All new owners of puppies purchased from Not A Puppy Farm are supplied with a booklet with useful information to get you started in the right way - the information below is just a copy of this booklet.
Bringing your puppy home for the first time is naturally a happy and exciting occasion, but it can be a little daunting too – there is so much for both you and your puppy to learn! The information below should help you on your way to raising a happy and well trained dog right from the start.
Items to buy
- Dog bed and bedding / puppy crate
- Food – We recommend "James Wellbeloved" and "Nature Diet for Puppies"
- Water and food bowls
- Collar, lead and dog tag
- Slicker brush, Terrier pad and a wide/narrow toothed comb
- Toys - we supply a toy that has the scent of the mother and siblings
Your puppy will need a quiet place to eat and sleep. Choose a room that is out of the way, where they can snooze undisturbed. The kitchen or bathroom is an ideal place for the bed because they generally are warm and have washable floors. Puppies need lots of sleep – so let them rest when they are in their bed. If you have other pets, be sure to give the puppy its own bowls and bed to avoid conflict. Your puppy will also need a safe place to play. Make sure your garden is well fenced or only let them off a lead when it is safe to do so. Once your puppy has completed its vaccination injections and had a week to settle you can start to take them out for walks.
There are many different feeding regimes to choose from: dry complete diets, semi-moist or pouch, tinned food (with or without biscuit mixer), raw food, and home-made food. Each food category has different qualities, and finding the right balance for your puppy is extremely important.
Your puppy will be used to eating “James Wellbeloved puppy complete” so for the time being we recommend continuing with this food.
We recommend 3 small meals a day to include 1oz of "James Wellbeloved puppy complete" soaked in warm water for 5 minutes with a small amount of "Nature Diet for Puppies". As a treat you can give your puppy a small scrambled egg or a little cooked meat / white fish in lieu of a complete meal.
At approx. 4-5 months go to 2 meals a day and then at 6 months you can feed once a day.
If you decide to change your puppy’s food be sure to do this gradually over at least a week to avoid upset and do not keep changing the diet. A stable diet will help to maintain good digestion. The most suitable diet should be easily digested and produce dark brown, firm, formed stools. If your puppy produces soft or light stools or has wind or diarrhoea, then the diet may not suit your puppy or it might have some kind of digestive problem or infection. If the condition persists for more than 2 days, consult your vet for advice.
When feeding always space the meals out throughout the day making sure there is at least a 4 hour gap between meals. Leave the food down for 20 minutes and if any food is left throw this away. Remember to always have fresh water available to the puppy and replace this with clean water at each meal time.
Do not feed your puppy an hour before or after exercise or play, as this could lead to stomach dilation and torsion (also known as bloat).
Leave your puppy in peace while it is eating from its bowl. Taking the bowl away while it is eating causes anxiety and this can lead to food aggression.
Upset tummy advice
Do not give your puppy any milk as this will upset their tummy.
If your puppy does get an upset tummy miss the next meal then for the following meal give them a small scrambled egg or a little cooked white fish or chicken, then follow that with smaller normal meals for a few days until their tummy is back to normal. Live yogurt is also good for an upset tummy.
Toilet training puppies the easy way
Toilet training is obviously a crucial part of your puppy’s early learning. Getting it right is relatively simple, and will make those first weeks so much more enjoyable for you both. However, like all things, bad habits learnt early on can lead to problems that may take weeks or even months to resolve.
Initially, you will have to build your daily routine around your puppy’s needs. Fortunately, these are quite predictable when they are very young, and with careful supervision you should quickly establish when it is the right time to go outside and minimise any accidents.
Like babies, puppies have poor bladder control, and need to go to the toilet several times an hour when they are awake. They will also usually need to be taken outside first thing in the morning, last thing at night, after each meal, waking from a nap, and after any exercise, play or excitement. You may find it useful to keep a record of when your puppy sleeps, eats and goes to the toilet so that you can identify any patterns that emerge. One tip is to use a food timer to remind you when it is time to take your puppy outside to relieve itself. If you find that your puppy needs to “go” every 20 minutes then set the alarm as soon as he has gone and take him outside the moment the alarm goes off.
Always go with your puppy into the garden and establish a regular spot. Puppies are creatures of habit, so as long as you introduce the garden to the puppy as its toilet area early on, you should be able to avoid most accidents. Decide on a cue word or phrase to use when the puppy is actually going to the toilet, so that the puppy will start to associate the word with the action and should learn to go on command. By accompanying your puppy into the garden each time, you will be there to attach cue words and praise to any successful actions.
