NEW SHIH TZU PUPPY TIPS
I believe in planning ahead and the more information you can gather in preparation for your new puppy, the better prepared you will feel and your puppy's transition will go smoother.
Here are some common questions my customers ask me and my responses:
QUESTION #1 We would like to get some things ready here, as this is our first puppy. I read that you use NutriSource dog food, is there a specific kind? And how often would we feed her? Do you leave the food out all day, or do you take it away?
RESPONSE #1 I am very impressed with the Nutrisource dog food. My dogs love it, it is packed with nutrition, vitamins and minerals. Shih Tzu can be food sensitive at times, and the quality of their coat and general well being reflects the quality of the food you feed. I would recommend feeding the same food she is on now for the 1st 10 months and then I would switch her over to your choice of a formula of Nutrisource adult food. We offer our customers a 30 lb bag of the food she is eating now for $50. That should take care of her food for 4 months or more. It is a nice small kibble and it is not messy at all. If you want a smaller bag, we have smaller sizes available starting at $15.00. Nutrisource is a premium pet food--it is more expensive than a brand you would feed from Walmart, but I feel it is well worth it. The recommended feeding of a dog her size, depending on her age starts out at less than one cup of a day. The dogs eat less Nutrisource food than a poorer quality food, because it has more nutrition, therefore it meets their daily needs when they consume less. The food is nutrient dense, which means more of it digests--less waste translates to less poop (another benefit). If you compared the amount they eat of it vs. a cheaper food, it might work out the same. I sell Nutrisource food in 6.6 lb bags, 18 lb bags, and 35 lb bags. We have a a discount card program where if you buy 12 bags you get the 13th bag free when you purchase it from me or another small retailer. I also send you home with coupons. You can go to www.nutrisourcedogfood.com and type in your zipcode to find a small retailer near you. I have also found that Menards is now carrying the food in all three size bags in puppy and adult food.
FEEDING YOUR NEW PUPPY
Your puppy has been on a regular feeding schedule since he or she was weaned from their mother. At 8-10 weeks old, we feed our puppies (unless they are really tiny), once in the am and once in the pm. (Split the recommended amount listed on the sample bag into two equal portions). The important thing is stick to a schedule that works for both of you. Another benefit of sticking to a feeding schedule is that the schedule will help regulate the puppy's body and that will make her easier to house train.
POTTY TRAINING -- SHOULD WE USE A KENNEL?
QUESTION #2 I was told that I should kennel train? Do you have any thoughts on that? When I was young we had a dog, but we did not kennel it, it slept with us.
ANSWER #2 I am a big fan of Kennel potty training. I also feel that a kennel is an absolute necessity when bringing a new puppy home and I wll tell you why. A kennel (or a dog carrier) provides the new puppy with a safe haven to feel comfortable in and rest. Puppies need quiet time and puppies need more sleep than older dogs and people. The kennel also makes potty training a lot easier, especially if you are away from the puppy for any length of time. Puppies tend not to potty where they sleep (if the kennel is the proper size), and if you use a kennel, it helps them control their bladders. It is important when potty training to keep the puppy on a routine. Take them outside frequently, Use the same keywords, ie "go Potty" Its time to Potty. Let's go Pee. I use the words "Potty" or it's time to "Potty Outside" when I begin their training at my house. (Once your puppy is potty trained, you can let him sleep wherever you want, but many puppies enjoy sleeping in their crate or kennel--it is "Their" space.
Always take the puppy out to potty as soon as you wake up. Next feed them. About 10 - 15 minutes after they eat, take them out again. Give them some time to play, then nap then take them out again mid morning if possible. If you are away from home during the day, you can crate or kennel him or create a small safe space that will accomodate his needs while you are gone. This is a picture of an ideal puppy safe area:
Repeat that routine in the pm and take them out right before bed. Again, just find a routine that works for you. When the puppy is resting, encourage him to rest in his kennel (or puppy area). If you choose not to use a kennel, I would recommend gating your puppy in a small room when you cannot be with him (place newspapers or a pee pad in a corner--see photo above). If you restrict the puppy's access to your home and watch him closely when you are with him, you can learn his little "cues" that he's about to potty. He may go in circles, sniff and squat, or go to the door. When you see those, it's time to get him out. Many shih tzu owners even hang a little bell near the door that their shih tzu can learn to ring, and that lets you know he needs to go out.
Praise is another important factor in potty training. It's good to offer a small treat and verbal praise and a pat or a cuddle to let your puppy know he's done very well. On the other hand, if your puppy has an accident, don't yell at or hit him--you will make him afraid. Tell him "No! We potty outside. Let's go outside and potty" If he does potty outside after an accident inside, continue to praise him. If they have an accident it is best to catch them in the act, that way when you correct them when it is fresh in their mind (within seconds), it begins to click.
