Transition, Training, Socialization Info

Crate & Potty training

A helpful website is: and

Some info on crate training:   it’s good to have a crate for car travel.  You can use this same crate for the puppy training in the house.   Please do not feel guilty about crate training your dogs, as dogs are den animals.  It is truly the only way to ensure that you puppy does not establish a habit of pottying in the house – which is a bad habit to start.  Whenever you are not immediately in close attention with your puppy, please put them in the crate so they don’t have an accident when you are not watching.  You may also choose to have a wire enclosure. I personally prefer wire enclosure crates, but either way, make the crate/enclosure fun, by feeding them in their crate, throwing treats to them while they are in their crate, giving them rawhides to chew on and/or rubber kongs filled with food.  Some families choose to use a gated area in the house for puppy containment but the crate will work fine as well.

The puppies typically do not like to “soil” their sleeping area or their crate.  Having a crate will help them learn to hold it when inside the crate so that they don’t soil their sleeping area.  We put a towel or small bed in the back half and puppy pad in the front half in case they cannot hold their potty. You must, however, be consistent about taking them outdoors immediately after waking up and within 30 minutes of eating.  We recommend taking them outside first thing in the morning and giving them about 10-15 minutes to play and potty (they usually like to play first). They can then have food and water and be taken out to potty within 30 minutes. Usually, the pup will whine if it needs to potty. If you can take them out every few hours, this will help them get used to the schedule. If they have gone potty outside, you may let them play and explore only under supervision.  You do not want them to wander loose around your house when you are distracted, as they can easily sneak behind a chair, potty, then begin to establish a habit of trying to potty indoors.  Please crate the puppy when you cannot watch them like a hawk.  Consistency is the key in potty training. Remove their food and water in the evening and take them out as late as you are up before putting them in the crate for bedtime.


Puppy Play and Food

It’s important to play with your puppy.  Playing gives them a healthy outlet for their energy, establishes bonds with the family and provides exercise. Similar to children, your puppy needs food, rest, exercise and tender loving care. I recommend Cesar Millan’s books, website, and “The Dog Whisperer,” series. He also has tips at:

  • Get a stuffed toy and attach it to a rope. Tug on the rope with quick tugs to get the dog to play with the  stuffed toy


  • The puppy is used to wrestling with its litter mates and still needs to wrestle. Have some stuffed animals in the house that you can use in your hand to let the dog wrestle, or attack the toy.  Use the stuffed animal to play “wrestle” with your puppy.  If you don’t play “wrestle” with a stuffed animal, the puppy will try to wrestle with you by biting on clothing, shoes or body parts.  When your puppy seems to want to bite your clothes, shoes, hands, etc… quickly get the stuffed toy out and re-direct this biting to the toy, or to a raw-hide bone.  The puppy will learn to wrestle with the stuffed toy instead of you and your children.


  • Teach the puppy fetch at a young age. Buy a small ball.  Have a treat in hand, such as string cheese, cut up chicken, hamburger, hot dog, Kibbles, etc…..   Roll the ball a small distance, about 2 feet.  The movement of the ball should catch the puppy’s attention.  The puppy will chase the ball.  When the puppy picks it up and brings it back to you, reward the puppy with a treat.  Gradually extend the distance that you roll the ball


I recommend a high quality dog food which does not contain wheat, corn. We feed our puppies Natures Domain puppy food and recommend adding some canned puppy food the first few weeks they are at their new home.  When your puppy is growing, you do not want too high of a protein level, or the puppy can grow too fast with the potential of some growth damage.  It is recommended that the protein level should be around 26%, and the fat 18%.   During the puppy’s growth, it’s good to avoid foods much higher in protein than the 26-28% to help ensure that the puppy doesn’t grow excessively fast.  Salmon oil in the food and salmon oil supplement is highly recommended. I feed my dogs and the puppies Nature’s Domain Puppy food and Kirkland (Costco) Small Dog food.  We don’t have skin issues, allergies, urine or stool problems, etc. If you are switching foods, do it gradually by mixing the new food gradually in higher ratios. You can also add canned mackerel,  chicken broth, etc.. for some variety to the food on occasion.   Fish is great for the dogs, but never feed raw fish or they can get a fish poisoning/parasite.

