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Preparing For Your New Puppy

Household Preparation:


Before you bring that adorable new puppy into your life, it's important to make sure that your home will be a safe place for him or her to live and grow.  Like young children, puppies are very curious about the world around them. If allowed to, they're likely to get into whatever mischief they can - just for the sheer fun of discovering something new.

Your puppy probably can't wait to investigate everything within his reach.  Most puppy owners can share amusing stories of their puppies' exploits. "On the morning after we brought Lacy home, I realized that I hadn't been watching her for a while, and things were awfully quiet," says Donna Beck, owner of a 12-week-old Sheltie. "I looked everywhere for her. Then I stepped into the bedroom, and it was a wonderland of white -- she had found the tissue roll in the bathroom, and dragged the entire roll's worth all out into the bedroom, trampling and winding it all around. There she was, her tongue hanging out, happily in the middle of the pile. All I could do was laugh!"

But sometimes puppies get into mischief that's more risky than amusing, and this adventuresome spirit can spell danger. That's why AKC Family Dog magazine, published by the American Kennel Club (www.akc.org), recommends that you "puppy-proof" your home and yard -- ideally before your new bundle of joy moves in -- by making sure that all potential poisons and dangers are out of reach.

One way to do this is by walking through your house and thinking about everything from the puppy's point of view. (It helps if you actually get down on your hands and knees to check things out!) Look for things on the floor, on low tables, or otherwise within reach. Inspect cabinets and closets that the puppy can get into. Try to prevent as many emergencies as possible.

Keep in mind that whereas a human child uses hands and fingers to investigate, a puppy's natural instinct is to use its mouth and teeth to explore new things. He'll be tempted to bite and chew on any object he can get into his mouth, and maybe even swallow it. Your puppy doesn't know any better, so he's not being naughty -- he's just doing what comes natural to him.

Here are a few of the hazards you should be particularly aware of, according to the AKC:

· Electrical cords. Tuck all cords where your puppy can't get to them. Perhaps you can use duct tape to secure them out of harm's way. A shock can be fatal, so keep a watchful eye lest your pup should have the urge to chew.

· Swallowable objects. Pick up and put away any objects your puppy can reach that are small enough for him to swallow. It obviously could be bad for your puppy to get a hold of and swallow any object with sharp parts, such as a pin or razor blade. Such things could cause serious injury to his digestive tract. But even an object that is smooth, soft or made of non-toxic material -- such as a ping-pong ball -- can be harmful if swallowed, because it can get stuck in the intestines and cause blockage.

· Garbage. Household garbage is one of the most common sources of things that can make a puppy sick. Spoiled food, sharp lids and discarded toxic materials are just a few of the risks that can lurk inside. And with its tempting smell of food scraps, the kitchen waste can is sure to be of interest. Use one with a lid that closes securely, or put the can in an inaccessible place when you're not home and "on guard." Remember that your puppy will be eager to investigate wastebaskets in other rooms of the house as well.

· Medicines. Make sure that all medicines are stored high above your puppy's reach, and never leave individual pills or containers on low, accessible surfaces, even for a moment. They can be swallowed in an instant. Even gobbling down too many vitamins can make a puppy sick.

· Poisons and household chemicals. See that no containers of cleansers, polishes, poisons or other dangerous chemicals have been left in puppy-level, easy-to-open cabinets. (Child-safety latches can help.) Some to look for are oven cleaners, floor products and waxes, bathroom cleansers, makeup items, paint removers, plant fertilizers or sprays, laundry products, insect traps or sprays and rodent poisons. Cigarettes and felt-tip pens can be toxic, too.

· Poisonous plants. Not all plants are pet-friendly. Many can be harmful to your dog. Toxic indoor plants include cactus, dumbcane, mistletoe, philodendron and poinsettia. Outdoors, keep your pup away from plants such as azalea, boxwood, cherry seeds, daffodil blooms, honeysuckle, horse chestnut, holly, lily of the valley, morning glory, rhododendron, rhubarb, skunk cabbage, tulip bulbs and wild mushroom.

Once you've thoroughly puppy-proofed your home, the final key to ensuring that your puppy stays safe and sound is to have a watchful eye over him. Just as you wouldn't let a toddler wander through the house unsupervised, keep tabs on your young puppy. Consider setting up a "safe room" for him where he can't get into trouble during those times while you're not watching him, rather than leaving him to roam the entire house.

