September 18, 2023

Welcome Miller to the Lakehaven Vet Family!


We got a puppy! This is Miller. He is a Goldendoodle and is now almost 4 months old. The puppy phase was RUFF! But he has been a great addition to our family. He has brought a lot of joy and laughter to our lives. 

It’s funny as a veterinarian, I talk every day to people about how to take care of their puppy, but I actually myself have not had a puppy for hmmm.. maybe 20 years?  It’s been a great learning experience for me. I’m looking forward to watching him grow, and I’m grateful to have him as part of our family.

I want you to learn a few things from my experience if you are in the search for a puppy or have just brought a puppy home. So here’s a few things we did that worked great, and some that definitely did not! 

First, we started training and socialization/desensitization right away. Socialization is important because it creates positive exposures for the puppy. Giving lots of positive reinforcement and treats when he interacted with a new person, sound, object, environment is key.

Second, we worked on potty training.  He picked it up pretty fast but one thing that helped us was keeping a basket with clean up supplies, towels, carpet cleaner for quick clean up.  We made sure to reward him every time he did a good job. We also kept a consistent schedule so he knew what to expect.

Once he really started getting the hang of it, we would get busy and forget to take him out regularly and then he would have an accident. One thing that helped me a lot was setting a timer on my Apple watch. I’d set it for 30 minutes to start when he was younger then eventually to 1 hour and take him out when the timer went off and then reset it. 

Third, we started crate/kennel training and mistakes were made. First mistake we made was starting him in the laundry room in his kennel and not in our bedroom. He did not like that and cried and whined a lot. Once we moved the kennel into the bedroom we all slept much better. 

Another mistake with crate training is we put absorbent pads in the kennel with him. Though they were great for cleaning up potty accidents when they happened, we noticed that as he got older he would pee on the towels/pads then push them to the side. We did a little research and realized that it might be better to leave him in there with nothing to absorb the pee so that it would discourage him from doing it again. 

I find that having a pet is a lot like parenting. There’s a lot of learning, pivoting, and really figuring out the best ways to teach. It’s hard work. But there’s so much love in it and I find I grow as I parent my daughter and Miller. 

My daughter asked me today if Miller is her brother, I said yes of course! Because ya’ll fight like siblings 🤣

More puppy questions? Comment below! 

-Dr. Meredith Barry

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