For training, you can use kibble, string cheese, cooked chicken or hamburger cut up into bits, small pieces of hot dogs, or cheese. Use different things to ensure that training is always exciting.  Use their favorite types of treats when the training is difficult and you need extra reward to hold the dog’s attention.

Collar and Leash

You will want your puppy to be home for a few days, calm down and feel safe and settled before you put on a collar.  Putting a collar/leash on a puppy is another new experience and can be stressful so no need to add extra stress during the settling in stage.


Here are a few things to remember about safety for your puppy:


  • Puppies and dogs can easily get overheated. On hot days, make sure the dog has access to shade and water.  Their coats absorb the sun’s energy.  Exercise the dog during the cooler parts of the day – morning/evening.  Never leave a dog enclosed in a car, especially on warm/hot days.


  • Keep out of dog’s reach: Chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, raisins. In significant quantities, these can make the dog sick.


  • Real bones can splinter and cause internal damage.


  • Dogs or puppies should not eat raw fish. There is a parasite in many fish that if untreated can kill a dog.  The parasite causes an illness known as “salmon poisoning.”  If your dog or puppy eats raw fish such as trout or salmon, you can easily get the dog treated for this disease.  The dog will need a parasite treatment and antibiotics that your veterinarian can give.  If the dog is treated shortly after eating the fish, the dog will not get sick.  If the dog is treated immediately upon onset of the illness, it should recover soon after taking the medication.  However, if the dog does not get treated soon, the dog will get very sick and could die.  Quick treatment is necessary.  If your dog gets ill and has had access to rivers or lakes or other raw fish source, please let your vet know so that they can test for fish poisoning.


  • Don’t let your dog have access to a compost pile or garbage can. If the dog eats out of the compost pile, it can get very sick and even die.  Garbage cans have bacteria laden food which can make the dog sick.


  • If you ever do a burn pile, make sure you clean up the ashes. If a dog chases a mouse into an ash pile, he/she can die from ash in his lungs.


  • In a dog’s yard, make sure there are not tools and materials which can be tipped and fall on the puppy/dog.


  • Keep chemicals out of dog’s reach.

Deworming & Vaccinations


You can either purchase a worming product to use at home or have your vet de-worm.  Worming your puppy or dog is safe and easy, as long as you use the correct dosage.

Some recommend that they be wormed every two weeks until they are 16 weeks of age.  After 16 weeks, the dog should be wormed every 3 months. Please follow your vet’s recommendation.

Dr. Fosters and Smiths PRO-Wormer-2®, which is a double Strength pyrantel pamoate liquid wormer for dogs and puppies. Give it directly to your pet or mix with food. It’s used for the removal of large roundworms (Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina) and hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum and Uncinaria stenocephala) in dogs and puppies.


Your pup will receive his or her first 5 way vaccination before going home: (Canine Distemper-Adenovirus Type 2- Parainfluenza – Parvovirus Vaccine) Your vet may recommend a 7 way vaccination as the puppy gets older.   Other vaccines that you should talk to your veterinarian are coronavirus, Lymne, kennel cough and rabies.

Puppy’s Age    Recommended Vaccinations

6 – 8 weeks      Distemper, measles, parainfluenza

10 – 12 weeks  DHPP (vaccines for distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus)

12 – 24 weeks  Rabies none

14 – 16 weeks  DHPP  12 – 16 months            Rabies, DHPP

Every 1 – 2 years         DHPP

Every 1 – 3 years         Rabies (as required by law)

