Before you bring your new Doberman puppy home there are a few things that you should make sure that you have available. You should have a good quality puppy food for you Doberman puppy. There are many varieties of puppy and dog food on the market, some good, some not so good. Our puppies here at Von Madoc Dobermans are fed Victor Select Hi-Pro Plus for active dogs and puppies. Our adult dogs are fed Victor Select beef and brown rice. Victor is a high quality dog food that has a 4 star rating on www.dogfoodadvisor.com. Victor is a more natural alternative to the grain-based ingredients of many commercial dog foods. Victor is produced by by a family operated company, Mid America Pet Food. The information regarding Victor Dog Food is available at www.victordogfood.com
VICTOR SELECT HI-PRO PLUS Active Dog & Puppy Calorie Content (calculated):ME 3894 kcal/kg;429 kcal/cup Formula for Active Dog & Puppies contains high levels of Proteins and Energy with only 30% carbohydrates! This super premium food is naturally formulated with added vitamins, minerals and other additives that work together to support a strong and healthy immune and digestive system. As with all Victor dog foods, this formula is free from Corn,Wheat, Soy or Glutens and is also made GMO Free. Dogs love the all natural flavor of this super premium food!
VICTOR SELECT BEEF MEAL & BROWN RICE Calorie Content (calculated):ME 3537 kcal/kg;390 kcal/cup This is naturally formulated dog food containing added vitamins and minerals and other additives that work together to support a strong immune and digestive system. As with all Victor dog foods, this formula is free from Corn,Wheat,Soy or Glutens and is also made using wholesome grains! This nutritionally balanced food is formulated for All Life Stages.
Here in Byron, Georgia we purchase our Victor Super Premium Dog Food at Big Indian Feed and Tack located in Perry, Georgia. You can check out their website at www.bigindianfeedandtack.com
Another item that you will want to have for your Doberman puppy is an appropriately sized crate. You will want to have a crate that will allow your puppy to stand up and turn around comfortably. If the crate is too large the puppy make pick an area of the crate to use as its toilet area. This will slow down the house-breaking process considerably. A proper crate is one of the main tools used in the house-breaking process, along with a proper feeding and outdoor potty break schedule. The crate can be the plastic airline type or wire. If introduced to the crate properly the puppy will view the crate as a safe area. Grooming tools, such as a brush and nail clippers. These should be introduced to the puppy early so as to make the puppy comfortable with the grooming process.
Your new Doberman puppy should be socialized with other people and dogs as often as possible. The period of socialization for puppies is from 4 to 12 weeks. The puppy should spend as much time as possible with the family as well as other people during this period. Dobermans as a protection breed are naturally wary of strangers when they are first introduced, so socialization with as many people as possible is especially important for them. They should also be introduced to other dogs as often as possible. Dobermans can tend to be dog aggressive if not socialized to other dogs properly as puppies. Unfortunately, the 4 to 12 week socialization period will be during the vaccination schedule for your puppy, so you have to be sure that any dogs that interact with your puppy is up to date on vaccinations so that the puppy is not introduced to any infectious diseases. The puppy should also be introduced to the noises that they will encounter in the household such as the vacuum cleaner, radio, television, etc. If you have children in the household they should be taught how to interact with the puppy in a gentle and calm manner so that the puppy has an easier time adjusting to them.
Before your new Doberman puppy is brought into your home you should have a crate that is appropriate to the size of your puppy. The crate should be large enough for the puppy to stand up and turn around, but not so large as to give the puppy too much room. If the puppy has too much room they may use an area of the crate as a toilet area. This will defeat the purpose of having the crate as an aid to housebreaking. The crate, if properly introduced, should be viewed by your puppy as a safe area, or den. It will give your puppy an area to relax in when they need a break from the activity around them. The crate is also a valuable housebreaking tool, as well as an area to be in when you are not able to supervise your puppy. The crate will also serve as the area where the puppy sleeps. Having a crate for your puppy will make your life, and your puppy's life much easier. Your new puppy should be introduced to the crate in a positive manner so that there are no negative associations with the crate. One of the best ways to introduce your puppy to the crate is to start out by leaving the door open and feeding the puppy in the crate, as well as putting the puppy's toys in the crate so that the puppy views the crate as a positive and fun place to be. you should not use your puppy's crate as a place of punishment as this will create negative associations with the crate and will lengthen the process of making your puppy comfortable with the crate. Once your puppy is comfortable in the crate with the door open, you can begin to close and latch the door for short periods of time. These periods can be gradually lengthened until the puppy can remain in the crate for up to four hours without a negative reaction. The puppy should not be kept in the crate for more than four hours at a time if possible. The puppy may whine and cry for the first few nights that it is left alone in the crate. This is normal as the puppy needs time to get used to being away from his mother and littermates. Try not to reinforce the whining behavior by taking the puppy out when it whines, as this will only reinforce the whining behavior and lengthen the process for the puppy. If you want to take the puppy from the crate try to do so at a time when the puppy is not whining and praise the puppy as you take it from the crate. This will help to reinforce the idea that the puppy should be quiet in the crate. When the puppy is placed in the crate overnight, you can place it's favorite toy in the crate to help the puppy cope with being alone in the crate.
