Thursday, June 16, 2011

Puppy FAQs

I enjoy browsing the Shiba Inu forum and reading updates about the other shibas and how they are doing. I also enjoy having new people join and seeing their cute puppy fluffballs, cause well puppies are CUTE! Who doesn't love to see pictures of puppies?

One thing I do not enjoy are the redundant questions that are asked almost every other day. There is a search function on the forum, but apparently people do not like to use it very much. Myself and I'm sure other regular forum members do not mind answering questions, but when the same questions are asked so often it gets a bit tiring.

Here is a small list I put together the other night.

1. I just brought my new puppy home, why won't s/he eat very much?
A: Your puppy has just been taken out of his/her environment where they were with his/her littermates and mom. Your pup is still getting used to the new surroundings. Everything is a bit overwhelming for your pup right now, so give your pup some time to adjust to his/her new living arrangements.

2. Why won't my puppy walk on a leash?
A: Puppies do not automatically know that they are supposed to walk when you put a leash on them. It is something that has to be taught. First try letting your pup drag the leash around the house so they get used to walking around with the leash on them. Next time you take your puppy out have treats on hand and when your pup is by your side treat him/her for being next to you. This will also teach your pup to loose leash walk.

3. Help! My puppy is peeing everywhere inside the house!
A: Even if your breeder tells you that your puppy is housebroken, chances are your puppy is not. It's not because your breeder lied to you, but because most puppies and even dogs are only housebroken in their current house and not in new environments.  So with new puppies and if adults need to be housebroken, crate training is in order. Puppies and dogs in general do not want to soil in their area and will hold it. Each and everytime you take your puppy out of his/her crate, immediately take your puppy outside to eliminate. Praise, praise and treat when your puppy goes. If your puppy does not go, bring your puppy back inside and crate for 10 minutes and then take your puppy back outside. Keep doing this until your puppy finally goes. When your puppy is playing and not in his/her crate please be sure to keep a close watch on your puppy. If you do not have your 100% attention on your puppy then please put your puppy in his/her crate or in an ex-pen. This will make housebreaking a lot easier on the both of you.

4. My puppy's mouth is bleeding! What is going on?
A: Puppy just like babies lose their teeth. When their adult ones are ready to come they start to teeth and lose their puppy teeth. You will notice their breath will be a bit more stinky than usual. Once all their adult teeth are in the bleeding should stop and so should the bad puppy breath. If your puppy still has very bad breath and all his/her adult teeth are in please schedule a dental appointment with your vet as your pup may have a case of gingivitis.

5. Are rawhides okay to feed my puppy?
A: I personally do not feed rawhides as they do not digest properly and can cause a blockage. If you would like to give your puppy something to chew on besides your furniture and shoes, look into specific chew toys from nylabone. There are also alternative chews such as bullysticks and antlers. Chews are a great workout for your puppy and it helps keep them busy and learn to chew on their stuff and not yours.

6. Sudden fur loss, what's happening?
A: Puppies lose their soft puppy fuzz and shed most of it and their guard hair comes in. During the time when your puppy starts to lose his/her puppy fur your puppy will start to scratch a bit more than usual. If your puppy has a balding spot you may want to take your puppy to the vet to rule out mange. If it is not mange there is a chance your puppy may have allergies to certain ingredients in his/her food. Although puppies do not develop allergies at that young of an age it is possible for them to show it early on.

7. My puppy growls at me when I get near his/her food bowl.
A: Your puppy is resource guarding. When you see this you will want to get rid of this behavior immediately. You can start by hand feeding your puppy. This will let your puppy know that good things (such as food) comes from you. If you do not want to hand feed your puppy try having a high value treat and giving the treat to your puppy while s/he is growling when you approach. Do not take your puppy's food bowl away. Just give treats to your puppy and your puppy will build a positive association with you and his/her food.

8. All my puppy does his scream and cry in his/her crate.
A: A lot of puppies do not like to be confined. Making positive associations with his/her crate is very important. Try feeding your puppy in his/her crate. Crate time can be fun time and not just being locked up. Give your puppy something to do while crated. Frozen kongs are a favorite in this house. I usually will mix greek yogurt with blueberries and freeze it. If your puppy continues to cry and scream and you know that your puppy does not need to be fed or let out to eliminate then just ignore the cries. Your puppy will eventually calm down. If you keep letting your puppy out when s/he cries your puppy will take advantage of that and cry each time s/he does not want to be crated.

9. My puppy started running around like a maniac!!!
A: All puppies get the "zoomies". It's just a burst of energy and they start to run around and do not stop until they are out of breath! Most of the time it is due to lack of exercise or mental stimulation. Unless your puppy is like mine and likes to do her zoomies after a 45 minute walk. Having the zoomies is perfectly normal, especially in puppies.

10. Should I put my puppy in training/puppy kindergarten?
A: YES! YES!! YES!!! Puppy K classes are so important. Make sure to find a place that uses positive reinforcement. Puppy K classes will help your puppy build his/her confidence. It also enables your puppy to learn bite inhibition by playing with other puppies. The class helps you to curb unwanted behaviors early on where it is easiest to teach your puppy good behaviors. Socializing your puppy with other puppies, people, surfaces, textures, noises, will help you have a wonderful companion in the future, instead of having a fearful, reactive, hard-to-control dog.

I'm sure there are more questions that I am missing, but I felt 10 was a good number to start with. Hopefully this FAQ will help at least one person.

Here is a video of Kyuubi experiencing a brand new surface in his Puppy K class.


  1. This is such an awesome and well-done list! I want to refer every new puppy question post to this link now. =)

    I want to note that I would expect every good breeder with good communication skills to have gone over these questions with puppy buyers, especially first-time puppy people. Because they really are common, basic questions that EVERY noob has had to deal with before; a breeder should anticipate this, and provide to resources to make sure her matches succeed. Getting the puppy off to a good start, right at the beginning, will help curb problems further on down the road.

    I say this from the experience of having gotten my pup from some unscrupulous person who had nothing more to do with me once the money was in her hands and the puppy was in mine. Luckily, there was the internet. Or not, perhaps -- because I was initially given this false sense of security that gee, I *could* learn to do all this on my own, when the truth is that we could've gotten off to such a better start with a supportive breeder. We invested so much time and energy in just trying to figure out the basics like feeding, potty-training, managing his energy especially at night when we were trying to sleep, etc., that other, MORE IMPORTANT things like socialization fell by the wayside. It took a lot of work making up for those deficiencies later in my puppy's adult life.

  2. great list! and yay kyuubi on the new surface :)

  3. We all start somewhere and it's understandable to have tons of questions and we all make mistakes.

    I remember when I first joined the forum I would use the search function all the time and only post if I had specific questions that I couldn't find the answer to.

    I hope no one takes offense that I put out a puppy FAQ. I do hope breeders do help educate and inform their puppy buyers before hand, but we have to remember that not everyone gets their puppy from a reputable and responsible breeder.