New Puppy FAQs

Some of this information isn’t necessarily limited only to puppies. It’s just some good stuff you should know about responsible pet ownership. Scroll down the page for FAQs on questions such as:

Why buy a purebred puppy?

How do I housebreak a puppy?

What feeding information should I follow? What’s the puppy’s ideal weights?

What items do I need to buy before my puppy comes home? What grooming/maintenance needs to be done?

What are the puppy periods of development? What is the fear imprint stage?

When are we to arrange spaying/neutering?

What is a “limited registration”?

What should I know about poisonous plant, food and animal risks?

Do puppies get “worms”?


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Q: Why should I buy a purebred puppy?

A: Not to slight mixed-breed dogs, but there are advantages to evaluating and selecting a purebred dog over mixed-breeds.

The principal advantage to selecting a purebred dog is that an owner can know what to reasonably expect regarding the dog’s size, color, temperament and other attributes. When you buy from a serious, hobby breeder, you may pay more than “newspaper” prices, but you’re betting on pedigrees that are a result of experienced planning and analysis, as well as care and attention throughout the process.

There are several nationally recognized kennel clubs that act as registries for breeds and may have adopted breed standards that address many attributes about a particular breed. The largest and most widely-recognized of such registries is the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The AKC has adopted and maintains breed standards for over 150 breeds. The format of the standard (its content and specifications) are not uniform among all breeds. For example, one breed’s standard may be very specific as to correct or acceptable color of coat, while another breed’s standard may allow more broad variety. A breed standard is maintained so that the physical and behavioral characteristics of a breed may be preserved. For example, a golden retriever today should not be significantly different from one decades ago.

Q: How do I housebreak a puppy?

A: Crate training… this method is undoubtedly the most effective means to “housebreak” your puppy–that is, to train them in learning to go outside to do their “business”– and not in the house. No one wants a “sooner” dog– they’d sooner go in the house than outside! — (a little puppy humor…)

Buy that plastic airline-style crate (size “400” or Large) or a wire crate. This will start off as your puppy’s “home”. Place it anywhere in your home you wish such as the kitchen, laundry room, or your bedroom.

The daily routine can start where your puppy is in their crate for no more than about 3 hours during the daytime (8 hours at night is fine). Upon letting the puppy out, proceed directly outside, do not stop to play. Take him or her to the same spot in the yard each time, preferably just outside the door on the grass. The same spot is important as it is easier for them to remember they’re outside for a purpose. Once they’re done, praise them, play with them, throw a ball–whatever you wish. But remember, play time, feeding, etc., comes AFTER they first go outside.

After your puppy has learned the drill, it is not uncommon for owners to simply remove the door to the crate and the crate becomes your dog’s bed at night.

Q: What feeding information should I follow? What’s the puppy’s ideal weights?

Puppy Feeding Instructions

Amount Per Feeding
No. Times Per Day
Total Daily Feeding
8 – 12 weeks old
3/4 to 7/8 cup
2 1/2 cups
12 – 16 weeks old
1 cup
3 cups
16+ weeks old
1 3/4 to 2 cups
3 1/2 to 4


