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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have just bought a puppy for the first time. Our last two (including our old man) were shelter dogs. He’s 14.5 and, until about two years ago, not at all friendly toward other dogs in his space. He is arthritic (mastiff and ridgeback) and recently suffered a paw injury on hot blacktop that quickly devolved into a serious bacterial infection. He has, since, made a complete recovery to his baseline decrepit old man state. My wife and I both have terrible allergies (hers are much worse than mine), which led us down the poodle path, along with intelligence and a reputation for being affable companions.

We decided upon a puppy, rather than a rescue, so we could completely immerse her into a home with five cats without much fear of potential prey attraction to them. A breeder was recommended to us. After contacting her and finding out that she had a “Velcro“ pairing expecting within a couple of weeks, she was willing to not dock the baby’s tail, and she prefers to not remove dew claws, we decided to put in our deposit.

On June 13th, the litter (9 puppies) arrived. We got our little abstract (chocolate brown with a jagged streak of white from her belly to her nose) girl. Our only momentary friction was the breeder having transitioned them to dry food with the intent of having them all in their new homes at 6.5 weeks. We were disappointed that she wouldn’t have the extra 1.5-3.5 weeks with mom and siblings. Never the less, I’ve never wanted so intensely to meet somebody, and I know we can make the necessary adjustments for her health and well-being.

We made the 4 hour drive yesterday, back seat lined with puppy pads and a Sherpa blanket that everybody in the house has been using for a couple of weeks, along with water and treats, her baby harness and seatbelt tether. Then we met her. Velcro isn’t a strong enough descriptor. She was immediately in our faces, trying to climb inside of us. Despite her tremendous and obvious anxiety, she clung desperately to all for the entire ride home. She experienced loud trucks and other startling stimuli along the way, but kept herself together.

We arrived home with a plan for an easy introduction to her new big brother (whom we weren’t sure would survive to meet her). He was sweet and curious. Her tail went nuts. It couldn’t have gone better. We walked inside and she got to meet her new cat siblings (her first encounter with cats). They have been shy, distant, cautious. That’s been okay with her.

The article she had us read (one of many) recommended letting her sleep with us for the first night. She had one accident and several successful trips outside including her first exciting poo with us. One of our girl cats sleeps in the crook of my arm every night, and she did so last night, a foot or so from her new baby sister. She just woke up from her first solo big girl nap in her crate and spent about twenty minutes playing in the grass. She’s so young and so uncoordinated. She’s doing her best and we are starting to see who she is. She’s such a lovely little person and I can’t wait to discover the rest of her.
 

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I’m so happy she has an older mentor and a family of cats to help show her the ropes. I believe it’s actually against the law in most states to sell a puppy before the age of 8 weeks. I know you are going to provide a healthy, loving home for this puppy, but that is upsetting to read.

Have you read Before and After Getting Your Puppy? If not, that would be a big help as you navigate these early days. I like my hard copy:


But it’s also available online for free in two parts:



Have you decided on a name for your little one?
 

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Welcome to you and your new baby girl. I'm really glad you have another dog to help show her the ropes. I've been lucky to have older dogs available to mentor all my puppies. I'm dismayed to hear your girl's breeder would place her out at 6.5 weeks; she's missed some important puppy development by losing access to her siblings so early. I agree with the other recommendations for the Ian Dunbar books; he goes into a lot of detail about both bite inhibition and socialization. You will find this background information immensely helpful.

If you haven't already, you should get her into the vet immediately to start her immunizations and also to get her tested for parasites.

You should also introduce her to grooming immediately. Poodles have high maintenance coats, and grooming is just part of their life. A good breeder will have bathed the pups and trimmed face, feet, and sanitary areas several times before sending the puppies to a new home. Since you got your girl young, you'll have to make sure she gets her puppy spa experience. I gave my pups a bath in the kitchen sink within a day of bringing them home and continued bathing them in the sink every few days until they got too big to fit. I think they had their first pro grooming appointments at around 12 weeks. Good groomers tend to book out several weeks in advance, so start calling around now to set up her first puppy appointment. It's also important to introduce puppies to the feel of a trimmer as soon as possible; you don't want them freaking out when they go to the groomer the first time. If you don't feel confident actually trimming, that's ok. Just make a happy game of bringing the trimmer (or some other buzzing appliance, like an electric toothbrush) to each foot and the sides of her face, and reward her with a treat each time.

I slept with each new pup on the couch near the back door for a while after bringing them home. It was comforting for the pup to have me near, plus I could grab the pup and sprint to the door when he woke me up squirming. However, it is important to get the pup used to staying in a crate too. When my boy Galen was around a year old he got quite sick and needed to spend a night at the vet getting IV fluids. I was very glad he was ok with sleeping in a crate; the whole thing would have been even more traumatic if that had been his first crate experience.

