Common Sense Information on The Training and Care of Puppies and Dogs

So You Have Your New Puppy – Now What?

So You Have Your New Puppy - Now What?

You have a new puppy – Now What?

It’s not a big question but it will require a pretty long answer. Hopefully you picked up all the things that you need prior to getting your new puppy home.

  • Food
  • Food and Water Bowls
  • Leash and Collar
  • Toys
  • Baby gate(s) if needed
  • Dog Crate
  • And you have picked a Veterinarian

If you read my previous post – “If you want a Better Dog then raise a Better Puppy


Then you know that I really focus on doing all that I can with my new dog in the first several months that I have him or her. That post was a bit more philosophical whereas this article is much more actionable.

These are the things I do when I get a New Puppy

Before I bring my puppy home I do a pretty good inspection of the house and look for potential “dangers”.  If there are areas that you do not want your pup to go in the house then use baby gates to keep them out of those areas. If you are in a home with small children, make sure that toys ( child’s toys ) are picked up and stored properly away. Also, if there are small children, especially toddlers, then there needs to be careful consideration as far as the safety of both the children as well as the puppy. Children and puppies go well together but they need to be supervised.  One thing that little children like to do is to hug puppies around the neck, to the point that the child might be chocking the puppy. Puppies will defend themselves and it is hard to blame them if they are choking. If your child is not old enough to understand then Close supervision is needed.



If your child is a little older then a chat about what is and is not proper is in order, and supervision is still warranted at least in the beginning. Children also have a habit ( tendency ) to carry food around, or a sippy cup. be sure to watch closely in these situations to make sure that your child is not slipping the puppy food and drink it should not have. Common sense should rule the day.

The first few days or so with your New Puppy

The first several days when your pup get’s home can be a little stressful for both you and your puppy.  The human stress level can certainly be lessoned with good planning. However, for the puppy there is just so much you can do.

During the first few days that I have a new pup I just let them get settled in. They are more than likely a bit anxious and they have been pulled out of their pack and placed into a new one.  So they need a few days to get settled in and relax.

Hopefully, you asked what puppy food the breeder was feeding. If you are going to change it, do it a little at a time. Switching out the food to quickly can really throw off their digestive system. So I like to change slowly. Your puppy needs to eat 3 X’s a day until 6 months. During the first day or so keep the puppy on the same food that it was being fed prior to you picking it up. Let them eat that for 2 days. Too many changes at one time causes too much undue stress. After a couple days you can do a 25/75 mixture. That is 25% of the new food and 75% of the previous food. Then you can go 50/50 and then 75/25 and then on the 4th day 100% of the new food. This is much easier on their body and mind.

Crate training a new puppy is a post all in itself.

I crate train all my dogs right from the beginning. The key things to keep in mind are these. Dogs are denning animals and even though you may have to listen to some Weep Weeping for a couple few days your dog will be much better for it. There will be crying either way so you might as well get something out of it. 


 Pick a crate that is the appropriate size for the puppies current size. If you have a St. Bernard don’t buy a giant sized crate at least not yet. I know that means that you will buy more than one crate over time but the crate needs to fit the dog. It’s not a playpen it’s a crate. There should be enough room for you to be able to put a food and water bowl in the crate and still have enough space so that the puppy can move around comfortably behind the bowls. Enough room to stand, and turn around without being too constricted. If the crate is too big then they will have more chance of going to the bathroom in the crate. Crate training is very much part of Housebreaking. I think it is the easiest way and that is after probably close to 100 dogs that I have crate trained.

I feed my dogs in their crates, in fact I do more than just feed my dogs in the crate, I teach my dogs to eat. One of the things that the pack leader does is control the food. Though our dogs are domesticated they still carry over 99% of the genes of a wolf. Their understanding of the pack is the same. In a wild pack when there is a kill the Alpha male and female get to eat first. And they eat what they want, All the animals in the pack that are below them have to wait their turn.

Black Lab Retriever Puppy

We can use some of that pack mentality with our dogs as well. I feed on a pretty set schedule, one because it helps in housebreaking but also dogs have an uncanny sense of time and if they are on a consistent schedule then they have the expectation of the next feeding time.

