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Dos and don'ts of having a puppy

(56 Posts)
teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 09:31:49

We have put a reservation on a beautiful little four day old Cocker Spaniel puppy grin!

So in just under three months we are going to have a bouncing puppy as a new member of our family!!!

I am really interested to know - what are the real dos and don'ts of owning and training a puppy?

(We live in an apartment - Any specific advice on apartment living with a dog will be interesting but I am hoping all you lovely mners have lots of things to tell me about all sorts of very useful doggy things!)

smile - Thank you very much, any ideas mean a lot!

abra1d Tue 15-Sep-09 09:49:17

Cockers are lovely!

We have had three dogs and our latest is a 12-week old terrier. It's been a shock, even after having had two other dogs of the same breed.

First thing: you need an enzyme-based deodorant/disinfectant. Don't try and use anything else on 'accidents' because the dog will still smell the scent and be tempted to use the same spot.

Thick kitchen roll is the only kind worth buying.

We have found using clicker training helps with housetraining and obedience. Clickers are cheap and there is lots online about how you can use them to encourage behaviours.

Interestingly the 'bad' time for us is just the same as it was when the children were babies: early evening. I'm trying to cook and supervise homework and the puppy is getting tired and over-excited at the same time. We use a travel crate to put her in when she's getting under our feet and we need some space. She's still with us in the kitchen but we aren't tripping over her and she's not play-fighting with our old dog, who wants our company then.

THe nice thing is that puppies are the ultimately cuddly critters. Even when she's driven me mad I can't resist a cuddle every now and then. They really respond to affection and you're building up a bond that will last for many years. It's very rewarding.

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 09:53:14

Here she is...

kerarzicvilin.chiens-de-france.com/site_eleveur/index.php?rub=portees&page=detail&ID_ELEVEUR=5393&ID _SITE=5763&ID_PORTEE=46611&avenir=0

Our pup is the one right at the bottom currently called 'Ello Kitty'. She is being fed from her Mummy but also the breeder is feeding her with bottles because she is the runt... The same breeder did the same thing wih SILs gentle sweet dog too when he was a pup. smile

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 09:56:13

abra1d - thank you smile - excellent advice!

Roomfor2 Tue 15-Sep-09 09:57:34

Ahhhh - how exciting! grin

Confine to a small (preferably tiled or laminate floored) area for the first few weeks with lots of newspaper on the floor.

Don't leave precious things like shoes and handbags lying around - prime chewing fodder!

Try not to plan any trips out for the first couple of weeks/take time off if you work.

Might be worth considering training classes when old enough so you can get the pup into good habits from the start rather than struggling to retrain out of naughty behaviour later on.

Good luck!

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 09:59:45

grin - thanks roomfor2!!!

smugmumofboys Tue 15-Sep-09 10:06:30

Am very envy op. I would love a Cocker.

I don't (as yet) have a dog but, based on a convo I overheard at the vets' between a Choc lab owner and the vet, I would say GET INSURANCE!! Dogs will invariably get something wrong with them and vets are extremely expensive.

Aforementioned choc lab owner was gobsmacked to learn that it was going to cost £290 just for some x-rays. It had obviously never occurred to her that her dog would ever be ill/cost a lot to treat.

MmeLindt Tue 15-Sep-09 10:15:58

oooooooooooh, she is lovely.

Slight <snurk> at Ello Kitty

We have a crate that we never used so don't spend too much on one, you might find that you don't use it or need it. We will probably keep it in case we want to fly with her, but then I don't even know if it would be suitable for a longer flight, and I can take her onboard a short flight.

Our pup hardly chewed anything, the odd toy that the DC did not put away but nothing drastic.

I second the clicker, I have started training Daphne with one and it is going well. She is a very good learner and is quick to pick things up anyway <boast>

Also the spray so that she does not go back to the same place when she needs a wee.

The only problem that I forsee for you is that you are going to spend a lot of time rushing outside with her as you try to house train her. Not much fun in the winter. You will need a fair bit of patience in the first couple of months.

I trained Daphne to go wee on command, which is very handy when it is cold outside and you want to be out for the shortest period possible.

Btw, we have booked Paris in February, still not sure if we will have a day in town. My parents may join us so we could take turns taking the DC to Disneyland. We have looked at the places you recommended and are keen to have at least some time in Paris.

