In preparing for the arrival of a Christmas puppy in the home, one of the things that should have been settled in advance of his coming is where he shall sleep. Both the comfort of the dog and the peace of the family are involved in finding a good answer.
Sleeping and Eating
For both sleeping and eating, the dog in the home should have a place he can rightfully consider his own. If left to his own devices in finding a place to sleep he will appropriate the softest chairs and the best rugs. It is canine nature, inherited from wild ancestry, to scratch out or tread down a shallow hollow in which to curl up and rest.
Unless provided with a place of his own, he will try to make such a nest in the softest and most sheltered place available, quite probably the corner of the settee or between the pillows of the guest-room bed.
Having been suddenly deprived of the association of his mother and brothers and sisters, he is not likely to be particularly happy his first nights in strange surroundings. He quite probably will whimper and cry.
However, it would be a great mistake to give in to his pleadings for company. A night or two of interrupted sleep at the start is a small price to pay for making the puppy learn that he must stay where he is told when the members of his new “family” are in bed.
He will try to avoid the draftiness of floors, which is one of the reasons that his bed should be raised a bit from the floor and protected with sides.
The dog must be taught from the start that it is his place to sleep. When he has been accustomed to sleeping elsewhere it may be difficult to get him to transfer to another bed.
As an alternative to a more formal bed, a carton, cut down so that the puppy can get in and out easily, can be most satisfactory. In it, as in a regular bed, should be placed shavings, or – and this is probably what he has been accustomed to in his kennel – newspaper torn into narrow strips. In these he can scratch and circle around until he has made just the sort of resting place he wants.
Now a few tips on the feeding of the new puppy:
At the time of purchase he will have been weaned and will probably be 6 to 8 weeks’ old. At this stage he will still be dependent on milk for the greater part of his nourishment. But the digestive organs have begun to change and acid is making its appearance in the gastric juice in sufficient quantity to digest meat.
It must never be forgotten that all dogs are primarily carnivorous animals, and if the owner desires to raise a healthy dog, meat is essential. A 6-weeks-old puppy should have at least four meals a day.
Warm milk with a dry cereal is the correct morning meal. If the puppy does not finish the meal, the remaining food should be removed in a few minutes and nothing else given until the next feeding hour. In this way the puppy will learn to eat at regular intervals in stead of picking at the plate whenever the fancy to do so comes into its mind.
The next meal should be given about noon and should consist of raw mince meat. The amount must be left to the dog owner. As a guide, a 6-weeks-old fox terrier will take a ball of mince meat about the size of a small hen’s egg. It is better to slightly season meat with salt.
At about 4 pm the puppy may be given a repetition or the morning meal of milk and dry cereal. The milk may be replaced by clear broth or soup stock.
At about 8 pm give a second small meal of meat. A final meal of warm milk or broth between 10 and midnight will often induce sleep and keep the puppy quiet until much later in the morning.
The amount of food to the meal is increased as the puppy grows and the 4 o’clock meal should be ceased at the time the second teeth are cut at about 6 months.
The puppy will begin to shed its first teeth from about 4 months, and during this stage should be allowed a large raw or cooked bone to gnaw. This will help loosen the first teeth.
Puppies are usually wormed before delivery to their new owners, but they should be again treated at 6 months.