Right from the beginning, with my young puppies they get their food, but I only give them about 10 minutes to eat and whether they are finished or not I take their food bowl up.  You will find that after the first several days to a week, When it is feeding time your puppy will be happily following you to their crate so that they can eat. It help make the crate a happier place. Also, by feeding this way your dog will “learn” to eat when they get feed which helps avoid any eating problems later on.

I do not like to use any kind of cloth bedding or toys with my young dogs unless they are supervised. I have seen more than one dog swallow enough torn up cloth to end up having to have surgery. When they are a little older and past the teething stage then a nice soft bed is fine. I still don’t let my dogs have cloth toys, they don’t last anyway.

Something else to be aware of when they are little and still getting their puppy shots is that they are still somewhat susceptible to illnesses like Parvo and Bordetella ( kennel cough ) so just be a little cautious what dogs you let your pup come in contact with until they have had their third set of shots. I am talking about dogs you don’t know. As long as you know that the dog(s) that your new puppy has contact with have been vaccinated then that is fine. I would try to avoid the unknown dogs in those first few weeks.

After I have had my pups for a few days to a week and they are pretty settled in then we begin some puppy training. The first thing I want them to know is the leash or lead.

A plain old nylon collar is perfect and a standard 6 foot lead. It’s time to teach the puppy to walk on the lead. If you can find a collar that has a buckle, not the ones with the plastic snap connectors. they are harder to find in the small collars but if possible they are best. When you put the collar on your puppy you want it tight enough so that it can not slip off. This is very important. We don’t want to choke the dog but we want the collar snug enough that there is not possible way that if the puppy pulls on the lead that the collar comes off, slipping the collar is what we call that.

Since positive influences are quickly imprinted. We can’t let the puppy slip his or her collar. Just one time is enough for the dog to learn and then you have a dog that at least for a time will test that over and over to see if they can slip it again.


This is easier done outside but inside is ok if you have enough room. put the collar and leash on and try to take the puppy for a walk. I say try because the puppy is going to fight the leash. Encourage your pup to walk with you. when it stops to fight the collar, just stand there and hold the leash and let the puppy work it out. They might act like a fish on a line but if you just stay calm and don’t say anything and just let the puppy do what ever it is going to do he or she will stop pretty quickly. Once it quits then try walking again, with lively  encouragement. Don’t drag the puppy around, when the puppy stops or starts to fight the lead again, just stand still.  We are not teaching healing, that comes later. This is just to get the puppy to “give to the lead”. As you progress and the puppy starts to walk with you then as soon as the puppy gets out in front of you turn around and go the other way. This works quite well on a sidewalk. The first couple times you do this the puppy will probably fight it, again just stand still and let the puppy do what it is going to do until it stops and then start again. Don’t make these sessions too long, about 10 minutes should be fine.

You can do this every day if you want. But don’t over do it. Young puppies have a short attention span. It is important to keep things fun.

The other thing that I work on are puppy sits. This is not formal training just like all of this, it should be light and fun. You can do this inside. Just get down on the floor have the collar on the pup and do some sits. Since a at this age puppy is pretty small it is easy to work with. One hand holding the collar and then you can pull up just a little ( we are not lifting the front feet off the ground ) and then take your other hand and run it down the dogs back and then down its butt and then move your hand inward at the hocks making the legs collapse so the puppy sits. Be easy and make it fun, make it a game in the puppies mind. To do this correctly just as your hand comes in under their back legs and you just pull up slightly and say “sit”, “sit” in a light voice, then praise.

I don’t want your dog to be a treat junky, but an occasional little treat will help enforce the action.  If you do these 4 or 5 times a week, even a couple times a day for 5 minutes or so each time you will find that in a week or two your puppy will start to pick this up pretty quickly.


