|Here are some things to keep in mind over the first few days of your pup's new life with you:
ADJUSTMENT PERIOD & ROUTINES:
Because we keep pups until they are 8 to 10 weeks old, they will have accepted the routines of our home, work
schedule, our family, etc. So, coming into a new home will take some adjusting time for them. Most puppies adjust
to their new homes within a day or two. But I think it's helpful to give you an idea of what they've been used to,
since their internal time clocks will be set to our schedule for a few days...
On work days, I do puppy kennel clean up in the early morning, and try to get to Denver around 10:30 (that's on a
good day, when the pups haven't trashed their pens over night). The pups have been coming to work w/ us in
their crates since they were born. Our commute of 70 miles is about 1.5 to 2 hours long.
NOTE: To avoid your puppy developing car sickness (a lot of whippets seem to get this later in puppyhood!), you
should continue to take them in the car whenever you can. The pups that stay with us, if we keep any from a litter,
have never ever developed car sickness! And those that live with folks who take them on lots of car trips when
they are little also seem to not develop it. But those who go in the car rarely (less than 3 times a week or so),
often get motion sickness, and can keep this unfortunate problem for life.
During the morning routine at home from about 6:30am to 9am, they get playtime and breakfast in the living room
(or in the yard, if it's nice weather) while I clean.
So, you may see an increase in activity at this time of day for your pup. Once they wear themselves out, they go
to their travel kennels to head to work.
Once I get to Denver, they get playtime turn-out again until about noon. By then they're usually ready for a nap.
I see afternoon and evening dog training clients from 2pm to 6pm, so they get to come out and play in between
those times - sometimes for an hour, sometimes for 2 hours at a time, and then back to their ex-pen. I leave food
in their ex-pen at all times, as well, in case they want to snack....more about feeding later!
After classes are over, they get another big play time before I leave the training studio. They generally are tired
and put themselves to bed in their ex-pen (which is currently taking up my entire living room) when we get home,
depending on the time. Inside their ex-pen kennel at home and at work they have access to litter boxes, water &
food, and bedding...more about litter boxes later. They also have a medium sized plastic vari-kennel crate that
they really like to sleep in. We removed the door and they come and go in the crate at will.
On weekends, we sleep in! The pups generally wake up around 7:30am (I can hear them wrestling and fussing
and eating, etc. on the baby monitor we use). We generally wait them out and they very often go back to sleep. I
can then get up around 9am and go let them out (at this point they are usually out of food, have pooped a lot in
the litter boxes and are yelling that they're ready to get up, LOL).
This group has been able to go outside with the big dogs when the weather is good. They are showing lots more
energy as they mature. It now takes 45 min. to 2 hours of playtime to tire them out, and they can recover and
sometimes be back at it within 30 minutes, but usually they sleep a bit longer than that before ready to rock and
roll again. We just let them in and out with the big dogs and let them follow the big guys about, learning about life
pretty much all weekend. They generally put themselves to bed at around 9pm....they literally go curl up in the
crate in the ex-pen when they get tired.
Keep in mind that they are like kids - if they are overly tired or hungry, they don't always know it or show it...so if
your pup seems especially wound up or cranky, try feeding him or her and putting them to bed for just a bit...they
often need a snack and a nap or a trip to the litter box!!!
DON'T OVERSTIMULATE your pup the first few weeks of them living with you. Family and friends and doggie
buddies have plenty of time to meet them and enjoy them (the next 15 years or so!). Let them adjust slowly and
quietly to their new home and routine.
We feed a natural, species-appropriate raw diet. Pups of this age should eat 4 to 5 times per day (offer them as
much as they will eat in a 10 to 15 minute period). Once they hit about 4 months, they can go to 3xday feedings,
and then at 6 months or so, they can go to 2xday. Eventually, if kept on a raw diet, they can go to once-per day
feedings, or stay at 2xday feedings - whichever works best for the individual dog.
If you are unable to continue with the natural diet, we do not recommend kibble (dry) dog food, but instead
recommend using a dehydrated or freeze dried food such as "Honest Kitchen," "Grandma Lucy's," or other
Your puppy has been trained to use a litter box, using Petco's "Sophresh" dog litter since they were just about 2
weeks old. We just use large rubbermaid containers as litter boxes (about 4"h X 16"w X 24"L). The pups are
actually quite reliable and we recommend using this system, if you must leave the pup for long periods (more than
2 to 3 hours). It's SO much easier to clean up than puppy pads.