Growth and exercise

A puppy’s skeleton system is not fully developed when you take it home and will be developing fully through the puppy’s growth.  While the puppy may reach its full stature at between 10 and 12 months of age, it takes up to 18 months for your puppy’s growth plates to completely fuse.  A puppy in this developmental stage is more prone to injury or growth problems.   In order to avoid injury during this developmental stage, it’s important to care for your puppy’s growing state, through careful nutrition and not over-exercising.  Puppy play is considered healthy.  A puppy can run and play as long as it is fully able to stop and rest whenever it chooses to do so.  Walking a dog on a leash or other owner required forms of exercise can lead to over-exercise, because the puppy cannot stop to rest when it chooses to do so.  A general rule of thumb is a 5 minute walk for every month of age.  Also, be careful if your dog is playing often with dogs which are larger than it as injury can more easily occur.  Do not allow your puppy to jump in and out of pick-up beds or high cars, until it is fully developed.


The primary and most important time for puppy
socialization is the first three months of life.
During this time puppies should be exposed to as
many new people, animals, stimuli and environments
as can be achieved safely without causing overstimulation
manifested as excessive fear, withdrawl
or avoidance behavior. For this reason, the American Veterinary Society of
Animal Behavior believes that it should be the standard of care for puppies to
receive such socialization before they are fully vaccinated.
Because the first three months are the period when sociability outweighs fear, this is the primary window of opportunity for puppies to adapt to new surroundings.

Incomplete or improper socialization during this important
time can increase the risk of behavioral problems later in life including fear, avoidance, and/or aggression. Behavioral problems
are the greatest threat to the owner-dog bond. In fact, behavioral problems are the
number one cause of relinquishment to shelters.
Behavioral issues, not infectious diseases, are the number one cause
of death for dogs under three years of age. While puppies’ immune systems are still developing during these early months, the combination of maternal immunity, primary vaccination, and appropriate care makes the risk of infection relatively small
compared to the chance of death from a behavior problem. Veterinarians specializing in
behavior recommend that owners take advantage of every safe
opportunity to expose young puppies to the great variety of
stimuli that they will experience in their lives. Enrolling in puppy
classes prior to three months of age can be an excellent means of
improving training, strengthening the human-animal bond, and
socializing puppies in an environment where risk of illness
can be minimized.
The Process of Socialization:
Puppies should be handled from birth, learning to accept
manipulation of all body parts. Every effort should be made to
expose them to as many different people, well-socialized animals,
situations, places, etc. as possible. Puppies should be encouraged to
explore, investigate, and manipulate late their
environments. Interactive toys and games, a variety of surfaces,
tunnels, steps, chutes, and other stimuli can enrich the puppy’s
environment. Puppies should accompany their breeders/owners
on as many car trips as possible. These exposures should continue
into adulthood to maintain an outgoing and sociable dog.
Puppy socialization classes can offer a safe and organized means
of socializing puppies and more quickly improve their
responsiveness to commands.
Visits to dog parks or other areas that are
not sanitized and/or are highly trafficked by dogs of unknown
vaccination or disease status should be avoided.
Classes and at-home training should be based on positive
reinforcement with frequent rewards praise, petting, play and/
or treats. Positive and consistent training is associated with fewer
behavioral problems and greater obedience than methods that in
involve punishment and/or encourage human dominance.
Time must be scheduled for puppies to play alone with their
favorite toys (such as stuffed food toys) or take naps in safe places
such as crates or puppy pens. This teaches puppies to amuse
themselves, and may help to prevent problems of over
attachment to the owners. Continuing to offer dogs a wide
variety of experiences during their first year of life is also helpful in
preventing separation-related behavior.
Proper confinement training using pens or crates helps to ensure that
puppies have safe and secure places for rest and confinement.
Puppies that are used to being in a crate will be less stressed if they
must be hospitalized or be confined for travel by plane or car.
Crates should serve as comfort or play areas. Early and adequate
socialization and programs of positive training can go a long
way to preventing behavior problems and improving bonding
between humans and dogs. While the first three months is the
most important socialization period in a puppy’s life, owners of
puppies that have passed this milestone are strongly encouraged
to continue to socialize their puppies to as many people, pets,
and locations as is practical. However, owners of puppies
displaying fears should seek veterinary guidance.

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