Kerri Bee offers advice on all aspects of training and preparing your puppy for their new home. This a guide to help you with the most commonly asked questions about puppy care.
Puppies should be fed four times per day until they are three months old (12 weeks). Thereafter they should have three meals per day until they are six months of age or eight to nine months for large and giant breeds. When feeding, allow your puppy twenty minutes to eat the food, and then pick up the bowl, even if there is food left. Provide fresh food at the next mealtime. This will discourage 'grazing' throughout the day and allow puppy's digestive system to rest in between meals making for easier housetraining. Please check that the food you are feeding is as healthy as possible. Click here for more information.
A soft puppy or cat collar and fabric lead is all that is needed, to begin with, and plain flat collars thereafter. When they are fully grown you can spend money on a really nice collar, still flat and kind, though. Buy small cheap plastic bowls for food and water and save money for the things they will need when fully grown. This also applies to beds which can be very expensive. Try old blankets in a cardboard box to start with and keep an eye on chewing!
A harness is a really good idea for lead walking any size puppy as they can help prevent pulling from the outset. Get your puppy used the collar/harness and lead in short sessions at home. When you do attach the lead practise getting your puppy to stay with you using a cheerful voice but don't allow your puppy to pull. Never pull on a puppy's neck, just stop and call him back and change direction. Perfect lead walking is not important at this stage, just get him used to the feeling of lead and teach him that he goes nowhere when he reaches the end of the lead but goes everywhere with a loose one. It is vital that your puppy doesn't learn to pull to get to where he wants to go and you will learn much more about this on your course, but if you need help in the meantime, do please get in contact.
This can be the hardest element of basic training but it can be made so much easier by starting training from day 1 at home with your pup. Coming back to you must be extremely rewarding for the puppy – you need a happy emotional response as well as 'obedience', in other words, he must want to come back, or he just won't! Very simply, reward your puppy every time he comes to you in the house, even if you didn't call him. Using treats like small pieces of chicken and cheese will mean a lot more than shop bought treats but also play with him and make a fuss of him every time. In class, you will learn how to formalise this training with a word like 'come' or by using a whistle, but in the early days just make coming back really fun for him.