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Bringing Your New Australian Shepherd Puppy Home


If you thought choosing a healthy, happy, well-bred Aussie pup was difficult, just wait, now the hard work really begins. Raising a puppy to his full potential takes time, patience, and persistence. But, in the long run, the benefits you will reap from a loving relationship with your new companion will be worth all your efforts.

Before You Bring Your New Puppy Home

If you are sure you will be bringing a new pup home soon, or if you have already picked one out from a breeder and are just waiting until it is old enough to leave its littermates, you might want to start gathering some things together ahead of time. This way when you bring your new pup home you will be a little more prepared and will be able to devote your time to the new member of your family rather than to shopping details. Some items that are handy to have ahead of time are as follows:

Bowls - one for food and one for water. Remember that some pups like to play in their water, therefore it is a good idea to get a heavy crock type water bowl or something with a wide base that the pup will not be able to tip over if he climbs into it or steps on its sides. Also, a bucket with a handle that you can clip to the side of a wire pen or fence is a good idea, especially if it is hot outside, just in case the pup might tip over his only source of water.

Food - if you haven’t chosen your pup yet, you might want to wait to see what the breeder has been feeding. However, if you want to use a specific brand of food that you are comfortable with, go ahead and get it. Just remember to get enough food from the breeder when you do eventually get your pup to gradually change his diet over to your new brand.

Collar - a smart choice is to get the type of collar that can be adjusted to different lengths so that your pup can wear it from the time he comes home until 6 to 8 months of age. Collars with buckle clasps are also handy because, if your pup does get his collar caught on something, you can free him rather easily even if he is fighting and pulling back from whatever he is caught on. All of your initial training can and should be done on a buckle type collar. Later you might want to get a choke type of collar, either of nylon or chain, but wait until your pup grows up to get the right size, and check with the breeder or trainer you are going to use to make sure you get the appropriate type and size. NEVER put a choke collar on a puppy, or adult dog, and leave him unattended. Dogs can and will hang themselves on choke collars; don’t let your dog become a statistic!

I.D. Tag - even if you don’t know what you are going to name your new pup, you can have an I.D. tag made up with your last name or ‘REWARD’; and phone number imprinted on it to put on your new pup right away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. You can also order nylon collars with your phone number embroidered on it or have a flat brass plate attached onto a collar, this way you won’t have anything loose and dangling off the pup’s collar to distract him while he first getting used to it.

Leash - a 6′ nylon or leather leash is really the best way to go and will last you a lifetime, unless it gets chewed up first!!! Forget the chain type of lead, they are awkward and not a good training aid for an Aussie.

Crate - a #300 is good for a female while a #400 is better for a male. Either the plastic airline type or the wire style work equally well. Plastic airline crates will run from $40.00-$80.00 depending on size. You can purchase them from pet stores (usually the most expensive), from dog show vendors, mail order catalogues, or from Walmart or Fry’s (usually the least expensive). Wire crates usually cost about the same as plastic. They cannot be used for airline shipping, but they do provide better ventilation in warmer climates and may have the added benefit of being able to fold down for easier storage when not in use.

Toys - a variety is best initially until you find what your pup prefers. The lambswool toys are nice because you can throw them into the washer and dryer for cleaning. Knotted rope tugs are good for cleaning/flossing teeth. Nylabones are long lasting and safe to chew on. Vinyl squeakies are always a favorite, but make sure they are the hard vinyl so that the pup cannot pull it apart and swallow pieces of the plastic.

Bones - Some people like to give their dogs marrow and knuckles bones from the butcher. Make sure you throw these bones away when the dog wears them down to smaller pieces. Any type of chicken, pork, or rib bones are unsafe for dogs since they splinter too easily and can get caught in the throat or cause internal damage and even kill a dog. Regular rawhide bones and cow hooves can also splinter, so they are not recommended for pups or adults. Pressed rawhides are much safer and the dogs seem to enjoy them just as well.

Shampoo - you will not have to bathe your Aussie often, but for times when you do need to, it is best to have a shampoo especially formulated for dogs rather than using your own shampoo. People shampoos tend to dry out a dog’s coat.

Brushes - a slicker brush, a pin brush, and a metal comb are all you should ever need to keep your Aussie ‘looking good!’

Nail-Trimmers - the clamping type you use on your nails are perfect for puppies. Later you will need to use something a little larger which are available at pet stores.



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