If toilet training is not going quite as well as planned, some common reasons for why your puppy is struggling are as follows:
- You are feeding the puppy too much
- The puppy food you are giving is unsuitable or you are giving too much variety for a puppy of their age
- You are not feeding at regular times
- You are feeding at the wrong times (which could mean your puppy needs to go to the toilet during the night)
- You are giving foods which are too salty, causing your puppy to drink more
- Punishing your puppy for accidents indoors may make it scared of going to the toilet in front of you – even outside
- Expecting your puppy to tell you when it needs to go to the toilet is unrealistic. It is far better to go outside at regular intervals
- Leaving the back door or outside access open for your puppy to come and go as it pleases can cause confusion – particularly when that access is closed
- Do not leave your puppy too long on its own so that it is forced to go indoors
- Leaving your puppy alone in the garden means that you are not there to praise and reward, or to reinforce the idea that the garden is the correct place to go
- Try to avoid using the words “good boy/girl” when your puppy is going to the toilet - you don’t want your puppy going to the toilet every time it is praised
- Puppies can exhibit submissive or excitable urination when greeting you on your return home. Toning down greetings can help prevent your puppy from becoming overexcited
- Young puppies will not be able to go through the night without needing to go to the toilet. If they do wake you up, it really is worth getting up to let them out
Beyond the garden, many owners can be disappointed that their young puppy does not initially toilet when first venturing out on walks. Often, your puppy will only relieve itself the second you get home. This is because the puppy has not yet associated going out for a walk as an opportunity to go to the toilet, so will wait until they return home to their garden, which they know is a good place to go. To break this habit, get up a little earlier in the morning (when you have plenty of time) and take your puppy out on a walk before it has had a chance to visit its usual spot. Stay out with your puppy for a reasonable length of time until it has been to the toilet, and then give plenty of praise. If you are not successful, make sure the puppy is whisked into the garden to relieve itself or you will run the risk of a large puddle indoors!
Remember, patience and consistency is key. All puppies take different amounts of time to learn, so don’t worry if your puppy seems to be taking longer to get the hang of things. Your patience will pay off and you will both get there in the end.
A trained dog is a happy dog
Housetraining aside, every puppy also needs to be taught good manners and have constructive lessons in basic control and social interaction. This includes:
- Responding to its name
- Learning how to greet and behave politely around other people and dogs
- To come back when called
- To walk nicely on the lead
- To sit down and stay on command
- To allow itself to be groomed and examined by you and your vet
Dog training classes
Most owners can benefit from attending good training classes, and training in the company of other dogs is very useful, because of the realistic distractions it involves. Ideally, you should start your classes as soon as your puppy’s vaccinations are complete, but classes can be invaluable for older dogs too.
There are lots of schools of thought on dog training and it is naturally important that you find a class and training Instructors with the right approach for you and your puppy. You can find training classes by using the Kennel Club’s Find a Club service – visit www.findaclub.org.uk to find a club near you running training classes. You can also ask your vet and other dog owners for recommendations. Dog training can be lots of fun and very rewarding. After all, a trained dog is a happy dog, and a happy dog makes for a happy owner too.
Important training tips:
- Start as you mean to go on. If you are always consistent you will avoid confusing your puppy
- Puppies have a very short attention span so train for short spells on a regular basis
- Keep it short and keep it simple, but most of all keep it fun
- Puppies respond better to cheerful voice tones rather than to threatening orders
- Gentle play builds trust and a strong bond between you and your puppy as well as making training fun
- Patience is the KEY ingredient in dog training. If you try to rush things you will only get frustrated and confuse your puppy
- Keep it interesting: cultivate a range of different rewards incorporating play, fuss, praise, treats and toys
The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme
The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme is the UK’s largest dog training programme, and has been introduced to assist owners in training their dogs to be obedient in everyday situations. It’s simple but effective dog training techniques encompass all the skills necessary for a happy and rewarding partnership with your dog. There are four levels of the Scheme, namely Puppy Foundation, Silver, Bronze and Gold. Each level is designed to further develop an owner’s understanding of training, while building a dog’s confidence and levels of obedience. All dogs are eligible to take part, whether they are young or old, pedigree or crossbreed.
An important part of a dog’s life is exercise. Indeed exercise times and feeding times are often the most exciting parts of a dog’s day, and your puppy will grow to keenly anticipate them.
Puppies need much less exercise than fully-grown dogs. If you over-exercise a growing puppy, you can quickly overtire it, and more importantly damage its developing joints, which may cause early arthritis. A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day), until the puppy is fully grown, i.e. 15 minutes when three months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. Once it is fully grown, your dog can go out for much longer.
