Going for Walks with Your Dog

Paw care

According to Dr. Marty Goldstein, it is never a good idea to take your dog for a walk on a hot sidewalk or black asphalt without first testing it. Your shoes protect you, but paw pads can suffer from the heat. He suggests before going for a walk on a hot day, that you press your hand against the pavement to test the heat. If you can’t do this comfortably for at least 5-7 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paws.

Generally dogs should not be in the sun for any more then short periods of time, and the best time to walk your dog is before 11:00 a.m and after 4:00 p.m. Dr. Goldstein suggests that to avoid heat exhaustion, make sure your dog has access to water and a shady spot to rest. Even with these cautions, watch for excessive panting, and if your dog seems to be showing signs of lethargy, or exhaustion. If this happens you should cool them down as quickly as you can and provide them with cool water to drink. If you are still concerned, he suggests you take him to a vet to be checked out.

Another issue that has become more common in recent years is poisoning by lawn chemicals. This is something few people think about, yet skin problems and paw chewing, both a sign of chemical exposure, have become one of the leading causes as to why people take their dogs to the vet.

Even with rain and/or watering treated grass, the ground that is chemically treated may be unsafe for puppies and young children for as long as two years. To test for safety, a soil sample can be tested by your state. Contact your state Agricultural department to find out where to send it in your state.

Dog paws can get damaged in the winter, too. If your dog is like mine, they love the snow and cold temperatures and want to stay out for long periods of time. Just like children though, they should be monitored with care and brought in where they have shelter as soon as they appear to be getting cold. Short walks are harmless, but overexposure can lead to frostbite. If you plan on being out in the snow for a long time with your dog, you might want to consider purchasing dog boots.

Puppy Training Tips

Every Interaction is an Opportunity to Teach

Have you ever had a puppy bite at your hand? It’s not meant to be harmful! Think of your puppy’s mouth as his third hand. But even more then a hand, it’s their dominate hand. If you watch puppies play, you’ll notice they grab each other with their teeth. I have learned to stay clear when my dogs are playing around me because there are times when one of the young ones wants to add me into their games and grabs my hand with their teeth. Even though they don’t mean to hurt me, my thin human skin isn’t made to take sharp puppy teeth, regardless of how soft they grab me.

A yelp or a loud, high pitched ouch (the human version of a puppy yelp) is what puppies and young dogs do to let another dog know they bit them too hard and need to lighten up. By doing this, you are telling them in their own language that their bite hurts you. Do this as often as necessary until the biting stops, which is usually within a day or two. 

If your puppy seems to want to chew on everything in sight, including your socks, shoes and clothing, this is normal. This will be part of his life for the first several months, and for some breeds, even longer. Should you allow it? NO. Puppies can be quite destructive if allowed to be.

Chewing On Everything

It is best to keep things out of puppy reach until they get older, but it is also important to stop bad habits as soon as they begin. For example, don’t let your puppy chew on your shoes and socks even when it is cute. If you don’t take this opportunity to teach them as a young puppy then they may grow up thinking it is allowable. Create a command to say every time the puppy is reaching for something they shouldn’t such as “Leave It.” Using this command consistently followed by removing an object not allowed reinforces the behavior to leave something alone in the first place. The same goes for anything that is within their reach that you don’t want them to chew on. 

For some breeds, it is helpful to feed them their biggest meal in the morning so their stomach is satisfied most of the day. This will reduce the temptation to eat non-edible objects, like your socks and shoes. Keep in mind that if he was outside or in the wild, he would naturally chew on and eat anything he sees. For a puppy its not just teething, its learning about his environment and filling his hungry tummy.

What can puppies chew on? Having their own chew toys and sticks will help both of you adjust to this phase of life. I have found that in general, when a dog is given an option, they will turn down chew toys that have chemical additives, stinky plastic parts, have been bleached, are too hard, or are in any way harmful to them. At the same time, I have seen hungry dogs who will eat all of these things to fill their hurting, hungry stomach. Ensure your puppy is getting the proper amount of food at meal time to prevent chewing triggered by hunger.

Favorite Chews

After spending a lot of money over the years on various toys and chew sticks for my dogs, as well as researching their safety, I have come down to only three things I give my dogs to chew on. Not only because these are safe, but also because they are the only chew things my dogs like:

  • The first one is the Castor and Pollux Good Buddy USA rawhide sticks. The rawhides aren’t bleached, chemically treated and have been flavored naturally.
  • The second option is more of a food. Its raw, organic bones. My dogs love these. You can purchase these from a local butcher.
  • The third item is sticks that I pick up off the ground after they have fallen from a tree on our land. These are a treat for them, but be warned, they make a mess.

These are all we give to our dogs. It doesn’t have to be complicated or costly, just safe and chewable.

