Can You Help? Here Are My 6 Puppy Raising Questions So Far

If all goes well, we are getting an 8-week-old weimaraner puppy this spring!

I’ve put together a list of the puppy raising questions I have so far. Of course, I will consult with our puppy’s breeder, our vet and trainers as needed but I also thought it would be good to get your ideas.

Feel free to chime in with your suggestions to any of these questions in the comments. You’ll be helping me, and we all know tons of others have these exact same questions!

If you were raising a puppy this year, how would you answer these questions?

My puppy questions so far …

My 6 Puppy Raising Questions

1. Where should my puppy sleep the first few nights?

In the crate, of course, but where should I have the crate? I’m leaning towards in the living room so it’s close to the door for potty breaks. I would sleep on the couch nearby the first 2-3 nights so my husband can sleep well. Then moving the crate to our spare bedroom after a few nights, which is where I want the dog to sleep permanently.

See my post: Where should my puppy sleep?

2. How long can an 8-week-old puppy hold it at night?

I’m going to start with setting my alarm every 3 hours and see how that goes. I think I’ll quickly change that to every 4 hours so I’ll only have to get up once each night but figure I better start with every 3.

3. How do you balance potty training and walks with keeping the puppy safe from diseases?

I never thought I’d be worried about diseases like parvo, but I am! I live near San Diego, and we do hear about parvo outbreaks fairly often. Of course, this is usually at places like dog parks which I will be avoiding until the pup has had all his shots.

We live in an apartment complex that has about 100 dogs – all using the same bathroom areas. I also want to walk my puppy in the neighborhood where there are hundreds of dogs walking by each day. Is all of this safe?

See my post: Should you walk your puppy before he’s had his shots?

4. How much crate time is too much during the day?

I want to potty train the pup as quickly as possible, and I’m lucky I have a flexible schedule (I’m a self-employed dog walker and blogger). But how much time in the crate is too much? I’m thinking a daytime rotation such as:

90 minutes in the crate / potty break and walk / 30 minutes out of the crate – repeat!

And then of course slowly increasing the time out of the crate as the puppy is successful.

Am I nuts?

5. Should I give flea prevention to such a young puppy?

Fleas are a big problem around here, and unfortunately natural flea-prevention products don’t work for us due to allergies. I hate putting chemicals on my pets but we can’t have a flea infestation either … been there, done that!

So … I haven’t decided what to do yet. I might just not put anything on the puppy for at least a month and hope for the best since my other pets are treated.

6. How many meals should I feed the puppy each day?

I’m thinking three meals for a week or two and then switching to twice per day.

So those are my questions so far. I’m sure will probably be a Part 2 to this post as more questions come up!

What is your #1 puppy raising tip you’d like more people to know?

Let me know in the comments!

Related posts:

How to introduce my dog to a puppy

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Related posts:

How to potty train a puppy in an apartment

Will my puppy be able to hold it while I’m at work?

25 thoughts on “Can You Help? Here Are My 6 Puppy Raising Questions So Far”

  1. 2. For your breed, a tired puppy can probably hold it longer than you think at night, but every dog is different. Unless you personally won’t hear the pup if he wakes up to cry to go out, I would let pup wake you rather than vice versa. At 8 weeks, 1 planned night outing (after 4 or 5 hours) is reasonable for large breed dog. By 10 weeks, you shouldn’t even need that. Again – all pups differ.

    3. For potty – I would recommend teaching potty in a place that is not shared with so many dogs. One way to do this that can help you is to teach potty on other surfaces – pavement/concrete, gravel, etc. The other pups will mostly be going on grass, wood chips, and so on. This has the added benefit that it is easier to switch a pup to then go on grass later on, whereas dogs that only ever went on grass are hard to toilet on other surfaces.
    For “walks” and outings, I think it is ok to walk a little bit on surfaces where other dogs walk, but not to linger in places that many dogs are toileting in or lingering (parks, pet stores). This one is tough because the balance is between socialization and disease. You want your dog getting socialized to other dogs! This often means a lot of carrying in dog/heavy places until 1 or 2 of the shot rounds have passed. Also – remember that at 2-3 months, puppy isn’t having real structured walks anyway. You are introducing the leash and environments. “Walking” is a 5 or 10 minute activity, not the core of play or exercise. So you can surely do this in a place that is less risky for disease.
    4. Crate time not likely a problem. Your planned idea is fine. Remember that most pups sleep 18 to 20 hours per day (the higher end the littler they are). By the time you deal with potty, food, exercise/play (remember that puppy isn’t getting “walks” at this age), puppy is ready for napping and crate again anyway. Common problem for “dog people” raising puppies is over-tired puppies due to underestimating sleep needs (and puppy may act crazier/zoomies at this, not sleepy).

