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Dog Daycare is the best Socialization Tool

Having a puppy is so exciting! Their development week-by-week is vital during their first year of life. Having a plan in place for their training as well as their socialization is the key to your best dog!

Quick Jump:
week-by-week 7-9 weeks old puppy
Age 7-9 Weeks
Puppy Basics
  • Book your first vet visit and continue your schedule and puppy-proofing. Remember consistency is key; do not give in if your puppy is fussy
Training
  • Take your dog outside in the carrier and introduce them to the sounds and smells of your neighborhood.
Socialization
  • Once your dog is cleared by your vet, you may begin socialization in a monitored environment like Biscuits & Bath

week-by-week 9-12 weeks old puppy
Age 9-12 Weeks
Training
  • Implement regular training into your schedule with a Trainer, this is when your dog is first able to start learning at a higher level.
  • Begin working on name recognition, rewarding and giving attention for the right behaviors, and discuss training plan with a Trainer.
Socialization
  • Bring your dog for their first partial day of daycare with their first brush-out. It’s important to establish positive association with their first grooming, i.e., cleaning of the pads, trimming of the paws and nail trim.

Age 13-16 Weeks
Training
  • Schedule a one on one session with your Trainer to create a new schedule for outside potty training as well as chewing / teething.
  • Your dog will become more independent and willful, pay close attention to where and when.
  • Schedule training time for basic obedience.
Socialization
  • Begin regular socialization at Biscuits & Bath and daily walks from home, a regular schedule is key.

Age 16+ Weeks
Training
  • Create an on-going training schedule with your Trainer on all adolescent behaviors such as nipping, jumping, potty training, and leash behavior.

Still in the planning phase?

Need a trainer?

Our daycare options

A mouthy puppy is completely normal. Puppies perceiving everything as a chew toy is a natural part of their development. It is their way of learning the world, similar to babies discovering objects by touching. You will see this behavior especially during playtime, which can include nibbling on hands, feet and clothing. Save your hands, shoes, furniture and clothing from unwanted puncture marks from the dreaded puppy mouthiness.

Tips to combat your puppy’s piranha teeth

Not every pup learns the same way but here are a few ways you can help them understand that your hands aren’t toys.

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Having trouble leaving your dog alone? Check out this post on tips to curb Separation Anxiety

Puppy mouthiness have you at your wits end? Meet with one of our trainers to guide you through this stage and beyond.

Managing Your Puppy’s Needs

The first year with your dog is a year filled with exciting firsts, as well as challenging milestones. You are probably wondering what sort of changes you will have to make to your lifestyle with a new puppy, i.e., will they need to be drastic, how much attention and training does my dog need, and where do I begin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

a black puppy lying down with a blue ball in her mouth
Pre-Puppy planning, breeder, rescue expectations, and beyond Three Weeks Prior:

Discuss what your breeder or rescue is currently doing for the care of your puppy, set proper expectations.

Two Weeks Prior:
  • Schedule a session with a Trainer to create a schedule and start puppy-proofing your home. You should expect to go over
    • How to create a “safe zone”
    • Creating a dog’s schedule
    • Creating a consistent language for the household
  • Set up a Zoom call with New York Veterinary Practice to discuss your dog’s Annual Wellness Plan.
Day of arrival – tips for success:
Entering Your Home:
  • Take your dog to their “safe zone,” setup during your puppy-proofing. Your dog should have access to go in and out of the crate. Put kibble or a treat in the crate so there is positive association with the area.
  • Based on the schedule established with the Trainer, put down food and water (do not leave these down for more than 30 minutes). This will help your dog feel more comfortable.
  • Introduce your dog to your family and household. Do not approach all at once as this can be overwhelming. Allow your dog to come to you.
  • Tour your dog around your home, avoid areas you do not want them to go.
  • Now is a good time to begin your brief period of solitary downtime in the playpen / crate
    • Solitary downtime, or crating, should be no more than one hour per month of age
    • Avoid exceeding nine to ten hours in a day (not including sleeping periods).
    • This development is important for bladder control, preventing chewing / destructive behavior, and independence. A one hour period of aerobic exercises should follow these sessions.
Your puppy is home, has their own space, and is comfortable – what next? Check out this week-by-week guide to check in your and your puppy’s progress!
What is Matting?

