Firstnight Loneliness

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His first night in a strange surrounding will be a big hurdle for the puppy. If he was confused and bewildered during the day, he's going to be lonely and depressed at night. Where once he nestled close to his mother or curled up against his litter mates, he now has to sleep alone. He will not take this drastic change without a loud protest, so be ready for some whimpering or howling. But make a resolution to be firm about his sleeping in his bed, not yours.

Learning to sleep alone is an important lesson the young puppy must learn. It is one that will have a future bearing on his behavior in the house. Sleeping or staying alone without barking or howling is a must for city dogs. (See Chapter 7) So, start teaching the pup this important lesson the first night.

Be sympathetic, but be firm. Place him in his bed, give him a pat and a few words, and then go away. When he complains, you'll have to resist the impulse to pick him up. If he persists in whimpering or howling, go back to him and tell him "No!" Don't bring him into your bedroom, unless you want him there for the rest of his life. You can help him to console himself by placing a hot-water bottle in his bed. He'll nestle up to this and may go to sleep. Or you can put a loud ticking clock alongside his bed. The ticking of the clock is often a comforting sound and will help overcome the pup's self-imposed insomnia. A few more "sleep-inducers" are a dish of warm milk just before bedtime and one of his new toys. You may have a sleepless night yourself, but once you and the puppy get through it, you should have an easier time next night.


The situation should appear somewhat brighter for the pup the next morning. Unless he is ill, he'll be wide-awake, hungry and ready for the day's events. Don't expect him to be completely over his feeling of strangeness; he's still going to walk with care and more or less nose his way for another few days. But he will be very glad to see you.

Feeding the puppy

You will recall that one of the pointers we gave you on selecting your puppy was to inquire about what he has been eating at the kennel or pet shop. This suggestion was made with a definite purpose. Young puppies are radically affected by sudden changes in their diet. More intestinal upsets are encountered in young puppies than during any other age. The pup's digestive system is very sensitive and he simply cannot stand any sudden changes, poorly mixed foods or overfeeding. Commit any of these errors and you will end up with the pup having gas, diarrhea; possibly vomiting.

More than likely, your pup was fed a high-quality dog meal at the kennel or pet shop. Continue with this diet for at least a week. Set regular feeding hours, spacing them about four hours apart. If he's under 7 weeks, feed him five times a day; if 7 to 10 weeks, he should have four meals a day.

The puppy meal can be mixed with milk or gravy. At least one of the puppy's meals should include milk. The mix should have the consistency of gruel; not too lumpy, pasty or watery. One or two tablespoons of chopped meat and a teaspoon of animal fat (lard, bacon grease, melted suet, etc.) may be added to one of the rations.

If you've been unable to get the same brand or type of dog meal fed the pup at the kennel or pet shop, you can feed him Pablum and milk. This is a safe, bland diet. After a few days, you can introduce a good-quality dog meal and meat ration. When you do add a meal, do so by adding a small amount each day, and reducing the Pablum by the same amount. Spread this process out over a week; it will pay off. Add a teaspoon of animal fat once a day.

How much should you feed the pup at each meal? This is a question without a ready answer. You can find all kinds of feeding charts, diagrams and menus. At best, they can only generalize. Dogs differ in their requirements and appetites. And because of these differences, you are going to be the judge of what and how much your dog will eat.

Until you are familiar with your dog's needs and appetite, here are some emergency feeding guides:

First, feed the puppy all the food he'll clean up at one feeding. And here's where a little common sense is needed. Don't mix a half-pound of meal with a pint of milk for a young pup. Granted, you'll have to experiment with the amount for one or two feedings. After that, you will be able to gauge the amounts without too. much difficulty. Start with 4 to 2 cup of meal per feeding. If the pup doesn't eat what you've set down, remove it and reduce the amount at the next feeding. If he cleans it up and seems to want "seconds," increase the amount next time. Allow about 20 minutes for the meal. Some pups may gobble their food, others may dawdle.

If your pup skips a meal or two, it doesn't necessarily mean he is ill. He may not be hungry. But if he should go a whole day without eating, then you can assume that something is wrong and consult a veterinarian.

Here are some more feeding tips: Feed all food at room temperature (70°to 72°F.), never right off a hot stove or out of the refrigerator. Allow the pup to eat without interruption. Keep the children away from the pup or permit them to watch (if they must) from a distance.

The feeding instructions given here are intended as an emergency measure, until you can learn more about the pup's feeding habits. A fuller discussion on puppy feeding and dog nutrition will be found in Chapter 4.


Housebreaking seems to be the one chore that new or prospective dog owners dread. Actually, it isn't as difficult or time-consuming as you may think. By following some simple rules and exercising patience, you will have the pup housebroken in a short time.

Dogs are naturally clean animals. They dislike soiling their beds or living area, and will make every effort to urinate and defecate elsewhere. Keep this in mind if you decide to paper-train the puppy and he decides not to use any newspapers spread near his bed.

Housebreaking can be divided into two techniques: paper-training and training to go outdoors. You can either house-break the puppy in two steps, first to paper and then outdoors; or you can start him outdoors right away.

The majority of puppies take to paper-training with little trouble, often retaining this habit long after they have been going outdoors. For the apartment house or hotel suite dog, paper-training is a must. This is especially true when the city owner is away from home most of the day. (See Chapter 7)

Step number one in paper-training the puppy is to restrict his living or play area. Allowing him to run all through the house is an invitation to trouble. If his newspapers are placed several rooms away or far down the hall, the pup is not going to make it every time. And if he's having a good time with the children or his toys, he will not take time out to race into another room. He'll use the first handy spot.

Spread several thicknesses of newspaper over the floor in the designated toilet area. This area can be a room or part of a room, gradually reduced in space when the pup becomes paper-trained. Immediately after the pup has eaten or you see signs that he has to go, pick him up and place him on the newspaper. Keep him there until he has a bowel movement or urinates.

Young puppies usually have a bowel movement after each meal (sometimes in between) and will urinate upon waking from a nap. Your pup will show definite signs when he has to go: he'll whimper, sniff around for a spot, turn around in circles or squat. Get to know the signals and act on them. Praise him lavishly when he does use the newspapers.

Expect mistakes. A young puppy is similar to a very young child; he doesn't have much control over his bladder or bowel movements. But once he understands that you expect him to use the papers, he'll try to make it there. But there will be times when he misses. And nine times out of ten, these near-misses will be on a rug or carpet!

When a pup makes a mistake, handle it intelligently. Yelling at him or rubbing his nose in his mistake is the wrong tactic. It will get you nowhere. No dog or animal likes having his nose rubbed in his own offal (even though dogs enjoy rolling in other odorous matter), and it will mean nothing to him, except that he's being subjected to an insult. When you catch him doing his business away from the newspapers, go to him, scold him with a stern "No!"— maybe tap him on the rear end with a rolled-up newspaper and place him on his newspapers. He'll soon get the point.

Next, take care of the mistake. If it's a bowel movement, pick it up in newspapers and discard it. If he wets on a rug or carpet, apply a blotter of newspapers to the spot right away. When you have the excess urine soaked up, scrub the spot lightly with a soft-bristled brush or a cloth. And now, since the spot will entice the pup again, clean it with one of the various commercial preparations put out for this purpose.

When the puppy does use the newspapers, roll up two thicknesses and discard them. Leave one or two down. They will have a faint odor that will act as a lure for the puppy the next time he has to go. When the pup goes to the paper every time, you can reduce the area.

After you have the puppy paper-trained, you may want to train him to go outdoors. If you live in a congested city, it's safer to wait until the pup has had all his inoculations before taking him outdoors. Teaching him to go outdoors is, in a sense, a retraining process. Once he gets used to the newspapers indoors, he will not take to going outside without balking. This is easy to understand; the pup will be moving from the security of the house to the uncertainty of the outdoors. For the city pup, this is a big step and he has to contend with people, traffic and countless noises.

A simple way to help the puppy get used to going outdoors is by bringing out some of his newspapers. Spread these on the ground or in the street near the curb and place him on the paper. Keep reducing the newspapers each time you take him out. Don't be surprised if the pup waits until he's back in the house before having a bowel movement. If he does hold it until he's in the house, scold him and take him outside. Keep reassuring him and keep him outside for awhile, even though he's already gone in the house. He'll gradually get used to going outdoors.

Occasionally, however, a puppy is so badly frightened by the street noises that he refuses to go, no matter how much you scold him. In this case, you'll have to resort to mechanical means of inducing him to go. Buy some baby suppositories, insert one in the dog's rectum and take him outside. Reassure him. The suppository will force him to have a bowel movement. Repeat this routine until the puppy goes of his own accord. And he will, once he sees that nothing is going to harm him.

If you live in the suburbs or country or have a backyard, you can train the puppy to go outdoors right from the start. Follow the outline for paper-training: immediately after each meal and nap, take or put the puppy outdoors. Be regular about this and keep on the alert for the telltale signs that the pup has to go. If he holds it and messes in the house, scold him and put him outside again.

As the puppy learns to control his bladder and bowel movements, he'll let you know when he wants to go out. Take him up on this right away. Don't postpone the outing. If you do, you're violating your own training rules. As the pup grows older, you can take him out for regular walks. Keep him out long enough to go and follow the same route, if possible. When he goes over his old trail, he'll find spots that will remind him what he's supposed to do.


