76–79 Weeks: What to Expect From Your Puppy
A Checklist for Leaving Your Puppy Alone for an Extended Time
As your puppy gets older, you may be tempted to leave him alone for longer and longer periods. Your puppy can likely hold his bladder for 7-8 hours now and many of his bad habits, such as destroying the couch or the crate pad, may be behind him. But keep in mind that leaving a dog too long can cause physical discomfort and emotional distress. This is particularly true if your puppy needs to go to the bathroom. The stress of the discomfort coupled with the knowledge that he's not supposed to go indoors can make one unhappy puppy.
Crating your puppy is ideal but some dog owners do not like this method. If you leave your puppy out when you're gone, section off an area for him which you can make sure is free of temptations such as shoes and cat food. This also makes it less likely your puppy will have an accident. Whether crating or leaving in a sectioned-off area, there is a checklist for ensuring that his time alone is optimal.
Checklist for Leaving Your Puppy Home Alone
Secure the Area - Baby gates or dog gates work well to section off the kitchen or living room if you're not crating your puppy. You can also leave him in a closed off room but be certain his water and bed are in there.
Scan for Temptations - Make sure you do one last scan before you go out the door to make sure there is nothing dangerous or tempting for your puppy. If you use a crate, look in it before putting your puppy away in case he scavenged any goodies.
Turn on the T.V. - A low sound will help comfort your puppy such as leaving the T.V. on a channel like Animal Planet or the radio on a classical station.
Build Up the Time - Don't assume that your puppy will adjust easily from being left for one hour to six. Though their concept of time is different, leaving for longer periods allows for more time for him to get bored or destructive.
Lavish Attention - If you're gone most of the day be certain to spend quality time with your puppy exercising, playing and petting. When coming and going, act calmly so as not to draw attention to it. Once your puppy is calm, too, you can go to town with the praise.
Ideally, a dog should not be left alone for more than five hours, though up to eight hours is OK for some pups. Hiring a dog walker is a good alternative if you can't get home midday. Or, ask a trusted neighbor if they can let your pup into the backyard and play with him for a little while. Of course, never leave your puppy alone when you go on a trip - either hire a pet sitter or board him. Many of the boarding facilities today offer play time and walks so, if you choose that route, he will have some activity.
It's so tough in our society to find enough time to work, play and rest. But remember that your puppy is a part of the family and his health, safety and happiness are in your hands.
Advice from Other Dog Owners
Tips for Introducing Your New Puppy to Your Cat
We bought a baby gate before bringing our new puppy home and we put it up in the doorway to our rec room. Before bringing him in we made sure the cat was on the other side of the gate, a safe barrier to ensure both were separated but could still see each other. Of course the cat hissed and went downstairs and we corrected the puppy to leave her alone. The cat remained downstairs for a few days, then started to venture up. We always made sure the puppy didn't think the cat was a play toy and soon she was comfortable with him being in the home.
We kept the gate up for months, so that way the cat always had a safe place to be without the pup. We eventually moved the gate to our laundry room and this is where her litterbox and food stays. Cats can do some harm to a little pup so always make sure they have an escape route, and a safe room they can call their own.
~Kathy L., owner of Great Pyrenees
Supplies You'll Need When Taking Your Puppy Home
What does a puppy need?
A crate. In our modern society, even if we are home, other things distract us from the attention an uncrated puppy must have. The only real solution is to crate the dog when you aren't around. The dog may be happier in its den than loose in the house. It relaxes, it feels safe in its den. It rests, the body slows down reducing the need for water and relieving itself.
Chew toys. The pet stores are full of toys that many dogs will quickly chew up into pieces they could choke on or cause intestinal blockages. If you are not there to watch, stick to sturdy stuff such as Nylabones and Kongs. Keep a close eye on chew toys and quickly discard anything that is coming apart in pieces. Rawhide is especially bad because it swells after being swallowed. These problems are the worst with, but not limited to, large, aggressive chewers such as Labs.
Food. Find out what the breeder is feeding. If it is dry chow you can buy readily, I would stick with it until the dog is 4 months old, at that time switching to a dry adult chow for large breeds. If not, try to have the breeder give you a few days supply to use making a gradual change to a dry puppy chow.
Dishes. Empty plastic food containers are good enough. If you want something nicer, buy the spill proof ones.
A collar and leash. You should stay with a flat fabric or leather collar until your puppy is 5 months old. Then you can go with the metal slip collar with the rings on each end. Otherwise you could damage its windpipe. Put it on like this for the usual dog on the left position. Pull the chain through the one ring forming a"P." Facing the dog, slip it over its head. The free end comes over the neck allowing the other end to release pressure when the leash is slack. A five month old's head will still grow some. If you buy one that easily goes over the head, it still should come off leaving the ears when the dog finishes growing. I start the puppy out with a metal leash and switch to a leather one after the worst of the chewing is over and I need more control.
A brush. Start the puppy with a bristle brush. They don't shed much at first, and the bristle brush will remove dirt and help control odor. When shedding becomes a problem later, switch to a slicker brush with the wire teeth.
The number of a vet. It is very hard to evaluate them. Dogs need more medical care than in the past. Many new problems are wide spread.
Obedience training. A good obedience class or book is about you being top dog, not about rewarding standard commands with a treat. Start obedience training the day you get the dog. Build on the foundation of housebreaking. The younger the puppy, the shorter you must keep sessions, only a few repetitions at a time. A few minutes here and there, and by the time the puppy is 4 months old, people will be impressed with what a nice dog it is.
A Dogster bookmark so you can come back for help as needed.
I didn't forget treats, shampoo, and bedding. I seldom use them.
~Richard A., owner of Labrador Retriever