An Open Letter to you...
The New Owner of one of our Puppies
You will receive your AKC application when you pick up your puppy that you will need to fill out and send into AKC, or you can do it online. Also at this time, I will give you the micro-chip information on your puppy, which too will need to be filled out for the AKC Reunite Program. This is important because that is how they will locate you in the event your dog is lost and recovered. Both the Registration and the Reunite forms are easy and quick to do.
The food your puppy is currently on is the “Purina Pro Plan" Puppy formula. If you want to change the brand of food, that is perfectly fine, however, do it gradually by adding some of the new brands to the old so the puppy can become accustomed to it. Right now, your puppy eats about 1/4 of a cup of food two times a day, morning and evening. Do not be concerned if your puppy doesn’t eat all of its food, it knows when it's hungry and when it isn’t. You will, of course, increase the amount of food as it grows, follow the instructions on your particular brand of food. I do though highly recommend the Purina Pro brand of food after much research has found that it gives you more “bang for your buck”! I find it to be a very well-balanced food that our dogs thrive on. Of course, your puppy will need fresh water along with its food. Just a caution, if you choose to feed Purina Pro be careful that you don’t overfeed them, your puppy will get the runs! It’s very good, well-balanced food and their bodies can’t absorb the richness of it if they eat too much.
The puppies are weaned around 6 weeks of age, but I keep them until they are at least 8 weeks old as I feel it is important for them to have additional time to interact with their littermates so they are more sociable with other dogs and pets.
I highly recommend crate training for the potty training process. By crate, I am referring to a wire crate that your puppy can see out of in any direction, not the plastic kennel kind. I do not believe in letting the puppy have the run of the house or even the run of a large room, doing so sets your puppy up for an accident. I also don’t recommend free-feeding your puppy now or as an adult, give them the food and if it has not eaten it all within 20 minutes, take it away. The best time to take your puppy out to potty is about 25-30 minutes after it eats, as they will normally have a bowel movement at that time.
Take your puppy out immediately when you wake up in the morning. If you can, wake up before your puppy so it won’t have time to have “pottied” before you get it. CARRY your puppy outside- if you let it walk, it will pee before you get to the door! Your puppy has a very small bladder and will need to go out often. Definitely when they wake up, in the mornings as well as after it has had naps, after eating, and after a round of playful interaction with you. You can’t take them out too much when they are small and their natural instinct will be to want to potty outside. Tell them “go potty” as you are taking them out and when they are going. Praise them vigorously with a good tone of voice when they go and they will quickly learn that “go potty” means exactly that. Do not be afraid to use the word “NO” (pay attention to your tone when you say it, no, means NO. Firm. They need to understand that word.
I recommend taking your dog to “training lessons” as soon as your vet gives it the clear to be out and about. Petco and PetSmart both offer obedience-training classes. If you will work with your puppy, practicing what you and it learned in classes, you will be amazed at how quickly they learn. A well-behaved dog is always a good dog, one that you and everyone else will enjoy being around. Always remember that you are the “Alpha Dog'', the one in charge and control, at all times. You give it food, you take it away… don’t let your puppy or dog eat until you give it the command “eat”, or what ever word you want to use. Make your puppy respect you and when it doesn’t, let it know by the tone of your voice. Puppies are anxious to please you and thus will not like your “bad” tone of voice and love your “good” tone and will what it needs to do to make either happen. If you have young children, don’t give them the “commands” you will be using until it is well trained, that will only confuse the dog. Get your puppy accustomed to the words you choose to use to go potty, to eat, to go inside of its crate.
You will need to purchase a wire “crate” for your puppy, get a medium or large-sized crate so that you can use it indefinitely, and place it in a place where it will feel comfortable and safe. Most crates come with a divider, use the divider while your puppy is a puppy leaving just enough room to stand and turn around. Dogs instinctively will not defecate where they sleep. Use that to your advantage while potty training. Also, the crate is the “safe place” or “den” for the dog. Covering the crate with a towel or blanket or whatever will make them feel more secure. Do not punish your puppy when in the crate nor let children bother it while in there, it is “his/her” place. Think about dogs in the wild, they all live in dens, it is natural for them to have a den. If you do this, you will find that they will spend a lot of time in their crate on their own after they are potty trained and are allowed to go wherever they want in your home, the “den” will be their place of choice to sleep and hang out in.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend putting paper on the floor of the crate, it isn’t as convenient for you to clean up any accidents, but they seem to catch on faster with no paper.
Also, you can purchase, separately, a “Grate” to put in your crate--- (That sounds like a Dr. Seuss thing! Lol) You have to get them online-Amazon-they are not sold in stores, that I have found anyway. They however are very convenient as they fit over the top of the plastic tray that your crate will come with and so the puppy will never have the opportunity to walk in its pee. This is a really good thing- dogs are naturally clean and do not like to do that, so don’t allow them to do so, helps with the potty training! They are well worth the money.