    5. I would give flea prevention but pick the lower end of dosage range and maybe delay a week or two.

    6. 3 meals works well for puppies. They eat a lot (as proportional to body weight), a lot more than adult dogs. Set up the times based on the hours you want the pup to be sleeping and toileting. One way to get a puppy to sleep more hours through night is to feed later in day so dinner is really late. Pup can eat, toilet after, and sleep more on full belly. 3x per day makes this easier to do. Otherwise, some pups waking up super early are really hungry, not because they are needing to potty.

  2. Although we’ve done it twice, my one tip is DON’T BRING HOME LITTERMATES unless you have a dog trainer, the time, and the finances to raise them. I love each set of my littermates. The first step were adopted out of ignorance, the second set was brought home with eyes wide open and a lot of experience.

    Despite that we have four happy healthy dogs, I do recognize that they have issues that I wonder if they’d have if I hadn’t brought home littermates – mostly reactivity. This could also be due to their breed (herding dogs); or both.

    I wouldn’t push others to bring home two puppies at once unless they really know what they’re doing and they have a support system to help them out.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Good advice on sleeping in clothes ready to head outside in. I have a wire crate so will need to consider a plastic one. How awful.

  3. We just stuck to walks around the neighborhood until we had all of our shots, but Parvo isn’t big around here. As for the crate during the day, Mom generally, locked us in a room with her rather than crating unless we were driving her mad, in which case, it was crate time. Bailie was sleeping through the night 6-8 hrs at 12 weeks, but when Mom woke up, she grabbed her and raced downstairs and out the door because the little one did have to pee and poo pretty much right away. Katie and I both ate three meals a day until we were six months. Because of having 14 pups in the litter, Bailie was put on a two meal a day schedule at 9 weeks and did fine. Mom often only fed half our meals in the morning and then would use the rest of the kibble for rewards during the day.

  4. I don’t know the “exact” number for how long they can hold it at night but I know it tends to be longer than during the day since the lack of activity helps.

    I’m so excited for you, and I love that instead of having to deal with all the puppy issues myself I’ll just get to live vicariously through you’re little one 🙂

  5. Caveat: I only have experience with one puppy as an adult.

    1. Your thoughts are similar to what we did. We tried putting a second crate next to the bed but she just wouldn’t settle when she could see us. Out of sight, out of mind.

    2. My GSD puppy came home at 7 weeks and could hold it in the crate for 4 hours at night. I took away her water 90 minutes or so before bed, and I set an alarm for 2 AM.

    3. We took her on sidewalk walks in the neighborhood. We avoided parks and lake trails. Parvo scared me but so did missing the window to socialize her properly.

    4. I was home for 2 weeks right when she came home, but I was working remotely for some of that. I tried to limit it to an hour at a time when I was home. It was 4 hours when I had to go back to work (I ran home at lunch every day to feed her and let her out).

    5. I did, but I’m paranoid.

    6. I was advised to give her 3 meals a day until she was about six months old. This is something your breeder can advise on.

      1. Sure! I forgot to mention that we took her everywhere we could. Minneapolis is very dog-friendly, so if I could carry my 8 week old into a store, I would do it. Otherwise, if we went to the store or to get take out or anything at all, we would all three go, and one of us would run the errand while the other stood outside with the puppy and a pouch of treats. Everyone wanted to meet the little fluffball, so we were able to expose her to a lot of new friendly faces that way.

