Riverside Puppies
Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  My new puppy doesn’t seem to be eating well, what should I do?

A:  This is normal in the first week.  There is no competition in their new home and they don’t feel the urgency to eat.  If your puppy is having at least 2 BM’s each day and seems to have plenty of energy, it will be fine.  Even small amounts (1/8 cup) will be enough to get it through the adjustment period.  Try to avoid adding anything to the food if possible.  The puppies are on dry kibble when they leave our home and that is always best for their health and teeth.  If the puppy is not eating at all, you will need to add a small amount of Science Diet a/d or Gerber Chicken baby food to stimulate it to eat.  You can give the puppy a small amount of Nutrical 2 to 3 times a day for added nutrition during the first week.  


Q:  If my puppy is shipping in cargo will it be put in with the luggage?

A:  The airlines have a special section of the cargo hold where the temperature and pressure are kept nearly the same as in the cabin. Even though the pet is traveling as checked baggage it will travel in that section. The airlines put the pets onboard last and take them off first. Most airlines take extra special care of the pet animals.


Q:  Can I travel to your home to pick my puppy up? 

A:  You are welcome to visit our farm and pick up your puppy.  We will need a few days notice to make sure we have our schedule cleared.  Springfield/Branson Regional is the closest airport to our home.


Q:  My puppy is tearing and it causes red stains on her face?

All dogs tear, but if your puppy is tearing a lot check for the following: hairs around the eye poking the eye, something in the environment causing the tears (dust, carpet fibers…),  teething (puppies often tear a lot when they are teething, 4-12 weeks and around 4-6 months of age.  If the puppy continues to have tear stains or red paws from licking you may want to try an additive.   Add ¼ teaspoon apple cider vinegar to 2 cups fresh water (low mineral content water is best).  This eliminates the bacterium that causes the red staining by changing the PH of your dog’s tears and saliva.  It works well for light colored puppies and adults.  There are lots of products on the market, but I have found this to be the most effective and the cost is negligible.  You will need to continue this treatment to keep the red staining from reappearing. Results can be seen on the new fur growth within 2 weeks. 


Q:  My puppy is doing well and growing like a weed. She and our golden retriever are best buds now. I had a question about how to handle her when she gets overly excited and starts nipping. She will occasionally growl and nip especially at the kids if they pick her up when she is overly excited. We weren't sure if this was normal puppy stuff or something we should work on with her. She doesn't seem to do it as much with me.
A:  Yes, it is normal puppy behavior (with other puppies).  I would not allow mouthing or nipping when playing with humans.  This can progress in to growling and biting as the puppy grows. It is up to you to set boundaries and rules for your new puppy.  She needs some good playtime; drag a toy around for her to chase and chomp down on.  Have your children drag a toy on a rope, so she sees that it is okay to chase the toy and not the children.  This will give them more confidence too.  Have your children come to her with a closed hand to pet.  She will lick, if she doesn't see fingers sticking out.  Praise her for licking and not nipping.  If she starts to nibble, yip loudly like her littermates would (littermates would yelp or bite back during play).  Then you should cross your arms and look up at the ceiling for a few moments (until she stops the behavior).  Puppies hate to be ignored!!!  Then give her a toy to bite on. You will need to be consistent.  If your kids pull their hands back quickly or run, she will think it is a game.  This will make her nip more.  Everyone must be confident around the new puppy.  If yelping does not make her stop biting, your puppy should be disciplined.  You must always follow through when you train your puppy.  NEVER let the puppy win!!!  Be fair and consistant at all times.  The more time you put in to training now, the better adult dog you will have.  She will also set up her hierarchy over the first few weeks.  She has to understand that she is at the bottom of your family.  Your children are humans and not littermates!!!  You must be the pack leader!!

Q:  Can my puppy be around other pets before the last round of shots?