Be prepared for her to enter her first fear period sometime within the next few weeks. Fear periods can come on suddenly and are a bit of a shock. Suddenly a previously sane and confident puppy starts freaking out about the most ridiculous things: there's a garden gnome sitting in the yard; you chose to wear a baseball cap that day; someone turned the ceiling fan on, etc. Be kind, calm, gentle, and supportive during this period. Let her observe the scary thing from a distance without forcing an interaction. The calm example of your senior dog will help a lot as well.

As she gets older you may find yourself wondering if your puppy is demonically possessed. Poodle puppies love to play. Puppy play tends to involve jumping, chasing, wrestling and biting. She will probably target your senior dog the most. However, if he's too boring and grumpy, she will probably try to play with your cats and you instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Her name is Penelope.

The breeder has been keeping up on immunizations, and grooming. Penelope was the video model for nail trimming, and she’s been bathed, as well and having her snout trimmed, and sanitary grooming. Her first trip to our longtime, absolutely trusted, vet is Monday (today). The plan is to order a genetic health test kit. If our vet has a recommendation, we will go with that; if he doesn’t, either Wisdom or Embark, based upon our reading. We have a health guarantee from the breeder that includes a “no breeding” clause.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about bite inhibition, and she seems to have been receiving some peer/parent input already. She chews on her little rope chew toy vigorously, but if she accidentally catches a finger, she immediately lets go or is so gentle.

She seems to be picking up the poop part of potty-training really quickly and, just a bit ago, made a break toward the back door to let us know she needed to go out. She also seems to have quickly picked up that she can hold on to a little urine (like our adult dog), so she can strategically piss; he’s just so much better (has never, in all of his years, pissed inside) at knowing when it’s appropriate to go.

Her breathing is rapid, and her breath is intense. It’s, to my nose, a sort of dry food smell with a faintly smoky tone. Despite her somewhat rapid breathing, she isn’t showing any signs of hypoxia and there’s no cough, no other obvious breathing/respiratory distortions. She started out 3rd out of 9 in terms of weight in her litter. She’d dropped to 7th by the time we picked her up, but, relative to her entire litter, she was solidly middle of the pack in weight (very narrow distribution ignoring the light and heavy outliers, including two absolute monsters and one really small sibling).

Okay, I’ve exorcised all of my puppy anxiety. Now it’s time to go back to sleep. You people are amazing, so supportive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There's an App that helps to introduce different potentially scary sounds to dogs, called Pupstanding. The noises can be played initially at low volume, as background to fun activities like supper time, or playing.
Maybe once she’s feeling more secure I’ll give it a try. She’s very easily distracted and a little timid right now.
 

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Great to hear that she's on target for shots and grooming. You might want to sign her up for puppy kindergarten once she gets sufficiently far enough along in her vaccinations. It was very helpful for my most recent puppy. The classes consisted of a mixture of training drills and playing with the other puppies. Even though puppy Ritter had the constant companionship of my young adult, Galen, it was good for him to learn that other puppies don't tolerate being tackled the way Galen did.
 

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Congrats on your new puppy...hope things went well at the vet. I second @cowpony - puppy kindergarten or STAR Puppy classes help you get off to a great start and are a wonderful way to socialize puppies. Good luck...pictures please!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I’ve started looking around at Puppy Kindergarten and pre-school. She’s obviously (from the biased view of a parent who’s known her for 3.5 days) smart and I’d like to be able to take her anywhere, including the occasional foray through a busy Costco, once she is old enough, mature enough. It will be nice for everybody if she can (I know she can, we can) learn how to navigate challenging situations with us. It’ll be nice for her to be the poised, confident, joyous kid I know she can be, and for me to know how to help her get there.

She’s already picked out her best friend.
Grey Carnivore Fawn Stuffed toy Woolen
 

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Great to see cuddling sessions with the cats. Being able to tone things down enough to please a cat is a great skill for a puppy.

I started taking my puppies out in public as soon as they came home. Initially Galen only got to meet the neighbors at the end of his leash, as we were in Covid shutdown. Things had opened up more when Ritter came along. While he was still too young to be done with his shots we put him in a backpack with his head sticking out the top and took him out to see the sights.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great to see cuddling sessions with the cats. Being able to tone things down enough to please a cat is a great skill for a puppy.

I started taking my puppies out in public as soon as they came home. Initially Galen only got to meet the neighbors at the end of his leash, as we were in Covid shutdown. Things had opened up more when Ritter came along. While he was still too young to be done with his shots we put him in a backpack with his head sticking out the top and took him out to see the sights.
We have a sling pouch that all of the cats completely rejected. Penelope seemed at peace the one time we’ve tried it around the house.
 
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