The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Cavachons" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: David AndersonThe arrival of your Cavachon puppy is undoubtedly something you are looking forward to with eager anticipation. Whether you have been waiting for your puppy to get old enough to leave momma dog or are planning to bring a rescue dog home, you have probably been getting excited for a while. One of the best ways to get you during this period of waiting is taking care of everything you have to do before you pup comes home. Even if you are getting a Cavachon that is a few years old, there are a couple of days’ worth of preparation. It is typically best to spread out what you need to do over several days so that you aren’t rushed or miss something. Cavachon puppies in particular need to have a home that is secured so that they don’t hurt themselves trying to stay with you.
Preparing Your Kids
The first place to start is with your kids. Cavachon love people, even young kids. However, they are a small dog and you want to make sure your child interacts with them in a way that does not hurt you Cavachon. Your kids are probably going to spend more time with your new dog than you are, and you want to make sure that they know how to behave. As soon as your Cavachon puppy arrives, your kids are going to be too excited to try to learn anything new. That means they have to already know the best way to interact with the family’s new addition.
Establish rules, and frequently ask your kids different scenarios to ensure they know what they should do. That way, when your Cavachon enters the home, you can monitor them, and if they are too excited, you simply ask them a question that they already know how to answer. This will make them quickly start behaving in a way that is more appropriate. Do not leave your Cavachon alone with the children for a few days to make sure they don’t get too excited or rough with playing, especially if you bring home a puppy that hasn’t learned how to express happiness or pain. Cavachons may love being around people, but young ones still have that puppy tendency to chew on things when they are teething.
Teach your children these five rules to keep your puppy and children playing in a way that builds a fantastic bond.
- Be gentle. Cavachon puppies and adults are absolutely adorable, but they are also small and not up for rough play. It is never a good idea to be rough with a puppy, or even an adult Cavachon.
Make sure your children understand the consequences if they play too rough with the new family member. Puppies and dogs that are afraid may nip, so it is important to make sure the kids don’t scare the dog. Make sure that your child understands that rough play is not good for the dog to avoid drama.
- Chase should not be played inside. This is going to be difficult for children to remember because it is so tempting to start running with a Cavachon. They are so cute as their little ears flop while they try to run to catch up, but you do not want your children or dog running through your home. Not only is your puppy (or child) likely to get hurt running in the home, it can create a feeling of insecurity for the Cavachon. Even if your Cavachon feels safe, you don’t want the dog running around as an adult – once that behavior is learned, it is difficult to train your dog not to run in the home.
- Avoid mixing meal time and play time. Your Cavachon should be left alone to eat in peace instead of feeling like the food might be stolen. It is also good for your children to focus on eating their meals as you do not want them feeding your puppy from their plates. Cavachons are not known for being aggressive, but you don’t want the puppy to feel anxious about eating.
- The puppy should be left on its own feet – it shouldn’t be picked up. Young children in particular need to be reminded that puppies are not dolls – they’re not there to be constantly picked up and carried. Even if your child is careful, it can be incredibly uncomfortable for the Cavachon puppy to be lifted off the floor. The puppy may be small, but children often cannot provide adequate support for a puppy’s back half. This can end up hurting the puppy, particularly the spine. Even older children should not be picking up the puppy because if the puppy nips, the surprising pain could result in dropping the puppy.
The great thing about Cavachons is that there are plenty of games that be played right there on the floor. All they want is attention, and kids have an excuse to crawl around on the floor and see what kinds of games are the most fun. You will need to make sure to follow your own rules – if you are picking up the puppy, your kids will definitely do the same.
- Anything that is valuable needs to be kept out of reach of both your puppy and your child. Children will grab whatever is in reach and start to play with a new puppy, and they are not going to pay attention to what it is until too late. Being proactive and putting valuable things out of reach can make sure you don’t have problems later. It isn’t just children either – teenagers are not any more likely to pay attention when there is a puppy in front of them. Stuffed animals, towels, and anything that you don’t want torn up or dirtied should be out of the areas where any playing occurs.
Preparing Your Current Dogs
Preparing your dogs for a new puppy can be a unique challenge. Even if you have introduced a new dog, there are different considerations you need to make for older dogs; they may not be as accepting of a puppy as when they were younger. Preparing your current dogs will be a lot different than preparing children for a new puppy because your dogs need something entirely different than a set of rules and reminders. Without the pre-puppy talk, you may feel there isn’t much you can do, but that isn’t true. Here are several tasks you can complete prior to your puppy’s arrival.
