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All about Portuguese Water Dogs 

What to expect with new puppy

Puppy Chewing:

Puppies have needle-sharp teeth, and this can be tough! Some tricks to help you avoid becoming a pincushion always have chew bones and toys close by! Do not ever let them chew on you. All it takes is one family member that allows this behavior, and it will be possible for the toddler to become a chew toy too. Keep your rules and boundaries consistent. If your puppy chews on you, offer an acceptable item for them to chew on. If they persist, take yourself away (get up and leave or turn your back on them). They will not want to lose you! Another tip that works for most puppies is to make a quick, sharp puppy “cry” noise. This is how they let other littermates know it hurts!



Jumping is another problem that young puppies may struggle with. Their excitement and overwhelming love for people can make this extremely difficult; however, they do not even start allowing this behavior. Do not reward, pet, or praise a puppy that jumps on you. Ignore them, turn your back, or walk away! A calm puppy that is sitting is a puppy that is ready for praise and love! Teach fair, self-controlled behaviors now; they will pay off as they become more extensive and robust!



I have cut the feeding schedule down to a twice-a-day schedule by the time your puppy comes home. As they age, you can put your dog on a one-day feeding schedule if you prefer. So how much should you feed your new puppy? Please follow the guidelines on the particular kibble you provide that correlates to your pup’s weight and age.

Potty Training:

Depending on your bedtime schedule, remove food and water 2-3 hours before bedtime to allow the puppy a greater chance of holding it all night. Remember that your dog’s bladder will not be fully developed until they reach five months old Therefore, as your pup gets older, it will be able to hold it longer. If you must take your puppy out at night, please do not make this a play session. Be matter-of-fact (as little talking as possible) and get to business. Praise the potty behavior and right back into the kennel. These puppies are very bright, and if they know that you will get up in the middle of the night to play, talk sweet, and love on them, they will start waking you for this attention alone. I strongly suggest kennel and potty training as one of the biggest reasons. Puppies will rarely potty where they sleep. This is one of the main reasons I begin “potty training” puppies at three weeks old by dividing their whelping box into two sections - one for a nurse and sleep area and one for a potty area. When you bring your puppy home and put them into an appropriate-sized kennel (not too large, just enough room to turn around and lay down), they will fuss when they have to go potty! If you cannot watch your puppy or it is naptime, tuck them into their kennel when it is time to go out, place the kennel by the door and let the puppy walk him or herself out. Initially, you may need to place the kennel right at the door; sometimes, they squat just after a few steps! Over time, you can move the kennel farther away from the door.

While puppies understand the concept of a den vs. an elimination area, you are bringing them to a new “den,” you must show your new puppy the ropes! When your puppy has an accident, please clean it up thoroughly and move on. Only clap hands and scold vocally IF you catch the pup going potty. Rubbing their nose in it is unacceptable and a complete waste of time. In your pup’s brain, they wonder why you are making them smell their urine or feces. They know what it smells like! Your dog will need to potty every 30 minutes after a nap, vigorous play, exiting the kennel, and following meals. When in doubt, take it out! Again, if you can’t watch your puppy, in the kennel they go!



Use Dogs are den animals and prefer sleeping in small places. A crate may initially seem expensive, but when you compare it to the cost of ruined rugs and chewed-up furniture, it is well worth it! When you bring your puppy home, it is best to use the crate immediately. There are many different crates, but I typically use the Petco 300 or 400 series for puppies initially and then purchase an adult crate later. The kennel must be large enough for them to walk into, turn around, and lie down. You should, however, refrain from initially giving your puppy a large kennel because you don’t want them to have enough space to have both a “sleep” and a “potty” area inside the kennel. Kennel training can make potty training more accessible, gives you and your puppy a few breaks throughout the day, and helps keep them safe when you can’t watch them! I suggest putting a small plastic bin with a lid on the top of the kennel, filled with many different toys to keep your puppy occupied while inside the kennel. Toys like Kongs, Busy Bones, Nylabones, etc. are great options. Puppies will enjoy going into their kennel to see what special surprise you have for them! Even though we expose puppies to kennels early on, they have free reign in and out of them.

Once you close the door, the protest will occur. This is where tough love comes into play – you must ignore the whimpering up to the outright screaming (make sure the pup does not need to potty or that something is wrong). If you let them out, you teach them that screaming will get them out! If you “console” them, you are teaching them that they are correct in their feelings of disdain. You cannot enable this behavior if you do not want it to persist into the future. Both behaviors from you will make this process very difficult. Try to get the pup to enter the kennel independently by luring them with special treats or toys and then closing the door. Make sure you name the behavior as they walk in with the word “Kennel” or something cleverer. Generally, the crying and protesting only last three days - stick with it; it will pay off.

Socializing and Developmental Stages:


Your new dog must socialize with other people and pets safely. Try to steer clear of other dogs and any areas populated by puppies and other dogs for a few weeks until your veterinarian has administered all of your dog’s vaccinations. Having your puppy around other people, dogs, new locations, in the car, etc., will create a much happier, well-socialized dog in the long run. You will be so proud to take your pup with you on the go, and they will enjoy meeting new people and visiting new places. However, you must be cautious of Parvo. This highly contagious and hazardous virus can live in any environment for years and can be easily tracked into your own house in your shoes. We suggest you clean your house before your puppy comes home, keep your shoes at the door and employ the “all four off the floor” method to socialize your puppy until they receive its parvo vaccination. Do not keep your puppy sheltered during these precious developmental weeks; ensure you avoid areas with other dogs and that your pup keeps all four paws off the floor outside the home. Brief and safe socializing is so vital to the proper development of a puppy. I have eight weeks. You have eight weeks. And it takes both of us to ensure a stable, happy puppy follows!




Please start training your puppy immediately. They are intelligent, eager to learn, and want to please! Dogs are pack animals and look to you for leadership and guidance when joining your pack. You will be amazed at how much they can learn starting at eight weeks old. It is fascinating and rewarding when your pup learns something new! Start with sit, down, stay, kennel, and go potty. I also highly recommend enrolling your puppy in a puppy kindergarten class. They get to socialize, learn self-control, and begin basic obedience tasks. Follow through with any “puppy homework” you are given to continue building your relationship with your pup and helping them learn through repetition. Please do not stop at puppy kindergarten. Upon graduation, enroll your dog in an introductory obedience class as well. In the puppy evaluation paperwork, I outlined two critical concepts to help lay an excellent foundation for your pup: hand feeding and the “sit on the dog” activity. Also, don’t forget tether training! These exercises are very beneficial in teaching your pup self-control, focus and pack order.


Veterinarian Care:


Vaccination records are enclosed in the puppy packet. However, your vet will advise you on what is best for the proper care of your pet. Please spay or neuter your pup at approximately 7-12 months old. The health benefits are overwhelming, and the implications of an unplanned pregnancy can be devastating. Parasites Unfortunately, parasites in pups are prevalent, and it is estimated that 95% of dogs have parasites. We do our very best to keep our puppies parasite-free. They are dewormed at four weeks, six weeks, and eight weeks. However, not all parasites respond to particular deworming, and excess stress with “go-home” can “awaken” parasites that previously lay dormant. Throughout the eight weeks your puppy is with us, we perform random fecal tests to gauge any issues, and if any arise, we treat all puppies in the litter. We may send your puppy home with the remainder of its medication if there is an issue. Nonetheless, it is much easier to stop repeated transmission when the litter is not together since they keep reinfecting each other! Upon bringing your puppy home, it is worthwhile for your pup to have another fecal test done at the veterinarian when you bring them in for their vaccinations.

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