Corgi Bliss's Puppy Handbook

 In all of the years of breeding and puppy raising, we have learned a lot, and have been passed a lot of information from other breeders, puppy owners, and veterinarians. It is so hard to remember all of the little tips and tricks when we are handing you your new Corgi Bliss Puppy on “Gotcha Day”, so we’ve decided to put it all in one place that can be easily accessed. This is an ongoing document that we will continue to add information onto as we continue to learn more. Because with dogs, you never stop learning!

Every puppy goes home with a printed copy of this Handbook.

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Managing Worms and Parasites...

              If you breed any number of years, have dogs come to your home, bring your dogs to public places (parks, ponds, daycare/boarding facilities, etc.), or play with your dog outside (they pick up things in their mouths that they shouldn’t!), there are certain things you can never prevent … and that is parasites and worms. All of our puppies are raised indoors here at Corgi Bliss, and the mother is dewormed and treated before she births. We have a preventative deworming schedule for puppies, and their puppy pen is disinfected daily. Bedding is changed daily or more if needed. 

              While we deworm the puppies on a schedule, we still recommend that you continue to deworm your puppy at your vet check. Puppies have weaker immune systems, so while older dogs carry the DORMANT parasites/worms, puppies have not built up antibodies to fight them. This means they are susceptible to reinfesting themselves even in the most sterile of environments. Puppies don’t exactly watch where they walk, or a visitor can walk into our home with eggs or spores on their shoes, and it can be transferred to the puppies. Some spores are airborne, some are in rainwater, some can be found in the puddles outside in the yard (like giardia). This is why we are very tight with our biosecurity, and ask that visitors spray down their shoes and/or use hand sanitizer when entering our home.

              Certain bacteria, such as coccidia, may not even show up in a stool sample, and can lie dormant for years. When puppies become stressed, these bacteria replicate and can show up after your pup goes home. It is NOT due to neglect or unsanitary conditions on the part of the breeder or owner. Believe me, if there was a fix all, we would do it- these puppies are in our home and part of our family! As the leading reproduction vet of the USA, Dr. Bramlage, says: “Intestinal parasites have been around since dinosaurs and are not going away – you need to manage them.”

              We refuse to keep our puppies and dogs cooped up in kennels. This is not a natural environment for a dog to live in, and is detrimental to their health. We want them to be involved with our family, indoor life, and outdoor exercise on a daily basis. This means that they may drink from puddles while out hiking- we are dealing with living things in a world that is not free of germs or diseases, therefore cannot expect our dogs to be 100% free of anything.

With that said, let me also stress that although we vaccinate our puppies, there are STILL viruses out there that do NOT have a vaccine available for them. 

              Facts: Surveys show that as much as 100% of kennel dogs , 50% of pups, and 10% of other well-cared dogs carry worms and parasites at some time in their life. This can be picked up from the water, the air, or transmission from human to dog, or dog to dog.

              Coccidia is in the intestinal lining of every dog. When under stress, it tends to replicate, and even when it does not show itself on a fecal float, it will appear suddenly after a pup goes home, due to puppy stress in the new environment.

              Roundworms – are transferred through the mother, all pups are born with them…sometimes (very rarely) not. We treat starting at 2 weeks old, which should be continued.

              Hookworms, whipworms – common intestinal worms that can be picked up by sniffing another dog’s stool. These are easily treated with dewormers.

              Just some things to be aware of, as we try to educate our clients as much as we can before bringing their new pup home! We wish you many years of health and happiness with your new Family Member! 

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Puppy Proofing Your Home

              Puppy-proofing is a lot like baby-proofing your home. Get down to a puppy’s level and remove or safeguard anything that they could possibly mess with, and everything about 4 feet up, anything near furniture that they can get onto, etc. It is amazing what they can get into! Prevention can save you a lot of worrying and possible emergency vet visits. Here are some things that you can do to help puppy-proof your home:

  • Secure electrical outlets and cords. Puppies learn about the world through their mouths. Make sure that any loose electrical cords are secured or inaccessible to the puppy. Chewing on an active wire can be very harmful to your pup, or potentially deadly.

  • Keep Medication or cleaners secured in a closed cabinet. Puppies can chew through containers to get to things!

  • Keep your puppy away from toxic plants, both in and out of the house. Here’s a list of known harmful plants that can cause illness from mild to deadly. Autumn crocus, Azaleas, Bleeding Heart, Buttercups, Castor bean, Daffodil, Dutchman’s Breeches, Elderberry, Foxglove, Golden Chain, Hyacinth, Iris, Japanese Yew, Jack-In-the-Pulpit, Larkspur, Lily of the Valley, Mistletoe, Narcissus, Oleander, Poinsettia, Rhubarb, Rhododendrons, just about any kind of bulb and beware those peach and cherry pits!

