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New Puppy Checklist

The most important thing to do is prepare for your puppy BEFORE you bring it home.  Everything is new to your puppy, he just left his siblings, Mother and people that he loved, everything smells different, his name has changed and so on.  Decide where you want his safe place, and put all his "stuff" in it.  

Puppy proof your house and yard.  I found a great checklist on the AKC website that I thought was very helpful (click here)

Here is a checklist of things to buy before you bring your new Golden Retriever puppies home

  • Crate: Golden Retrievers are den animals and need a safe place to go to when the household gets hectic (as humans do, sometimes you need to get away from everyone and go to your room). Put a blanket or bed inside to increase comfort. Buy a size-appropriate crate, we use 48" crates with a divider for our Golden's. When the puppies are little, we divide the crate, making it their size. This way, they won't use one end for sleeping and the other for eliminating. Dogs will not mess where they sleep and eat.  We leave the doors open so our dogs can choose when to go in and out.  (However, if your puppy is not trained I would shut him until you can trust him)

  • Collars: Puppies grow fast, and collars get tight, check to make sure the collar still fits after a growth spurt. 

  • Leash: If you want to train your puppy to walk next to you, do not buy a retractable leash.

  • Water and Food Dishes: Our dogs gobble food, so we either turn their bowls upside down and feed them from the underside or use slow feeding dishes. 

  • Dog beds:  A couple of comfortable dog beds available in the house's main rooms will allow your dogs to relax with the family. I put garbage bags around the inside of the beds so I can easily unzip and change the garbage bag and wash the cover. It cuts down on smelly beds.

  • High-Quality Food: Look for high-quality food with healthy ingredients. We use Royal Canin dog food. One way to tell a good quality dog food(not a proven fact, just my observation from 20 plus years of caring for my dogs) is by how much waste your dog expels. I think the least amount of waste means more nutrients are being utilized.

  • Treats: When you start training, you’ll need treats. Again, the higher quality, the better. Beware of dog treats from China, some include ingredients that are like poison to dogs. Dog treats are fun and easy to make I have included a few recipes in the blog portion of this site.

  • Poop bags: You’ll need them for walks. Be a responsible pet owner, not cleaning up after your dog is the easiest way to make enemies of your neighbors. It also will pollute you ground with worms.

  • Chew toys: Keep your dog busy, they are like kids and will get into mischief when bored and chew anything that they can.

Your First Weeks Home
  • When you bring home a new Golden Retriever puppy, there will be time for an adjustment period. In these first weeks, you can lay the foundation for a calm, happy life, making the transition as easy as possible.

  • Make time for your puppy: The best time to bring your new puppy home is at the beginning of the weekend. A puppy in a new environment is scared and needs to get acquainted with its new home and owners. It's a very stressful time for them, and they need you with them.

  • Name your puppy: At six weeks, when you decide which puppy is going to be yours, have a name picked out that everyone agrees on. It is stressful enough for a puppy to move to a new home without being called a new name. We will use the remaining two weeks before pickup to teach him his name. When home, make sure everyone in your family uses his name when talking to him. This will make him more comfortable and avoid confusion.​                   

  • Make sure others understand your puppy's needs: Once in his new home, your puppy will need time to adjust to strange new surroundings and people. Children can become especially excited, so explain to them that their new friend needs a time out for naps, and show them how to play nicely.

  • ​Did you know?   Puppies sleep 18 -20 hours a day?  If you are playing with them and they all of a sudden conk out, its totally normal.

  • Be a leader: From day one, your puppy has to know that YOU are the pack leader. Simple things like always walking through doors ahead of him and eating in his presence before you feed him show him that you are the 'pack leader.' This will make it easier for your puppy to accept that you (and your family) are in charge. This is a tough thing to do, but you will be thankful later on when you have a well-behaved dog.

  • Puppy feeding tips: If you plan to switch dog food from Royal Canin, we will send enough Royal Canin, to combine with your dog food for 6 days. Always put the food in the same area to establish a routine for your puppy. If your puppy doesn't like the new dog food, mix it with water or broth.

  • Be Fair: Never hit your puppy, or scold it for something he did a while ago. Your puppy lives in the present and doesn't remember what he did and why you are angry. Instead, a far more productive approach would be to encourage the behavior you want and discourage the ones you don't want. Make sure your entire family knows how to act, and agree on commands and rules.   Complete cooperation from all family members is needed, when a puppy receives mixed signals, it will become confused and act out.

