Black Butte Retrievers

Bringing Home Puppy

Everything you need to know about your new puppy, what to buy, how to train and more!

No No's!

  • No Wire Crates:  Do not plan on putting puppy in a wire dog crate for AT LEAST a few months. You can buy one to set aside for adulthood and I use the XL ones so they have lots of space, but this is only going to make a puppy feel insecure and anxious

  • No Harnesses:  If you would like to buy something down the road to train them to walk better on a leash, get a pincher collar (insert link). This collar feels like mama nipping at their neck to correct them. Never pull, it's a quick jerk motion, one that I will show you when you arrive.

  • No Puppy Pads:  They are gross, they ball up, they get stinky and worst of all, they teach your puppy to potty on soft ground, like carpet. For this reason, we use puppy litter (wood pellet animal bedding) for potty training on something that smells and feels like the great outdoors.

  • No Tug-a War:  Don't be tugging on your puppy's still developing jaw, as it can cause misalignments and bad bites! Wait till at least a year or two of age before trying this game out. 

  • No Jumping: Once this starts, talk about a tough habit to break!

  • No Human Food:  No rich human food till they are at least 4 months of age. 

  • No WAKING UP WITH PUPPY!  That's right, we don't reward whining and barking and therefore do not wake up in the middle of the night for a puppy. 

FOOD: 1-2 Bags of Royal Canine Puppy Food (yes it's a little spendy, but you can transition him/her off it in a few months). We feed all homemade food for our adults, but we suggest waiting till puppy is 4 to 6 months old to start doing this, as it's tough for their little systems to process and they need time to be ready for that step. 

CRATE: Small PLASTIC Crate | Try not to go larger than 28L x 20.5W x 21.5H. We want a small space for them to start in for many reasons, though the primary one is this, dogs don't want to potty where they sleep, so the smaller the space, the less room they have to get away from it. If they happen to potty, they have to sit in it till you get home and that in itself is punishment enough!

The smaller size also feels more like a cozy little cave to them so it gives puppies the sense of safety. You can switch them to a larger crate in the next few months, after they are overnight potty trained and you think they are ready. 

​TRAINING TREATS:  We make our own and I'm happy to give you the recipe. However, a great purchase option is the Natural Balance food log. Just cut up into tiny little pieces and feed them as much as you like, it is meant to be a full time food, so it can't hurt them!

​BEDDING: Multiple towels or fleece blankets that can be washed, possibly bleached, when there's crate accidents. I like to go with white, so you can bleach it. Make sure it's not a hot fabric, as we don't want puppy overheating. You can also fold the towel/blanket so it's only in half of the crate, so they have a cooler option to lay on. 

COMFORT ITEMS: Stuffed animals, a tiny pillow, or anything they can sleep on that reminds them of being part of a pile of puppies. Going right to a flat surface can be a tougher sleeping transition for little ones. 

​DISHES: Make sure you get food and water dishes. For water, I avoid the systems that provide a flow, as those build up germs and algae, which can create bacterial infections in puppy.

COLLAR: We like to use the plastic clip cloth collars, as they break away if puppy gets caught on anything, as puppies will often do. You can always graduate them to the other kinds of collars on the market.

TRAINING COLLAR: For walking, we use a pincher collar and never a choker or harness! The pinch feels like Mama saying no and biting their neck, so don't drag them on this, just give them a quick jerk of the wrist to cause to bite sensation, then use your "no" word and allow them to self correct. The moment they do the right thing, some quiet praise is the best!

Please wait until at least 3-5 months old before beginning walking puppy on a leash. Don't worry about waiting a little longer than usual, puppies catch on quickly by this age!

LEASH: I would suggest staying away from the retractable leashes for a while and just use a good ol cloth leash. This gives you more control over puppy during those first important moments of training. 

Training (IN PROGRESS)

POTTY TRAINING PLAN: For this you can use the process of letting them out frequently until they learn or you can install a dog door. Another idea is a bell, though we've never tried it. 

What to expect, when you're expecting...a new puppy!

​First off is the shopping list. I have put together a list of everything you'll need to get you started below: