Old McDoodle Farm

List of Common questions regarding puppy care, behavior and the breed.

Chewing - My puppy is really cute when he/she is playing, but sometimes those needle teeth really hurt.  What do I do to get him/her to stop nipping at me?< >This is something that needs to be addressed right away.  I start before the puppies even go out the door.  A vet told me this trick.  When a puppy is chewing too hard ( remember they use their mouths to lay and get tactile feedback), you don't  want to be to harsh.  Just take a bit off their lip and pull it down over a tooth and push up a little until the puppy gives a little yelp.  He/she very quickly learns that chewing too hard hurts THEM!  It's an immediate and easy feedback to adjust their behavior.  Another puppy in the litter would get up and leave and an older dog would probably snarl, and possible bite, at the puppy to "adjust" their behavior.  A bigger and much more dangerous problem happens to a lot of dogs as they get older and want to assume a position in the  "pack" better known as your family  you might see them getting snappy or growling at you.  What they're trying to do is set dominance.  If you let them get away with that behavior, they assume they have a superior position in the  "pack" and can boss you around.  As an adult, this can be painful.  To a child, this can be dangerous.  The dog needs to know absolutely that everyone in the family comes before he does in the hierarchy of the family pack.  Who wants a dog that you can't trust.
What commands are most important?

Come, Sit (so you can get them to stay still when they want to run and play), Stay, Fetch, Go Pee, Stop (whatever it is they are doing), Off (get off of me, that or them), and “Do you want to go outside?”  Lie down, respond to a Whistle, walk on a leash properly, go to where you point, etc. are all nice too, but the first set will allow you to keep your dog safe in an emergency.

So how do I handle this problem?

An older dog that is challenged in a pack would roll a younger dog on their back and bite at their face or their throat.  The younger dog would submit, maybe pee and cringe  begging forgiveness.  All of these things demonstrate to a more dominant dog that they know their place in the pack.  As a human, you certainly don't want to go around biting a dog, but you can elicit the feelings.  The first thing you want to do is wait until the puppy nips or growls at you  (you don't want to correct him for something he hasn't just done because he wont connect the act to the correction).  Immediately, roll him on his back hold him down by the throat ( with your elbow between his back legs), get right in his face and growl at him. It doesn't matter what you say, so long as the tone of you to a bass range, or as low as you cant get it, it also important (just like when a dog growls, it's in a very low register).  the puppy will wriggle and try to get up, maybe whine.  Hold them in that inferior position until they relax, then slowly let them up.  If the pup jumps right up and acts as if it's a game, roll them over and repeat it immediately.  You are looking for the dog to submit to you.  Once they do, you rarely have to repeat this.  If you are a parent, it becomes particularly important that you watch for this behavior when your children are playing with the puppy, you will have to be the one to reinforce the proper behavior.  Children rarely can do this correctly and my even hurt the puppy.Potty Training - what is the best way to potty train a puppy?

Rule of thumb - a puppies bladder needs to be emptied every {age in months + 2} hours.  So a 6 week puppy (1.5 mos) can go up to 3.5 hours before they're going to be forced to go pee.  I always back that off half an hour. The absolute quickest way to potty train a puppy is using "crate training." Puppies almost always pee or poop after a nap, after eating, or if it's been a while since the last time they've gone.  They will also squat right in the middle of playing, so it's important if you're going to play with them, to first take them outside to go pee, after they wake up and after they eat. Taking a pup to their pee spot is not a matter of leaving them out there and letting them come in later. You have to be there to watch them and praise them profusely.  This might take a while the first few times.  Dogs think like this, "it's much nicer, warmer and I'm familiar with it indoors; therefore, I will wait until my person gets tired of waiting and goes inside - THEN I will pee and poop!"  It might help to take some soiled papers out to where you want them to do their business.  Give them a command word, like "go pee" or "do your business" and praise them saying it again while they are actually peeing or pooping.  Eventually, they will associate the word with the deed and life will become much easier.  Every 3.5 hours means through the night too, particularly, if they are sleeping in their kennel.  I don't like getting up in the middle of the night with multiple puppies, so I leave a spot outside of the kennel for them to get out and go pee.  It's not such a large area that they can go where ever.  It's only a little space directly outside of their crate and then they go back inside to sleep.  This method extends the time it takes to potty train, but it's easier on my circadian rhythm.  Watch for a sign your puppy is about to pee or poop.  A sure sign is sniffing and circling.  The old "scoop and run" response is best at that stage. Scolding a puppy for a natural act while they're still learning only makes them hide the act.  Each dog is a little different, some dogs will whine at the door (lucky owners), some will scratch at the door (still lucky, but you might need to paint more often), others will just come up and look at you and you have to interpret.  Some look at you and then start wandering around the house for a space you can't see them (unlucky owners).  It's up to you to watch your dog and figure out what they're trying to say (this also is the way most professional trainers work - find something an animal is doing naturally, and then reinforce the behavior).

Why is it when I greet my puppy, she pees on my feet and looks like I am going to hit her.  I've never ever hit her.  What is going on here?

Your puppy is exhibiting submissive behavior.  She knows you are the alpha dog and she's trying to show you how much she appreciates your spending some time with her. A vet tech once called this, "happy peeing."  Certainly not something you want your puppy to do in the house or on your shoes!  Females tend to do this more often than males - think it's because their plumbing isn't as complicated.  There are a couple things you can do.  The first is greet them outside, rather than in the house - not very practical if you work.  If you Kennel train, you can immediately take them outside to "their" spot and greet them there. 