Tips for Successful Feeding and Development

  • Pour some warm (never hot) water over food and let soak a minute or two before feeding to aid in digestion and reduce risk of bloat. Stainless steel bowls are best for dog dishes. Make fresh water available throughout the day (or to drink at least three times per day).
  • Feed three times per day until 16 weeks to allow for best digestibility. If three times/day just won’t work with your schedule, you can divide the Total Daily Feeding into two (feed only twice per day). Don’t allow your puppy to choice or free feed– they’ll become nibblers and will never become accustomed to eating a full meal when served, even as adults. Most golden retrievers finish up all you give them.
  • Feed a high quality dry “puppy” or “growth” formula food (it usually has chicken, lamb/rice or turkey/barley as the primary ingredients), available from feed stores or local pet superstores such as Petsmart or Pet Depot. Ingot Goldens puppies are weaned on IAMS Smart Puppy Proactive Health or similar brand of dry food. If you wish to change, blend in your different food over time. Other high quality feed brands include IAMS, Eukanuba or ProPlan or Purina ONE. A good dry dog food brand available at grocery stores is Purina ONE. Avoid feeding cheaper store brands as they are typically made with lower quality ingredients and fillers.
  • From 16 weeks on, the 3 1/2 – 4 cups should be an approximate daily maintenance amount. Ideally, this should be split in two, feeding half in morning and the other half in the evening. If two times a day cannot be arranged, feeding the total amount once per day is okay. Switch from puppy (growth) formulations to normal/adult formulations after reaching about 6 mos. of age. Blend this transition in from puppy to adult formulations.
  • Keep in mind the goal during puppy feeding (from 8 to 16 weeks) is to provide what the puppy needs during this very rapid growth period, without great surges. Changes in, or additions to a puppy’s diet should be made very gradually. Use dog treats (such as milk bones) sparingly and very rarely table scraps even as an adult. The puppy needs twice an adult’s maintenance requirement of energy/nutrients until they reach about 1/2 their mature weight.
  • Keep the puppy trim, not too lean. Be careful not to overfeed, as this can lead to obesity and related problems, or overly rapid growth. The spine should not be readily felt; the ribs should be covered only with a slight layer of fat such that they are not readily seen. Roly-poly tubs of lard are not healthy puppies!

Approximate Ideal Golden Retriever Puppy Weight

Age (weeks)
Weight (pounds)
7 weeks
9 weeks
10 – 11
12 weeks
15 – 16
16 weeks
25 – 26
20 weeks
32 – 43
6 months
40 – 50
12 months
65-70 males; 55-60 females
2 years and beyond
75-80 males; 55-65 females


Happy feeding!

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Q: What items do I need to buy before my puppy comes home? What grooming/maintenance needs to be done?

A: Here’s a good shopping list. Consider using child gates in your home depending on your confinement plan. Two good websites for dog supplies are: and

  • BOWLS: Two stainless steel bowls – 2 qt.
  • LEASH, nylon or leather, 6′ (retractable or “Flexi”-style leashes ok after 6 mos.)
  • COLLAR, nylon, adjustable; ½” wide (about 10-16″ long) or ¾” wide (about 12-20″ long)
    • OK: Plushy/stuffed animals, Kong toys, tennis or hard rubber balls
    • OK: rawhides (but no knotted bones), IAMS puppy biscuit/bones, sterilized-natural beef bones, knuckles, pig ears
    • NO: Nyla-bone items, Greenies bones, chew-hooves
  • CRATE (cage) (Note: Bring the crate with you when you pick up your puppy!)
    • Wire crate for the house: 36L x 24W x 27H or 42L x 28W x 31H (for more room), some have with adjustable divider panel which is nice
    • Vari-Kennel (plastic style) if applicable for auto, airplane transport (similar sizes)
    • Use one or two bath towels in the crate tray
  • GROOMING (Discuss with us which items may not be necessary if you will have a shop groom your dog)
    • Coat
      • Shampoo: Bio-Groom Protein & Lanolin shampoo – bathe when dirty or about twice per month
      • Brush: pin-brush (metal pin bristles); brush daily
      • Comb: metal, about 7.5″
      • Scissors: ball-tipped, about 7″ (trimming feet); Thinning shears: about 6 ½” (trimming ears, tail)
    • Nails
      • Nail clippers (non guillotine-type) or nail grinder (battery powered) – trim twice per month
      • Kwik-stop (stops bleeding from clipped nails, other minor cuts)
    • Ears
      • Oticalm cleaning solution (or make your own: equal parts rubbing alcohol, water, vinegar) – clean weekly
      • Cotton balls or pads
    • Teeth (start maintenance after adult teeth are in – about 5 mos. of age)
      • Adult (human) soft toothbrush
      • Nolvadent brushing solution
      • Metal tooth scaling tool

Q: What are the puppy periods of development? What is the fear imprint stage?