Create a space just for the puppy. For at least the first few days (if not weeks), your puppy should not be interacting with your dogs unless there is an adult around to supervise them. This is true even if you work at home – if you aren’t paying attention to the puppy, make sure the puppy is separate from the other dogs. There should not be any belongings of your other dogs in the puppy’s space either. If your dog has a favorite chair, make sure the puppy’s space does not encroach on that space.
Establish a neutral location for your dog to meet the puppy, such as a park near your home. Your dog needs to meet the puppy in a place where possessive tendencies will not immediately kick in at the meeting. The last thing you want is for your dog to react territorially with your puppy. The initial meeting somewhere that is familiar to your dog but that is not within your dog’s territory will help make the meeting easier to manage. Once your dog has a chance to sniff and get familiar with the new puppy, it will not be as much of a threat in the home.
Plan to have another adult present at the meeting, and make sure you know who will keep the current dog calm during the meeting. It is very like that one or both of the canines will be incredibly excited about the meeting, and it could quickly become too much for one adult to handle. The person who runs the home and the two people who will be responsible for taking care of the dog and the puppy should also be present. This will help establish the hierarchy for your puppy, although it is unlikely that it will much matter to your Cavachon. It is best not to have young children at the initial meeting as there will be enough energy and excitement between the dog and the puppy.
Realize that it may take a while for your dog to get acclimated to having a puppy in the home. Even if your dog is more than happy to have the puppy around, it is best to keep them separated for the first week while the puppy learns the rules. Your dog will need some time to adjust to sharing your attention. Once your Cavachon puppy is allowed to enter other areas, your dog is probably going to have a lot less alone time, something that will be tiring for older dogs.
For homes with more than one dog, you will need to follow the same rules, adding one additional adult per dog at the initial meeting. The personality of each dog should be considered prior to the meeting. If possible, try to have the dogs meet the puppy one at a time, with the other dogs either in the vehicle or standing further away, so you can gauge each reaction to the Cavachon puppy. This will keep the puppy from being overwhelmed and keeps the dogs from being too excited (the excitement of one will be contagious to the rest, making for an incredibly boisterous encounter).
With a dog as friendly and companionable as a Cavachon, you really need to be aware of the foods that they should not eat, as should your children. It is going to be incredibly tempting to give them food you are eating because it is easy to think that a small amount won’t do much – however, it will. The Cavachon is not a bit dog, and it will not take much of the wrong kinds of foods to do serious harm. Most people know not to feed chocolate to dogs (even people who have never had one), but there are several foods that are far more dangerous.
The following is a list of foods that you need to make sure are never accessible to your adorable little Cavachon.
- Apple seeds
- Cooked bones (they can kill when they splinter in the dog’s mouth or stomach)
- Corn on the cob (it is the cob that is deadly to dogs, corn off the cob is fine, but you need to make sure that your Corgi cannot reach any corn that is still on the cob)
- Macadamia nuts
- Onions and chives
- Peaches, persimmons, and plums
- Tobacco (your Corgi will not know that it is not a food and may eat it if left out)
- Xylitol (a sugar substitute in candies and baked goods)
These are the foods that could be deadly to your puppy, but there are also foods that your dog shouldn’t eat to stay healthy. Check out The Canine Journal list of foods and make sure that your family abides by the rules of your house in terms of what people food your dog is given.
Yes, it is going to be difficult because you will want to share. Even for safe foods, you should keep it to a minimum how much you share, with the recommendation being not to give your dog any human food. Dogs do not have the same metabolism as humans, and the highly processed food is really not good for their systems. To keep your Cavachon healthy, it is best to get the puppy used to eating dog food and keep all of the dangerous foods well out of reach.
Hazards to Fix
Just like you have to baby proof your home for a newborn, you are going to need to spend a good bit of time preparing your home for your Cavachon puppy. There are many potentially dangerous things, many you probably don’t notice because you do not see the world from the Cavachon perspective. One thing you should do long before your puppy’s arrival is to get down on your stomach in each room and look around for potential dangers. The following sections cover many of the most common potential problems, but every home is unique. Doing your own thorough inspection from your puppy’s perspective will help you see the world from an entirely different point of view.
Start your puppy proofing at least a month before your puppy’s arrival. This will give you ample time to take care of everything.