  6. We had the same issue with where to put the crate. I wanted it in the bedroom but it’s a long distance away from the door to go outside and I was sure Haley wouldn’t make it that far without having an accident. I’m envious of people that have a patio door right off their bedroom, that would be perfect! Can’t wait to see your new pup this spring. 🙂

  7. My #1 bit of advice is the following: the first night (or 2) will be HARD. With each of our dogs, when we brought them home, they YOWLED, screamed, whined in the crate when we went to bed. It was surprisingly hard to listen to. One: we lived in an apartment and felt bad for the neighbors. Two: We couldn’t sleep. Three: We felt guilty.

    With the first, we did entertain some of that yowling and I’d say it lasted about a week. When it came time for the second, we said on the first night, no matter what, we would not let him out/pay a lick of attention to him until he’d slept a bit quietly then needed to go outside to pee (light whining later in the night).

    The second one was done with the whining the first night and has been amazing in the crate ever since. That one night was HARD, but worth it because he knew whining in the crate would not achieve ANY attention unless it was clear he had to potty. I’d say be ready for 20-30min of LOUD whining on the first night before they give up and go to sleep – it feels like forever.

    Good luck, apartment life with puppies isn’t easy (been there, done that), but you can do it!!!

  8. Also, we worried endlessly about parvo living in the thick of NYC you cannot ever avoid places where other dogs potty. We just did our best walking only really around the block until they were fully vaccinated. I had also volunteered at a shelter I knew had parvo and was freaked out that I had tracked it into my carpet or something. Everything turned out ok, but it is scary.

  9. Oh I just remembered this final thing for apartment living.

    1. Until proven consistent, CARRY them in the elevator. Our dog peed in the elevator all the time because I adopted my big ole’ pit pup when he was almost too big to carry. It sucks to have to go catch the elevator and clean it out.

    2. Once they get a little more consistent, make them always focus on a task in the elevator – like sitting or lie down. It distracts them from peeing before they’re outside.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thank you so much. We do have an elevator and we’re on the 2nd floor. I will be carrying the pup for quite some time. Not sure if I’ll take the stairs every time or the elevator. I want to be consistent and fast. It’s almost always faster to take the stairs so that’s probably what I’ll do.

  10. I agree about taking lots of pictures!
    Also, I highly recommend feeding your puppy from Kongs and other puzzle toys.
    You’re going to be just fine. Cannot wait to “meet” your new baby dog!

  11. 1) We brought Lambeau home at 8 weeks, and he has slept in his crate in the living room every night since. I thought it would be best to put the crate in its permanent spot from the beginning. But dogs are flexible, as you know, and I think your plan is good. As another commenter said, the first night or so may be tough. He may well cry and whine just because he’s lonely. Try to tough it out. If it’s only been an hour or so since he was last out, he probably doesn’t need to go again, and is just trying to get you to come back and keep him company. It’s hard- really hard, but will pay off in the end,

    2) On advice from our trainer, I let Lambeau set his nightime schedule. We had a plan for the daytime, but at night, if he didn’t wake me, I didn’t deliberately get him up. The idea was that you want him to learn to sleep through the night and if he can hold on longer, let him. It worked for us, and we only had one or two in-crate accidents. He would wake and whine if he needed to go out. I learned to be very aware of the start of his restlessness (rather like as a parent, you learn to wake at the slightest sound from the baby).

    3) I didn’t really have to worry too much about this, as we live in a suburban area and it was fairly easy to keep him away from other dogs until he was fully vaccinated.

    4) I like your plan. Can’t remember exactly what my schedule was when Lambeau was that young, but it was similar. He was housebroken (mostly!) fairly quickly with the regular schedule. He still gets “naptime” in his crate in the afternoon so I can do things that don’t need doggie help!

    5) I can use natural flea prevention, so I don’t know.

    6) Lambeau got three meals until he was a year old. Then I gradually cut out the noon meal. It worked for him, because he’s a gulper, and we had to give him smaller meals in puzzle toys or his dish made to slow down fast eaters. He’d inhale huge mouthfuls so fast, he’d choke, otherwise. I still use that bowl and treat balls/puzzles.

    Puppies are a lot of work, but oh, so much fun! I’d forgotten about both since it had been so long since I’d had a puppy. There were days I wondered WHY???? did I ever think I wanted an 8 week old pup, but seeing him now- yeah, definitely worth it! Good luck with him. I know you’ll both have fun- and both will learn a lot, as well. Pictures- lots and lots of pictures!!!

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