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PUPPY REARING (continued)

Puppy Rearing 101 - Part II

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A common mistake is made by giving a puppy free run of the house, which is a bad idea because that’s how accidents happen, especially chewing on things they shouldn't.  Obstructions surgeries are one of the most common emergency room visits.


I will tether a puppy to a chair if I'm working on the computer so they can be out but not wander, keep in a gated-off area where I know they shouldn't get into trouble such as a bathroom or laundry room, or put in crate or ex-pen.  If a puppy is not contained or crated, then they are under constant supervised.  That way you learn the signals from her for when she has to go and she learns from you what's expected.  You should never give a puppy too much freedom.


It just takes a minute for a puppy to chew or swallow something they shouldn’t. Think of it as you would a baby. Would you go to the shower and leave your 2 month-old baby in the middle of the living room?  No.  You'd put the baby in a playpen or in their crib. Same goes for a puppy... in an ex-pen or crate.


Puppies have small bladders, so giving them free reign means they will have accidents all over the house. They shouldn't have free reign of the house until they're potty trained. And even then, you have to be careful since puppies love to chew!  Everything goes in their mouth.


Puppy-proofing is a necessity, like baby-proofing. That means no electrical cords and sockets, as puppies will chew on electrical cords and electrocution is common.

Another common puppy accident is obstruction since they put everything in their mouths. This is why I don't put beds in their crates and only use blankets. I like to use fleece throws. Inside the crate I also don't put stuffed toys. We do un-stuffed toys, and I prefer the hardier toys since puppies are teething, made by Kong.  Other favorites are from West Paw.


Puppies should be crate trained. NO SLEEPING IN FOSTER’S BEDS!  Puppies should be used to sleeping in a crate at night. This is helpful to them for the transition into their adoptive home. A crate is familiar.  A crate is safe in what is otherwise unknown to them.

No matter how cute your pup is, don't let them sleep in your bed!

We don't care how absolutely perfect your foster pup would look curled up on your bed, sleeping in your bed is a hard no-no!  Resist for the sake of your pup.

Puppies may sleep through the night in the crate, but depending on how young, they may still have accidents. Most puppies will be able to sleep through the night around 3 to 3-1/2 months, about 6-8 hours, as long as you get up early.  Puppies should be fed in the crate.  Puppies should be  crated when you leave the house, or put in an ex-pen if for longer than 4 hours.

Keep your puppies corralled in a play pen!

Don't let us freely roam the house, no matter how strong our puppy dog eyes game might be!  Keep us crated when you leave, or in an ex-pen for longer times away!

Part of puppy training is crate training. They learn that whenever they go into the crate, they get something good to eat. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!  They should be crated during every meal time. They should be given treats every time they’re asked to go into the crate during the day. If you want to have some quiet time at home (working on computer, etc.) where you don’t want puppy interruptions, then they need a special treat in the crate like frozen Kongs. At bedtime, make sure they get a special snack that they only ever get for bedtime and use the command "CRATE."

Frozen Kongs are great to use during the day if you have a long day or during work from home  meetings where you need the pup quiet and distracted. I only do frozen Kongs as a daytime treat. This is a treat, with good food mixed up into a porridge then frozen overnight in a Kong. The only time they should get this treat is when they're crated during the day. 

diy Frozen kong
treat recipies

Here are some recipes for the frozen Kongs. When I say "porridge," that's what you want the texture to look like, so that you can pour it into the Kong without too much mess. It has to be thick enough to stay in the Kong, but not too thin (like soup) because then it would go out the small hole on the bottom of the Kong. Always plug the bottom of the Kong with a dollop of peanut butter (make sure there is NO xylitol in the peanut butter because xylitol kills dogs by making their blood sugars drop rapidly).

Frozen Kong treats are great for foster pups!

Spoil your foster pup while teaching them to love their crate by giving them an easy and tasty homemade frozen Kong treat.

  1. Boiled chicken and rice. Just boil one chicken breast in 2 cups of water with a cup of rice in a pot. Once the chicken breast is cooked, you pour all the contents of the pot (chicken, broth, rice) into a blender and blend it until it looks like oatmeal/porridge. Don't over-blend it because you don't want it runny or too liquid-y. Put a little peanut butter on the bottom of the Kong to plug up the hole, then pour the mixture into the Kong and freeze. 

  2. Bananas, peanut butter, and plain yogurt (use WHOLE yogurt, do not give them reduced fat or nonfat, goat yogurt is the best for them). 3 ripe bananas, 32 ounces plain yogurt, 1 cup peanut butter.  Mix in blender.  Pour in Kong and freeze overnight.

  3. 1/2 cup boiled chicken, 1/2 cup mashed potatoes, 1/4 cup peas and carrots.  Mix in blender.  Pour in Kong and freeze overnight.

  4. 1 diced apple, 1 cup Honest Kitchen dehydrated food, 1-1/2 cup warm water, 1/4 peanut butter.  Mix in blender.  Pour in Kong and freeze overnight.

  5. 1 diced apple, 1 baked sweet potato, 1 cup kibble, 1/4 warm water.  Mix in blender. Pour in Kong and freeze overnight.

just because it's safe for humans doesn't mean it's safe for pups!

Dogs love fruits and veggies but not everything is safe for them, such as the aforementioned xylitol.


Please, for the sake of your pup's health, do take the time to visit this helpful website and use it as a guideline on foods you must avoid for dogs: 

Not all human foods are for dogs!

