If you choose one spot in your yard where you want the puppy to go potty, teach the puppy to potty in that one area beginning as soon as you arrive home. This will allow you to only have to pick up after the puppy in one area. For an example, we have made the mistake of not doing this and continue to have big messes across 2 acres.
We suggest pulling up (taking it out of reach from the puppy) the food and water about an hour before you plan on putting the puppy in it's crate for bedtime. Take the puppy out to potty right before bed. Our puppies generally are potty trained by 4 months of age, but most pups from our recent litters slept through the night by the time they left us.
If you purchase your puppy food through Chewy.com and your puppy can't tolerate the food, Chewy will give you a new bag, a refund, or a different food to replace the bag that didn't agree with your puppy. We currently get our treats, shampoo, nail trimmers, etc. through Chewy.com.
A good enzymatic cleaner for your home is a MUST. When the puppy has an accident in the house, or gets car sick, you first need to clean up as much of the mess as you can. Wash with a mild detergent/soap after. Lastly, spray the area with the enzymatic cleaner until very damp and let it sit. The enzymes will break down the pheromones in urine/feces/vomit that makes the puppy want to go back to that area and soil it again. The enzymatic cleaner should be rinsed before the pup can access the area again.
We provide a baby receiving blanket that is washed in non-toxic laundry detergent and then rubbed on our adult Goldens, the puppies, and us. If the puppy is crated at night, place the blanket over the top of the crate. If the puppy wakes during the night, it will recognize the scent and be comforted back to sleep. The crate can also be covered with a sheet over the scented blanket. If the puppy can't see what is going on around them, they are less likely to be upset that they can't be a part of it. Puppy bladders are pretty small until they are around 4 months old, and it may be necessary to provide a potty break once throughout the night.
If your puppy has itching problems (e.g., flea bites, ant bites, etc.), try giving one capsule of Quercetin with Bromelain in the morning, and one in the evening. This is a natural remedy made of herbs, which are better for pets than pharmaceuticals. Organic turmeric powder (sold with spices in baking aisle) mixed with a touch of freshly ground pepper also fights inflammation, which is one cause of itching, and also has cancer-fighting properties. Fish oil capsules also reduce the inflammation that can lead to itching.
Please be aware that allergies and other autoimmune diseases are often caused by vaccination. Once they appear, it is nearly impossible to eradicate them.
A species appropriate raw diet is the very best diet that you can feed your puppy for lifelong health. If you can't/won't feed a raw diet, freeze dried food is the next best, because it maintains all of the nutrients, enzymes, amino acids, etc. as raw food. The next best food is dehydrated, which contains most of the same nutrients. The best food for your puppy is the food that works best for them. What does this mean? If you have been feeding a specific brand of food for more than 6 months, and your pet has no adverse reactions, the food is working well for your pet. Adverse reactions are symptoms that can develop due to a sensitivity towards an ingredient, and can include but are not limited to: itching, yeast infection (ears, skin, paws, etc.), constipation, diarrhea, foul odor, watery eyes or nose, limping, shaking of the head, and any other symptom that should not be there. Keep in mind that kibble (hard puppy or dog food) is not a complete nutritional source, despite what the bag may claim.
Feed the best quality food that you can afford, at least until the puppy has matured. Large breeds do not fully mature (brain, bones, etc.) until they are at least 18 months old, often closer to 24 months. A quality food will have DHA and EPA, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, needed for brain development (memory and learning ability). Also, Goldens can be prone to skin conditions such as itching, often a result of vaccination. Fatty acids provided in the correct ratio and in the correct proportion help to decrease the inflammation that can lead to itching. The higher quality foods may cost a little more but your puppy will eat much less, and more of the food is digested which results in less feces. We are currently feeding a raw blend and our Goldens are doing fabulous! They have become lean and trim with amazing muscle definition. They love their meals! We purchase our raw food from a co-op, and are paying about the same that we were paying to feed high end kibble. Ask us if you're interested in learning more... we will be happy to help you find a co-op in your area!
We supplement our raw food blend with organic farm-fresh chicken, and duck eggs. We also offer quail eggs when they are available. We make our own kefir using organic raw goat milk.
We also supplement (rotationally) with Missing Link Professional Strength Veterinary Formula Canine Blend that we purchase from our vet, a Natural Dietary Supplement made of whole food and food concentrates and a good source of soluble and insoluble fiber as well as essential fatty acids (Omega-3, 6, and 9), and a tablespoon or two of Braggs raw, organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar ("ACV") with "Mother" which is beneficial to their body in many ways. A bonus of ACV: no more yellow patches of grass in the yard!
Goldens love to chew on things, just like babies and toddlers. If you do not offer them something to chew on when they get bored, they will chew on your furniture, woodwork, etc. Kong toys are great. In our outside kennel, we offer our Goldens chunks of wood (not treated, of course). They love to chew on branches in the yard. There have been many stories about dogs eating things that they shouldn't, such as kitchen towels or socks. Many require surgery to remove a blockage due to this. Fortunately, none of our puppies have ever had this happen (we have been breeding Goldens since 2009). You may want to keep a close eye on your new puppy, JUST IN CASE. Also, chewing excessively can be an adverse reaction to the rabies vaccine.
A tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy. Always exercise your puppy before settling down for the night. If you cannot go for a walk or play fetch due to weather, mental stimulation will work to tire out your puppy just as well as physical exercise...try teaching a new trick or 2. Snuffle mats work well too!