The last thing that I work on in the very early days is the recall, “Here” or “Come”. Again this is puppy training. For me and my dogs the recall is somewhat related to a retrieve. So I combine these two into one exercise when they are little. If you have a hallway where you can close the doors so you can sit at one end and the puppy has nowhere to go except in the hall or past you then that is perfect. Grab a couple socks, balled up. Since the puppy is in a hall it can’t go anywhere and so coming back to you is the only way out. Now this is very much a game and if at any time either you or the puppy are not having fun, stop.

You have your two socks, take one and move it around get the puppy excited and toss it down the hall. The puppy should chase it. If it does not don’t throw the second one we have that one for a reason. Just go get the first one and do it again. If the pup is not quite into it, then play a little keep away and get the puppy excited and then try throwing it again. The puppy will figure it out, chasing comes very natural to dogs, however, coming back does not. So now your puppy is down the hall and has the sock. Just let them be for a moment, usually they will play with it for a bit and then a couple things might happen, the puppy might loose interest. If so just go pick up the sock and start again or the puppy might decide that the sock is ok and that it now “belongs” to him or her. This is where the second sock comes in, if the puppy gets the sock and is playing with it give it a few minutes and then start playing with the second sock. Toss it up in the air bounce it off the floor, whatever you need to do to make the sock you have look more fun than the sock your puppy has. When you pup starts your way, say “here” “here” a couple time while your puppy is coming down the hall to you. When the puppy get’s to you, give it lots of praise but DO NOT try to take the sock from the puppy. Just let it hold it while you love the puppy up. Usually the puppy will drop the sock at some point, however, some dogs are a little more possessive. If so then start playing around with the other sock you have, roll it around, toss it up in the air, if you make that second sock look pretty enticing your puppy is going to drop the sock it has to try to go for the one that you have. When that happens you can then pick up the sock that the puppy had so that you now have both of them again. If you try to take the sock from the puppy it will not take long for your puppy to stop coming back to you. It’s not going to come back if it’s toy is taken away each time. Let the puppy drop the sock on it’s own then you can just repeat this until the puppy starts to loose interest at which time, it is time to stop.



These are the things that I like to do with my pups in the first couple or three weeks that I have my dog. It gives you good play time. The puppy is learning some things even if it is play and I think more importantly, it makes the puppy think. The more we can challenge that little brain the more it will develop which leads to better learning skills later in life.

This is fun time for you and your puppy, enjoy it, these days go fast.

Don’t forget to sign up for my Quick Tips, I send out a ton of additional information in my newsletters.

Till next time……

Happy Tails


Sample | DogMan’s Quick Tips

Sample | DogMan's Quick Tips

DogMan's Quick Tips This is an example of my Tips

I’m sure that you get inundated with the opportunity to sign up for any number of mailing list. I am as well and probably like you I don’t sign up for many. I though it might be nice if you could get an idea of the type of information that I send in Dogman’s Quick Tips.

 This is a copy of my newsletter,  it looks pretty much like the email would. I just pasted this into the post and fixed a little formatting but I’m sure you get the idea.

I thought it would be fair to let you see it.

Happy Tails

Jeff – Dogman

Jeff and Packer at the line - Spokane, Wa
Training Great Dogs

DogMan’s Quick Tips
Common Sense Information on The Training and Care of Puppies and Dog

Hello ALL


I hear this time and again. It is probably the most common naughty behavior that I see in the dogs that I come in contact with. So if this is something you find yourself saying them maybe this will help… 

 My Dog Doesn’t Come When I Call

Training the recall can be one of the more trying dog-training exercises we do, and many people do it completely wrong! 


Let me explain.

This is what we want to achieve: When we call our dog “here Bella” we want Bella to come running as fast as she can to us.

In order to achieve this we must make “here Bella” the best command in the world. With the best result and rewards at the end!

So here are some tips!

Never call your dog and then scold it! Even if you just spent the last half hour trying to get your dog to come to you you don‘t scold. You can undo a lot of hard work training your dog to come by having come to you be a bad experience and it only has to happen just once. 