It is important that puppies and dogs go out for exercise every day in a safe and secure area, or they may become frustrated. Time spent in the garden (however large) is no substitute for exploring new environments, and socialising with other dogs. When you go out, make sure your puppy is trained to recall, so that you are confident the puppy will return to you when called.
You should never exercise your puppy on a full stomach as this may contribute to bloat or stomach dilation which can sometimes prove fatal.
All dogs require regular exercise to remain fit and prevent them from becoming overweight, which may also lead to health problems. You should remember however, that exercise needs to be introduced gradually, and that a young puppy will not have the same exercise requirement as an adult dog.
- 0 - 12 weeks. Until a puppy has completed its course of vaccinations, there is a risk of infection. Therefore, it is usually better that exercise is restricted to within the confines of your garden. Exercise in the garden also provides an excellent opportunity to start early training, and to get your puppy used to wearing a collar. Make sure your puppy has a number of safe toys, and always accompany them in the garden. This way, you can engage your puppy in suitable levels of activity, and start to reward good toileting behaviour, which can usually provide all the puppy’s exercise needs during this time. If the opportunity arises, take your puppy to other safe environments where there is no risk, and it is able to mix with other animals and people, such as private gardens where only vaccinated dogs have access. Socialising at an early age is a vital part of your dog’s development.
- 3 - 4 months; 15 - 20 minutes per day. Ideally this should be split across two walks, perhaps morning and evening. Lead walking is possibly the most important at this age as it will help train your puppy, but some free running should also be included.
- 4 - 6 months; 20 - 30 minutes per day. Ideally, this should again be split across two walks, perhaps morning and evening.
- 6 - 9 months; 30 - 45 minutes per day. Ideally, try to split exercise across 2 walks of 15 – 20 minutes duration.
- 9 - 12 months; 45 - 60 minutes per day ideally split across 2 walks of 20 - 30 minutes duration.
- 1 year plus. After the age of 12 months a dog is considered an adult and should be capable of walks lasting 30 - 60 minutes per day.
The duration and frequency of exercise should remain consistent and any increases should be gradual. For the majority of dogs, exercise is an important part of their life and so they will take as much as you can give. A dog will also enjoy play, whether with you or on its own, and so toys play an important part in a dog's life.
It’s important to regularly groom your puppy.
Reasons for grooming – Remember ‘CHAIR’
- Cleanliness – keeping your dog’s coat clean by removing dirt and dead hair helps encourage new hair growth, and reduces the amount of hair deposited on household furniture
- Health – grooming helps to stimulate new coat growth, and prevents the formation of knots or matting which may lead to skin irritation
- Appearance – most owners take a pride in their dogs looking smart, and regular grooming will certainly help your puppy to look its best
- Inspection – regular grooming is also a great way to check for parasites, or any suspicious lumps and bumps
- Relationship – grooming is part of dog’s socialisation activities. Regular grooming helps create a bond between you and your puppy, and accustoms your puppy to being handled.
It is important to groom your puppy at a height which is comfortable for both you and your dog. For many dogs it may be advisable to groom them on a table. Remember: never leave your puppy unattended on the table for even a short moment.
Start the grooming experience at an early age as part of your puppy’s socialisation programme and routines. Keep the sessions short to start off with – just a couple of minutes, gradually increasing the time spent on the table. Always make the experience positive, rewarding with praise and suitable treats. Any struggling should be dealt with firmly but kindly, as your puppy may be frustrated, mischievous or even afraid.
Build up the experience and your puppy will come to accept the grooming routine and also being handled on the table. This will help with other activities such as veterinary visits.
Finish the grooming if your puppy shows signs of getting bored or tired, so that each session ends on a positive note.
It’s worth bearing in mind that factors like neutering, age, poor diet and poor health can dramatically influence your dog’s coat.
Your puppy has a coarse, harsh topcoat with a soft undercoat you will need to devote approximately 30 minutes once a week to prevent heavy shedding and matts and tangles forming. This can be done using a Slicker brush, Terrier pad and a wide/narrow toothed comb.
Knots and matts
A knot occurs where the coat is slightly tangled but it can be removed by careful brushing or combing out. Matts are formed when dead, loose undercoat hair becomes trapped by the top or guard hair, and starts to clump and twist together. If this matted coat becomes wet, the matting tightens and becomes almost solid.
Do not attempt to remove matts unless trained in the procedure. Otherwise, refer to a professional groomer.