When your puppy is a puppy, divide the crate so that the area for it is only big enough for it to stand and lay down in. If it is too big, it will use one end to potty and one end to sleep. Don’t put a blanket or soft thing in the crate until after it is potty trained. If you do, it will pee on it and will always look for a rug or blanket to pee on inside of your home.
Not going to lie… The first three days or so will be very tough! It will cry every time you put it in its crate, especially at night. STICK IT OUT! Don’t get your puppy out when it is crying, if you do, it will teach it that crying means getting let out! Wait until it is not crying to get it, then praise it –tone of voice- that way it will learn it wants to be quiet and calm. Always take your puppy to the same spot every time in your yard to potty, that way it will always know what you expect of it when there. Feed your puppy on a schedule so that it will potty on schedule. It is completely normal for your puppy to poop in its crate in the beginning. Sometimes they will stop in a few days, sometimes it will take a week or more, it will need to learn that you will ALWAYS take it out to poop, and it will learn to wait for that opportunity. Anytime the puppy is not eating, going potty, or playing with you getting 100% of your attention, it needs to be in its crate…..IT IS NOT MEAN! It is its “den”, remember?
A puppy that is not completely house-trained should never have the run of the house or even one room. Your potty training will not be successful if it does and you will find “presents” throughout your home.
Once your puppy is catching on and you want to start letting it “roam” a little more, I suggest you have a collar on the puppy and attach a 6-foot leash to it that way you will be able to take your puppy where you go but it will not have the opportunity to wander off and get into trouble. I oftentimes just attach it to my belt loop as I go about doing things.
If the puppy should potty while on the leash and your catch it IN THE ACT, scold it firmly with the word NO tone of voice- If you don’t catch it doing it, say nothing. If you scold it while not doing it, it will think it is being scolded just to be scolded and will learn nothing other than you are mean. Tell it NO and take it outside, praise it when it goes outside.
Don’t ever let your puppy chew on you. It may seem cute, but it is unacceptable and will lead to much trouble later on. The sooner it learns that you or your children are not chewing toys, the better off it will be. When it attempts to chew on you, don’t freak out or shriek! Just tell it firmly, NO. You may have to place your hand over its muzzle and hold it shut when you say it, perhaps several times. Then immediately place an appropriate chew toy in its mouth, they chew because they are teething and they do need good chew toys, but that does not include you. Stuffed toys are ok, with supervision, the stuffing comes out and it is fascinating for them and they will eat it. Also, never give your puppy or dog a rawhide. It swells when it gets wet and may cause serious damage and illness.
If you don’t want it jumping on people, or yourself for that matter, you must teach it not to from the start. It is natural for a puppy to want to jump to greet you or others, think about how they play with their littermates.
This may seem cute, but it is unacceptable. If you allow it jumps on you, it will think that it’s ok to do so. It does not break their spirit to teach them good manners, it does however assure that it will be a joy to you as well as the people you meet. When introducing your new puppy to a child, make sure it sits before you let the child pet it.
Praise your puppy when it behaves well and scold it firmly with a No when it misbehaves. BE CONSISTENT.
Wheatens are fairly easy to train if you are calm, assertive, firm, patient, and consistent. If you are not, they will be the boss of you. Consider it an investment that will last a lifetime. Use the word NO, when your puppy or dog does something undesirable, they quickly learn that No, actually means no. A well-trained Wheaten is a privilege to own and will be loved by everyone it comes in contact with.
Spend time grooming and combing your puppy, if you do so your puppy will always look great, if you neglect it, it will become matted and tangled. I do not like “brushing” a Wheaten, I use a metal comb, which you can find at any pet store. When you bathe your dog it is very important to rinse, rinse, rinse! It is so important to get all the shampoo out so that it does not dry their coat and skin. Make sure that you keep the hair pulled out of its ears. Not pulled out, like plucked, just keep the long hairs out of the ears as this keeps infections and problems at bay.
Your puppy had its tail docked at 3 days old as well as its dewclaws removed. It has been started on its vaccinations at 7 weeks old and has been wormed every two weeks, starting at two weeks old. Your puppy will have been microchipped. Once your puppy gets through its “puppy care” stage, it should only have to go to the vet once a year for checkups- if you choose to do so- or if something seems wrong. If you start your puppy on heartworm prevention before it is 6 months old and keep up with it, it will not ever need a heartworm check. If after 6 months I recommend the test then get it started on prevention medication.
Call me with any questions or concerns, I’m here for you rather it be tomorrow, two weeks from now, or whenever.
And…. God willing, I’ll still be here for another 30 years or so!
Don’t hesitate to call, and hey, keep in touch!
Wild West Wheatens