  • Use pesticides and rodent poisons with caution and make sure that the puppy cannot get to them. Rat baits are sometimes mixed with grains and can be attractive to pets. Same with boxes or plastic packages…..puppy could try to play with them and ingest the contents!

  • Don’t invite other dogs over to your house unless your puppy has had all of their vaccinations. If friends do come over make sure they are folk who are meticulous about the health of their pets!

  • Don’t leave cigarettes or butts on the table or in the ashtrays. Puppies could eat them and get nicotine poisoning.

  • Watch out for Christmas ornaments, tinsel, and other decorations. Broken Christmas balls can lead to nasty cuts, and metallic tinsel can cause poisoning.   Other decorations may be toxic, as well..

  • Don’t leave candles burning where puppies can touch them. Puppies are curious creatures and can get burned.

  • Keep the toilet lid down if you use cleaners. They may be alkaline and tempting for the puppy or dog to drink.

  • Dispose of bones so that puppy cannot get to them. Puppies will be attracted to the smell in the trashcan and ingested bones can be deadly.

  • Don’t leave sewing needles or pins out. Something else for those nosy pups to put in their mouths!

  • Antifreeze is out of reach and drippings are cleaned up immediately! Sweet-tasting antifreeze is deadly to pups.

In case of an accident, have your veterinarian’s phone number in your contacts or on your fridge!
 

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Feeding Your Puppy

             I am sending you home with a bag of food that I've been feeding your pup. I would keep them on this food for the whole bag while they are transitioning to your home, and then slowly transition to a different high-quality food if you would prefer.
 

             The #1 cause of diarrhea in puppies is overeating, and these are true corgis! I will be feeding them on a snuff matt to help slow them down, so I would recommend a slow-feeding bowl. If you want to use a regular bowl, make sure to put enough water in to at least cover the kibble. This will make them slow down- otherwise you may see your puppy inhaling their food and then puking it back up a few minutes later. Another fun thing to do is use their food as training treats- teach them to sit while feeding, giving a little at a time, and it will get your puppy into the right mindset for learning tricks from the get-go!

             I feed them about ¼ - ½ a cup of food three times a day. If they are looking a little large, cut out the lunch and just feed twice a day. Corgis can get fat off of air, so it will be a constant thing to keep an eye on.

             Choosing the right food, and the process of switching over.
 

             When choosing a new dog food, make sure to research any recent recalls, and make sure that it is a high quality food. We recommend brands such as Pro Plan, Taste of the Wild, Fromm, Merrick or Acana. The best resource to see the rating and recalls on all of these brands is :

 

www.dogfoodadvisor.com

 

             We always try to direct people to this site. With the availability of dog food through online ordering, it is easier and easier to get a more high-quality food than what most grocery stores sell. If you are ordering online, we recommend using chewy.com over Amazon, because their warehouses seem to be more reliable when they have to store their food.

 

             Another fun thing is 100% pumpkin. A tablespoon of this in every meal is a good binder and tasty treat. Make sure that it is 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling!
 

             Having a probiotic on hand, such as Proviable DC, Visibiome (Best), or Fortiflora is a great way to keep that gut healthy during the transition to a new home and the vaccination ages. We like to mix it into their food. The pill forms are best crushed or the capsule dumped into the food instead of the full pill. I'll be sending you home with a few packets of Fortiflora so be sure to use these for those first days of transition!

When to switch from puppy to adult food.

             In general, we recommend switching your puppy to an adult formula food between 6 - 8 months of age. Some research is suggesting that the added calcium in puppy formulas can cause your puppy to grow too fast, resulting in growing pains such as Panosteitis (Bone inflammation).

Common Questions and Answers

             What do I do if my puppy isn’t eating?

             If your puppy did not finish it’s meal, take the food bowl away. This will teach him to eat when the food is available. 

             What do I do if my puppy refuses to eat for more than a day?

              If your puppy is lethargic, vomiting, shows other signs of illness, or hasn’t eaten in three consecutive meals, call your veterinarian. It may be a sign of a health problem.

             My Puppy sometimes spits up after eating, is this normal?

             Puppies sometimes eat or drink water too fast. This can cause them to throw up their meal. We recommend feeding through a Kong Weeble-Wobble Treat Dispenser to slow them down, or purchasing an anti-gulping bowl. If vomiting happens after every meal, call your veterinarian.

Treats: the Dos and Don’ts

Safe Treats:

Treats to Avoid: 

  • Chocolate or Cocoa

  • Grapes and Raisins

  • Avocados

  • Onions and Garlic

  • Alcohol

Top 11 Poisons for Dogs:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.)

  • Chocolate

  • Insecticides (sprays, bait, spot-on flea/tick treatments)

  • Rodenticides (rat or mouse poison)

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)

  • Sudafed

  • Household Cleaners

  • Antidepressants (Human)

  • Bleach

  • Fertilizer

  • Hydrocarbons (paint, varnish, lighter fluids, radiator coolant, nail polish remover, anti-freeze, etc.

  • Xylitol (Gum!)

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Crate Training

             First of all, please understand that crate training is not cruel. In spite of what some people may have told you, breeders and veterinarians recommend using a crate for your dog from a young age. We strongly recommend crate training your puppy from the start. By crate training the puppy, you are protecting your puppy from potentially deadly situations. With crate training, you are training your puppy in positive and safe ways. No harm is done to the puppy while it is in the crate for reasonable periods of time.

             For thousands of years, dogs in the wild have sought out small “dens,” where they can feel safe and sheltered while resting, caring for puppies, or recovering from an injury or illness. Giving your puppy their own personal bedroom can help them feel more secure.

             This method is also extremely effective for house training while you're not keeping a hawk eye on them—dogs won’t want to soil their bed, but will have little issue with sneaking into another room of the house to go if they’re not yet fully trained. We recommend crating your pup until they are trustworthy to be left home alone in the house (usually after 8 month or so).

             Please remember that 8-week-old puppies need to urinate about every 2 hours, so leaving them in a crate all day is not good for their mind or body. If you are at work for the whole day, look into local doggie daycare providers. Daycare will help your dog socialize with other dogs, and they will be under constant supervision.

  

Tips for training:

  • Puppies will go through a chew phase, and we recommend taking your pup's collar off when crating to make sure that they don't have a chance to chew off and ingest their collars.

  • Feed your pup in their crate. This gets them more comfortable, and is a clear reward for when they go in.

  • Cut off access to food and water after 6 PM, or about 2 hours before "bed time". While it may seem mean, this helps set your puppy up for success for the night.

  • No matter how much they cry, don't give in! By letting them out of the crate you are teaching them that if they cry, they will get rewarded by being let out.

  • Do not leave bedding in the crate with small puppies unattended. They will see the material as something to rip, shred, ingest, and pee on!

  • Start with a small crate that they can stand up in, but is small enough that they can not choose a back corner to eliminate in. Most larger wire crates come with dividers that you can use to make your big crates smaller, which is a more affordable way to crate train.

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When to Spay & Neuter

             This is a hot topic in the past 10 years when it comes to pets. Vets and shelters push for an early spay/neuter to help with overpopulation, but a lot of recent studies have shown that there can be complications due to spaying or neutering your pet too early.  We personally recommend waiting until your dog is at least 12 months in age before neutering, preferably longer.  It is ultimately down to what you can handle as a pet owner.

Facts:

  • Dogs have growth plates that take anywhere from 18 to 24 months to close. Dogs Spayed or Neutered before the closing of the growth plates were found to be taller and longer boned (more gangly) than their intact siblings. When you see the father of your puppy at 5 years as compared to 2 years, you would see the major difference. Neutered and spayed dogs don’t “bulk out” as they normally would due to the lack of hormones to support them. This can take away from the presence of the German Shepherd.

  • A study done in 2013 using Golden Retrievers found that males neutered before the age of 12 months had double the risk of developing hip dysplasia than their intact littermates.

  • Two studies done for dogs who were spayed and neutered before the age of 6 months showed as much as a 70% increased risk for Hip dysplasia. (Victor Spain , van Hagan

  • Whitehair et al (JAVMA Oct 1993), found that spayed and neutered dogs of any age were twice as likely to suffer cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Slauterbeck et al also found an increased risk (Clin Orthop Relat Res Dec 2004).

  • The Golden Retriever study looked at cancer rates and found that the incidence of lymphosarcoma was three times higher in males neutered before 12 months of age. Interestingly the percentage of hemangiosarcoma in females spayed after 12 months was four times higher than that of intact and even early-spayed females. Additionally, 6% of females spayed after 12 months were affected with mast cell cancer, while there were zero cases among the intact females.

  • A recent study on Vizslas showed that the incidence of all cancers in spayed females was 6.5 times higher and in neutered males was 3.6 times higher than intact dogs. They also found that the younger the dogs were spayed/neutered, the younger they were when diagnosed with cancer.

