New Puppy Tips, supplies & recommendations

Grothaus Puppy BEST Tip… have fun!!

It’s around day two of the life with a new puppy that most people start to ask themselves, “what the hell have I gotten myself into?”

When you bring a puppy home, you are suddenly faced with obnoxious puppy behaviour like whining, biting, jumping, chewing, and pooping on the carpet. Did I mention biting? So, so much biting… And if you’ve done any research at all, you know that proper care and training is critical during a puppy’s first few months. The things your puppy experiences now are going to affect him for the rest of his life. No pressure, right? Between managing the puppy’s destructive tendencies, worrying about stuff like vaccinations and socialization, and dealing with well-intentioned but often incorrect advice from friends, family, and TV shows, a puppy’s new family can get a little overwhelmed… So here are some of my puppy tips to get you through the next few months:

  1. Get a crate. I highly recommend Impact Crates. They are safe, secure and it makes housetraining incredibly easy.
  2. Let your puppy sleep in your bedroom, at least for the first few nights. This whole experience is scary for a puppy, don’t make him/her sleep in the laundry room, put the crate next to your bed so you can reassure him/her.
  3. Keep your puppy tethered to you with a leash when in the house, doing chores or just relaxing. That way you can observe him/her and catch your puppy from going potty inside, out of trouble and mischief.
    1. Leerburg training videos are a fantastic investment and many are free on YouTube. >> CLICK HERE
  4. Baby gates are your friend. Use them to keep the puppy out of places you don’t want him to destroy.
  5. Supervise, supervise, supervise. If you cannot watch him/her like a hawk, he/she needs to be in his crate or in his “area,” see below.
  6. Set up a puppy area for when you can’t supervise. Pick a small area like the bathroom or kitchen, block it off with baby gates or an x-pen. Add a bed in one corner and pee pads or a dog “toilet” in another.
    1. Leerburg’s Managing Your Puppy in an ExPen >> CLICK HERE
  7. Pick a potty spot.  To avoid the dog pooping all over the yard as an adult, pick one area and take puppy directly there when it’s potty time.
  8. Set a daily routine. House training proceeds more smoothly if your puppy knows what to expect from day one.
  9. Enroll in a puppy class. Your pup will learn some basic obedience, but the real benefit of puppy classes is socialization with other puppies and people.
  10. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Not all advice is good advice. Take everything with a grain of salt. Coconut oil and turmeric are not cure-alls.
  11. Make sure everyone is on the same page. Discuss the puppy rules with your whole family. Figure out who will do what when. Pick one set of training cues and stick with them.
  12. Play some puppy training games.
  13. Don’t encourage behaviour that you’ll regret when he gets big. Jumping up is cute when he weighs ten pounds. It won’t be cute when he’s 60 pounds.
  14. Get your pup used to handling from day one, touching feet, nails, tail, ears, mouth, teeth, and belly, with love.
    1. Start grooming early on. For the same reason as above.
  15. Take your puppy to the pet store. Great socialization opportunity. Keep him in the shopping cart and off the floor until she’s had all her puppy shots.
  16. Introduce your pup to all kinds of novel things. People in funny hats. Remote control cars. Kids playing. Agility equipment. Balloons. Cats. Car rides.
  17. Socialize, don’t traumatize. Introduce new experiences slowly and never let your puppy get overwhelmed.
  18. Invite your circle of friends and family to meet the puppy.
  19. Frozen wet washcloths and baby carrots make great chews for teething puppies.
  20. Reward good behaviour; don’t wait for bad behaviour. Reward the puppy when you see him doing something you like. Don’t wait until she’s misbehaving to give him attention.
  21. Avoid dog parks. In addition to putting your under-vaccinated puppy at risk for disease, most dogs at the dog park are quite rude by canine standards. A couple of bad experiences could ruin your puppy’s opinion of his/her own species.
  22. Feed 2-3 small meals per day. Don’t leave food out for him/her to graze on.
  23. Pick up anything you don’t want destroyed. If it’s on the floor, it WILL be chewed.
  24. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want. For example, teach your puppy to sit when greeting people. Don’t just yell at her for jumping up.
  25. Watch your puppy’s poops. Disgusting? Yes. But it could save your puppy’s life. If you notice anything like real watery diarrhoea or blood, take your puppy for a vet visit ASAP.
  26. Provide toys. If you provide her with her own toys, he/she’s less likely to chew on yours (ha! yeah right. It’s worth a shot, though). >>Amazon list
  27. Make your own toys. Like kids who’d rather play with the box than with the toy that came in it, puppies are often happier chewing on an empty plastic water bottlethan an expensive store-bought toy.
  28. Rotate through the toys. Let your puppy have two or three toys at a time. Changing up the toy selection will keep the pup interested. >>Amazon toy list
  29. If you think your puppy needs to go potty, don’t hesitate to take him outside! You’d be surprised how often puppies need to go.
  30. Practice separation. As tempting as it is, don’t let pups be glued to your side all day. Letting your puppy have time to himself in his crate or room will help prevent separation anxiety.
  31. Hellos and Goodbyes should be no big deal. Don’t make a fuss over your pup when you leave or come home. Again, prevents separation anxiety.
  32. Don’t get offended when your puppy chews on you. Puppies bite. A lot. Sometimes painfully. It is NOT aggression. Do not react by yelling, smacking him, rolling him on his back or holding his muzzle shut.
    1. Leerburg’s Help, My Puppy BITES! >> CLICK HERE
  33. Don’t use ammonia-based cleaners. Your puppy will think it smells like urine, actually encourages her to pee there again. Use an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle.
  34. Visit the vet. Take your pup for a visit when he/she doesn’t have an appointment. Bring some treats and ask the office staff to give her some. Make the vet’s office a fun place! (call ahead first to make sure this is OK)
  35. As a general rule of thumb, the number of hours a puppy can “hold it” is his age in months plus one. So a two month old puppy should be crated for a maximum of three hours at a time (during the day. When they sleep at night, puppies can usually hold it for longer).
  36. Leave the TV or radio on when you leave your puppy home alone.
  37. Teach good leash manners early. Better to teach your puppy to walk nice on leash than to teach your adult dog to stop pulling on leash.
  38. Remember that your puppy is a baby – don’t ask too much. Don’t worry about whether she’ll perform a perfect sit/stay or heel. Plenty of time for that when she’s older. Focus on socialization and having fun.
  39. Be prepared for your pup to become an obnoxious little brat around age 6-10 months. Adolescence is even more challenging than puppyhood. Have fun with your teenage dog! The environment plays a significant role in the development and well-being of your Sinburg pup.  These guidelines result from my years of experience in raising and training German Shepherd Dogs.  Some ideas will work for you, others viewed as just plain silly.