A: There are seven+ stages of puppy development, one of which is the fear imprint stage or period, during which you should pay most attention to guarding against painful or frightening experiences. See below. This period lasts a few days to a week right around week 8, which is right around the time when you may pick up your puppy.

Neonatal Period (birth – 2 weeks) – Puppies are blind and deaf, unable to regulate body temperature, or control elimination. Dew-claws may be removed if preferred during this period. Puppies are drawn to their mother by body temperature and smell.

Transition Period (week 3) – Eyes open around day 13, ears open toward the end of third week. Puppies start walking, interacting. “Milk” teeth start to emerge.

Litter Socialization Period (weeks 4-6) – Puppies become increasingly aware of their environment and each other. The brain develops rapidly and senses and muscles mature. Individual personalities begin to emerge. Pleasant interaction with people is essential. Weaning should be started.

Human Socialization Period (weeks 7-12) – The nervous system is complete at 49 days, and experience becomes important in shaping the puppy’s personality. Weaning should be completed. At 7 weeks the puppy can readily form new attachments, but this decreases with age. Puppies should be given individual attention separate from littermates on a daily basis. Gentle play training can be started.

Fear Imprint Period— is a few days around week 8 when painful or frightening experiences are likely to have a lasting effect on the puppy. Make sure experiences/exposure are a variety of positive, fun experiences– keep older, unfamiliar dogs away around this time in case they would to jump or bite the puppy– this can ruin the puppy’s disposition and cause them to fear other dogs for life.

Juvenile Period (week 12 to puberty) – All senses are fully developed. Puppies begin testing to determine pack leadership. Any biting behavior should be discouraged. Littermates should be separated, but not totally isolated. Adult teeth appear around 16 weeks. Another fear period occurs between 4 and 7 months. Molars erupt around 7 months.

Puberty (6 months – 1 year) – Males start leg-lifting and are interested in females in “season”; females come into their first season. Although adolescent dogs are capable of mating, their bodies are not mature and for many reasons should not do so– their immature bodies can be damaged by the vigor of breeding. All dogs not intended as breeder’s stock should be neutered, females spayed.

Ask your vet about what immunization or worming is appropriate once you take possession of your puppy– there are typically two or three additional visits to the vet around weeks 12, 16, etc. to complete the puppy immunization series.

Q: When are we to arrange spaying/neutering?

A: Ingot Golden puppies that are family companion pets are to be spayed (females) or neutered (males) to eliminate the risk of unplanned and improper breeding of the dog. The spay/neuter should be done at approximately 10 months of age.

Too often, dogs or cats that are not sterilized breed on their own or are bred inappropriately which contributes to a virtual epidemic in the U.S. of stray dogs and cats. The number of dogs and cats euthenized in animal shelters around the country is astonishing.

“Do Not Try This At Home” as the saying goes. Breeding programs should be left to serious hobby breeders who properly plan and research pedigrees, follow guidelines for health clearances, and whose dogs compete in any facets of the sport of purebred dogs. Breeding is not for backyard breeders or people who happen to have dogs with “papers”.

An AKC registration merely attests that the dog is the product of one purebred dog and another, not anything about whether the dog is a good breed specimen for purposes of breeding.

Q: What is a “limited registration”?

A: A limited registration means that the dog is registered in the American Kennel Club (AKC) but no litters produced by that dog are eligible for registration. It is the breeder’s intention such a dog is not to be bred.

A dog with a limited registration means that the dog may compete in all AKC licensed events such as Herding Trials and Obedience Tests, except Conformation (breed competition).

Limited registration is determined by the breeder/litter owner(s). Limited registration certificates are white with an orange border; full registration certificates are white with a purple border.

Limited registrations can be changed to full registration only by the litter owner(s).

