Frequently Asked Questions – Puppy

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  What shots will my dog have when he comes home?

A:   Your dog will be current on all vaccinations for their age. Puppies typically go home around 8 weeks old; therefore, they will have their first set of shots and dewormed multiple times before going home.  Puppies will receive a DHPP shot at 6-7 weeks old (distemper, adenovirus [hepatitis], parainfluenza, and parvovirus), and dewormed with Nemex II every week starting at two weeks old.  

Q:  What Type of food should I feed my dog?

A:   We have fed and recommended Iams Large Breed Puppy Food for over 25 years.  During this time, we have seen lots of brands come and go but never felt the need to change the food we feed our dogs.  If you decide to switch food, make sure it’s a gradual process, over three weeks.  Also, please be aware that the FDA is investigating the potential link between grain-free dog foods and Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), so I would stay away from grain-free foods for now.  


Q:  What would you recommend in terms of toys for my new puppy?

A:   At first, I would recommend only giving your dog one toy to play with while they are learning the rules of the house.  That way, it’s very black-and-white as to what they are allowed to chew and what they are not allowed to chew-on.  For example, if you were to give your new puppy six toys to play with, what’s to say the 7th isn’t your shoe. Of course, you can add toys as they get older and get through the teething stage.  

Q:  What size collar and leash should I purchase for my puppy?

A:  We do not use leashes or collars with puppies. We recommend a British style slip lead for training purposes – a slip lead acts as a collar and leash in one.  With that said, I understand the need to display a name tag, dog license and rabies tag on your dog’s collar so I would buy a small adjustable puppy collar so it can be sized appropriately as they get bigger.  

Q: Any recommendations for training treats?

A:  We use kibbles of dog food, the same food you’re feeding your puppy daily – no need to introduce them to treats like bacon bits if they are motivated by kibble.  Make sure you only introduce treats while training when your dog is hungry.

Q: What items should I have for my dog before going home?

A:   I would recommend getting yourself a dog crate. When it comes to dog crates, there are two options, one is a plastic crate, and the other is a wire crate. If you get a plastic crate, you will want to get a small size for your puppy – just big enough from them to stand up, turn around, and lay down. If you decide on a wire crate, make sure you get a wire crate appropriately sized for an adult-sized dog with a divider. You want to be able to crate train your dog and only give him/her enough space to relax and sleep in the crate comfortably.   Obviously, the pup is going to outgrow a plastic crate rather quickly; therefore, many clients opt for a wire crate with a divider.

Q;  Do you recommend a blanket or bed in my dog’s crate at night while he/she sleeps?

A: No, anything that can absorb odor is going to make it more difficult to housebreak your puppy.  Besides, puppies at this age will chew anything they can get their mouth on, and eating fabric from a blanket or bed can seriously harm your puppy.  

Q:  What type of bowls do you recommend?

A:  We recommend a stainless steel non-tip bowl when feeding puppies. Puppies like to throw their whole body into the eating process, and a non-tip bowl will minimize spills.

Q:  How many times do you recommend feeding my puppy, and how much food should I give him/her?

A:   We recommend feeding a puppy at least twice a day.   Use your current puppy’s weight and age as a guide to look up the amount of food you should be feeding on the back of the dog food bag.   If you notice he or she is not finishing all their food, pick up the food, and offer it at the next meal.

Q:  Should I be putting water in the food or keep it separate?

A:   Initially, during the housebreaking process, we do not recommend leaving water down for your puppy.   Add water to your dog’s food to ensure he/she maintains an adequate hydration level. A good rule of thumb is to give your puppy an equal amount of water with the dog food at feeding time.  If your puppy is exercising, you may need to offer him/her additional water. But remember, as your puppy consumes water, his/her stomach fills and pushes against the intestines and bladder, causing the pup to have to eliminate.  

Q:  Any recommendations for housebreaking?

A:   Yes, we did an entire video on this subject – “5 Simple Steps to Housebreaking Your Puppy” – https://www.facebook.com/woodlandkennelct/videos/323308171648889/

If you follow these steps, you should have your dog completely housebroken in about a month.  

Q:  Do you allow visits before picking up my puppy?

A: Normally, we do not allow visits until the puppies have had their first set of shots at 6-7 weeks old – for obvious reasons.    Add COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines to this scenario, and things get complicated quickly. So we have decided to limit client visits only to when the puppies are ready to go home.  

Q:  What is the process of picking out my puppy?

A:  The week before the puppies go home, I will be contacting you to schedule a time to come pick up your puppy (based on the order in which I received deposits). If you are unable to make the scheduled time, we will accommodate a remote pick by providing you with pictures and a brief summary as to the characteristics of the remaining puppies.   To ensure a safe environment and maintain adequate social distancing, the pick-up process will be done outside, so we will have to work around the weather forecast.