In a bit over 2 weeks this spring's litter (2021) will be going to new homes, at which time they will be just over 9 weeks of age. Here, along with lots (and lots!) of daily care activities, we are working on picking the perfect name for our new pup. That is a welcome chore, and an easy one to see coming. There are a few other things for new homes to prepare for, so we thought it a good idea to discuss those with this latest post to our blog. Some items need to be done before you get here, some on arrival and some after you get home. Most of this concerns the health and well being of your new puppy, and some of it is housekeeping. Nothing here is new to most folks, but we still get questions from some, so let's just get started, and you will figure it all out.
Vaccinations: This litter will be vaccinated with a so-called "DA2PP" shot at 6 weeks and again at 9 weeks of age. This starts coverage for distemper, canine adenovirus types 1 and 2, parvovirus and parainfluenza virus. Our pup will also be vaccinated separately for leptosporosis, a bacterial infection associated with water, wet conditions and/or infected dogs or wildlife. Your pup needs follow up DA2PP shots at 12 and 16 weeks. This is very important! Of course, your pup needs to be protected from rabies. Your veterinarian may also recommend a Lyme disease vaccination that can protect against Lyme and 2 or 3 other tick borne illnesses. Most puppies don't have negative reactions to vaccinations that we are aware of. Some do though, and the reactions can be more significant when vaccinations are stacked up on each other at the same time. For this reason we do not get get follow up DA2PP shots at the same time as other vaccinations. We ask that you call your veterinarian before you come to pick up your pup to schedule a wellness exam shortly after you arrive home. In fact, you should look at the language in your deposit and sales agreement in this regard. Good idea to get all your vaccination appointments scheduled too.
Food: Buy a suitable puppy food before you bring your latest shoe muncher home. We will send you home with two or three days worth of their current food. Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. The density of calories, and ratio of calcium and phosphorus in puppy food is different. Your puppy should get a food labeled "complete and balanced" for "growth and reproduction" or "all life stages" for large breeds (it might say large breed puppies) consistent with American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Any bag of dog food that meets these standards says so on the bag, usually on the back next to the ingredients list. Your puppy is being fed Muenster Ancient Grains with Chicken and Pork (Muenster Ancient Grains with Chicken & Pork - Muenster Milling). This is the same food our adults and older young dogs get in the hunting season. There are several reasons why we choose this food. All the protein comes from quality animal meat sources. It has no preservatives. We can easily switch to other Muenster foods with very similar ingredients with lower calories, protein or fat for older or inactive dogs when needed. There are other good choices, and you can find a reason to object to one or more ingredients in any dog food. We will discuss dog food in another post. For now, you need a good puppy food. Call us if you have questions on this one.
Collar and leash. Your pup will need a potty break or two, or three, on the way home at which time they will almost certainly be more interested in something on the other side of the road than sticking close with you. An 8 to 12 inch collar and simple 6 foot leash should be about right to keep your pup from dashing off across the road during those breaks during travel.
Water and a bowl. Along with the collar and leash, these sound too obvious, unless you are me and live by lists, or have not traveled with a dog in a long time.
Crate. Crates solve safety and soiling issues in automobiles. We strongly recommend not buying a wire crate. On one occasion we had a puppy get a leg caught between the crate wires in a way that could have resulted in joint injury. In another, we saw a puppy get its upper canine teeth wedged between the parallel wires of the crate. That was extremely distressful for everyone, especially the puppy. Wire crates do not afford the sense of security to a dog that solid sided plastic or aluminum crates do.
When you get here. We'll ask you to provide information that will be included with your puppy's microchip registration number in a nationwide emergency contact database. Usually, we will bring those puppies from which you will be choosing out for you too see and interact with so you can make your choice. We'll look at the deposit and sales agreement together and also make sure you have the dates and products used to worm your puppy while it was here with us. You will also get a copy of the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test performed at Cornell University to confirm that your puppy hears in both ears.
On your way home. Your puppy will not yet have well developed immunity to serious threats like parvovirus and distemper. Avoid dog parks and dog walk areas at expressway rest stops on your way home. Those are high very risk places for your puppy.
At home. This is not a treatise on training, but it is worth noting that at no other time in your dog's life will it be able to learn as much, as quickly, and as permanently as it will between now and about 16 weeks of age. Now is when you create that mentally balanced, easy going dog everyone wants to be around. Use this time to your advantage, you will never get this opportunity back!
Have fun, you have a new puppy!