Matting occurs when a dog’s hair next to the skin gets knotted, tangled in clumps masses. If un-brushed, the clump gets bigger, tighter, and closer to the body.  This can be caused by a lack of brushing, wet coats that have not been brushed out or dried properly, or a harness or collar that continually rubs against a dog’s fur. It is important your dog stays mat free as it can cause health issues like stress from licking and biting at the area, leading to general discomfort. Fleas and parasites might be hiding in their coat, which might cause sores, lesions, bruising, or discolored skin. The matted hair might also be hiding hot spots, and other skin infections. Unchecked, those areas can get bigger and spread. This could lead to the dreaded shave down.

a brown dog half way through getting a shave down

Simply put, matting is painful for your dog and brushing out established matts involves a process of pulling live hair out of the skin as healthy hair is encase in the matting. De-matting can cause increase pain and irritation, redness, and swelling.

What does it feel like to brush it out? Imagine a painful knot you’ve had to brush out of your own hair. Now imagine that you don’t understand what’s causing that pain. And to top it off, its on sensitive areas of your body like behind your ears, or in your armpits or on your chest. Yikes!

Do we need to get a shave down?

If the matting is somewhat loose and not close to the skin, it may be possible to brush through and remove some areas. This process is usually painful and stressful for most dogs. The kindest way to remove matting is the dreaded shave down, whether the matting is sparse or covers the dog. Shaving out the matting is not an easy fix! The clippers the groomers use get hot, which can cause further irritation. The matting might pull on the skin as it’s being taken off, which increases the likelihood of nicks. The best thing to do is to avoid matting in the first place, and maintain a healthy and knot free coat.

Maintain your Dog’s Coat = No Shave Down

short, manageable, & cute

Separation Anxiety Preparing Pets for Post-Quarantine Life By Erin Lovett, General Manager & Tito Rivera, Senior Behavior Counselor

According to Dr. Nick Dodman of the Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Massachusetts

“Separation anxiety affects nearly 20% of the approximately 80 million pet dogs in the United States. That equates to 16 million dogs who suffer from Separation Anxiety. Older dogs are more prone to the condition. It is a devastating diagnosis leaving dogs and the parents who love them in distress.”

There are various reasons why a dog develops Separation Anxiety. Environmental factors, age, anxiety levels, genetics, physical health, and poor early coping skills between the ages of 3-12 weeks may contribute to the likelihood that  dog may develop the condition. A new factor, one of which is new for many of us, is the very abrupt work from home status since March. The issues have become so prevalent that many New Yorkers are finding themselves questioning,“how did we get here?”. In May, the New York Times put together an article discussing how to prepare to leave your dog home alone, again:

Read More: How to Prepare Your Dog to Be Left at Home Alone (Again)

Common Misconceptions

It is a common misconception that a dog will chew, destroy, or defecate because they are mad at their owners. In reality, the dog is experiencing some level of stress and is looking for a way to find relief.

Warning signs may include:

  • shadowing the owner from room to room
  • door dashing through opened doors
  • over exuberant greetings upon arrival urination or defecation
  • continuously vocalizing or destroying things in the absence of its’ owner

For others with less clear and milder symptoms, the signs may go untreated and cause daily distress for the dog.

Although there are a wide variety of symptoms that a dog with Separation Anxiety may display, the symptoms themselves resemble other factors such as: boredom, lack of mental and physical stimulation, cognitive dysfunction, noise phobias, and physical pain. Seek professional help if your dog displays any of these symptoms; separation anxiety does not resolve on its own.

Solutions

In conclusion, provide your dog of any age with lots of fun things to do throughout the day. If you suspect separation anxiety, make an appointment with your vet to rule out alternative medical concerns. Then speak to your behavioral counselor to create a tailored training and management program.