Bringing Your Puppy Home

Some Helpful Tips to Make a Smooth(er) Transition

All Things Feeding & Chewing

Food: At Doodles and Poodles Naturally, we continuously research the best, most ethical dog food formulas available, and we also provide our dogs and puppies (when they are old enough) with raw food days. Ask us about the specifics of what your puppy has been eating and we will be glad to tell you all about it. If you decide to change foods at any time, it’s important to make this transition gradually, especially for a puppy, adding a little bit of new food to their older food each day until you’ve made a complete switch. Your puppy has been enjoying their meals along with their siblings, so it is very hard to be sure of exactly how much they eat until they are on their own. Fortunately, you can consult your dog food label for suggested amounts by age and weight. You can also notice whether your puppy leaves some food in the bowl after meals. If so, you can cut the feeding amount back a tiny bit, but be sure to increase it gradually as your puppy grows. They will have a lot of growth spurts during their first year, and they can even have growth spurts for up to two years of age.

Treats: Treats are loads of fun, but should not be loads of food. Try and keep treating to a minimum in your puppy’s diet. Consult labels for store bought treats for suggested amounts by age and weight. For things like table scraps, consider whether the puppy would be eating anything like this as a canine in the wild, and limit accordingly. The more natural and meaty the treat the better. Some doggies enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables. (NO GRAPES! Sprays used on grapes, even some “organic grapes” can be very toxic for dogs.) Always notice what happens to your puppy’s stools and energy when they try a new treat. How does it sit with their digestive tract? Not so good? They might need to take in less of it at a time, wait until they’re older to enjoy that treat, or skip that one entirely.

Label Check: Check labels and don’t be misled by deceptive advertising. There are unfortunately a number of junk food treats and kibbles made for puppies and dogs. You will learn by reading labels, trial and error, and perhaps doing a bit of reading and sleuthing, what treats and food your puppy really loves and does well with. Notice how their coat, energy, teeth and stools are all reacting to their diet. They should have lots of energy, regular stools, shiny coats, and white teeth. We strongly suggest feeding treats and food that are grain-free and also very low in starch.

How Often to Feed: Your puppy eats 3 times a day. Currently, your puppy eats breakfast early in the morning (about 6 or 7am), lunch at about 11am, and their last meal is at 4pm. To avoid accidents, we suggest not feeding them after 4pm and no water after 6pm. Water should be available pretty much all day until you remove it, usually about 2 hours before bedtime. This will help prevent a lot of wake-ups at night to pee and poo.

Chew Bones & Toys: Natural, safe chew bones are great for helping puppies teethe, providing entertainment for kennel time with you nearby, and cutting teeth without chewing on hands and non-dog-toys. We like the Castor & Pollux brand, Good Buddy natural rawhides. Don’t overdo these rawhides or chew bones. Check the packaging for suggested amounts, provide plenty of water with them, and take a break from them for a couple of days if stools seem loose. Don’t resume until stools completely normalize. You can also supply non-toxic chew toys that are not consumed. It’s important to watch your puppy when they have a rawhide or other chew bone, as they could choke if they bite off too much at once.

Keep your eye on your puppy if they have a stuffed toy or any new toy to assure that they are not actually eating it. Toy and bed stuffing and other toy pieces do often pass through a dog’s stools, but they can create a blockage, and it’s not really food, so it’s best not to be eaten.

Crate & House Training

Crate Training: If you choose to crate train, and we suggest you do to avoid accidents or chewed up toys that aren’t for the puppy, as well as to support general sanity for all of your household, it’s important to make the crate a safe, positive space, and not a space where your puppy feels like they are being punished or bored to death. The crate should be just big enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lay down. Any bigger than this and puppies tend to find a “corner” they can go eliminate in. They have an instinct to avoid eliminating in their own bed space. If you want to get a bigger crate to start with so that your puppy can grow into it, many crates have dividers you can use to adjust as your puppy grows. 

Here is a link to watch a little video that talks about controlling your environment when you bring a puppy into the home, and specifically about crate training. 

House Training: House training is easier than you think – especially if you incorporate crate training at the same time. Celebrate progress and remember that your puppy may not do perfectly at first, but with your consistency and positive reinforcement, they’ll become accident-free. Here is a link to a helpful video on potty training your puppy during the day. 

Getting Through the Night

Maybe we should have started here. Don’t worry, nights of interrupted sleep won’t last forever! Your puppy is growing fast, but they are still a baby and they will need to go to the bathroom at night, but this will not last very long, FAR less than for human babies. 

What to Expect for Sleeping: The length of time between waking up to go to the bathroom continues to lengthen as your puppy ages and eventually it becomes a thing of the past. You’ll need to know what to expect to avoid accidents or causing your puppy to “hold it” for too long.

Here is some extra info to help you plan for getting through the night with your puppy, including what is normal regarding your expectations for how long they can hold their bladder, poo, etc. as they develop. 

Evening Potty Time: In the evenings, it’s a good idea to let your puppy out as late as you can within your sleep schedule. You might have to carry them outside and wait for them to pee and maybe poo, you may even have to wake them a little to get them going. After they go, or it becomes apparent that they are not going to wake up to go, carry them back inside and gently place them directly into their crate for bedtime.  Avoiding Crazy Early Mornings: When your puppy wakes up in the morning earlier than you want them to, pick them up and carry them outside to do their potty and poo business, then carry them back inside and put them in their crate or other controlled space. Don’t talk to your puppy or play with them at this time. That will let them know that this is not playtime yet, and it will help you to set up good habits for the future when they do sleep through the night. They’ll quickly learn to get up for the day on your daily schedule.