By preparing your home ahead of time for that inquisitive, adventurous new family member, and keeping careful watch over him once he arrives, you'll help ensure that he'll grow up to be your happy, healthy companion for years to come.


Puppy Checklist:


· 10 pound bag or larger, ‘Diamond Naturals - Lamb & Rice - Puppy Kibble

· Crate - Metal or Plastic - Crate Dimensions: 23"W x 36"D x 26"H & Crate & Pad fit to size

· Food and Water Dishes - Stainless Steel or Hard Plastic - Large - Non-Tip-able

· Food and Water Dish Mat - Absorbent Plastic lined or Floor Board Mat for Car with spill lip

· Puppy Toys and Chewies – squeaky toys (wont last long...LOL), tough hard rubber balls & rope toys

· Chews - rawhide, pig ear, cow hoof, and/or bones (none with formaldehyde additives)

· Treats – ‘Pedigree’ MarrowBones, Chicken Jerky….etc.

· Engraved ID Tag with Your Name, Address, and Phone Number

· Tools for doggie elimination cleanup

· Grooming supplies – Undercoat rake, Doggy brush & comb and nail trimmers     


What To Expect During Your First Days & Nights When You Get Your Puppy Home:


Your puppies first day and night at his new home are crucial in his development.  It's important that this experience be as positive as possible.  Having only the family around, as little distractions as possible, and lot's of cuddling is essential.  Here I've laid out step by step instructions on how to introduce your new puppy or dog into your home.

Once you arrive home with your puppy, you'll need to first allow for a calm, non-playful, potty time. Guide your puppy to the area you designate for relief and patiently wait on him/her to explore and hopefully relieve itself. Walking slowly around the area and ignoring your puppy sometimes helps. Be sure that you're alone with your puppy during this time and that there are little to no other distractions to occupy him/her.

Either of these next steps are practical in the new introduction of your puppy.

Outside Playtime:

In a well contained area take some time to play with your new puppy. Run, jump, romp, and speak kindly with your pup. Hearing your voice and romping with you will help to assure him/her.

Inside Playtime:

Be sure you've adequately puppy proofed your home. Take time to walk around your home slowly and calmly. Don't walk in areas you do not wish your puppy to go. Familiarize him/her with safe, acceptable areas of your home.

After you've tried outside and inside playtimes, if you haven’t already, introduce your puppy to his/her crate (if you plan to crate train). More than likely your pup hasn't had breakfast and now would be the perfect opportunity. Place some food in the crate and then guide your puppy into the crate. Shut the door behind them. Stay in the area where your puppy can see you but give him/her some space. This will give your puppy a chance to look around and get to know his surroundings - without feeling overwhelmed with new people, other pets and distractions. When you do bring him/her back out of the crate be sure to take him to potty first then let him run around your home.

During your pups first couple of nights your puppy may cry. This is completely natural, your puppy misses his/her old home, mom, and littermates. Be sure to offer comfort. Soothing sounds, soft music, setting the crate by the bed, all these can aid in settling your puppy down. If after a few hours this simply doesn't work you can try attaching a long leash, at least 6 ft., to your bed post and hooking him/her to it. Pups often are comforted by this freedom from the crate the first few nights.

Expect to take your puppy to potty in the wee hours of the morning the first couple weeks. They do have a small bladder. To aid in less nightly potty accidents try restricting water 2 hours before bed time and letting them go outside right before bedtime.

First thing in the morning be sure to immediately take your puppy outside. The less accidents in the house the better! Try to remember that every time they eat or drink give them a chance to potty. Watch their actions, sniffing, squatting, circling and hiding are all signs they need to eliminate.

Above all give your puppy love. They're in a whole new surrounding, with strange things all around. Snuggle and cuddle him/her as much as you can. They are only a puppy once!


Potty Training Rules ~


Potty Training Rule Number One:

This is The Most Important Rule – If you don't catch your puppy doing it - then don't punish him for it!

Potty Training Rule Number Two:

Praise your puppy when things go right. Don't let this be a situation where your only action is saying "No" when they are caught in the midst of using the wrong area. If they do it right – let them know!