Kitchen and Eating Areas
The kitchen is always one of the most dangerous areas for animals and children. There are poisons in the cabinets, sharp utensils, and a host of other things on which pets and kids can hurt themselves. Securing your kitchen area will be the same for your Cavachon puppy as it would be for a toddler. They do not tend to be troublemakers. They typically to use their intelligence to make you happy, but that does not mean they won’t try to entertain themselves. With all of the smells and food, the kitchen is a curiosity for puppies (and dogs). They will likely work their way into your cabinets if the cabinets are not secured. In addition to keeping hazardous foods out of reach of your puppy, you need to make sure poisons are always stored in a place where your Cavachon cannot get to it. Don’t leave buckets with cleaning supplies in them or set cleaning supply bottles on the floor. All your Cavachon has to do is knock them over and spill the contents all over the floor. Get accustomed to storing all of your supplies in the cabinets where they are secure.
You also need to start putting your garbage can in a secure location. There will be a lot of things from the kitchen the end up in it, such as plastics, cooked chicken bones, broken glasses, and wrappers with interesting smells. Even a small Cavachon puppy will look for ways to tip it over and enjoy the contents. Either store your kitchen garbage can in the pantry or under the sink to ensure your puppy cannot get to it.
Make sure there are no cords that will be within reach. Your teething Cavachon pup is likely to want to chew on them and see what happens when they pull on them. This is clearly an electrical danger, but that is not the only risk. When the cords are attached to things like toaster ovens and blenders, this becomes very dangerous because it could crush the little pup. Keep all cords out of reach.
Bathroom and Laundry
The next most dangerous room for your puppy will be the bathroom, and it will require the same puppy proofing that you did in the kitchen. All poisons need to be kept behind locked cabinet doors. Sharp objects need to be in locked drawers (except for the ones that are too high for a small dog to reach). Get used to keeping your toilet closed, and avoid using instant cleaners (you are going to need to get used to cleaning the toilets the old-fashioned way). Even if you keep the toilet seat closed, all it takes is a visitor leaving the lid up and your puppy could try to drink from it.
While not quite as dangerous as the kitchen and bathroom, the laundry room does have its share of potential puppy hazards. Laundry detergent and other cleaning supplies that you store in the laundry room need to be out of reach. If you have cabinets, make sure they are locked because they likely serve as storage for other items, and you do not want your puppy getting into them. If possible, find a way to keep clothing off of the floor. You don’t want your puppy eating your dirty clothing – or dragging your dirty undergarments around your home. There will also be times when items with potentially dangerous chemicals on them will be put in the dirty laundry, and you do not want those to be in within reach of your Cavachon. The easiest thing to do is to keep the door closed, but you should still make sure things are out of reach. You will likely let the Cavachon follow you into the room, and your attention will be elsewhere while the puppy is exploring.
Just like you did in the kitchen, you are going to need to go around and make sure all electrical cords are off of the floor, cleaning products and dangerous items are out of reach, and there is nothing under furniture that could be dangerous to your puppy. This includes pens and pencils, which will likely look like chew toys to your puppy. You do not want them getting sick from the graphite or pen ink, nor will you want to have to clean up the mess.
Fireplaces need to be cleaned and all cleaning supplies stored out of reach, including things like pokers. Make sure that the interior is secured so that your Cavachon cannot enter it.
Have gates for stairs to keep your puppy from tumbling down them. It is best in the first months to avoid the stairs with your little puppy. Cavachons are adults are small; their puppies are tiny. To avoid them falling down the stairs, just keep them away from them. You may want to play to have a training session with any stairs you have inside once your puppy is a bit older.
If you have a cat, make sure the litter box is in a location that your puppy cannot reach. It won’t need to be too high off the ground, but it does need to be secured away from your puppy. You will want to make sure your cat has time to learn the new location before the puppy arrives too. The last thing you should do to a cat is change where its restroom is located while it is coping with a new, energetic puppy.
Garages are a terribly dangerous place for any dog, but especially small puppies. They are going to be able to get into areas that you had not even considered. Under workbenches and cars, in small spaces, and through holes you didn’t know where there, puppies will find all of the most dangerous places without even trying.
It is best to keep your Cavachon out of the garage. If your Cavachon does go into the garage, never leave your dog alone in there. Since you will likely be taking your Cavachon through the garage on the occasion, it is best to puppy-proof it too.
Equipment, tools, car parts, and yard supplies all need to be stored off the ground where the puppy cannot reach. Fortunately, that is relatively easy since your Cavachon is not going to get too big. This includes bike tools, leaf blowers, and other tools that you don’t want your Cavachon chewing on if you are hanging out in the garage. Fishing equipment also needs to be organized and stored where your puppy will not eat your bait or get hurt on hooks. Make sure nothing is dangling over any countertops either.