Bigger is NOT better. Slow, steady growth over 2 years is the healthiest path for your pup. Check out Dog Food Adviser for a list of kibble ratings. At full maturity and in optimal condition, males will range from 75-90 pounds; females normally vary from 55-70 pounds. Over weight, or too sudden weight gain, is an enormous risk factor for orthopedic issues.  A six month old pup who weighs 70 pounds is a grave source for concern.
Growing bones are fragile.  Growth plates do not fully close until close to one year of age.  You must actively protect your pup. Moderation in all exercise is best.  Too little exercise and too much (and inappropriate exercise) can be detrimental to your pup.

No jumping exercises until after 12 months. No jumping in and out of automobiles. Always lift your puppy, use a ramp or stairs that are inexpensive and easy to use. No jumping down stairs. No excessive stairs. A few steps into the house is fine, but use a baby gate to keep puppy from going to other floors in the house.

No controlled exercises. This means no structured running/jogging/biking until 12 months. Free walking/sprinting/cavorting on grass is ideal.  Leash walks are fine… Just no marathon miles at early ages. Swimming is ideal for growing joints. Some dogs love the water, others are strictly land-lubbers.Agility exercises where all four feet remain on the ground are fine.  No hurdles, no tables, no long dog walks until after 12 months. No free play with older, larger, physically mature dogs. (Would you let a toddler play tackle football with a high school line-backer?)

No slippery surfaces. If you have hardwood floors, put down area rugs & runners. Non-slip surfaces are critical.  A dog slip-sliding on polished tile is an orthopedic problem waiting to happen.


Again, crate training is highly recommended.

Weld-wire kennels. Outdoor kennel runs are highly recommended as an alternative to a fenced yard and Weld-wire are sturdier than chain link and more durable. They can be moved into a barn, garage or even a spare room.


No tennis balls of any kind. The fabric erodes tooth enamel and they are easily destroyed (and eaten) resulting in intestinal obstruction. Instead we recommend Chuckit! balls with or without a thrower, and Kong toys or pretty much any of the toys from these companies. They are readily available at most feed or pet stores and you can conveniently order them online from Amazon or Chewy.

BarkBox is conveniently delivered each month to your door, just remember to specify ‘large breed’ and ‘super chewer’ even as a little puppy. We went over the biting, right? Oh, and if you use our link, your first box is free to try!

That’s all for now, but keep checking back as I think of more things to add, and don’t forget to check out our RESOURCES page. Have fun !!!!