Housebreaking your new Doberman puppy will be one of the more important types of training that you will do. Housebreaking a puppy seems to strike into the heart of many dog owners. However, if done correctly it should not prove to be a very difficult task. This being said, all puppies and dogs are different just as all people are different. Even puppies and dogs from the same breed can be very different depending on the bloodlines that they come from. Some puppies will pick up the housebreaking process quickly while others will take more time. Each puppy is an individual. Dobermans tend to learn the housebreaking process rather quickly, but again it depends on the individual puppy and their rate of learning and their personality. You should not be discouraged if it takes your puppy a little longer to learn the process. With persistence, patience, and most importantly, a proper schedule that is consistently followed, your puppy should come around. The main key to housebreaking your puppy is to plan and maintain a proper feeding schedule along with a consistent schedule of potty breaks outside. The crate will also be a key component in the housebreaking process. One of the key elements to remember when starting the housebreaking process are, puppies will need to be taken out to their potty area every one and a half to two hours. Also puppies tend to need to go potty about twenty minutes after eating and drinking, about twenty minutes after waking up from a nap, and about twenty minutes after vigorous play. If you wish for your puppy to go potty in a particular area, you should take them to this area and praise them when they go potty in this area. With several repetitions they should learn that this is their spot. They will smell the area where they have gone potty before and if consistently taken to this area, should accept this area as their potty spot.
Critical Periods in a Puppy's Life
The information on critical periods in a puppy' life is from the book, The Dog's Mind: Understanding Your Dog's Behavior, by Bruce Fogle, D.V.M. The periods of a puppy's life are broken down into four periods: 1. The Prenatal Period - before birth 2. The Neonatal Period - 0 to 2 weeks 3. The Transitional Period - 2 to 4 weeks 4. The Socialization Period - (to dogs) 4 to 6 weeks (to humans) 4 to 12 weeks
1. The Prenatal Period
The main thing to keep in mind during this period is that factors that affect the pregnant female can also affect the puppies, the main factor being stress. The pregnant female should be kept in as stress free an environment as possible. There is some evidence, although based on research in rats, that stress during pregnancy can produce fearful offspring as well as offspring with reduced learning ability.
2. The Neonatal Period
At birth puppies are completely dependent on their mother's care as their senses are not yet developed. Puppies later behavior can be affected by the way the mother acts with them during the neonatal period. Although genetics plays an part in the development of the puppies' later behavior, the environment, or the nurturing behavior of the dam also has an impact on later behavior. Both nature and nurture are involved in the later development of the behavior of th puppies. The mother is affected by the puppies behavior in certain ways, such as the erratic behavior of the puppies' inducing the mother to feed and care for the puppies. The Puppies are also affected by the mother's behavior during the neonatal period. The way that the mother behaves with the puppies has a major impact on the way that the puppies behave later in life. Things that happen during the neonatal period can have a tremendous impact on the puppies' later behavioral development. Once the litter is born the mother assumes complete care of the newborn puppies. The mother licks the ano-genital region of the puppies which allows them to urinate and defecate. This behavior serves the purpose of allowing the puppies to get the scent of the mother's saliva which lead them, by smell back to the mother's teats for feeding. This cleaning behavior also served the purpose of keeping the nest area clean so that predators would not be attracted to the den area in wild canids. During the neonatal period puppies should be placed under mild stress. Evidence has shown that mild stresses placed on puppy during this period will help with the development of the puppies' mind and possibly help puppies cope with stress later in life. This mild stress can be placed on puppies by daily handling. The puppies should be handled regularly during the first few weeks of life. Although the care of the puppies' during the first few weeks of life is provided by the mother, early handling of the puppies, as well as the way that the mother acts with the puppies can have a tremendous effect on the puppies' behavior later in life. The neonatal period is a very important period in a puppy's life.
3. The Transitional Period
During the Transitional Period the puppies' senses are starting to develop. They start to recognize the world around them. They start to move out of the nest area to eliminate away from the nest. The puppies' will start to perform behaviors such as wagging their tails, barking, and growling. The eyes open at around 10 days of age, but vision is very limited. By 4 weeks of age the vision of the puppies' is comparable to that of an adult. It will take about a week longer before the puppies' recognize objects from a distance. The puppies' ear canals will open at between 12 and 14 days. The puppies' will also show a startle response by 12 to 14 days. At the age of between 3 and 4 weeks the puppies' will be able to orient themselves in an upright position. At birth only the puppies' heads have touch reflexes. By 2 weeks their front legs will have touch reflexes, and by 3 weeks their back legs will have touch reflexes. They are able to sit at 2 weeks old and stand at 3 weeks old. Once they have the touch reflexes in both their front and back legs it should be only a few more days before they are able to walk. Pain sensation is very slow at birth, but by 2 weeks the pain sensation of the puppies' will be similar to an adult's. During the transitional period the mother starts the process of weaning the puppies. The transitional Period is a very important period in the Puppies' lives. Things that happen during this period can affect the puppies for the rest of their lives. A very stimulating environment that allows the puppies' to use their brains such as puzzles to solve and toys, etc. will improve the puppies' ability to learn.
4. The Socialization Period
By 4 weeks of age the puppies' are well suited to communicating with each other and us. Their senses are developed and their mind is myelinized and ready for learning. During the 4 to 5 weeks period the puppies' relationship with their mother evolves from a dependent relationship to a dominance/submission relationship. The mother will start to walk away as the puppies are nursing. She will also begin to threaten them with growls and inhibited bites. Studies have shown that the more a mother threatens her puppies and uses inhibited bites, the more likely the puppies are to be more withdrawn socially. The mothers who use less aggression to control their puppies will tend to have more socially outgoing puppies. It is during this period of socialization that puppies learn to be dogs by interacting with their littermates and forming a heirarchy of dominant and submissive puppies within the litter. It is also during this period of socialization that puppies learn to interact with humans.