Gatherings

By Michelle Aragon, Apprentice Behavior Counselor
 

In this blog we will talk about what to do with your furry friend during big family events.

The most important thing is safety. The doors will be opening and closing as you welcome in your family and friends but this is also an opportunity for your furry friend to run out the door. Pick a spot in the house that is away from the entrance, most preferably a room, and place a crate or a bed. If you do place a crate make it as comfy as possible. Put a blanket over it to make it more private for your dog. This will secure that your dog does not bolt out the door as your greet your guest.

If you do want your pets present in the festivities have them tethered so they don’t bolt out the door as it also minimizes any risk of injuries; we don’t want our happy pups tumbling people down by accident. You can also set up a baby gate to block them from reaching the opened door. We also recommend giving your pet breaks throughout the holiday gatherings. They may love to socialize but there will be a point where they just want to nap and take a break. This is where that comfort spot comes in again. You can place them in their comfort spot so they can rest and recharge.

Dogs know their family but they might get a little shy around new family or friends they have never seen. To help with introducing your dog to family or friends they have never seen have a bowl of treats in the entrance on the door. Have people grab one treat and ask for a simple sit and treat your pet. This will create a positive association with new people and will also reinforce proper greetings. No one knows your dog better than you do, so if they are noise sensitive give each guest a heads up so they can approach your puppy in a quiet and calm way.


Always know what makes your dog uncomfortable. Any sudden movements from a person can spook your pooch, kids screaming, high pitch hello’s, loud clattering, deep voices, tall people, it can be anything small or big. Giving your pet a break throughout the festivities will help them enjoy the day more. Have their first greeting with a new member a positive one and remember to have your pet in a safe, secure spot while your guest come in. Micro-chipping and having the proper identifications is always highly recommended.

We hope these tips help you during all the holidays throughout the year. Have a great holiday and a very happy new year!

 

Cold Weather – Prepare for the Cold

By Casey Kantarian, Senior Behavior Counselor
 

Humans prepare for winter all the time with coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, boots, pet safe salt, shovels and more. What can we do to prepare our dogs for the cold?

Sweaters are great for some dogs, while other dogs have fur that protects them from cold temperatures. If you have a coat, you feel well protected from freezing temperatures. What happens when your bare hands are exposed and your ears are freezing?  The rest of your body feels very cold and it takes a while for you to warm back up. Protect your dog with booties and socks like you would with gloves. Expose them to socks and booties well in advance before the winter months. Put them on and let them walk around indoors, using treats and fun games while they wear them. If they love meal time, put them on and give them their food. As puppies, it is important to teach your dog that holding their paws and touch their ears is fun! This helps for vet checks, tick checks, stress free grooming time and more! Remember, if it is too cold for you, it is too cold for your dog. Booties and socks keep your dog warm and prevent your dog from the dangers of salt and frostbite! Get your dog used to socks and booties now! If booties and socks are difficult for you and your dog, keep them safe with pet safe wax protection. Mushers Secret Paw protection wax is a great alternative to booties to protect them from salt. This does not protect them from freezing temperatures!

Signs of frostbite and freezing temperatures:

  • Lifting its paw up in the air and trying to lift another paw
  • Bitterness and coldness when you touch the paw pad and the ears
  • Discoloration of the affected area (Pale, grey)
  • Can cause swelling

 

If you think your dog has been exposed to freezing temperatures, use dry towels and blankets that have been warmed by the dryer. Keep them wrapped up and call your vet right away.

If it is in the low or high 30’s and bellow, do not let your dog outside longer than a quick relief walk. If your dog does not go to the bathroom, let them back in side to warm up and try again later. If your dog struggles to use the bathroom when there is snow, still try to do short relief walks. If they do not go on the first try, bring them inside to warm up and try again later. Once they do go to the bathroom outside, reward them 3 treats, one right after the other with a high value treat.