The other thing I would suggest is getting down low to greet your animal and scratching their chest, not patting their head.  The chest scratch is less intimidating than the head pat.

Pet Health - What should I do if my puppy is not his spunky self and doing a lot of sleeping. Sleeping is a must for young pups - yet if you still think that something is wrong after a few days take your puppy to your vet.Eating habits - How come my puppy seems to be eating me out of house and home one day, then won't eat for a day or two? Just like children your puppy will have spurts in eating, you should discuss the eating habits with your vet.  If your puppy is eating more or a large amount of food without gaining any weight is a concern to discuss with your vet.Finding a vet - How do I find a good vet.< >Finding the perfect vet is like finding your own health care provider.  You want your vet to be very informed on your breed as well with the general animal care. he/she should have a rapport with your animal, and greet them as nice as possible.  You will need to be able to talk to your vet about you pets health needs, so you should feel very comfortable with them.Why do some vets say give a shot every 2 weeks and others say every 3 weeks?  Why isn’t Kennel cough given regularly? The puppies get an immunity from a lot of diseases from their mother’s milk during the first three days when their guts are permeable enough to let the large antibodies through to their own system. After 3 days, their gut “tightens up” and mom’s antibodies can’t get through anymore – that’s the reason why it’s so important to get newborns breastfed (I bet it’s true for people too).  These antibodies break down somewhere around 6-12 weeks.  By giving a series of shots, you’re trying to find the “window” when mom’s antibodies have broken down.  I suppose you could have their blood tested regularly, but that’s far more expensive than giving a series of shots.  In the meantime, if mom’s antibodies are still working, they surround and destroy the active ingredients in the puppy shot, that’s why a vet can recommend shorter times in between pups (this would be particularly important if you already have a dog who might be unwittingly exposing the pup to diseases he is immune to).  Kennel cough is most often found in places where lots of dogs congregate, that’s why if you have to board a dog, they require that it be given a kennel cough dose at least 3 days before boarding.  It is drops that are put into the pup’s nose.
What is leptospirosis and why am I hearing about it now?  Why isn’t it a normal puppy shot?

lepto, for short, is a nasty virus carried in rat or other rodent urine.  It can kill your dog if not treated.  In the last year, there have been a half dozen or so cases in Washington, it hasn’t been seen for a long time.  Now, you need to check with your vet and find out if any cases have been found in your area.  This is not a shot you want to give unless it’s necessary.  If a dog is going to have an allergic reaction, this is the shot that will cause one.  It’s very distressing to see a dog or a puppy with their face all swollen up.  It can also go into anaphylactic shock, which is life threatening.  Because the shot can cause problems, it isn’t given before a puppy is at least 4 months old.

These last two questions are part of the reason why you should NEVER expose your puppy to other dogs until they’ve had all of their shots!  That includes walks in the park, playing with the neighbors dog (even if they have all of their shots, they may be bringing back viruses on their feet from their walks!) and why you shouldn’t let a puppy down on the floor in the vet’s office (that’s where sick dogs go to be treated and they may be shedding viruses all over the place!).  Vets disinfect their spaces regularly, but it might have been the dog that came in since they swabbed the floors that infects your pup.  Be safe and keep your pup off of the floor!

Why a male might be a better puppy for your family:

It is my considered opinion (ahem, ahem) after many years of observing dogs, that a neutered male makes a much better pet than a female.  Oh, I can hear the cries of, “but I want a girl!”  There are pros and cons, “females don’t lick themselves like boy dogs do”  (actually they do, it’s just not as often and usually not when you’ve got company and it can be trained away) or “I like the idea that maybe we could have puppies – even though I’ve promised the breeder I’m having her spayed, the idea is just enticing,” or “girls are easier to potty train than boys.”  My personal biggest objection to a male puppy is the tendency to lift their leg and mark territory, although females will do the same thing if they’re breeders.  This is a hormone-driven behavior.  You can very easily short circuit it by neutering your male at 4 months – before his gonads start flooding his system with hormones that tell him to claim territory.  A neutered male puppy that is still squatting to pee is just as easy as a female to house train (see potty training question above).  “Happy peeing” is more prevalent in females than males – I think it is because their plumbing is in a straight line, where a male’s isn’t.  BY FAR THE BIGGEST REASON TO HAVE A NEUTERED MALE AS A PET is that a male, by nature, has to work VERY hard to get close to a female in order to mate.  They will try, hour after hour, to appease the female that has their attention. This behavior is hard-wired into their souls, regardless of whether they are fixed or not.  I believe they transfer this same fanatical love to their human family.  Females, by nature, beat up the males until THEY are ready to mate and sometimes that indifference can be seen in a female’s reluctance to obey you.  As you know, a male always seems ready and willing!  That’s not to say that any dog of hunting ancestry might ignore you if there’s a bird or a rabbit fluttering in their face – a very good reason to train your dog to voice control levels.

Do puppies like people food?< >Just like people love junk food, we know its not good for us.  Puppies love people, but like junk food its not good for them.  Some foods are even deadly to a puppies.   Chocolate is a big no no for dogs.
 Should puppies be given pigs ears or raw hide to help with their chewing?

Puppies should not be given raw-hide bones at a young age.  The raw-hide swells in the stomach after it is ingested which causes medical problems.

Videos of Puppies from past      litters!!!