A:  Your puppy will receive 2 Parvo 5 way vaccines and 2 Bordetella vaccines before leaving our home.  You will need to schedule an appointment for one more Pavo Booster and a Rabies vaccine at 12-14 weeks of age.  I would avoid any unknown pets until that time.  If you are familiar with another pet (neighbor or family members dog) just ask them if their pet is fully vaccinated.  You should also avoid areas that multiple dogs go to the bathroom (dog parks, rest areas…).  Parvo Virus is transmitted through feces and can live in the ground up to a year.  After your puppy is fully vaccinated it can go anywhere.


Q:  Why do you have the puppies spay/neutered before it leaves your home?

A:  It is always a good idea to have this done as early as possible.  My vet has been doing this procedure for 20 years.  I have had this done for my puppies for over 13 years, with no negative affects.  The puppies are walking around when we get home (after surgery) and running around within a few hours.  Most puppies will have only one stitch and it is removed before they leave.


Q:  Information about micro-chipping?

A:  If you travel out of the country you must have an ISO chip for your pet to travel.  We use AKC CAR chips and they are approved for international travel. Some boarding kennels also require micro-chipping.  All vets, shelters and animal control have scanners. If your dog’s collar comes off or is removed for any reason, they can be scanned.   The chance of recovering your dog if it is lost or stolen is much better with a micro-chip. For more information go to www.akccar.org   My vet microchips all puppies at 7 weeks of age.


Q:  How do I introduce the new puppy to an older dog in our household?

A:  Always introduce them on more neutral ground. An outside introduction is always best.  Let them play and sniff to get to know one another.  Try to ignore the situation a little.  If the older dog senses tension, they may think they have to guard their home.  Be relaxed when you introduce the dogs.  Let them walk in to the house together after playing, if possible.  When the older dog is tired of puppy play it will usually just walk away.  The older dog may even discipline the puppy for nipping too hard or playing to rough.  This is normal behavior and a great way for the puppy to learn.  Put away the food bowl and any special toys for the first few days.  Assuming both pets are spay/neutered they will be best friends within a few days.


Q:  We have a dog, should I get a male or female puppy to go with it.

A:  If you have a male, I think either will be fine.  If you have a female (they can be a bit more territorial with their people) I would advise getting a male.


Q:  We are thinking about two puppies.  Is that a good idea and should we worry about the sex? 

A:  Two puppies are a lot of fun, but they do take a bit more time.  They play together, entertain each other when you are gone and snuggle up together and sleep well at night.  You will need to spend at least 5-10 minutes, twice a day, for separate training lessons.  The puppies will have to learn to listen to you and not be distracted by the other puppy.  I think male/female and male/male combinations work very well.  Two females can bond to each other instead of their family.


Q:  When should I make my first vet appointment?

A: You should make the appointment within three days of the puppy’s arrival date.  Take the vet records (tucked in the micro chip pamphlet) and health certificate (attached to the crate if your puppy was shipped).  The puppy won’t be ready for any vaccinations. Your vet should give it an overall health check and may want to take a stool sample.  They will also set up your next visit for the last round of vaccinations.


Q:  Can I call your vet as a reference, or past families that have adopted your puppies?

A:  You can speak with my vet.  He sees all of my adults and puppies.  Just let me know and I will give you his number. 

Wonderful families adopt our puppies!!  They send us photos and updates of their precious puppies.  I put as many as possible on my “all grown up” page and on my “reference” page.  If you would like to communicate with one of these families, please let me know. I will ask their permission and then give you their email address.  Most of our families are more than happy to talk about their pups and their experience with Riverside Puppies. 


Q:  How much is air shipping and what does it include?

A:  Cargo shipping is $350 to any major airport in the United States. I do not ship my puppies out of the country by themselves.  The flight is much too long.  This price includes the flight, crate (also used for potty training), flight health certificate and insurance for the purchase price of the puppy.  We also provide hand delivery when possible.  The price is based on the number of puppies going to that area and flight prices at the time of delivery.  Hand delivered puppies come with a soft carrier instead of a hard crate. 


Q:  I don’t want my puppy to bark. How can he tell me wants to go out to go potty?