Keep your pets occupied during the winter months with mental stimulation games in doors. Enter your dog in an indoor agility class to prevent “cabin fever” and an opportunity to build a positive relationship with your dog.

 

Halloween Hazards

By Michelle Aragon, Apprentice Behavior Counselor
 

Today we will be talking about the scary side of Halloween! Xylitol, chocolate, decorations that can be swallowed, and creepy monsters that can spook our furry friend. It is very important to keep in mind that what we consider fun can be scary for your pet.

 

Xylitol is one of the scariest things your dog can get its mouth on. It can be found in gum, granulated powder for cooking, candies, mint, toothpaste, mouthwash, it can be found in anything that contains the smallest amount of sugar. Any amount that is ingested can be fatal. Some of the symptoms can be vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases liver failure. The scary part is that there are some sugar-free gums that will show no symptoms for up to 12hrs! If you suspect your pet ingested xylitol its best to rush it to the emergency room. This scary chemical can also be found in chocolate. Everyone who has had or has a dog knows to keep chocolate away, especially dark chocolate. Some symptoms of chocolate poisoning is extreme thirst, pacing, diarrhea, shaking and seizures. These symptoms can last up to 72hrs.  During the day of Halloween it is vital that we keep anything slightly sweet away from our pets. Especially if you’re pet has a sweet tooth.

 

 

During holidays we keep an eye on our little kids just in case they want to grab a small decoration that can be swallowed, this must also be done with our pets especially puppies. Dogs explore their world using their 5 senses and especially their sense of taste. Anything small that is new to them they will sniff, lick, and possibly try to eat it. This is of course is a choking hazard. We don’t want anything lodging the intestines of our pets because that can result in a pricey vet bill that could have been avoided. Keep any decorations out of reach or in a container so it isn’t easily accessible to your kids or your furry kids.

Another danger is people in costumes. We understand that these ghouls and goblins roaming the streets are not real but to our pets they are! There are two ways our pets can react, they can either run or fight. They will try to remove themselves from the scary situation by running far away and in any direction they can which is a great risk. Keep your dog indoors either in a crate or in a room and let them sit this holiday out because we don’t want our pet fighting the “scary monster” either!

As social animals ourselves sometimes we want to include our dogs in events but our pets do not perceive the world the same as we do so it is important that if there is a slight possibility of our pets getting hurt, scared, or protective its best to give them a quiet evening to themselves. They would enjoy that a lot more! If you are worried that your dog ingested something call the ASPCA 24hr poison hotline: 888-426-4435.

Biscuits and Bath offers training classes, private lessons, train-and-play sessions, and home phone consultations with our trainers. Ask about what is best for you and your dog!

 

Guide Dog Month

By Kristin Sells, Senior Behavior Counselor – CPDT-KA
 

September is international Guide Dog Month! It is only proper that we write a post in honor of these dogs and their faithful service.

Many handlers will refer to these special dogs as their eyes. I have personally had the privilege of raising five of these dogs, and I am currently raising a black Labrador Retriever for the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind in Smithtown, NY.

While there are multiple organizations in the United States that provide these dogs to the visually impaired, they all are very similar in the methods used to train and prepare the dogs they breed for their very important jobs. Much research goes into the process of preparing dogs for Guide and Service dog work, with regards to both breeding and training. This article will be referencing the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind. The Guide Dog Foundation breeds and trains Guide Dogs, and provides them free of charge to people who are visually impaired. Its sister organization, America’s VetDogs, provides service dogs for Veterans and first responders. They are non-profit and rely completely on the generosity of the public.

When a dog returns to the Guide Dog Foundation for formal training, it has already been preparing for this moment the entire first year of its life. The journey of a Guide Dog puppy starts well before they are even born! Their parents are carefully chosen from breeding stock produced by the Foundation that are temperament tested as well as thoroughly health tested to ensure they are the cream of the crop. These dogs are mostly Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador/Golden Retriever crosses, and Standard Poodles. Much research has gone into the breeds of dog used for service dog work. German Shepherds are another breed used frequently. Which breeds are used entirely depends on the specific Guide Dog School.