This is so important for puppies!  Puppies can be nervous, but you can help booster their confidence by rewarding them and making all their experiences at this age positive. For puppies who have not received at least THREE DHPP vaccinations, they can be out and about but CARRIED into pet stores, vet offices, and basically anywhere that's not your home. We don't place the puppies on the ground until they have had at least THREE distemper/parvo boosters, as parvo can live in the soil for a year or so and can be fatal to puppies. You can consider and should bring your foster puppy to doggie daycare to have them play with other dogs and to help with socialization there, especially if you work full-time. They will require a negative fecal prior to attending daycare.   


Visit the below link as well as a fantastic guide to socializing puppies!


For young puppies, it’s really about positive experiences more so than correction. Of course you will want to correct them as they get older, so that they don't grow into unruly spoiled brats, but right now the concentration is to have them grow confident versus fearful.  But that doesn't mean that you can't start training.  For young puppies 6 weeks to 3 months, I recommend positive training.  A lot of people think positive training you carry a treat bag by your hip 24/7.  While I do use treats sometimes, I don't rely on treats.  I use praise a lot.  Too many treats and you're going to get a puppy who will only listen when if you have food or a puppy who needs to be bribed, rather than a puppy who wants to please you.


Why training using only treats can be bad: I watched a person come to a meet-and-greet for one of my foster pups and she could only control her dog by constantly shoving pepperoni in his mouth.  I didn't move forward with the adoption as her dog was so focused on her and her pepperoni that he growled at the puppy and became very agitated because he didn't want to share the pepperoni.  Instead of training this dog and correcting him when he started gobbling the food, staying tense and focused on her hand, body blocking the puppy whenever she would step forward, what this person had created was a resource-guarding dog. So treats are great, but in moderation. Use your voice for praise and affection as rewards as well, playing with a toy, cheek rubs. Mix it up a bit.  You will have more success with a dog who wants to please you than a dog who has to be bribed.

You can also correct with a question for 6 weeks to 3 months, like “What are you doing?” (use a surprised, shocked voice).  When they’re 3 months and older, and should know better at this point, your voice correction can be deeper and sharp "What are you doing!" like I mentioned before with the potty training to use a "Wait! Wait!" rather than a "NO! NO!" 

Couch Potato Training:

Not a lot of people watch television anymore, but Hulu does have commercials. So if you are  watching a show, you watch while the puppy plays.  But then when a commercial comes on, you can work on teaching the puppy just ONE trick.  Simple as that!

Couch Potato Foster Pups

Pups are intelligent beings and capable of so much - teach them tricks that will wow your friends and family, and create a bond between human and dog!

How to do it: So you can start with something simple like Sit. For the duration of the commercial, you work on sit. The commercial stops, and you start watching the show and the puppy gets a break from training. This is short, concentrated bursts of training that's pretty successful, especially as it's too short for you to get frustrated and especially for the puppy to get frustrated. Puppies (and even older dogs) don't like prolonged training sessions. This just leads to frustration and distraction and disobedience. You don't have to do sit for every commercial, but can do several different tricks during a show.

Consider everything you teach your dog is basically a trick to them. Sit is the same as shake is the same as heel. They learn it all the same way. I know a lot of people find teaching their dog to heel as a chore, but it shouldn't be.  Because it's really no different to the dog, it's the mindset of the person thinking it's not fun.  People don't get excited to teach heel, but they get excited about teaching a dog to play dead, because in their mind, one thing is a trick, while the other is a command.  Think of everything you train the dog to do as a fun trick, and that will help with a lot of frustration.


A good rule of thumb for training certain behaviors or discouraging certain behaviors:
Ask yourself "If this puppy was 90 pounds, would this be acceptable?"  If the answer is no, then don’t let the puppy do that. For example: no jumping.

Learn more about how to curb chewing or how to appropriately direct it by visiting this link:


EVERYTHING goes into a puppy’s mouth. They explore the world through chewing, literally everything. Some things may not be an issue, but some things can be harmful. And they’re teething. Don’t be surprised to find baby teeth lying around occasionally.  And because they’re teething, guess what?  They’re chewing!  You have to teach them what they can appropriately chew on and what’s inappropriate.  I believe they come out of the womb wanting to eat shoes and merely wait for that opportunity to present itself.


Remember how I said everything goes in their mouth?  Well, here’s how to help them know that people aren’t one of the things that go in their mouth:


Puppies are not able to regulate their temperature the way that an adult can. They rely on their mother's body warmth to snuggle against along with their littermates. So it's very important to keep them warm so they don't become hypothermic (which can be very dangerous for pups). Be sure to dry them thoroughly after a bath or you can even blow dry them, which I typically do for puppies and kittens. And if it's snowing or cold, wet weather, definitely think about getting a jacket/fleece for puppies and short-haired dogs like pit bulls.

overheated dog

It's gettin' hot in herrrrre!  Don't forget to keep your dog well-hydrated

and in the shade when it's warm outside.  It's not like they can just say "Hey human, I'm roasting - please let me in!" 

Pups can also easily get overheated. Heatstroke is no joke.


Do not leave them outside for too long if it’s sunny, even on a 70-degree day. Direct sunlight can overheat them. Make sure they are in the shade. Provide a lot of water during summer months and never leave them in the car. When the temperature is over 70 degrees, you are to keep them at home in a cool place and never take them anywhere you have to leave them in the car for a short or extended period of time. Flat-faced breeds are more susceptible to heat stroke.


Before walking a dog in the sun, place the back of your hand on the sidewalk/ground and hold for 5 seconds without discomfort. If you can’t, then you shouldn’t walk a dog, much less a puppy. Unless they have booties to protect their paws like you have shoes to protect your feet.

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