Preparing for Your Puppy
Your New Puppy!
Here are a few things you'll need to do to prepare for your puppy's arrival home...
Puppy Obedience Training: If you would like your puppy to stay with us longer for obedience, crate, and potty training, please review our puppy training options here and fill out the training form that best suits the depth of training you would like your puppy to receive.
Shot Record: We will administer the 7/8 week shots and supply you with a medical record of dates and medications/dewormers your puppy has received. You will need to take a stool sample to your vet or a VIP Pet Care Clinic the first week after your puppy goes home. Your puppy will need its next round of shots when they are 12 and 16 weeks. If you don’t have a veterinarian already, you should decide what vet you will use or call 800.427.7973 to find the VIP clinic nearest you. (VIP Pet care provides a wide variety of preventative care services, all administered by a licensed veterinarian, hosted at local pet stores.)
Health Insurance: In order to pick up your puppy, you must have health insurance that is effective at 8 weeks old (with no grace period). Health insurance can give you a peace of mind knowing that if your puppy gets hurt or sick, they will be covered by insurance. Some insurance plans also cover yearly health checks and vaccines, spay, and neuter. The Insurance we recommend is Trupanion. (You can use the discount code: BR1SL9718. This code gives your puppy instant coverage.) You must do this the day before pick out at 8 weeks. Trupanion will only let you purchase the insurance the day before or day that your puppy is 8 weeks old. They will not let you purchase the insurance earlier. If your puppy is getting trained, you will need insurance starting when the puppy is 8 weeks old.
Your Puppy Food and Supplies: You will want to be prepared with the Life’s Abundance food that the puppies are eating now. A sudden change in food will cause digestive problems at this age. Because your puppy's digestive system is sensitive, we do not recommend giving your puppy any treats until 6 months old. Use the puppy's food as a treat when training. We highly recommend keeping your puppy on our Life’s Abundance dog food. Orders placed online are delivered to your door in a few days. Puppy shampoo, ear cleaner, wellness vitamins, and treats are also available through this website. Click here for more information
Puppy Food: Choose All Life's Stages (green/white bag). You can also order ear cleaner, wellness vitamins, treats, and agility joint supplements from this same link. If you click the auto-ship button you will get wholesale pricing. Shipping is $8.95 no matter how many bags or items you order. (If you don’t like shipping charges, you can order a few bags at a time.) Because we believe that we have the healthiest dog food, we will extend your health guarantee to 5 years if your puppy/dog stays on our Life’s Abundance food and supplements. We recommend ordering this week, so your items will arrive before your puppy comes home. Click here to order food now. We do have small 8 lb. bags available for purchase when you pick up your puppy if your food does not arrive in time.
Probiotics: I recommend giving your puppy probiotics to help with the changing environments. We like to also give a tablespoon of 100% canned pumpkin with the probiotics. We use Bernie's Perfect Poop Supplement which has probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and fiber! When you first give Bernie's Perfect Poop Supplement, give 1/2 teaspoon (Don't follow the dosage directions on the bag), you can slowly increase the dosage after they are 5 months old. To Receive 20% off Enter the code: STOFER20 at checkout when you select “SUBSCRIBE & SAVE.” Click HERE to order Bernie's Perfect Poop! Even with preventative care, expect your puppy to have a loose stool every so often because they explore the world through their mouths and therefore ingest things that affect their immature digestive system. Giardia, Coccidia, and roundworms are all common parasites that puppies get and are effectively treated with dewormers.
Dog Crate: We are starting your puppy's crate training, so if you plan to continue using a crate, you will want to purchase this item beforehand. Click here to see the crate that we recommend. You can use the crate divider when the puppy is small, and then slowly expand the inside area as the puppy grows. Read more information on crate training below.
Exercise Fencing: We use exercise fencing to expand our indoor area for the puppies. We push the crate up to the doggie door so the puppies can let themselves outside to play and go potty. As they get proficient in going outside to go potty, we attach exercise fencing to their crate to expand their indoor area. This is not sufficient enough room to leave your puppy in long term (they need to be able to come in your space with you and interact with you), but it works well when you have to leave for errands or appointments.
Puppy Exercise/Socialization: You must do weekly play dates withy your puppy. We recommend 3-5 playdates per week. Please read section below titled "Plan Puppy Play Dates." Also please keep in mind, over exercising your puppy (eg. playing ball continuously and/or taking your puppy for a run/jog or any other strenuous activity) during the first year and a half can cause joint problems and injuries. The BEST exercise is to let them play with other puppies/dogs at their own leisure. This is crucial from 8 weeks to 18 months.
Once your puppy is fully vaccinated you can join our Stofer Lab meet up groups in your area. Click here for a link to locations and times.
Dog Door: Your puppy’s potty training has been started and they are learning how to go out a dog door to do their business. A dog door eliminates the chore of taking your puppy out every hour to go potty during the daytime. Installing the dog door set up makes raising a puppy much easier and enjoyable! I highly recommend it! See pictures below for the suggested dog door set up.
Puppy Proof in and around your home: Before your puppy comes home puppy proof your inside and outside your home. Don’t leave shoes or anything you don’t want your puppy to chew on laying around the floor. Make sure your puppy does not have access to electrical cords, they love to chew on them. Having lots of chew toys around greatly helps as well. Read our Healthcare page to learn more about common household puppy toxins.