Breeder dogs live with families, typically the family who raised them, and have great lives, only being called upon when their services are needed.  I am the proud raiser of a Golden Retriever breeder dog named Levi. He has sired two litters which produced 14 healthy and happy puppies, who will soon begin their formal training as guide dogs and service dogs.

While some Guide Dog puppies are raised and trained then used for breeding purposes, most are on the path to becoming Guide or Service dogs. But who do these dogs live with during their first year? At roughly 8 weeks of age, puppies are ready to go out to their puppy raisers. They have been introduced to many things at their young age, such as different surfaces and sounds in order to prepare them for life as a service dog. A puppy raiser is the term used for the people who open up their home and heart to raise these dogs for the first year of their lives. Dogs are usually returned for formal service dog training with a qualified instructor once they are 14-16 months old. The success rate is approximately 50%. If it is determined that a dog does not want to become a service dog and would rather be a pet, they are offered back to their puppy raiser, or placed on the school’s adoption list. Dogs are never forced to work, If you see a working Guide or Service Dog, they truly do love their job. Finding homes for a released Guide Dog puppy is never a challenge. They are extremely well behaved, housebroken, and crate trained. However, they do not come this way! Although these dogs are very well behaved and have excellent dispositions, they do not come potty trained or crate trained, and are just beginning to learn basic obedience when they reach their raiser. It is the raisers job to teach them under the helpful guidance of the Foundation’s puppy advisers, who are employed to help puppy raisers with any issues that arise during this process.

Puppy raisers socialize the dog in every situation possible, in order to ensure that the dog will be able to work with distractions when it goes in for formal training. They also carefully expose the pups to anything that may elicit fear, for example a loud subway station with multiple tracks. Raisers take their dogs to restaurants, movie theaters, malls, and on many different forms of public transportation. Some puppies even accompany the raiser to work! They are all given a “future assistance dog vest” that lets the public know that this is a special dog, with an important calling. Under NY State law, puppy raisers are not granted public access with puppies in training, but are generally allowed the right of passage because of their bright yellow “future assistance dog” vest.  They attend bi-weekly classes with other puppy raisers in their region in order to make sure the dogs are where they should be in their training and socialization process. A lot goes into preparing a future guide/service dog for “college” which many puppy raisers say when they refer to when they send their dog back to the Foundation for formal training, where they work with licensed service dog trainers who prepare them to aid a disabled individual.  It is both a sad time, and a time of celebration. Having raised five puppies in the NYC area, I can undoubtedly say that the number one question I am asked is “how do you give the dog back? I could never do that”.  My reply is always the same “Yes you could. Become a puppy raiser and you’ll see why”.

I’ve done some pretty awesome things in my life. Two time CUNY Women’s Basketball Champion at Baruch college, graduating from US Army Basic training and Army Medic school were all pretty big accomplishments for me. However, at the absolute top of my list, is seeing my Guide Dog puppy “Sarah” with her new handler. As well as my puppy “Dave” who decided the Guide Dog life was not for him, become an incredible pet and therapy dog to one of my best friends. The pride and love I have in these dogs I imagine is unfathomable to anyone that has not experienced this. We put our heart into raising these silly puppies who turn into magnificent adult dogs, who I’ve been told first hand “He saved my life. I would not be here today if it wasn’t for him”.

So, with that being said, if you do not have the time or cannot commit to raise a puppy for the Guide Dog Foundation, I will ask you to please support their mission with a donation, no matter how big or small. It would mean the world to me and you’d be helping a wonderful cause. If you are interested in raising a puppy, or making a donation, please go to www.guidedog.org or call (631) 930-9000. If you want to learn more about service dogs, please contact info@guidedog.org.

 

 

Biscuits and Bath offers training classes, private lessons, train-and-play sessions, and home phone consultations with our trainers. Ask about what is best for you and your dog!

 

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