Positive and Negative experiences are quickly imprinted in canines
Don’t ever make coming to you a negative experience. 
Again, as in all dog training you need to be consistent as far as teaching the recall. Use the same command each time. The words, here, come, come on, let’s go, etc are not the same sound to your dog. Commands are just sounds that have conditioned responses associated with them. I use the word “here” you can use whatever you want, just use the same thing every time.
If your dog has a decent recall and you are trying to make it better. The following technique should work well to strengthen the command your dog already knows.

CALL your dog to you, then
REWARD your dog within 2 seconds and then immediately

RELEASE your dog. 
You can make kind of a game out of this. One thing to keep in mind is to mix up the time you wait in between recalls. Dogs have a good internal clock. If you recall them on a regularly timed basis you might have a dog that starts to come at that time before it’s been called. Also, mix the reward up. Don’t click every time, or give a food reward, or however you reward. Mix it up.  
The other thing you need to decide in your mind, in your training program, is what “here” means. To me it means, come all the way to me until I can touch you, period. You don’t want your dog to get in the habit of “checking in” and then off they go again. 
If you are just starting to teach the recall, the method is not much different, we are just going to add some insurance.  
A long line.   
A long line is a piece of line or rope ( I like the rubber coated clothes line ) preferably around 50 feet long. You’ll take your dog out with the long line on and let it do what it wants. If your dog tends to stay by you then do your best to ignore it. Then when you dog has found something it is interested in  call your dog. I prefer that we just use the command just once but in the early stages you want to entice your dog as much as possible. When you call your dog if he/she does not come then reel them in, gently while repeating the recall command and then when the dog gets to you, reward and praise.  Just keep repeating this and in time your dog will start to respond. Don’t make the training sessions too long, maybe 10 or 15 minutes should be fine, and maybe 3 or 4 times a week.
Once they get the hang of it you can try this without the line. If you have a confined area all the better. If you dog recalls pretty well without the lead then continue to work on it off lead. If it does not go well, then go back to the lead until you think your dog is ready and try off lead once again. 

again the formula to any good recall training is:

CALL your dog to you, then
REWARD your dog within 2 seconds and then immediately
RELEASE your dog.

Again it consistency and patience and you will get there if you put in the required time. 

Till next time…

Happy Tails!
Jeff – The DogMan

Holidays – Dogs and The Grinch

Holidays - Dogs and The Grinch


Keeping your dogs safe during the Holidays

Now that Thanksgiving is over people are turning their attention to the upcoming holidays. I thought an article about how to keep your dogs, especially the young ones, safe during the holidays might be helpful at this time of the year.

You don’t have to be the Grinch but you do need to keep your dogs safe over the holidays

There are 3 Things to be aware of…

The first is food.

As you decorate one of the things that you might be doing is placing bowls of treats around your home. Many holiday goodies are poisonous to dogs. Anything with caffeine needs to be kept away from your dogs. Things like chocolate and anything else with coffee (caffeine) are dangerous for dogs.

Also many candies these days have artificial sweeteners in them, Xylitol, which is found in many candies as well as gum is toxic to dogs. So be very careful with with any candies that you might put out. Sugar is fine but no Xylitol.

Nuts are another common item that are put out for snacking on. Most nuts are fine, however,  Macadamia nuts, Walnuts and since these many times go together, Raisins are also toxic.

So just use common sense when it comes to these foods. Watch your dogs and when it comes to puppies, I would suggest that you not let them have access to areas where they might be able to get to any of these food items.

The second thing are certain plants

There is a wide misconception that Poinsettias are poison, they are not. They can cause slight skin irritation but otherwise they are fine. So go crazy with the Poinsettias.

However, the following is a list of very common plants that we use doing the holidays are quite toxic for dogs.

  • holly
  • mistletoe
  • amaryllis
  • daffodils
  • lilies

Each of these plants are very dangerous to dogs. Be sure to keep these out of the reach of your four legged friends. Be especially aware of your dogs behavior during the holidays. If you observe anything out of the ordinary, throwing up, acting drugged or sleepy. Respiration can be another sign of distress. If you think that your dog might have ingested any of these things, call your Vet. Do your best to determine what it might have been but call the Vet. Mistletoe will kill your dog, don’t wait.