Arranging for Pick up: If we haven't already scheduled your pick up time, please text me so I can coordinate that with you. Pick up times are usually scheduled one to two weeks before your puppy is ready to go home.
American Kennel Club: We have registered the litter with the American Kennel Club (AKC). When you pick up your puppy, we will give you the necessary paperwork to register (by mail or online) as the owner of your dog, so you can receive the official AKC pedigree papers.
Also, be sure to review important information on the food that we use.
Favorite Adult Dog Collars: Click here
If you ever have problems with your puppy/dog eating poop, click here to stop it! This fruit works great!! When introducing anything new into your puppy/dog's diet, we recommend giving 1/4 - 1/2 of the recommended dose for the first few days to avoid an upset tummy.
Before you bring your puppy home, identify rules you want your puppy (and family) to live by. Preparing for your puppy's arrival will help you establish a healthy daily routine as soon as your puppy arrives home. Establishing solid puppy raising principles is key to building a successful and enjoyable relationship with your new companion. Here are some guidelines to help you get started:
Establish Family Rules
As a family, decide on rules for your new puppy and expectations of your role in caring for the puppy. The rules and ground manners you establish now will transfer over to the rest of your dog’s life. If you do not want a full-sized dog jumping up on your couch, don’t allow your puppy to jump up on the couch. If you'd like your puppy to stay off furniture, we recommend holding your puppy while sitting on the floor. Here are a few questions to stimulate your thinking: where will the puppy sleep? who will feed the puppy? who will exercise the puppy? who will clean up after the puppy? will the puppy get treats? when and how often? who will groom the puppy? who will train the puppy?
Plan Puppy Play Dates
Our puppies get lots of socialization from people and also from playing with each other. It is critical that you continue this socialization process with lots of new people and schedule playdates for your puppy to play with other dogs (of any ages). The most critical age for consistent socialization is between 8 weeks and 18 months. If you don’t have playdates, your puppy can become very mouthy (trying to bite your hands) and can also become shy, skittish or even aggressive around new people or dogs. If your puppy hasn’t had all of its shots, schedule playdates in your backyard or a trusted friend’s backyard. It does not matter the age of the dog that you are scheduling a play date with; well mannered, older dogs often have a lot to offer when it comes to teaching puppies to be respectful. Start planning for the play dates in advance of your puppy's arrival home. You MUST do playdates for the mental health of your puppy.
First, I can not emphasize enough how much easier your life will be if you install a doggy door in your home and set up a puppy area similar to what you see in the photos. This picture gives you a look at how we “start puppy potty training”. The puppies have a small indoor area with lots of toys and blankets. We teach them to go out through the dog door to “do their business”. Once a week (or every few days depending on how well they are doing) I will expand their outdoor and indoor area.
This photo of a sliding glass door gives you an example of how you can set up your house for your new puppy so that they can go in and out on their own to go potty. Having a dog door setup will make your life a lot easier. The set up below is using the dog door insert for a sliding glass door. Here is a link to a few different dog door inserts: Dog Door Sliding Glass Door. They are easy to install and can be easily removed. You can also put a dog door in a wall or a door.
If you decide not to install a dog door, you can still confine your puppy to a play area when they are not with you using a puppy playpen, which are available at your local pet supply store or online. Be patient and consistently bring them outside to go to the bathroom every hour during the day while they are awake.
We spend time crate training the puppies every day before they go to their new homes so that they will be more comfortable in a crate. This teaches them to have an inner confidence and patience when left alone. You can purchase a large (42″) or medium (36″) crate. If you would only like to buy one crate for your puppy, you can get an adult lab sized crate that comes with a divider and insert the divider to customize for the current size of your puppy. Crate training can be very challenging, please read more about crate training crate training.
Here is a list of suggested items to purchase prior to bringing your puppy home:
Life's Abundance - you can order your puppy's food as well as the wellness supplement, fish oil, agility joint supplement, ear cleaner, shampoo and treats from the same link. Remember to click the Auto Ship button to receive wholesale pricing
Bernie's Perfect Poop Supplement which has probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, and fiber! When you first give Bernie's Perfect Poop Supplement, give 1/4 of the recommended dosage to start, then slowly increase to the recommended dosage after 4 weeks. To Receive 20% off Enter the code: STOFER20 at checkout when you select “SUBSCRIBE & SAVE.”
Crate - large (42") or medium (36") to order the crate - we recommend click here
Mendota slip lead or leash - At Stofer’s Labs, we use Mendota Slip collar leads (½” X 6’ ). When used correctly, this is the best leash you will ever buy. We have Mendota leashes in stock.
Bowls for food and water
Blankets or towels for crate
Lots of chew toys ~ Benebones are my favorite!
Nail clippers (& styptic powder, just in case the nail bleeds)
Ear cleaner (use ear cleaner each time they have a bath so that they don’t get an ear infection.)
Panacur Dewormer -this particular dewormer treats both round worm and giardia. Puppies should be dewormed regularly.
Click to read our Foundational Obedience Training for Puppies and Raising a Mellow Stofer Lab so you can start teaching your puppy as soon as he/she comes home! We recommend that you print the documents and apply the training guidelines regularly.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, and self-control.” ~Galatians 5:22-23