What about bathing the young puppy? Don't, unless it's absolutely necessary and certain optimum conditions prevail. We'll discuss these "optimum conditions" shortly. Bathing the young pup can be risky; he can be chilled and his resistance to disease lowered. Bathing also removes the essential hair oils and too many baths may cause skin irritations.

When your pup gets so soiled that brushing won't remove the dirt, use a commercial "dry" bath preparation. Wipe him with a damp cloth and then rub vigorously with a rough towel. You'll be surprised how clean you can get him with one of these treatments.

Returning to the "optimum conditions," if you must bathe the puppy, wait until he is at least four or five months old. The older the dog, the less risk. If winter, pick a sunny day and have the house a little warmer than usual. Take the pup outside for a romp, because after his bath he will have to stay indoors for three or four hours. There's less risk in summer, of course; bathe the dog, towel him dry and let the sunshine do the rest. But in summer or winter, make sure that you dry his chest and undercoat, not just the surface hair. For bathing equipment and technique, see Chapter 5.

Fleas, lice and ticks

Your puppy may be harboring fleas, lice or ticks. Of the three, he's more likely to have fleas and ticks. Lice are not as common, although they do infest dogs. If your puppy is a playground for any of these parasites, dust him with a non-toxic insecticide. Detailed information on these parasites and their control will be found in Chapter 15.


Even though you were told at the kennel or pet shop that your puppy was wormed, you would be wise to make a check for these parasites. But don't make the mistake of just worming the puppy without positive evidence that he has worms. More puppies have been made ill or killed by faulty worming techniques than by the worms themselves. Worm medicines or vermicides are powerful poisons and an overdose can kill, particularly if the puppy is suffering from a disease or is malnutritious.

Dogs may become reinfected with worms from time to time, depending on various factors, such as sanitation, for example. Your best procedure in checking for worms is to take a specimen of the puppy's bowel movement to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will place the specimen (or part of it) in a centrifuge, whirl it around, put a sample on a slide and examine it under a microscope. From this microscopic examination, he can tell if your puppy has worms, and if so, what kind. He will then prescribe the correct vermicide and proper dosage. The money you spend on this fecal examination is money well spent. A neglected infestation of worms can cause considerable harm in a young puppy. (See Chapter 14)


Your puppy may or may not have had all his distemper inoculations when you brought him home. If you have secured the pup's inoculation history from the kennel or pet shop, you will know where he stands. If not, you should assume he's had no shots and take him to the veterinarian, who will advise you on the proper immunization program for your puppy. The pup will also need to be inoculated for hepatitis and leptospirosis (usually given in combination with distemper inoculations). After the pup is six months old, he can be given a rabies inoculation.

There are several schools of thought on distemper immunization. These are discussed in the chapter on Distemper. But regardless of the school of thought to which your veterinarian belongs, don't delay getting the puppy inoculated. His life may depend on it. (For specific inoculations, see Chapter 12)

The veterinarian

The best friend your puppy will have, beside yourself, is the veterinarian. Therefore, you should select a veterinarian with the same care as you would your own physician. While it's not you who will be treated, you want a veterinarian in whom you have confidence. The dog, of course, has no choice.

Start looking around for a veterinarian before the pup is ill or injured. If you wait until an emergency occurs, you will have to rush the pup to the first veterinarian that will see him. Inquire among your dog-owning friends and neighbors as to which veterinarians they would recommend. Evaluate these opinions with care; many a good man has had his reputation maligned by people with an ax to grind. Granted, the veterinarian who suits your friends will not necessarily suit you. But you will get an idea of which veterinarians in your neighborhood are highly regarded and those who are not.

What to expect of the veterinarian

First, don't worry about degrees, accredited colleges and licenses. All veterinarians (with very few exceptions) have a degree from one of the 19 accredited colleges of veterinary medicine, and all are licensed to practice.

Your main concern is the veterinarian's competence with animals. Does he have an understanding and a knack for handling dogs? Fancy equipment is no substitute for a good "bedside" manner with pets. But a thorough understanding of dogs and a quiet approach to their physical and emotional problems is what you are looking for in a veterinarian.

Size the veterinarian up as a person. After all, you've got to work with him on your puppy's health problems. Don't rule the man out just because he doesn't want to spend an hour chatting with you or philosophizing about world conditions. If he is a good veterinarian, he'll be a very busy man. His time must be budgeted, if he's to give his patients (including your dog) the care and attention they need. You can expect him to devote a reasonable amount of time for discussion and questions.

Again, don't be overly impressed with a brand-new hospital and clinic. Older equipment, while not giving off the sparkle of new, may be just as serviceable. When you visit the veterinarian, pay more attention to the sanitation, handling of the animals and hospital personnel. Soiled cages, strong odors, filthy dogs and rough handlers—these should be enough to tell you that this particular veterinarian is not for your dog.

