house-training (see above) and in training against unwanted chewing. It is also the best way to keep your new puppy safe while traveling in a vehicle, and it is a wonderful way to keep your puppy quiet following spay and neuter surgery (puppies like running and playing long before the vet recommends they run and play following surgery). As well, the crate can become a private place for your puppy where there are children involved, and it is quite simple to instill the rule that when puppy is in his/her crate, the puppy is to be left alone. This is valuable in giving young pups much needed rest time, and teaches the youngsters to respect this time.
How does crate training help in training against unwanted chewing? When your puppy is in the crate, it cannot chew on things it shouldn't. Puppies chew for a lot of reasons; boredom, teething, exploring, or just because. If your puppy is properly supervised, you can teach it what is allowable chewing (i.e. their own toys) and what is contraband chewing (your family heirloom, the poisonous houseplant, etc.)
When your puppy chews, it is rewarded. It either is no longer bored, it's teething pains feel better, it's having fun. An untrained puppy will become a problem as it matures if it learns to chew on anything it wants; such as when you've gone out the door and it's a little anxious, or when it is bored, it will chew whatever it finds. Thus, you have an adult dog that will chew. If, however, through training and proper supervision, your dog has learned what it is allowed to chew, then when it needs to satisfy the urge, you will have a non-destructive dog who understands what his/her toys are for. We again, choose crate training.
The bottom line is, dogs don't mind their crates. Their crate becomes their little space where they can rest and spend time comfortably.
How to Crate Train A Puppy
When you first bring your puppy home you should already have your crate. Set it up in an area central to the family, but not in heavy traffic areas of your home, with an x-pen and its litter box if you are using this. We recommend in your kitchen near a door leading to a fenced yard where puppy will go out to relieve him/herself. It helps to leave the crate in one location (Dogs are creatures of habit and learn to rely on these things). The day you get your new puppy home let it explore the crate and x-pen. Put a doggy biscuit and/or an interesting toy into the crate. Let the pup wander in and out of the crate (you may have to coerce it to go in a couple of times) at first leaving the door open. Several times through the day, take your puppy back to where the crate is and repeat the toy/cookie routine. Praise your puppy for going into the crate in a quiet, happy voice. Praise him for playing in the crate. After your pup has entered the crate a few times, put a brand new exciting toy into the crate, lure your pup in and close the door, just for a few minutes. If the puppy whines you can talk to him/her, put your fingers through the door and touch him/her, but do not take the pup out until s/he settles. Then give lots of praise and open the door.
Patience is the key to the effective crate training of your new puppy !!!
Wire or plastic? What size? Blankets? Alarm clock? What should you put in the crate?
We personally use wire crates for our dogs. The size of crate for our Habibi's varies depending on the size of the dog (males are usually bigger). We recommend no smaller than 20W x 24"L x 20"H for smaller dogs and 21"W by 30"L x 21"H for miniatures.
With respect to bedding, we recommend putting a towel in the crate for puppy. Some pups chew their bedding and an old towel is worth less than the new $55.00 designer version of a pet bed. We recommend an old stuffed teddy bear( which has any button eyes and nose removed and restitched securely) or the Snuggle Puppies featured in our store, they are wonderful!
Do not provide water in the crate as food and water will cause the puppy to have to eliminate. You can leave the pup with a safe toy or two (nylabone, Kong, rope toy) and perhaps a doggy biscuit. Do not put your puppy in the crate wearing a collar, or give him rawhide, pig's ears or squeaky toys. Remember, you want him to be safe.
For how long do you use the crate?
When you first get your new puppy s/he will be 8-12 weeks of age. At this age it is advisable to have your pup in the crate for no longer than about three hours before letting him/her out to relieve themselves, have a little play and a cuddle. Once your pup reaches 12-16 weeks, about four hours is the rule. It is not advisable to leave your puppy in it's crate for longer than 5-6 hours regardless of age once your get past the 16 week mark. Should you find you must leave your pup for longer than this, then be kind and have a neighbor or relative come in and let your puppy out and spend a little time with him/her.
With respect to what age you will need to crate your new puppy, there is no exact age. Each dog is different. I personally would crate until your dog is one year old. At this time you can "test" the dog. Leave him out for very short periods of time when you are preoccupied. Watch what he does. Then increase the time spent out until he stays out while you are sleeping. If he shows himself trustworthy, then you can begin to "test" him when you go out. Only ten minutes at first. Then an hour, then two or three. Do not rush to getting your puppy "crate-free" as bad habits can still be formed.
Puppies chew on whatever they can get their mouths on for any number of reasons: they're bored, they have a lot of energy, they're teething, or they're just curious. Dogs learn through their mouths. It's their tool, it's how they receive a great deal of information. They are naturally inclined to use their mouths whenever they can. fortunately, most destructive chewing behavior can be prevented or controlled.
To prevent problem chewing and to direct your pup's natural inclination to chew toward appropriate objects, follow these simple guidelines:
Puppy-proof the area. If possible, remove all items your puppy can chew on, including socks, shoes, furniture, plants, etc. Tape over electrical outlets and make sure electrical cords are out of reach.
Always confine your puppy in a crate or puppy-proofed area when you are away. Because puppies learn with their mouth, giving your teething puppy free rein in the house is asking for trouble. Keep them confined, you don't want them to go to school on your expensive living room furniture.
Closely supervise your un-crated pup. Not unlike caring for a toddler, you should always be aware of where your un-crated pup is and what he is doing.
Give your puppy a chew toy. The sole focus of your dog's chewing should be directed toward items you select. There are a wide range of safe long-lasting chew toys that are made especially for teething puppies that will keep them occupied and content for hours.
Before you leave, add your scent to your dog's toy. Rub the bone between your hands and give it to your pup as you leave. Make departures low-key to avoid causing separation anxiety, which is often expressed through non-stop barking, whining, or destructive chewing.
Correct chewing of inappropriate objects. If you catch your pup in the act of chewing anything but his chew toy, remove the object and replace it with an acceptable chew toy. If your pup then chews on the new toy, praise him. You always want to reinforce desired behavior with praise.
Teach your pup to ignore non-toy objects if he consistently chews on the wrong things. Place tempting objects on the floor along with your pup's chew toy and pretend not to pay any attention to him. If (and usually when) he starts to put his mouth over one of the forbidden objects, correct him with a firm 'NO" and point out his bone. Once he learns he can only have the toy when you're in the room, it's time to leave the room for short intervals. If he chews on forbidden objects after you leave the room, your quick return will catch him in the act - the only time when corrective acting should be taken. Again, give him the bone, and praise if it is accepted. If he is chewing forbidden objects but you don't catch him, he should be crated when unsupervised until he learns what is and is not acceptable to chew on, The obvious purpose of this training is to prepare your puppy for the day when he can be trusted to be alone in the house and not confined.
Give your puppy plenty of exercise to relieve boredom and burn off energy - significant factors contributing to destructive chewing.