What to Expect in Your
Pup's First Year
we bred Westies, our
moms received tremendous care every day, but especially during the days
before and after whelping a litter of pups. We were with them every
step of the way. For the first few weeks the pup's whole world
consists of his mom's quite, nurturing warmth and the close comfort of
littermates. Eyes normally open around two weeks and hearing begins
shortly thereafter. His world begins to broaden, he begins wabbly
walking, and he begins to wrestle with his littermates. He learns some
very important lessons during this time. He soon learns that there are
limitations. If he bites his little brother or sister, he gets bitten
back. His mom corrects him by nipping him on the neck. It is
this correction that will follow him for a lifetime and it becomes your
responsibility to be sure he learns these lessons well. Staying in our
home with his littermates, learning from his mom and brothers and sisters,
the first 8 weeks is crucial in helping your pup develop a healthy, secure
Going home, it is up to you to give
him the care he needs everyday. There is a lot involved -- and we
always encouraged families to never get a Westie unless they are absolutely sure a
Westie fits their lifestyle.
Be sure a Westie is right for you!
There is a lot involved. He needs expensive food, plenty of
attention, gentle training, safe toys, comfortable home, and proper
veterinary care. A Westie will give boundless love in return.
Understanding your pup's needs in the months ahead will help you give him
the right start as your healthy, happy companion for life.
Be sure to stock up on the
Feed your Westie a diet that
contains no wheat, corn, or beef. Many Westies are allergic to these
food items. Be sure your treats do not contain those products.
We feed our dogs
Ranch Dog Food.
we use Newman's Own Organics Dog Treats for Small Size Dogs, Chicken,
10-ounce bags from pet stores. Kroger or Publix normally sells it cheaper. If you want to buy several bags they
are a little cheaper at
Feed you pup 3 times daily.
At 6 months, feed 2 times daily.
Your pup will go to his new
home with his first puppy shot (Intervet)
Canine Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus Vaccine
(MLV), given at 7 1/2 weeks.
He will be due one more shot at 11-12 weeks.
AAHA Vaccination Guidelines!
Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has issued new guidelines. The
2006 guidelines state that "vaccines against canine distemper,
canine parvovirus and canine adenovirus produced by major
biologics manufacturers all produce excellent immune responses and can be
reliably administered in extended duration of immunity protocols." This
means that puppies should be given an initial vaccine and then a booster
three to four weeks later. We give the first vaccine at 7 1/2 weeks.
This means your pup should get a second vaccine from your vet, 3 to 4
weeks later, which is a total of two puppy shots. The vaccine should be
administered a year later, then every three to five years thereafter.
"core" vaccines (distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, rabies) should be
given to every dog. "Non-core" vaccines - including parainfluenza,
Bordetella, and Barrelia (Lyme disease) - are required only under special
circumstances, where exposure to the disease is likely. For example, if
you board your dog, Bordetella is required. Some vaccines are not
recommended such as Leptospiral or Giardia vaccines. Follow this link to
see the new guidelines:
At four months, he needs a
Rabies vaccination. A booster is given one year later and either
yearly or every 3 years, determined by your state requirement.
Follow this link for some
basic care regarding eyes, teeth, and ears:
Follow this link for
suggestions on supplements for your Westie to begin at 3 months, baths,
You will need to decide how
to groom your pup. Will you do it or take him to a groomer?
Follow this link for some suggestions:
Follow this link for a great
source of answers to all of your questions:
Kathy Diamond Davis, author and trainer,
is a great source of knowledge. You can also Email Kathy at
MrsGoodPuppy@aol.com for personal answers to your canine
behavior and training questions!
techniques are very important. He needs to be taken out every two
hours for the first few weeks, then the time can be increased. He
should be taken out on leash to the same place. Say, "Potty, potty,
potty". As soon as he does potty, praise him and give him a treat.
Don't take him in immediately because he will soon discover that if he
waits to potty, he will have more time to play. Follow this link for
more info on
Be sure to keep him away
from other dogs until 3 months of age, and his vaccines are
Be sure he has safe toys
like Nylabones, balls and chew toys made of hard rubber, and knots of
No people food.
Heart worm prevention begins
at about 3 months of age.
From 7 weeks through 4
months of age, your pup goes through a socialization period that
permanently shapes his future personality and how he will react to things
in his environment as an adult. See this
about socializing your pup.
Expose your pup to as much
stimuli as possible. Meet new friends, take him on car trips, walks,
sounds, sights, etc.
Puppy kindergarten is very
important. It will help you and your pup understand each other
Westies need plenty of
At 5 1/2 to 6 months, it is
time to spay or neuter.
By this age, you should have
already established the pack leader position. If not, you are in
trouble. Your Westie will be in charge of the household.