The collar and leash

Your puppy's collar and leash are important parts of his equipment; they are tools used to teach and restrain him. The pup will have to get accustomed to wearing a collar. Buy a lightweight, inexpensive collar, for he will soon outgrow it. Put the collar on just before feeding him; he'll probably be concentrating on his meal and will not object too strenuously to the collar. It should fit comfortably, not too tight or loose. If it is too tight, he'll gasp or choke when you try to lead him with a leash. A loose collar can be pawed or scratched over his head.

The puppy may want to sniff and examine the collar before you put it on him. Let him, but don't permit him to chew it. He may object to the collar in various ways: biting or pawing at it, rolling on the floor, running away and hiding, etc. He'll soon get over it, particularly if you have his food ready.

Once the pup is accustomed to the collar, you can introduce the leash. Here again, let him smell and examine the leash. After he's satisfied the leash isn't going to bite him, snap it onto the collar and let him drag it around for awhile.

Make sure the leash doesn't get snagged on something or the pup become entangled in it. Buy a flat, pliable leather leash; chain leashes get kinks in them, are hard on the hands and not as effective in training as the leather leash.

When you first try to walk the puppy on the leash, he'll probably balk. After you snap on the leash, move a few steps away from the puppy, holding onto the end of the leash. Call to him, slapping your knee with one hand and giving a gentle tug on the leash with the other. Don't drag him, keep coaxing him over to you. He'll soon get the hang of the leash and will be keen for a walk whenever he sees you get out the leash. Later on, you can teach the pup to heel and other basic obedience training by means of the leash. (See Chapter 6)

Pre-schooling for the puppy

Actually, the puppy's pre-schooling started the day you brought him home. He had to learn to sleep alone, use the newspapers, go outside, and various other lessons. But he has to learn more. He has to learn the difference between good and bad conduct, advanced obedience training, and a host of rules of dog etiquette. All of this will take time and patience on your part. As for the puppy, he's eager to please, just so long as you let him know what you want.

The meaning of "No!"

The only way to teach the puppy the meaning of "No!" is to make liberal use of the word whenever he gets into mischief or disobeys. Until the puppy has grown up and become more reserved, the word "no" will be the most-used word in your dog-training lexicon.

Yanking on the leash, climbing on people or furniture, continually barking, growling, nipping or getting hold of something he shouldn't have—these are all situations requiring a stern "No!" For example, if the pup takes off with your shoe or hat, go to him, take the object away from him and tell him "No!" Be stern and shake your finger at him. Repeat "No!"

several times, then give him one of his toys. Praise him well if he starts playing with the toy. Learning the meaning of the word "no" will often be difficult for the pup, but it will be one of the most useful lessons in his life.

Growling and nipping

Your puppy should never be allowed to growl at or nip you or anyone else. "Nip" these tendencies in the bud! Unfortunately, some people get a kick out of watching a puppy grab hold of a trouser cuff or hand, nipping and growling while he "shakes" it. The pup may look "cute" while he's pretending to be fierce, but he's being allowed to indulge in a habit that will put him in the canine delinquency class later on. If you neglect to correct the puppy when he does this or are foolish enough to encourage it, you may find yourself with a chronic biter.

Some puppies become resentful nippers, growling and nipping when they don't get their own way. Children do the same when they kick and scream at their parents. Stop the puppy's growling and nipping the first time he does it. Tap him sharply across the nose and tell him "No!" in a loud, stern voice. If he tries again, repeat the disciplinary action. After a few "tests" the pup will go off and take out his aggression on his toys.

You will find that your puppy will be happier and better adjusted when taught discipline and kept within certain behavior boundaries. There is no room today for permissive rearing of dogs; crowded cities, mushrooming suburbs— these spell trouble for the untrained dog. Train your puppy well and he will be a pleasure, not a nuisance. But in your training—whether pre-school or advanced obedience— make liberal use of the three "P's" of dog training: patience, persistence and praise.


Query a dozen dog breeders as to what they feed their dogs and you'll more than likely get a dozen different answers. You'll find the subject of dog feeding very similar to politics; it will start an argument most any time. How and what you feed your dog are for you to decide. But while the dog experts don't agree on the how and what of dog feeding, they do agree on the basic nutritive requirements of the dog.

A working knowledge of the dog's nutritive requirements and how to provide them is essential to intelligent dog care. Your dog's health and longevity will depend a great deal on your ability to feed him properly. There's an old saying: "The eye of the feeder fattens the cattle." Of course, you are not especially interested in fattening your dog. But you can apply to your dog-feeding program the basic principle of this old saw: Feed your animal well and observe the daily results.

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