  • In the Vizsla study, they found that spayed and neutered dogs were also more likely to develop behavior disorders than intact dogs. The original idea of a more mellow companion through spaying/neutering was theorized because they knew that dogs that did not have as high of a sex drive were less likely to wander if they smelled another intact dog in season. While this is true, they found that the sterilized dogs had more fears and anxieties than intact dogs, and some studies pointed to them being more aggressive, excitable, and less trainable.

  • The hormones produced by the reproductive organs removed during a spay/neuter are responsible for the development of homeostasis, body condition, cholesterol levels, energy levels, urinary continence, muscle tone, cognition, behavior, a major role in the development of their immune system.

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Biting/Teething

             Oh boy- this is always the tough one. You just want to cuddle and hug your puppy, but they may turn into a piranha until they are around 12 weeks of age. It is maddening and a real tear-jerker at times. You'll question if you took home a cute little corgi puppy, or a baby velociraptor in disguise! Those needle-like teeth are looking for relief through this teething stage, and while I will have already started with the biting correction- it is up to you to keep up with this task. Swatting a pup on the nose doesn't seem to be effective in this setting- in a strange way, you want them to know what your fingers feel like. That way they have more respect in the future when grabbing a treat or toy from your hand. When they are biting at my hands, I turn my hand into a fist and rotate it in their mouth. Not enough to hurt them, but enough to make it uncomfortable and not fun anymore! This makes them realize, "Oh, I don't get what I want, and I don't like what they do in response to it, so I guess I won't do it." I also make sure to have toys on hand, and if I can redirect them to a toy, then mission is accomplished!
             How momma corrects biting and weans her puppies: she will put her mouth over the top of their snout and push down and away, sometimes holding them down for a second or two like this. It isn't harmful, but there is enough pressure to be assertive and get the point across. I do this (with my hand) when they are going after ankles. Herding breeds do have a real love of ankles!

             The important thing to note is that biting is normal play behavior in puppies. That is how they play. When they do not have siblings or other dogs to knaw on, they assume that it is normal to play that way with you. it is important to set those parameters with puppies when they are young.
             Frozen whole carrots! These are a wonderful and safe way to give your pup something to do during down time. It takes energy to gnaw on that frozen treat, and it comes apart in shavings vs. chunks, so it takes time and is less of a choking hazard. It is also frozen, so gives a little relief on those little gums. Starting at 6 weeks of age, I will be giving them each about a 2 - 3 inch section every night. Just don't be alarmed when their stools have some neon chunks in there!

             Avoid Rawhide!! Rope Toys and Tennis Balls should only be used under supervision, as they can be easily torn apart and ingested. A friend of mine had to do major surgery on her corgi puppy after she ate part of a ball!

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Stairs

             It is important for your puppy's developing bones to avoid stairs until they are around 5 - 6 months of age. One to three/four steps from a porch are okay, but you will have to encourage them to use those, as they won't have been exposed to any stairs while here. To put it bluntly, your pup is just a sack of bones that have not grown a proper connection to each other yet. Climbing stairs at a young age can cause an environmental change in their joints that will come back to haunt them when they are older. When going up and down the stairs, be sure to carry them. It's another excuse to snuggle your puppy! We have a gate at the bottom of our stairs so that they can't attempt to sneak up while we aren't looking. Baby gates work fabulously for this.

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Socialization/ Training:

             We occassionally board dogs, and also breed German Shepherds through our house, so these puppies will be used to different types of dogs of all shapes and sizes. After they have completed their final round of Parvo/Distemper (around 12 weeks), I would recommend taking them to puppy socialization classes and/or obedience classes. It is important to start obedience training young with Corgis, as they seem to learn better if you get them into that mindset as a puppy. If you try doing things later on, some corgis become too strong in their "Corgi-tude" to fully grasp new tricks. Old dog, new tricks mentality and all.

             When in doubt, hire a trainer! If there is a behavior that you just aren't able to get on top of, please hire a trainer before it escalates. it is important for the trainer to work with both you and the dog so that we as owners can adapt and adjust how we are doing things. Sometimes we are not realizing quite the body language that we are doing to allow certain behaviors, and a trainer with an "outside eye" can point it out.

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Potty Training

             Your puppy will be mostly paper trained by the time they go home with you. We use pee pads and newspaper in a designated potty area on a boot or rabbit tray and make sure to leave one "pee-paper" on the bottom for smell recognition at first. When potty training, I like to set up a tray near the door and keep a close eye on them. When they start to circle while sniffing the ground, grab your pup and the tray and put them outside. When the puppy pees or poops, reward them with only one high-reward treat or a very enthusiastic "Good Boy/Girl!!" This will help the puppy transition to asking by the door to go out.