Pippinella Tue 15-Sep-09 10:19:24

My advice is DON'T get insurance, it's a complete rip off and you will find out that it won't cover anything like what its supposed to. Get an account and direct debit some money into it every month instead. The chances are your puppy will be healthy and not need to money, and if so, its still in your pocket.

I have a cocker spaniel too, they make super pets.

I second the carpet enzyme thing too, bio detergent will also work.

And remember if puppy is "naughty" ie chewing anything, it is most probably your fault. Always think ahead and get things out of pup's reach.

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 10:45:32

Thank you for the ideas so far - fab stuff!!! Pipp - I live in France and dog insurance isn't that popular here. I like the account idea.

MmeLindt - grin - I was hoping you would 'pop up' on this thread! Your visit to Paris is sounding very exciting - wow wow wow!!!

I second your snurking at the name. In France it is an 'E' year for a dog. We can give her any name we like as long as it begins with 'E'. Eckles is our current favourite because of the Goons and the cakes!

"I trained Daphne to go wee on command" - shock - wow... tell me more please... how did you do that???

abra1d Tue 15-Sep-09 10:59:35

Pippinella, that's what we do. We costed what our two elderly dogs had cost us in bills over their 13-14 years and worked out what would have been covered. None of the dentals would have been, and that was the real main cost for both dogs.

So we clean our puppy's teeth every day and pay money into a savings account each month.

I wish we'd started tooth cleaning earlier with the other dogs. By the time the vet suggested it they were too set in their ways to accept it. We spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds on cleaning and extractions: despite their apparently tooth-friendly diet and all the tooth-friendly chews we bought for them.

MmeLindt Tue 15-Sep-09 11:22:15

I have been told about a fab dental cleaning stuff from a friend, she is sending me some. I don't know what it is but she swears by it.

You have to name your dog beginning with an E? I like Eckles but it does sound more like a male dog to me. You could go really old granny names (which I love for dogs) and call her Ethel. Actually, there are lots of Granny names beginning with E. Elspeth, Edith, Erica, Esme...

When Daphne was just a pup, every time she squatted to do I wee I would chant "be quick, be quick, be quick" so that she would associate the chant with doing a wee. Now when I let her out of the house and say, "Daphne be quick" she knows that it is time to wee. Lots of praise afterwards. It worked really well with her.

abra1d Tue 15-Sep-09 12:23:46

Is it Logic, I wonder, MmeLindt?

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 18:47:18

Interesting.... thanks for all this! smile

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 20:38:31

How long do you think a Cocker will mind being left for?

We told the breeder we want to employ a dog sitter for when we are not around and she said we didn't need one as the dog will be fine on her own... but I don't know...

valhala Tue 15-Sep-09 22:36:04

Teafortwo, bless you for thinking as you do - the question is indeed how long will your pup MIND being left for rather than how long you CAN leave her for.

Pups sleep a lot, as you know, but quickly grow out of that habit and Cockers are bright dogs with a working background, as you doubtless also know, so will become easily bored, which is when you get the problems of chewing and whining/barking if you are not careful.

If its at all possible I'd advise that you take some time off of work (if you are a working Mum of course) to be with her in the first week or two, both to settle her in and to get to know her pattern of behaviour. That should give you a far clearer idea of how long you can leave her than I ever could.

To an extent, although you will need her to fit in with your family arrangements, let her guide you. You will soon learn how much time she needs for playing and exercise, how much quiet time she needs and so on. As she grows be prepared for plenty of long walks, especially as you live in an apartment, and provide her with lots of safe toys - Kongs are indeed brilliant.

I found it interesting and surprising that in France there is little take-up of dog insurance policies. I have no idea of the cost of vet treatment over there but here in the UK I would certainly recommend insurance. Are your vets fees lower than ours to the extent that you don't need insurance, do you think?

Oh... and... as much as I am an advocate for adopting rescue dogs rather than going to a breeder, I am SO jealous of you! Cockers are adorable. I hope that you will have many long and happy years with her.

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 22:54:08

valhala - Thanks for your great advice and kind words.