That being said, DO NOT wimp out on your own job of potty training. Relying too long on litter boxes will come
back to haunt you. I will send a potty training protocol email that I have used for my dog training clients for 23
years. It WORKS!
I also recommend buying a bag of the litter pellets and putting some of them in your yard where you'd like the pup
to go potty...the smell of the litter will draw them to the area. It is just paper pellets and will biodegrade...don't put
a TON of it on grass, just sprinkle a bit to draw them to it, as needed.
Your pup will have been wormed as needed prior to coming to you, but it is always a good idea to take a stool
sample to the vet during their initial exam.
MOST pups will have some stress diarrhea the first few days in a new home.
If flying home or traveling far with with your pup, recognize your little guy or gal has probably had a pretty rough
day. They have to stay in their kennels longer than they're used to, and all the sights, smells and sounds can be
stressful. They'll be hungry and thirsty and tired and a bit scared.
Don't be surprised or worried if your pup seems very quiet and shy during the first day or 2 after major travel to
get to you. Give them lots of gentle, quiet reassurance, and they'll come right out of it.
I said it above, but it bears repeating: DON'T OVERSTIMULATE your pup the first few weeks of them living with
you. Family and friends and doggie buddies have plenty of time to meet them and enjoy them (the next 15 years
or so!). Let them adjust slowly and quietly to their new home and routine.
Your new pup hasn't been leash trained yet. In fact, they don't even wear collars around our place, so this will be
a new adjustment for them, too. The very best thing to get them used to leash training is to have them drag a light
leash around with them off and on throughout the day. BE SURE YOU ARE SUPERVISING THEM ANY TIME THE
LEASH IS ON, so they don't get caught on something and hurt themselves, or chew it up! Once the pup is used to
dragging the weight of the leash, you can gently begin to hold it and follow them about occasionally. When they
are used to this, you can begin to encourage them to follow light pressure on the leash from you. Keep training
sessions SHORT (no more than 3 to 5 minutes) and fun. Make happy voices, offer bits of food, etc.
When calling these guys to come (some don't know their names yet...some seem to know them), we usually call,
"Pup, pup, pup, pup, pup" or "Itty-bitty-bitty-bitties" in a happy sing-songy voice, and they'll come running.
NEW LEASH NOTE: With a previous litter, a puppy buyer found these amazing puppy martingales. They are soft
enough and adjustable for growing puppy necks, with a no-slip feature. Absolutely GREAT for whippet pups:
CHEWING, NIPPING, BITING:
These guys are in the THICK of their first teething/chewing/nipping/biting phase. They are really mouthy right
now, and those needle teeth are super sharp. This is a normal puppy phase. Just keep re-directing them and
offering them appropriate things to chew instead of you, your clothes, and shoes. :)
The second teething phase hits around 12 to 16 weeks and lasts until they lose their baby teeth and replace them
between 5.5 and 6 months of age.
The THIRD teething phase (yes, most dogs have 3) hits around 7 to 8 months and lasts up until they are about a
year....don't trust your pup until they have proven themselves!
SUPERVISION & RE-DIRECTION:
Puppies need supervision until they have proven themselves to be completely potty trained and over their teething
stages. Your puppy should basically have 2 states of being: 1. Under the watchful eye of an adult, or 2. in his
kennel, x-pen, or the yard (still should be supervised most of the time outside).
You can't stop bad habits from forming if you're not watching! Remember - practice makes perfect. So if a dog is
practicing a behavior you don't like (chewing, barking, digging, etc.), they will get better and better at it if you
aren't around to prevent it completely from happening.
But supervision alone won't solve all problems. Your puppy's mind is like a sponge right now...and is craving all
sorts of new activities and information. The easiest way to keep yourselves and your puppy on the right track is to
re-direct them to behaviors you like. It doesn't work to only correct behaviors you don't like, without then giving
the puppy something BETTER to do.
Otherwise, they'll stop the inappropriate behavior for only a second when you tell them "NO"... then be right back
to it, or some other mischievous thing a second or two later. Just like kids, once you tell them "NO"...your next job
is to show and tell them what you DO want them to be doing, and praise and treat them lavishly for doing it. :)