Limited Registration helps breeders protect breeding programs and preserve breed standards. If breeders do not want puppies used for breeding purposes, they request the Limited Registration option for those puppies.

Q: What should I know about poisonous plant, food and animal risks?

A: There are many plants–indoors or out– that can be dangerous, even deadly, to your dog. Some such plants may or may not grow in your area, but you should be aware of and avoid exposing your dog to them. Consult your veterinarian for guidance.

Access the Poisonous Plant Guide here:

Poisonous Plant Guide Page 1

Poisonous Plant Guide Page 2

Poisonous Plant Guide Page 3

Poisonous Plant Guide Page 4

Certain foods like chocolate, tea, coffee, and cola aren’t necessarily poisonous but dogs have reactions to compounds found in these foods. Avoid nuts, especially walnuts which are poisonous to dogs, also raisins and grapes have been associated with serious illness and death for dogs who’ve eaten them.

Likewise, be conscious of general dangerous animal or pest situations, especially those unique to your locale. The following is not a full nor all-inclusive discussion but one worth noting. For example, there are several commonly found types of ticks found in various parts of the US, and they can cause deadly diseases in dogs. Consult your vet regarding tick risks in your area as well as recommended tick-prevention regiments.

Be aware of the very poisonous Bufo toad, especially prevalent in So. Florida, which can cause death in small dogs in minutes. There is an antidote and effects can be lessened by immediately flushing the dog’s mouth with water before taking the dog to the vet right away.

Further, poisonous (venomous) snakes are found throughout the US, most bites coming from rattlesnakes, water moccasins (cotton-mouths), copperheads and coral snakes (Florida has all these.) If your pet is bitten, try to identify the type of snake without risking being bitten, try to soothe and keep your pet calm/move them to safety, if the bite is on the leg, apply a tourniquet above the bite wound (leave in place no more than 2 hrs.), and take your dog to the nearest vet or emergency clinic.

Keep phone numbers for your vet, nearest emergency clinic or poison control center in you wallet or purse and by your home phone. The ASPCA runs a nonprofit Animal Poison Control Center hotline 24 hr X 7 days per week staffed by vets and professionals for such emergencies too. Dial 1-800-548-2423 ($50 fee last we checked that they’ll charge to your major credit card) or 1-900-443-0000 (bill to phone-bill option.)

Q: Do puppies get “worms”?

A: They might. There are many common canine intestinal (worms)/internal parasites, and they are a reality of puppy and adult dog life. Some types are fairly harmless, but still require treatment, while others may be harmful and, if undetected or left untreated, may cause death. Internal parasites include protozoal infections which puppies commonly contract from coming in contact with soil, urine or feces, and are detected in vet-performed stool tests. One such protozoal, coccidia, is typically treated for up to 14 days with Albon® (via vet prescription); another highly common protozoal, giardia, afflicts animals and humans alike; it is treated with Flagil® for dogs.

Heartworm parasites are a year-round threat to dogs in Florida and thus, they require preventative medicine year-round. Consult your vet if you live in other locales regarding a prudent heartworm-prevention regiment. HeartGard® or Interceptor® are commonly used preventative products (once per month tablets). Keep fleas under control as well, since they commonly bring about tapeworm afflictions. Advantage® is one such product used on dogs that effectively kills fleas and breaks their cycle. (Ticks are another pest of which to be aware and control as they bring about a host of diseases that can be deadly to dogs.)

Click Canine Parasites to access a chart (Adobe Acrobat PDF file) describing the above mentioned intestinal/internal parasites. You need the free, downloadable program Adobe Acrobat Reader to view pdf files.

Note that ringworm isn’t really a worm as its name suggests, though it is included on the chart as it is commonly thought to be. Ringworm is actually an infection of the hair, toe nails, or skin caused by special types of fungi that may be transmitted to dogs from other animals, people, or the soil. Dogs under one year of age are more often afflicted than others. Certain kinds of ringworm can be transmitted to humans.