QUESTION #3 TOYS - What types of toys are good for Shih Tzus?
ANSWER #3 Toys--They love toys. tough toys are best, stuff they can chew on when they are little. They also like things that make crunchy & squeaky noises (I find these in the baby department at Walmart. Dollar General has great puppy toys and treats puppys and adults and they are inexpensive. Petsmart has some really awesome puppy toys but of course, they are more pricey. Make sure you purchase smalller puppy toys that are no bigger than your hand--puppy toys for the larger breeds are too big for their mouths but they love to drag stuff around. Mine like my kids old socks with holes in them. I tie a knot in them. They love mini tennis balls. They love those tiny rope toys. I will send a couple of things home with you, usually a tiny blanket toy to cuddle with, a tennis ball, some puppy bisquits and tiny treats.
QUESTION #4 - GROOMING PRODUCTS - What type of grooming products would we need to purchase? Any special brushes, bathing products etc? I read they need to be groomed daily.
ANSWER #4 - You will need to buy a puppy shampoo & creme rinse. A comb with rotating teeth--I keep these in stock for $6. They are awesome. You will also need a tiny face comb (they are called flea combs that's the size--a fine comb works well on their face (we also stock these for $6. Really that's all you will need. If you plan to trim your pets nails (which normally is done at the groomer every 2 months, you will need a pet nail clippers. If you choose not to use a groomer, you'll need to buy all the stuff groomers use too (My advice is go to an experienced professional for the regular grooming appointments. You can handle the routine bathing and brushing on your own.)
QUESTION #5 - Could you explain a little about the Avid Microchip that your puppies come with? Will we need to contact Avid to give them our contact information or would then contact you in the event the puppy was found?
ANSWER #5 - AVID microchip. Each of my puppies is implanted with a tiny microchip that will help to identify your pet if she ever becomes lost or stolen. Breeders, vets and animal shelters have a special hand held scanner that scans your pet's chip almost like a scanner at the grocery store. Each chip has a unique number and mine are registered with Avid to me. If you want to transfer your pet's chip to into your name, you can purchase a transfer with lifetime registration (that will register the chip to you) from me for an additional $15.00 for a basic transfer or $20 for the deluxe transfer package--both cover a lifetime registration but the deluxe includes a collar tag, key tag or crate tag and a wallet card--all three list your pet's unique microchip number and has the toll free telephone number of the petrac 24 hour lost pet recovery service--great to have if you have lost your pet and need to call to try and locate him or alert the hotline he is missing. The chip also provides you with 100% proof of ownership of your pet.
ODDS & ENDS, OTHER STUFF YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW OR PURCHASE:
Other stuff you will need and some of which I keep on hand for our customers to purchase, in the sizes and things that are proven to work well include:
A pet carrier crate, one for pets up to 15 pounds is the perfect size. We sell these for $23.00. If you prefer a smaller crate to start out--we have these for $18. A small washable pet bed it can fit inside the crate or outside the crate if you have a place you want her to lay once she's trained. We stock these in pink, blue and green and sometimes beige--size (17 x 13) for $15.00. I would also recommend a feed and water bowl. and for when she is in the crate or to use for travel is a pet water bottle that hangs on the door of the crate. It's what my puppies are used to drinking out of--it stops them from playing in and spilling the water. We sell the 32 oz bottle with the spring attachment for $8.00. We have tiny bottles (8 oz) available with a wire attachment for $5. We have a package deal that includes a crate, a pet bed crate liner, a water bottle, Two rotating teeth combs--one for their face and one for their coats, Kong or Petstages toy, a 15 lb bag of Nutri Source Puppy food and a lifetime microchip registration for your pet in your name for the discounted package rate of $90.
I keep some other supplies such as puppy pads, leashes, collars, great smelling puppy shampoo and conditioner and food dishes on hand too. We also have an outstanding puppy exercise pen made out of commercial grade plastic that comes with a washable, environmentally friendly resusable absorbant puppy pad for the floor for $80, additional pads are $18.
You will need a small collar for a toy dog, usually 10-14" unless your puppy is really tiny or a small harness and a leash --unless you have a fenced in yard.
I recommend these two books that you can buy at Amazon.com or other websites or bookstores that I think are excellent when talking about the shih tzu breed. "Living With a Shih Tzu", a Barrons book edited by Josephine Johnson and The Official Book of the Shih Tzu, by Jo Ann White. Both books are excellent and have lots of great information and photos.