Methods of Potty Training


Starting Inside: There are a couple of ways to potty train a puppy. With the first, you can put down papers or pretreated pads, encouraging them to use these areas for going to the bathroom. The pads are scented with a chemical that attracts the puppy to use them. Whenever you see them starting into their "pre-potty pattern," such as walking around and sniffing the floor, you gently pick them up without talking and carry them over to the papers/pad and then praise them when they go to the bathroom (using Rule #2).

When all goes as planned and they are using the papers consistently, the papers are either moved closer to the door and/or another set is placed outside. The transition is made from concentrating the potty habits to one spot inside the home to one spot outside the home. Finally, the papers inside are eliminated.

Constant Supervision: Choose to spend all the time necessary with the puppy. This works very well for people who live and work in their homes, retired persons, or in situations where the owners are always or nearly always with the puppy; whenever they see the puppy doing his "pre-potty pattern" they hustle him outside. It is important that the dog is watched at all times and that no mistakes are allowed to occur. This method has less room for error, as there is nothing like a cage to restrict the animal's urges, nor is there a place for him to relieve himself such as on the papers or pad. When he is taken outside, watch the puppy closely and as soon as all goes as planned, he should be praised and then brought back inside immediately. You want the dog to understand that the purpose for going outside was to go to the bathroom. Do not start playing; make it a trip for a reason. Verbal communication also helps this method. For those with the time, this is a good method.

Verbal cues: Specific verbal communications will also help the two of you understand what is desired. It is an excellent idea to always use a word when it is time to head to the bathroom. I like "Outside?" Remember that whenever you use a verbal command or signal, it is important that everybody in the family always uses the same word in the same way. Think of the word "Outside" in this situation not only as a question you are asking the pup, but also as an indication that you want to go there. Some canines may get into the habit of going to the door when they want to go outside. This is great when it happens but it is not as common as some believe. I have found that it is better to use verbal commands to initiate this sort of activity rather than waiting for the puppy to learn this behavior on his own. It seems like your consistent use of a word or phrase like "Outside" will cause the puppy to come to you rather than the door when he needs to go outside. The pup quickly sees you as part of the overall activity of getting to where he needs to go. I believe this is much better.

Once outside, I try to encourage the pup to get on with the act in question. I use the phrase "Go Potty."  Others use 'Do It,' 'Potty,' or 'Hurry Up.' As soon as they do their business, it is very important to praise them with a "Good Dog" and then come back inside immediately. Again, make this trip that started outside with a specific word "Outside" be for a purpose. If I am taking the pup out to play with a ball or go for a walk I will not use this word even if I know they will potty while I am outside.


When an 'accident' happens: One of the key issues in potty training is to follow Rule Number One: If you do not catch your puppy doing it, then do not punish him for it!  I do not care what someone else may tell you or what you read, if you find a mess that was left when you were not there, clean it up and forget it.

Discipline will not help because unless you catch the puppy in the act, he will have no idea what the scolding is for. Your puppy has urinated and defecated hundreds of times before he met you. Mom or the breeder always cleaned it up. Nobody made a fuss before and the pup will not put the punishment, regardless of its form, together with something he has done without incident numerous times before. Especially if he did it more than 30 seconds ago! Puppies are just like our children. Unless something was really fun (and a repetitious act like going to the bathroom is not), they are not thinking about what they did in the past. They are thinking about what they can do in the future.  At this point in his life a puppy's memory is very, very poor.

Let’s face it. It was your fault, not the pups. If you had been watching, you would have noticed the puppy suddenly walking or running around in circles with his nose down smelling for the perfect spot to go to the bathroom. The puppy will show the same behavior every time. It may vary a little from pup to pup but they always show their own "pre-potty pattern" before the act.

The same should be said as to your first reaction when you actually catch them in the act of peeing or pooping. It is your fault; you were not watching for or paying attention to the signals. Do not get mad. Quickly, but calmly pick them up and without raising your voice sternly say "No." Carry them outside or to their papers. It will help to push their tail down while you are carrying them as this will often help them to stop peeing or pooping any more.

They are going to be excited when you get them outside or to the papers, but stay there with them a while and if they finish the job, reward them with simple praise like "Good Dog."

In the disciplining of puppies, just like in physics, every action has a reaction and for training purposes these may not be beneficial! If you overreact and severely scold or scare the heck out of your puppy for making what is in your mind a mistake, your training is probably going backwards. With potty training this is especially difficult for them to understand as they are carrying out a natural body function. Carried one step further is the idea of rubbing a puppy's nose into a mistake he made, whether you caught him or not. In the limits of a puppy’s intelligence, please explain to me the difference of rubbing his nose in his mess he left in your kitchen an hour ago versus the one the neighbor's dog left in the park two weeks ago. If the puppy were smart enough to figure all of this out, the only logical choice would be to permanently quit going to the bathroom. Punishment rarely speeds up potty training. Often, it makes the dog nervous or afraid every time he needs to go to the bathroom.

I will give you a perfect example of how this kind of disciplining causes long-term problems between a puppy/dog and his owner. A puppy owner makes an appointment with their vet to discuss a housebreaking problem. They are hoping that on physical exam or through some testing they can find a medical reason for the animal's inability to successfully make it through potty training. They readily admit their frustration with the puppy. The fecal and urine tests reveal no problem. In the examination room, the pup is showing a lot more interest in the veterinarian than he is in his owners. The animal's eyes are almost saying, "Please kidnap me from them." When the owner reaches down to pet the puppy on his head, the pup reflexively closes his eyes and turns his head to the side. The puppy reacts as if he were going to be hit/punished. What this tells me is that the puppy has been punished for making messes in the owners' absence. During this punishment the puppy is not, and I repeat, the puppy is not thinking about what he might have done two hours ago. He is not thinking that he should not make messes in the house. The puppy is not even thinking about the messes.

The classic line that usually goes with this scenario then comes up "When we get home we know he has made a mess because he always sulks or runs and hides!" The puppy is not thinking about some mistake he may have made. Rather, the pup has learned that when the people first get home, for some reason he has yet to figure out, they are always in a bad mood and he gets punished. The puppy has decided that maybe it would be better to try to avoid them for awhile so he does try to hide. In this particular case, discipline, misunderstood by the puppy, has caused him to fear his owners and this will probably affect their relationship throughout the life of the dog.

If you want potty training to go quickly, regardless of the method you use, spend as much time as possible with your puppy. In one instance, I was emailed by a puppy owner that complained about how his puppy was not doing too well in the house training department. This gentleman, a bachelor, truly loved his puppy and they went everywhere together except work. Still, the problem was that he worked in a downtown office and the pup was home…….alone. His work allowed him to get home frequently but not always on a consistent schedule. There would be accidents when he was gone and sometimes he was gone longer than the abilities or the attention span of the puppy.

The solution was easy. I simply suggested that the puppy's training would do better if he stayed home for a week or so…….It worked. Under the man's watchful eye, he was always there at the time when he was needed and in less than seven days the ten-week-old puppy was trained. I am not saying there was never another accident, but they were few and far between. In the end, the best of all worlds occurred. The man realized his dog could be trusted, and thereafter, they spent their days together at the man's office. I realize that taking your puppy with you to work is not always an option, but taking the time off to be with your puppy when he/she first comes home to you is possibly the best way to help your puppy with potty training.


Feeding and Potty training: The feeding schedule you use can help or hinder housebreaking. You will soon notice that puppies will need to go outside soon after they wake and also within 15 to 40 minutes after eating. Be consistent when you feed your pup so you can predict when they need to relieve themselves. Plan your trips outside around these patterns.

All of this may seem simple, and it really is. The keys are that it will take time and you must be consistent. And, of course, you must never lose your temper or even get excited.


Spontaneous or submissive urination: Puppies may spontaneously pee when excited. This may be when they first see you, at meeting a new dog, or when they are scared. It is often referred to as submissive or excitement urination. Do not discipline the puppy for this, as it is something they cannot control. Simply ignore it and clean up the mess. If you do not overreact, they will usually outgrow this between 4 and 7 months of age.


In Conclusion

Your new puppy is home and you have started the potty training process. This is just as much a part of training as the "Come" and "Stay" commands. However, mistakes that occur with potty training can cause more problems between you and your pet than those encountered with any other form of training.

Be patient, stay calm & above all, BE CONSISTANT!



I have also compiled a ton of information & literature that will be included in the

Puppy Pack that will go home with each puppy.



NEVER, EVER shave a

Siberian Husky!

Sibes have a

dual coat 

(an Undercoat & an outer Guard coat) that not only protects them from harsh winters, but also helps to reflect the heat of the summer.