Get down low and look around to see what all is a potential danger to a young dog. Block any small areas where your puppy could potentially crawl, move wires and cables up out of reach, and store chemicals and tools that puppies and children should not touch.
Outdoors and Fencing
Never leave your Cavachon unattended in your yard, even if you have a fence. First, your dog is not going to like being away from everyone. Second, there are far too many dangerous things in the yard for a puppy or young dog.
As long as you never send your Cavachon out alone, it should be relatively easy to puppy proof the yard. Set aside an hour or two (depending on the yard size) to look it over and make sure the usual hazards are out of reach. Fertilizer, gardening tools, and power tools should all be stored in the garage or shed. Look over the fencing for holes near the ground, or places where a puppy may be able to burrow out. This includes looking for breaks that could trap your Cavachon. Also, if there is water in your backyard, such as a pool or small pond, make sure your puppy cannot get to it.
Determine where you want your Cavachon to use the restroom outside. This is going to be incredibly important because it will make the clean-up much easier. Make sure that the location is safe (no holes in the ground that could hurt the puppy and no cleaning supplies). There shouldn’t be anything large and potentially dangerous in the area, such as a birdbath. An excited puppy or child may knock them over while playing. Your Cavachon is going to learn really quickly where to go to the bathroom if you stay consistent, and you want to make sure there are no risky items in the area.
Spend time walking around the yard checking it out. You should do this several times over the course of the month, keeping an eye out for anything that needs to be moved or fixed.
Supplies and Tools to Purchase and Prepare
Once the home is secure, it is time to make sure you have everything you need before your Cavachon arrives. Create a checklist of everything you know you will need, and anything you think would be beneficial. Even if you don’t buy anything extra, there are a lot of items that are basic needs for your puppy. The following list can help you get started:
- Doggie bags for walks
- Puppy food
- Water and food bowls (sharing a water bowl is usually ok, but your puppy needs his or her own food dish if you have multiple dogs)
Anything else you want for you puppy, add it to the list, such as flea treatments so that you can start treating your dog at the right age.
Training tools and treats should be on that list, you just need to determine which one you want to have for your puppy. A combination of treat and toys will have the best results because you will not want to continually give your puppy food. You will also need to get equipment for training indoors for the first few weeks. Toys will need to be the right fit for your Cavachon puppy’s little mouth. Don’t get anything too big or heavy. Fortunately, your Cavachon is going to follow you around, making it easy to work training and play time into the day. It will build up your puppy’s stamina though, so plan to increase play time to both keep your puppy from boredom and in shape.
Planning the First Year’s Budget
While they aren’t nearly as expensive as newborn humans, puppies can be relatively costly. Setting up your budget before the puppy arrives will make sure that you can afford the things you need over the course of the year. This will include things like vet visits for shots, training supplies, and food. Make sure to include a cushion because it always costs more than you expect.
Start the budget as soon as you decide to get a Cavachon. They may not require much extra for their care (you are their favorite source of entertainment, so you aren’t going to need to constantly find ways to keep them from boredom), and they are small, but all dogs cost a lot their first year as you learn what they need. You are also going to need to do a good bit of research for your Cavachon. Vets have different prices for different cities and states, and you want one with a great reputation, as well as knowledge about designer breeds. Because they have much shorter histories, the types of typically health problems vary much more for designer breeds than purebred dogs; however, they have an easier history to track than mutts. You want a vet who can address the potential issues common with designer breeds.
Your Cavachon’s focus is pretty much going to be guaranteed around you and your family. They are intelligent, but they do not tend to cause the kinds of problems that Corgis and other intelligent dogs cause because Cavachon find all the entertainment they need with their people. This makes them incredibly fun and enjoyable. In those first few months though, they are going to be learning everything, and that means investing more time to keep them safe and happy. To make sure you aren’t distracted, make sure you have everything set up well ahead of your Cavachon’s arrival.
Make sure that your family, including your pets, are prepared for the new arrival. Have the day of the introduction already planned out, particularly with young kids and dogs. Spend some extra time with your current pets so that they do not feel like they are being replaced. You need to plan to spend extra time with them after the puppy’s arrival too because they will feel left out while you are training and playing with the puppy. Take longer walks or plan to spend more time playing in the yard. Make time in your schedule now to do that once the puppy arrives because it will be much harder to work it into your schedule later. Having something familiar will help you dog to adjust faster to the little puppy.
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