This is the first big change in your puppy’s life. From now on you will be taking the place of its mother, its litter mates and its breeder. This is a huge step for it.Gardening
To help it to settle in quickly, the following tips may be helpful.
- A comfortable bed can be made from a stout cardboard box lined with newspaper and its own special blanket.
- A warm hot-water bottle under the blanket will provide it with the warmth that it is used to and a cuddly toy will help it feel less lonely. Don’t be surprised, though, if it sleeps on a cold surface, some Sams prefer it.
- Make sure its sleeping place is safe and that an exploring puppy can’t get into danger.
- Young puppies need lots of sleep. Make sure that it gets the peace it needs as well as the company of your family.
- Try to provide a routine so that the puppy learns what is expected of it. This will give it confidence.
Feeding your puppy
Get a diet sheet from your puppy’s breeder so that you know what your puppy has been eating and how often it is fed.
Puppies of eight weeks will still be on 4 meals a day. Over the coming weeks this will reduce to three and then two meals a day but with increased amounts as required. By the age of six months the puppy will be on one or two meals a day.
- To grow strong bones, healthy teeth and have proper muscle development growing puppies need the right balance of nutrients in their diet.
- Proprietary puppy and junior foods are formulated especially to meet these needs, and if used according to the makers instructions, are ideal.
- If you would rather feed a fresh food diet, then do find out exactly what a growing youngster needs – read up on the subject and use supplements where necessary.
- A fresh supply of water must be available at all times.
Things to do
- No matter how good the breeder, it is always wise to take a new puppy for a visit to your vet for a check up as soon as possible after you bring it home.
- Worming: Puppies need regular worming. It should have been wormed at least twice by its breeder before it comes to you. It’s essential they are wormed as puppies, then again at about 6 months, then annually – unless you are sure there are worms present.
- Vaccinations: Your puppy will need to be vaccinated against the major canine diseases. This is usually done in two injections given approximately a fortnight apart with the first being done at around 8 to 10 weeks of age. It is not safe for your puppy to mix with other dogs until after this is complete.
Remember that house training takes time. Have patience and take your puppy out to where you want it to perform regularly. For example:
- as soon as it wakes up; after meals and drinking; and before naps.
- Newspaper on the floor will help to contain ‘mistakes’, but if the weather is fine then training your puppy can be done quickly.
- Remember – puppies have limited control. Watch closely; don’t scold mistakes; just keep taking it out regularly until it becomes natural.
You will need a pin brush and two combs, a narrow toothed comb for the feathering and a wider one for the body. Try to set 10 minutes aside every day for grooming. If you can find a flat surface like a table top (it must be stable) place a towel on it to stop the puppy slipping. Start by gently brushing from the head remembering always to brush towards the head. Try to make the grooming enjoyable for both of you. Sammies really love the attention. Take special care behind the ears and around the pants, as this is where knots will appear. Try not to bath the puppy until it is at least 4 months old. If it gets particularly grubby, a wipe over with a damp cloth and then brushing should be sufficient.
Always use a ‘rounded’ leather collar; never use flat leather or metal chains, as these will ruin the dog’s ruff.
Once your puppy is free to go out, try to introduce it to as many different people and situations as possible. A puppy learns most in its early months and a well socialised puppy will grow into a confident dog. Check with your vet to see if there are ‘puppy parties’ held locally and keep a look out for training clubs that run puppy socialisation sessions.
- The puppy should not go out in public places until it is fully vaccinated.
- Youngsters do not need too much exercise – it may be stressful to growing bones and joints. Try to do roadwork on the lead, and do not let your puppy have a great deal of free running off of the lead until about 1 year of age. Take special care with stairs and do not encourage the puppy to stand on its back legs.
Things you’ll need
- The diet sheet and starter pack of puppy food from the breeder
- Puppy’s Kennel Club registration papers
- Worming information and vaccination record (if first part already done)
- Puppy collar and lead, identification tag
- Heavy water bowl and a food bowl
- Some safe puppy toys
- Lots of patience and lots of love
Remember: Have fun with your puppy!