Care of ears, nails and eyes
Check your puppy’s ears to see if they are clean. You can remove excess dirt from the inside of the ear flap with damp cotton wool. Never probe inside the ear as you may perforate the ear drum. Any odour is usually a sign there is something wrong and your puppy should be taken to a vet.
If nails are excessively long remove the tip of the claw, taking care not to cut the quick or blood vessel.
If needed clean the eyes with clean, damp cotton wool using a separate piece for each eye.
Your puppy has been treated for fleas using Frontline at 3 and 6 weeks. We recommend continuing to treat your puppy against fleas under the supervision of your vet.
A parasite is something that lives on another animal (the host) and gets its nourishment from the host. If left unchecked, the parasite causes disease or even death. The most common external parasites found on dogs are fleas and ticks.
Fleas are very small, brownish black, extremely agile creatures. Excessive scratching and self-biting can be symptoms of flea infestation. Even if no fleas are to be seen the presence of shiny black specks like coal dust (flea excreta) is a sure indication of the presence of fleas (dab the specks with a damp piece of cotton wool and if it goes pink it confirms the presence of fleas; these are the remains of a digested blood meal from the host).
Ticks are largish grey pea shaped parasites that can be 3 to 4mm in length. They attach themselves to other animals in order to have a blood meal.
There is evidence that ticks are also a threat to human health as they can spread Lyme disease.
There is now a wide range of proprietary powders, sprays, ‘spot-on’ treatments and anti-flea and tick collars available. A dedicated pet care professional will be happy to advise on suitable products.
Other skin problems
Ringworm is a fungal disease, affecting the skin, nails and hair. Circular lesions appear causing hair loss, which become scaly and crusty. Ringworm is contagious and is a zoonotic condition (transmissible to humans).
Dermatitis causes irritation, hair loss and inflammation and is a result of sensitivity to the environment.
Alopecia can range from a thinning of hair to total hair loss and can be caused by a number of factors such as skin parasites, hormonal imbalance, infections, stress or poor nutrition. Seek veterinary advice for any skin problems.
Your puppy may benefit from professional trimming and styling approximately every six weeks.
Your puppy has had their first vaccination injection before collection.
There are a number of common infectious diseases that dogs are susceptible to throughout their entire life. Some of these diseases are life threatening and young puppies are particularly vulnerable, so it is vitally important that your puppy is vaccinated against them at a young age. Further vaccination is essential to ensure that your puppy continues to be healthy and happy throughout its entire life.
Vaccinations are used to fight against four main infectious diseases:
Canine Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Leptospirosis.
All of these diseases can be fatal so after its first course of vaccinations, your puppy will need booster vaccinations according to your vet’s advice.
Once a puppy is vaccinated, the vet will issue a vaccination certificate showing a record of exactly when the puppy was vaccinated and which product was used. This should be kept safe as you may need to show them at boarding kennels, dog-training classes or if you take your dog abroad. It is also useful should you change your vet and he may recommend a slightly different regime, and it will be useful to see what vaccination your puppy has had in the past.
Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, you should not take it anywhere where it might come into contact with dogs or ground that may be infected. However, puppies are most receptive to new environments and situations at this age, so keeping them confined to your house and garden can be counter productive. In order to continue your puppy’s socialisation programme during these important first weeks at home, you should take your puppy out to different places in your arms or the car to get it used to different situations and noises, as well as letting it meet new people.
Further details on socialisation is available in the Kennel Club “Puppy Plan” which can be viewed at www.thepuppyplan.com
Further information on Vaccination
How does vaccination work?
The immune system is the body’s defence mechanism against disease. The body recognises invading viruses and bacteria as ‘foreign’ and its reaction to these ‘foreign invaders’ is called an immune response. The body produces antibodies which destroy or remove the foreign substances.
The essence of vaccination is that it makes use of the body’s natural systems for fighting disease. This is done by introducing a substance to the body which mimics a disease but does not actually cause the disease. The body prepares its immune response, which then is activated if that disease is detected at some time in the future. The vaccine can be introduced by various methods – commonly either by injection or nasally.
In so many respects, vaccination is the ideal way to combat disease. Immune systems are continuously active in the defence against disease, and vaccination simply exploits this system.
How do diseases spread?
All living organisms share the genetic drive to make sure that their species continues to exist. This applies to viruses and bacteria as much as it applies to humans and animals. Disease-causing organisms therefore have built into their structure the ability to spread from one susceptible organism to another. They can be transferred from host to host by physical contact, contact with body fluids, by the consumption of diseased food, transferred by a ‘third party’ (i.e. mosquitoes, fleas, ticks or midges) or they can be airborne, requiring proximity, but no physical contact to jump from host to host. Some diseases are species specific, while others can infect, or are carried by, a range of species.
