Down South Westies
...Home of beautiful, loving, West Highland White Terriers!

Welcome To A Great Information Site For Westie Lovers!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  What to Expect in Your Pup's First Year

When 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 personality. 

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 basics.

  • 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.  Feed your Westie a good quality all natural food with no preservatives. For treats, 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 Amazon.com.

  • 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. 

    NOTE:   New AAHA Vaccination Guidelines!

    The American 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. 

    The "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:  http://www.aahanet.org/

  • 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:  Westie Puppy Care!

  • Follow this link for suggestions on supplements for your Westie to begin at 3 months, baths, shampoo, etc.  Westie Supplies/Supplements!

  • 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:  Westie Grooming!

  • 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!

  • Proper housetraining 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 housetraining.

  • Be sure to keep him away from other dogs until 3 months of age, and his vaccines are  complete.

  • Be sure he has safe toys like Nylabones, balls and chew toys made of hard rubber, and knots of thick rope.

  • No Greenies!

  • 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 WestieGram 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 better.

  • Westies need plenty of exercise.

  • 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.