The below notes are for Barrett puppy owners, most recently those who own a Ruby gremlin! Below are some Barrett best practices and puppy raising tips:
NAMING YOUR PUPPY. There’s an article from AKC here about teaching your dog his name. Bonus points if the dog’s name does NOT rhyme with the word “no.” For those of you with performance dogs, here’s an article about giving your dog a registered name. If you haven’t already, let us know what your puppy’s name is, so we can submit the AKC paperwork.
PET INSURANCE. Submission of AKC paperwork starts a temporary (30-day pet insurance policy). During this time, think about getting your puppy covered under Trupanion, Healthy Paws, or some other provider. We have policies with both Trupanion and Healthy Paws and would recommend both. Some Barrett puppy owners have also reported success with Nationwide. Note: Healthy Paws requires a 15 day waiting period before coverage goes into effect, so if you’re thinking about getting a plan, please commit soon.
FOOD. Ruby puppies left our house eating 3/4 cups of Merrick Backcountry Puppy Food, twice a day. Please note that in the 9th week, Green and Yellow Boys (who we still have) are up to 1 1/2 cups (each meal) now. So, feel free to up your rations if your puppy seems hungry and lean.
RECALL. Teaching your puppy to COME is the single-most-important command you will ever teach your pup. The first step is teaching him his name, and from there, build basic obedience commands you’ll use in your everyday repertoire. Four basic commands everyone should master are “come/here,” “sit,” “lie down,” “stay/whoa.”
HOUSEBREAKING. If you’re successful with potty training, great! If you’re not, it’s likely you’re not giving your puppy enough opportunities to go outside. Remember to lead your puppy immediately outside after every nap.
POOPS. Puppies poop. A lot. Like a lot A LOT, as Ruth and Darryl have just learned with their Ruby puppy. 🙂 It’s normal because puppies are eating a lot of food relative to size. There’s so much of it that most people scratch their heads as to where it could be coming from. Seriously, how is it possible that so much poop can come out of a puppy that’s so dang little?! But don’t worry – As puppies grow older, they won’t need to poop as often. Speaking of poops…
DESIGNATED POTTY AREAS. Many people ask me about how to teach a puppy to potty in a designated area. This is indeed possible, but there is unfortunately no “quick and easy” way to do it. If this is something that’s important to you (so your dog doesn’t pee and poop all over your lawn), start by putting the puppy on a leash and leading him to where he’s supposed to go. Make sure that every time he pees, it’s in that spot. As the area becomes inundated with his scent, he’ll be conditioned to keep using the same spot. You may also leave a poop sample or two in that location so he understands this is an appropriate place to potty. For bonus points, pair this with a verbal cue, like “go potty.” And reward him for doing the right thing. Speaking from experience, we can tell you that teaching a dog to potty on command is an insanely valuable tool.
IMPRINTING. At Week 9, puppies are little sponges and ready to soak in new experiences. You still have a handful of weekends left before the current development stage ends and the upcoming “fear period” kicks in. Please get your puppy out into safe situations (NOT a dog park) to log some “good experiences.” Positive encounters with strangers, both people (adults and kids) and dogs (big and small), will make a long-lasting imprint on your puppy, so do as much of this as time allows. Things we like to do at this age is: put the puppy on a blanket in a shopping cart and roll him/her around Home Depot, Lowe’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, and other garden/nurseries. Even putting your puppy on the ground and getting some leash training in at the garden center at Lowe’s or Home Depot is a great idea, because they water plants there a few times a day so the cement floor is constantly getting hosed off. It’s a low-risk area.
PUPPY TO PUPPY SOCIALIZATION. It is imperative that your puppy’s experiences with other dogs are positive and not negative. Start with a 1:1 meeting. Best ways to do this is to introduce two similar aged and similar sized puppies in an enclosed area (like a backyard) and encourage them to play, wrestle, chase, etc. Bonus points for a dog that looks similar to yours (GSP, Vizsla, Dane, Doberman, etc.). Over time, add new experiences, like dogs of different sizes, dogs with different coat types, dogs of various ages.