Do you know of any good puppy books? I would like to read something that is the 'Three in a bed' or 'Letting go as children grow' books of the puppy training shelves rather than the aheeem... GF variety which is what I seem to be finding all over Amazon - IYSWIM?

valhala Tue 15-Sep-09 23:21:57

Ah! Now I'm stumped! With the exception of breed books, read from cover to cover when I was a child (this dog mania started early in life, long before I grew into an adult and finally got one of my own!), health books (invaluable) and "Do Dogs Need Shrinks" by Peter Neville, I must admit I have never read a training book in my life... I have just muddled through and been lucky enough to have had confidence (which dogs, I am convinced, pick up on), and in later years great support and advice from like-minded people, dog rescuers and forums of the kind.

I would recommend "Do Dogs Need Shrinks" - its a bit dated in the "Joy of Sex" tradition but beneath the lightheartedness there is some good advice to be found there.

If you can't find a copy I do have a dog-eared (excuse the pun) one you are welcome to have. I'll happily post it to you - probably the easiest way to sort this if it helps because I am beggared if I can find a pm facility on here, is to track me down on the forum of Poplar Farm Kennels website, register on it by emailing the owners ( a necessity cos of all the spam and obscene posts which appear when they allowed registration by just signing up, but I promise the owners are very friendly!), and introducing yourself on their forum or pm-ing me there - my screen name is "Harvey".

teafortwo Tue 15-Sep-09 23:44:36

I will look it up on Abe books, Valhala! Thanks.

MmeLindt Wed 16-Sep-09 05:41:38

T42
I did not leave Daphne alone at all the first month or so then started leaving her for 10 mins when I went to pick up the dc from school, gradually increasing the time alone until we can now leave her for about 4 to max 5 hours.

Obviously, it helps if she has had a good walk before going out as she sleeps a lot then.

I think that doing it gradually is important so that she learns that we are coming back.

I read a few books but a lot of them seem to be geared toward bigger breeds where control and dominence are more of an issue.

A lot of the advice was IMO too much for wee Daphne, and I was too much of a wuss to do it. We do not use a crate and she is allowed on the sofa but we do not have any problems with her not knowing her position in the family which seems to be a big part of dog training books.

She is the most submissive dog ever, when dh comes home from work she flips on her back, legs akimbo and awaits a tummy tickling session. Leading DH to query why I don't greet him in the same manner

I am so excited for you.

amberlight Wed 16-Sep-09 07:36:13

From many years of dog ownership, I would suggest that in preparation you should dig lots of holes in the lawn and pour something that kills it on various other bits of it. Then put dog hair all over your carpets and sprinkle some in some of the dishes in the cupboards in the kitchen (how DOES it get there when we hoover every day and brush the dog every day?!). Take your monthly salary out. Give half to the pet shop, and the other half to the vets.
Bite teeth marks in your favourite furniture and eat one of your shoes. Knock over all your ornaments. Chase your neighbour's cats and see if you can create a big argument with them. Get one of those joke rotten-egg-smell things and spray it liberally round the room whenever you have guests. Play loud barking sounds all night long for when the firework season is upon you.

There. You're ready! grin

Other than that, enjoy!! They're great!

minimu Wed 16-Sep-09 08:27:48

Good Book is perfect Pup by Gwen Bailey

teafortwo Wed 16-Sep-09 08:40:30

Thanks - all all of this is such useful stuff.

grin - Amber!!!

countrybump Wed 16-Sep-09 08:53:06

Hi, I've only skim-read, so some of this may have already been said but socialization is really important, so, as soon as puppy has had her jabs get her out and meeting as many different dogs, people and experiences as possible. Including busy traffic, walks with other dogs, crowds, bangs and noises etc etc. The meeting other dogs is really imporant, and it would be good to go to a puppy party type training!

And the crate is really good for training and also to give them somewhere to feel safe. Obviously a dog guard for the back of the car is also essential for safety.

And decide straight away what your boundaries will be and stick to them. For example, if the dog is not to come into your bedroom, then that's the rule and you stick to it, even on night one when she is crying her little lungs out!

Good luck, hope all goes well!

(and just to add, insurance has been worth it for us, in the first two years of dog ownership the insurance paid us more than we paid it. This was just down to a slightly accident prone dog, so a thorn in his nose, cut paw, scratched eye, upset tummy etc, nothing that you could really predict!)

teafortwo Wed 16-Sep-09 09:14:05

Countrybump - I like your ideas regarding socialization. I will try hard to do that as much as possible!

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