Does vaccination have any side effects?
Anybody who has ever been vaccinated knows that it can occasionally make you feel quite feverish and poorly for a short while. Whilst this effect is not pleasant, it is a sign that the vaccine is stimulating the body’s disease defences. The perfect vaccine would not cause those effects, but not all vaccines are perfect, although safety is paramount in the licensing of vaccines. Exceptionally there can very occasionally be more severe side effects but they are so rare that the benefits obtained with vaccination far outweighs the risks. If you are concerned about any possible side effects, discuss this with your vet prior to the vaccine being administered to your puppy.
How frequently should vaccines be used?
Vaccination plays a very important role in the control of infectious diseases. Whilst it is recognised that adverse reactions such as an allergic response or a lack of efficacy may occasionally occur, an analysis of the overall benefits and risks strongly supports the continued use of vaccination.
Vets should make a thorough assessment of the benefits and risks on an individual case basis and discuss them with clients when deciding the timing of vaccination and the use of particular vaccines.
All of our puppies have been wormed at 2, 4 and 6 weeks with Drontal Puppy Wormer. It is recommended that you continue to worm your puppy under the supervision of your vet.
Worming your dog throughout its lifetime is important, and you should talk to your vet about a suitable worming programme for your puppy at the earliest opportunity. Regular worming not only protects your dog’s health, but helps to prevent the spread of infection and potentially hazardous health risks to other animals and humans too. Worm infections carried by your dog do not always display obvious symptoms, so an adequate treatment schedule is vital.
Signs aren't always obvious.
Dogs can appear healthy even when they have worm infections. Detecting an infection can be tricky, particularly as worm eggs are too small to be easily visible in your pet's faeces. In addition, your dog may be more at risk from some worm infections than others depending on where you live. It is therefore extremely important to keep your dog’s treatment regular and up-to-date.
Specific signs will be described for each worm, but remember that not all worm infections will be obvious in your dog, so some more general signs to look for include:
- The presence of visible worm segments that could stick to your dog's bottom and become itchy. This can cause dogs to “scoot”, whereby they drag their bottoms along the ground with their back legs. Doing this also means that your dog will be rubbing its infected bottom on your floor or carpet, which is naturally unhygienic
- Weight loss
- A dull, lifeless coat
- A change in appetite (it may be either increased or decreased depending on the worms present)
- A lack of energy
- A pot-bellied appearance (most commonly seen in puppies)
- Breathing difficulties and coughing
- General changes in behaviour
You should seek advice from your vet if you see any of the above signs in your dog. Many of these symptoms may be indicative of other illnesses. Your vet will be able to investigate the problem and provide appropriate advice and treatment.
There are a wide variety of worming products available from a number of different sources. These products vary in activity spectrum (the worms they treat or prevent), how you administer the treatment (spot-on / injection / oral medication), dosage instructions and speed or duration of activity.
Always check with your vet before initiating a worming regime. This way you can be confident that you are using the most appropriate products, and following the best treatment for the needs of your dog and family.
How Often Should You Worm?
All animals are at risk from acquiring worm infections. However some animals will be at higher risk than others depending on factors such as their lifestyle and area in which you live. Children are at increased risk of disease from worms; if you have a young family or your dog often comes into contact with children, you should pay particular attention to regular worming. Again, always consult with your vet with regard to the most appropriate treatment schedule.
Control Check List
As well as following a worming plan following consultation with your vet, there are also many other practical things you can do to help prevent the spread of worm infections among your pets and family. These are as follows:
- 'Poop scooping' - make sure you pick up your dog's faeces immediately on a walk and remove it from the lawn or surrounding outdoor environment daily - bag it, and put it in designated poop bins, burn it or flush it down the toilet
- Ensure you and your children wash your hands after handling / stroking your dog
- Wash all food including fruit and vegetables before eating them
- Don't allow children to put dirt in their mouths
- Throw away any food dropped on the floor / ground rather than eating it
- Cover children's sandpits when not in use
Congenital Hereditary Cataracts occur in the Miniature Schnauzer. All our Miniature Schnauzers will have been tested for this at 5 weeks. It is recommended that you continue to have your puppy's eyes tested regularly under supervision of your vet.
Your puppy will have been micro chipped. A small microchip is injected just under the skin on the back of the neck between the shoulder blades.
All of our puppies come with insurance to cover you for the first 4 weeks (terms and conditions apply). We would always advise insuring your dog.