A:  Many of our families have had great success with the bell training method.  Watch the adorable video for an example.  You can also hang a string of bells by the door.  Consistency is key with potty training.



Q:  Can you tell me how crate training works?

Crate Training Basics:

Dogs learn to love their crate as their very own special place/den. It becomes a familiar and secure place, whether in the car, at a motel, visiting, or just at home.

Crates should be large enough for the adult dog to stand, sit & stretch out. (Ideally for a puppy, you start with a smaller crate, or block off one end, so he can't turn one end into sleeping and the other for eliminating) A key principle is to teach, you don't mess where you sleep.  We use a Small PCI for our smaller Maltipoos and a Medium PCII for our Cavapoos, Schnoodles and larger Maltipoos.

Dogs that have been kept in a small area and not taken out on a regular basis are harder to housetrain, simply because they've been forced to soil their living/sleeping quarters. Our puppies are never placed in cages and forced to eliminate in them.

During the day the crate can be placed in a common area so he can go use it at any time and be part of family activities, even as an observer. When it is time to nap or go to bed for the night the puppies generally do best if they can not hear or see everything that is going on.  The puppy should be close enough to hear if they really start crying, but generally a different room is best.  Covering the crate with a thin sheet may also help.  It gives them a sense of security and helps them settle down for sleep at the end of the day.

I will never take a pup out of a crate when he is fussing (if I know he has eliminated before crating for the night and I have taken away food and water at the appropriate time), that only teaches if he fusses enough, that he can come out. You can usually tell the difference between, “I want to come out and play” versus “I really need to go potty”.  You can give him a special chew toy or treat, just for when he is in the crate.  A soft stuffed animal with the littermates scent (we send one with each puppy) or a snuggle pup for warmth may also help.  The puppy can be in the crate for one-to-two-hour intervals, but a play yard should be used for longer periods during the day.  The puppy will need water in the play yard if it will be left all day.

Remember, putting your dog into a crate, does not of itself housetrain a dog. We begin taking the puppies out on a schedule as soon as they are weaned.  The puppies know not to soil in their area.  Using the crate trains your puppy to “hold it” and helps the puppy identify the appropriate time and place to go potty. To be successful, you want to prevent your puppy from making mistakes. Many people punish a dog for messing in the house, and then virtually ignore the good behavior when they eliminate outside. So you get a dog that learns it is wrong to mess in the house when the owner is present. If you catch them in the act, make a loud noise to stop them (if possible) and take them outside immediately. Never clean up a mess when the puppy is watching.  Always use cleaning supplies that eliminate the odor.

To prevent mistakes, don't let your pup have the run of the house. He needs 100% active supervision. If you must leave the room, even for a phone call, crate him, take him with you or use a play yard. 

The real reason for crate training, besides preventing problems, is to help you predict when the pup will need to eliminate, so you can take him to the correct spot. The puppy is used to a regular feeding schedule (meal times can be adjusted gradually). Confine him after eating for 10 to 15 minutes, and then take him to an elimination spot. You can give a command like “go potty", they do understand, and will learn to go on command. PRAISE him after he eliminates.  If the puppy sits down beside you, walk away.  He will follow you and this will stimulate him to go potty.  If he doesn’t go, crate him and try again in 15 minutes.  Then take him back in and play with him, or if he likes it outside, play with him outside, or take him for a walk (after 3rd set of shots).

Always take the puppy out the same door, the one you are going to want him to signal at. Bells work great for some owners. Hang bells on the door, and give them a kick every time you open the door. Some dogs can be quiet, and stand at the door and look at it, some will let out a little yip, but others rely on you to see them standing at the door. So bells can be a marvelous tool. They will learn to swat them to get the door to open. Others use doggy doors. But a young pup can never be sent out to pee, he must be taken out.

Q:  What type of environment are the puppies raised in?
I feel like early socialization is the key to raising a well rounded puppy.  Our puppies receive lots of one on one attention and lots of playtime.  Puppies need plenty of exercise and interaction with all ages.  The following links take you to videos that are typical "puppy playtime" at Riverside.