It’s no secret that our entire team at LaGrange Veterinary Hospital loves puppies, with their wagging tails, happy smiles, and the best part of all—puppy breath. As you welcome a new puppy into your family, you may think we schedule all those vaccination booster visits so we fill up on puppy breath and kisses, but these appointments are vital to your pup’s health. Without appropriate vaccinations and preventive care, your puppy may fail to thrive, and you may miss out on a year filled with “firsts,” from the first puppy class to the first haircut. 

To help tell you what to expect during your puppy’s first year, we’ve enlisted the aid of a fluffy Great Pyrenees named Cooper. 

Cooper’s first day home

Cooper: “Oh boy!” Cooper thought to himself. “This place is great! There’s a cozy bed all set up with a soft blanket, giant water and food dishes, and a ton of chew toys to play with, not to mention the large fenced-in yard for me to run in.”

Cooper’s family had prepared well for their new puppy. Before bringing him home, they had planned out all the supplies needed for a puppy his size and breed. Because Cooper was a Great Pyrenees, a giant-breed dog, they knew he would need sturdy toys, large teething chews, and a harness to help train him to walk without pulling. They also stocked up on a variety of brushes and combs to brush him daily, to remove any dead fur before it matted. As they researched, they discovered that Great Pyrenees like to roam and can be difficult to keep at home, so they added two extra feet to the top of their fence to ensure Cooper stayed in the large yard. With all their preparations, Cooper was off to a great start with his new family. 

Cooper’s first puppy class

Cooper: “I can’t believe how lucky I am to go out with my family once a week, and to meet all these new people, and make many dog pals. Plus, they make me think and run around, and I take the best naps when I get home.”

Bred to guard livestock and be highly independent, Cooper could be stubborn and willful at times, so his new family enrolled him in puppy classes as soon as they welcomed him home. Through the weekly classes, Cooper and his family developed a strong bond, and learned to listen to each other. While Cooper was most excited about playing with the other puppies, his family was pleased to learn how to prevent problem behaviors, such as jumping and nipping, which can be much more problematic in a large dog. 

After Cooper graduated from puppy preschool, his family enrolled him in advanced skills training. As a working dog, he needed a job to perform to prevent boredom and naughty behaviors, so Cooper’s family signed up for a variety of courses to help keep him occupied while also learning new activities, such as agility—a failure; dock diving—a flop; and treibball—not too terrible. By enrolling Cooper in classes and taking him out to engage in proper socialization, his family worked diligently to ensure their intelligent, strong-minded, and stubborn dog was happy and well-adjusted.

Cooper’s first grooming appointment

Cooper: “I was a bit nervous when I was told I was going to the groomer for the first time. I had imagined that all those grooming things would be boring, scary, or painful, and it was none of those things. All I can remember is all that yummy peanut butter.”

As a Great Pyrenees, Cooper required almost constant grooming. As he began to lose his puppy fur and his adult coat grew in, his family decided they could use professional help brushing out the loose puppy fluff, trimming his nails, and cleaning his ears. Since this was Cooper’s first professional grooming appointment, they took it slow, to ensure he had a positive experience. They smeared peanut butter on the wall in front to distract Cooper throughout his entire brush-out, nail trim, and ear cleaning, and he tolerated the bath and blow-dry well, with the help of this sticky treat. 

Cooper’s first veterinary visit

Cooper: “I had also heard terrible things about ‘those places,’ so again I was a bit anxious, but my first trip to the veterinary hospital wasn’t so bad, and they all loved me. They promised me I wouldn’t have to suffer from lots of little pests on my skin, and that I could come back on a regular basis so they can help my owners keep me happy and healthy.”

At Cooper’s first visit to LaGrange Veterinary Hospital, we fell in love. But, despite our infatuation with this adorable pup, Dr. Breite still managed to examine him, and to educate his family on proper nutrition for a giant-breed puppy, the appropriate vaccination schedule for his lifestyle and risk exposure, and the best parasite prevention to ensure blood-sucking pests didn’t hide in his thick fur. Although this was Cooper’s first visit and he was still a baby, we also discussed the best age for him to be neutered, and allow time for his bones and joints to fully develop. 

At each of Cooper’s booster visits, we were impressed that he seemed to double in size. He quickly grew through the parasite prevention dose ranges, and we recommended that he come in monthly to be weighed, to ensure he had the correct size for proper protection. As Cooper rapidly grew through puppyhood and the awkward “teenage” phase, he developed into a giant, sweet, loving dog, and our team was delighted to be there every step of the way, and watch him grow. 

Have you welcomed a new puppy into your family? Let us help make a great year of “firsts” for your new pup—call us to schedule a visit.