Puppies will go through growth spurts a lot like toddlers. If your fur baby does not seem to have an appetite, it may be because it is not growing at the time and just does not need additional nutrients. When they do go through growth spurts, the puppy will eat a ton, so do not think that a period of less eating is a bad thing as long as the puppy is acting fine, is drinking, has normal stools, and is not losing weight.
Regarding stools, there is an article in the Weaver Dairy Goldens Facebook page files about diarrhea in puppies, what it means, and whether it may require a trip to the vet. It is suggested to feed puppies 2-3 times a day. Start with 3 times a day until it gets a little older and then go to twice a day. You do not want your puppy to grow too fast or to become overweight, both of which can lead to the development of hip dysplasia. You need to watch your puppy/dog to see how much food they truly need. If the pet begins to eat non-food items, like grass or rocks or furniture, it may be hungry and need more food for a while. The amount of food needed will depend upon how much activity your pet gets daily, the quality of food, whether your puppy is in a growth spurt, and other factors. We adjust the amount of food for our Goldens at every meal.
Hip Dysplasia is only 20% genetic, and 80% epigenetic. The genes required to allow the development of dysplasia have not been identified. The evidence is leading more towards a multi-factorial cause than simply genetics or environmental factors. A puppy fed a species appropriate diet and kept at a healthy weight, only minimally vaccinated (if at all), without chemical and toxic exposures, and provided appropriate exercise for their age will be much less likely to develop dysplasia.
Growing too fast is one of the conditions that can lead to development of dysplasia. Also, make sure your puppy does not become overweight because the added stress on the joints can also lead to dysplasia. You should be able to see the ribs, but still feel a thin layer of flesh over them. If there is a layer of "padding" over the ribs, your puppy may be a little overweight. Talk to your vet to determine a healthy weight for your pet for their life stage. Also, if the puppy slips while walking, it can stress the hip joints and lead to increased likelihood of developing dysplasia, especially during the first 6 months. Always be sure to keep the fur between your puppy's paw pads trimmed to reduce the chance of slipping while walking indoors.
If your puppy decides it wants to eat feces (a common behavior in puppies and dogs), it could be due to a lack of something in the diet. Our Goldens occasionally picked up this habit before we switched to a raw diet. We began to give some full fat, plain unsweetened Greek Yogurt (make sure there is no xylitol in it), and it quickly stopped the behavior. We no longer need to give the yogurt, but they love it, and it has live bacterial cultures which act as probiotics, so we continue it as a treat a few times a week. We also use homemade kefir, which has even more types and quantity of beneficial bacteria. If yogurt does not work, feeding fresh cut pineapple will work. The bromelain in the pineapple causes the feces to lose its attraction. We also give a fish oil tablet every day which helps their coat, reduces constipation, and is heart healthy. They also love coconut oil, which has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, so it's good for them. If they get a rash on their skin, coconut oil will help to keep the area moist to speed healing, and keep infection from developing as well. Our holistic vet recommends giving raw, farm fresh eggs, including the shell. The shell of a store-bought egg should never be fed, as the eggs are washed with chemicals that should not be ingested.
Try to brush your puppy at least 2-3 times a week, even if only for 3-5 minutes per session. Your puppy will learn to enjoy grooming. Brushing distributes the natural oils throughout the coat to keep it healthy. Brushing also removes dander and dust so it isn't brought into the house from outside. Expect 2 large shedding sessions during the year. These periods are known as "blowing the coat". During early Spring, the heavy winter coat is blown in favor of a lighter Summer coat. In Fall, the light summer coat is blown to grow the warmer Winter coat. When you start to notice chunks of hair puffing out of the coat, plan to spend a good 30-60 minutes with a coat rake that will grab the undercoat. This session may need to be repeated about a week later, but won't take as long. DO NOT use the Furminator. We learned that is has a surgical blade that actually cuts the hair follicles and makes it fray, causing split ends. The coat will look and feel terrible.
Baths should be done every 3-4 weeks for puppies, or more if visibly dirty. Adult Goldens don't need to be bathed as often. We love 4-Legger shampoo in Lemongrass scent. It goes a really long way, and rinses clean quickly. The scent helps repel bugs. Be sure to brush well before the bath; any tangles not removed before the bath will need to be cut out, as the water will tighten the knots. The bath will also loosen any undercoat that is ready to be shed. Plan to brush for a few minutes each day for several days following a bath.
Try to make it a habit to play with your puppy's paws and ears every day. These are sensitive areas, and if they get used to having them touched, you will have less trouble trimming their nails and the fur between the paw pads, and cleaning their ears when needed. We do this every day when the puppies are in our care.
If you do not want to have to spend tons of money having dental cleanings done at the vet every few years, we suggest regular preventative care. We noticed that the buildup on our Goldens' teeth reduced significantly when we switched to a raw diet and include a tablespoon or two of Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar. Our holistic vet also recommends making a paste of hydrogen peroxide and aluminum free baking soda. Rub the paste along the teeth once a day to keep plaque and tartar from building. Now that we feed only raw, the plaque on their teeth has nearly disappeared. A raw diet keeps the pH of the mouth alkaline, whereas a kibble diet keeps the pH acidic. Acid leads to disease and plaque buildup. Raw turkey necks and raw meaty bones work well to scrub the teeth clean if given regularly.
Below are files explaining some of the tips mentioned above, further. Feel free to read these.