Holiday Wreath

If you happen to catch your dog in the act of eating any of these things, try to figure out how much he or she consumed and then get your dog to vomit as quickly as possible. Hydrogen Peroxide works very well, it will not hurt your dog, it is cheap, I always have it on hand. It is given orally and the general dosage is one CC ( ml.) per pound but do not give more than 40 CC’s total regardless of how big the dog is. If you live in an area where you can get a syringe, any feed store that caters to cattle should have syringes. Otherwise a turkey baster works ok too just don’t give too much.

Here is a link to some additional information on using Hydrogen Peroxide to make a dog vomit.

I just went through this about 2 years ago. I was renting a house and was gone for a few weeks.  I asked my landlord to check on the house while I was gone. While she was there she placed mouse/rat poison blocks out around my house. She didn’t tell me, and don’t ask me why, she has dogs and she knew I had my dog. Anyway, I get home with the dogs and go in the house and I barely get my bag on the floor and I see Roz, my current Lab chowing down on some green thing. My dogs don’t get a lot of treats, and they don’t get anything like this. It kind of looked like one of the dental chews. So I grab this thing out of his mouth and I quickly start looking around and I found another one. So I’m like oh $?&#!!!

I could tell that it was some kind of poison bait but the little green block didn’t have any kind of information other than “Keep away from domestic animals” I immediately called my landlady, and though she could not tell me what exactly the product was she told me where it was on the shelf at the hardware store.

I grabbed a syringe and the Hydrogen Peroxide and squirted about 10 CC’s down his throat. Fortunately he was very cooperative and puked up everything he had in his stomach within about 10 minutes.

poison in Vomit
poison in Vomit

I know they are not pretty but you can see the green pieces in the pictures.

Once we got finished getting this stuff out of his stomach we headed for the vet. I just happened to have to go past the offending hardware store so I stopped so I could see what poison I was dealing with. I was figuring it would be one of the anti-coagulant but no, it was Bromethalin.

I know they are not pretty but you can see the green pieces in the pictures.

Once we got finished getting this stuff out of his stomach we headed for the vet. I just happened to have to go past the offending hardware store so I stopped so I could see what poison I was dealing with. I was figuring it would be one of the anti-coagulant but no, it was Bromethalin.

There are no tests to diagnose Bromethalin poisoning in pets. The signs of poisoning include include severe muscle tremors, fits, extreme sensitivity to being touched, seizures that appear to be caused by light or noise. However, the symptoms can be delayed for several days. There is no antidote for Bromethalin.

Sorry, I digressed, however, my point here is that you have to be prepared. If I had not had the Hydrogen Peroxide, I very well could have lost my boy.

Here is the list of symptoms to look for in a dog that has eaten Mistletoe.

• Drooling  • Vomiting  • Diarrhea   • Abdominal pain • Hypotension  • Walking drunk  • Collapse  • Seizures  • Death

Not a lot of difference in the end…… Please be prepared for the holidays, really for every day of the year.

Lastly as far as food I think it goes without saying no alcoholic beverages for the dogs.

The last thing we need to be aware of are the decorations themselves.

Lot’s of fun shiny things for Holiday dogs

While you are stringing the lights and setting up the tree one thing to watch for is where you run the electric cords. This is not as much a problem with the older dogs unless you have one that really likes to chew. However, for puppies electric cords are very enticing. And those little puppy teeth can go right through those rubber cords. Electrocution is not pretty, so be careful with the cords.

Then we have the tree. I have seen more than one Christmas tree pulled over by a dog. With all those pretty ornaments and candy canes etc., the tree is a puppies dream. Don’t leave a puppy alone with your tree even for a second. If you have raised children through the terrible two’s then you understand, when I say things can happen in the blink of an eye. This is just one of the reasons that I prefer people not get puppies during the holiday season, but that is a subject for a different post. Don’t shuffle your puppy off to solitary confinement – but at the same time be careful where your pup goes.

Dogs and Holidays can co-exist quite nicely

All it takes is a little preplanning and common sense and you, your family and your dogs can enjoy a fun and safe holiday season.

Happy Tails