When deciding to add a puppy to your family, we know there are a lot of questions about everything from potty training to what to expect the first night when the puppy goes home. We hope this page will help answer your questions as you prepare to add a new puppy to your family. The questions are in no particular order, and this page will expand as more and more questions come in!
DO YOU ONLY BREED F1 CAVACHONS?
Yes, all of our adult dogs are AKC registered Bichon Frise or Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Our mother dogs are the Bichons and our father dogs are the Cavaliers.
HOW MANY DOGS DO YOU HAVE?
We currently have 14 breeding dogs, 10 females and 4 males.
WHAT VACCINATIONS WILL THE PUPPY HAVE WHEN HE COMES HOME?
We give our own puppy shots, beginning at 7 weeks of age. If we still have a puppy, we will continue with shots every 3 weeks, giving them at 10, 13, and 16 weeks of age. Most puppies leave when they are 8 weeks old. Your 8 week old puppy will have received 1 shot.
HOW OFTEN DO I NEED TO BATHE THE PUPPY? WHAT TYPE OF SHAMPOO SHOULD I USE?
You should give your puppy a bath when he/she is dirty. It will be up to you to decide when the puppy is “dirty enough” to need a bath. You can find puppy shampoos at most local pet stores. You can also use baby shampoo. Be sure to use just a bit of shampoo with a lot of water so it is diluted quite a bit. Puppy’s skin is young and soaps should be mild and gentle. Soaping up twice is usually what we do when we are giving the puppies baths.
HOW MUCH SHOULD THE PUPPY EAT EACH DAY?
We feed the puppies in a community dish and generally keep food in it at all times. This is called “free feeding”. We don’t know exactly how much food each puppy is eating with this system, so we suggest feeding the puppy about 1/4 cup of food at each feeding when puppy first comes home. Once you see that puppy is eating well and the digestive system is working (pee and poop), you can put the puppy on a feeding schedule.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY PUPPY EAT?
0-6 months old = 3 times/day
6-12 months old = 2 times/day
Over 12 months old = 1 time/day
This is a general rule of thumb for how often a puppy should be fed. We suggest that you put puppy’s food down for about 15-20 minutes when it’s feeding time, then take it away when the time is up. Puppy will learn to eat when the food is there and this will put puppy on a good schedule which will make potty training easier. We also suggest that the last feeding time is not after 5 pm to make nighttime potty needs easier on you.
HOW MUCH SHOULD MY PUPPY DRINK?
During the potty training process, we suggest you give water at the same time you give food, and also take it away, unless you live in a hot climate where water intake will be crucial to avoid any health risks. Remember that whatever goes in, must come out, so a puppy that is snacking and drinking all day long will also be peeing and pooping all day long. Scheduling feeding and offering water at appropriate times during the day (with meals, after playtime), will help the puppy get on a schedule for elimination, which makes potty training easier.
WHAT KIND OF SNACKS CAN MY PUPPY HAVE?
We highly discourage feeding the puppy anything besides his/her regular kibble until the puppy is 12-16 weeks old. Puppy’s digestive system is very sensitive and introducing new foods of any type can cause loose stool. When the puppy is an appropriate age, we suggest using Liver Treats as training tools. We often break them into very tiny pieces so it’s just a taste for the puppy, and the puppy is not actually eating very much during the training process.
WHAT IF I WANT TO START TRAINING MY PUPPY YOUNGER THAN 12 WEEKS OF AGE?
You can train young puppies with plain kibble if you time it correctly and do it when they are hungry. An example would be to hold the puppy in your lap and have a family member across the kitchen. Each person should have some dry kibble ready to reward the puppy. Have your partner call the puppy and encourage the puppy in the direction of your family member. When the puppy arrives in the lap of the other family member, reward the puppy with a piece of kibble. Face the puppy back toward the other family member and repeat the exercise. The puppy will learn to “come” and he/she will be rewarded with a bit of food each time, encouraging the correct behavior. This is a fun exercise to do with children.
WHAT TYPE OF FOOD SHOULD WE FEED OUR PUPPY?
We use Kirkland Puppy from Costco. It is in a yellow bag and is the Costco brand. We encourage your puppy to stay on this food for at least the first month after he/she goes home.
WHAT IF WE DON’T HAVE A COSTCO NEAR OUR HOME? HOW DO WE SWITCH THE PUPPY’S FOOD?
If you don’t have a Costco near your home, you will be forced to switch the puppy to a new food. We will provide up to 4 cups of food when your new puppy goes home. To switch the puppy to a new type of food, do it gradually over the course of a week or more. Mix puppy’s food with 3/4 regular food, and 1/4 new food for 2 days. Then mix 1/2 and 1/2 for 2 days. Then mix 1/4 regular food and 3/4 new food for 2 days. Finally, after a week, you can feed the puppy the new food. Doing it gradually like this should avoid digestive issues for your puppy.
WHAT IF WE DON’T HAVE A COSTCO MEMBERSHIP?
If you have a Costco, but not a membership, find a friend that does, and just get one bag of food for your puppy. This will give you plenty of time to switch to a new food when the puppy is older.
WHAT KIND OF CHEW TOYS CAN MY PUPPY HAVE?
Our favorite chew “toy” is the Bully Stick. These can be ordered online, and some Costco stores have them. We begin giving the puppy this chew toy at 12 weeks of age, to avoid digestive issues in the younger puppies.
DOES THE PUPPY CRATE HAVE A WATER DISH?
If your puppy arrives in a crate, there will be a tiny water dish attached to the crate door. This dish is very small, and not sufficient for daily use. You should purchase a food and water dish for your puppy before he/she comes home.
CAN MY NEW PUPPY SHARE THE FOOD AND WATER DISH WITH OUR CURRENT DOG?
Yes, and no. Yes, the dogs can share the same water dish. No, they cannot share the same food dish. You should have a separate food dish for each dog in your family.
DOES MY PUPPY HAVE DEW CLAWS? DID YOU REMOVE THEM?
Most puppies have dew claws, which is the “thumb” claw on the front paws of a puppy. Some puppies have dew claws on the back paws as well. For the most part, we do remove the dew claws when the puppies are 2 days old. Sometimes we miss a litter, so this is something you should ask about each individual litter of puppies.
WHAT DO I NEED TO GET FOR MY NEW PUPPY?
Puppy ownership is a commitment of time and finances. Before you bring a new puppy home, you should have the following items:
HOW DOES YOUR WAITING LIST WORK?
This is definitely a question that we get a lot, so I wrote a blog post about it HERE.