  • Take your puppy out: Begin socializing your puppy as soon as your vet gives the OK.  We start in home socialization at 4 days and continue until they leave at 8 weeks.  We are very strict at bringing our puppies places that have other dogs until they are fully vaccinated.   Once your puppy is fully vaccinated take him out and introduce him to new people and other animals in a controlled, safe environment. This is one of the most important things you can do for him. It teaches him to be a good citizen and gives him confidence and social skills. However, I would stay away from dog parks and places multiple dogs visit until he is a little older.

  • Take your puppy to the vet: Within twenty-four hours of bringing your puppy home, call your vet to make an appointment. Our vet examined your puppy at four to six weeks, giving him a clean bill of health. However, your vet will be his Doctor for life, so he needs to see him as soon as possible. Take with you any health information we gave you when you picked up your puppy and his shot records, get his recommendations and any other thoughts he may have.

  • Make introductions to existing pets: If you have other pets, be sure to introduce your new puppy to them in a controlled situation. If the resident pet is a puppy, let them get to know each other on neutral ground where neither will feel the need to defend territory. Give each pet its own food dish and give all pets attention to avoid competition.

  • Calming Music:  Birth is a very stressful time for our our Golden Retriever girls. To keep them as relaxed and calm as possible, we play dog music. A study by the ASPCA shows that some classical music with low octaves and simple harmonies soothes a dog's heart rate and reduces barking. We have tried this with our dogs and puppies, and it is incredible how well it works. We continue with the music when we do anything that is a change in their regular routine. The music we use is from Play the music on a low volume to soothe your dog, not to out noise him. I recommend you play this to your puppy until he is settled in your home, during stressful times, when you are going to be away to reduce the separation anxiety, during thunderstorms, or in your car on the way to the vets. You will be surprised at how well it works. As a final note - if your puppy is barking, there may be a good reason for it, puppies are like children and bark when they are hungry, thirsty, bored, or need a bathroom break, so make sure they are comfortable before trying to soothe them with music.

  • Feeding your new puppy

  • Since weaning our Golden Retriever puppies, they have been raised on Royal Canin Puppy food. We choose Royal Canin dog food because of the massive research that goes into their dog food recipes and the quality controls used by their company.  It is also made in the USA.  (no, I am not affiliated with Royal Canin, my dogs just thrive on their food!)  You do have to be careful to feed only the amounts listed on the package, you do not want to make your puppies fat.

  • At 8 months of age, it is time to change the puppy food to one that has a little less protein  We use Royal Canin Adult food.  This is to slow down the growth of the puppy.  It has been proven that if a puppy grows too fast it does not have enough time for the development of good bone density and can contribute to hip dysplasia.

  • From the time our puppies are weaned we feed them NuVet vitamins. We feel that this gives them an extra boost.  If you continue giving them NuVet vitamins (NuVet keeps records for you) or any comparable vitamins (you must keep records) we will increase our health guarantee to 2 years.

The following is how we feed our pups:
  • Pre-birth - We change the Mom's food prior to conception to one specially formulated by Royal Canin to ready Mom's body for pregnancy. 

  • After birth she is fed Royal Canin Mother and Baby food until the puppies are weaned.

  • Week 1-3  Mothers milk

  • Week 3-6 Royal Canin/ Mother and baby food (free feeding)

  • Week 7-12 weeks Royal Canin / Puppy food - 3 times per day  until 12 weeks old

  • At 12 weeks old we drop 1 feeding (2 feedings per day) but increase the amount of food.

  • At 15 months old we change to Royal Canin Adult food.  We continue feeding twice a day, increasing their food as they grow. 

  • Pups should be well-bodied ( but not fat) and not too thin.

  • We will be sending enough food home with your puppy for a few days.  If you decide not to use Royal Canin, then mix a little of your food of choice with the food we provide until all of the provided food is gone.  When puppies change their diet they can get diarrhea.   If this happens mix a little rice with their food for a few days.  

  • PLEASE stay away from grain free diets and also dog food companies with exotic ingredients in their food, they have been proven to cause heart disease in Golden Retrievers!!!

  • A few tips    
  • No table scraps      

  • Stick to one brand of dog food, continually changing brands is hard on your puppy's digestion   

  • Are vaccines really necessary for my puppy?  Click here for advise from the AKC 

  • Make sure your vet de-worms your puppies, especially if you go to dog parks or take your dogs on walks where other dogs go.

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