RAISING YOUR LARGER BREED COBBERDOG PUPPY
Because of size, weight, strength and high energy, larger breed Cobberdogs (and all larger breed dogs) have two areas that need a little special attention. Larger dogs can be vulnerable to damage of skeletal structures as they grow if not managed well, and they may be difficult to handle if not trained properly.
Puppies are not fully grown skeletally until 12 months of age. Their growth plates in their joints are still soft, ligaments and tendons are under-developed, and muscles are still developing their strength and support. Your large Cobberdog puppy needs to be able to safely burn energy, and be stimulated and socialised, without risk to the developing joints.
And your larger breed Cobberdog pup also needs to be well trained to be calm, attentive and obedient so that he is easy to handle and pleasant to be around!
At Ridgy Didge, we do everything possible in breeding and early puppy care to ensure the best possible health and handling of our larger breed Cobberdog puppies. Now it’s up to you to look after your pup as it continues to grow and develop, to prevent skeletal, joint, muscle or ligament damage; and to help it become a calm, manageable family companion.
Follow our guidelines below, and be confident that your pup will have the best chance of reaching its full potential of physical health and companionship.
Ridgy Didge Guide for
Raising your Larger Breed Cobberdog Puppy
Help your puppy to avoid activities and situations that may increase risk of stress on the skeletal structures.
- Keep the hair between the footpads short, to prevent slipping and injury.
- Avoid slippery surfaces; put mats down in walkways if you have tiles or polished floors, avoid vigorous running on very wet grass.
- Avoid letting your pup jump on and off the bed or couches, or in and out of cars.
- Avoid allowing your put to run up and down stairs - it is the repetitive impact and possible slipping that may cause the damage.
- Always supervise your pup around other bigger dogs, and children. Big dogs can be rough on your pup's joints (as well as safety issues), and children may pick up incorrectly or drop the pup, causing skeletal strain.
2 Feeding for steady growth
WHY? You should provide appropriate food, to promote steady growth in your puppy. Overfeeding and incorrect nutrition can cause growth that is too rapid and may cause joint stress. In a healthy pup, you should be able to feel the ribs under the skin and sub-cutaneous fat, but you should not see the ribs.
WHAT? Alternate grain-free kibble feed with balanced quality fresh food - we use and recommend Barf patties which are fresh and balanced, or you can prepare your own raw food. Many processed puppy foods are very high in calories, minerals and protein, and this can accelerate your large breed puppy growth if not monitored. To help keep your large breed puppy’s growth rate steady, avoid high energy processed food. Do your research around food products and puppy food, and check with your vet. We recommend grain-free food for all stages of life.
HOW MUCH? We feed our large breed older pups twice daily. Overfeeding will increase your pup's growth rate, and put unnecessary strain on muscles, joints and the skeletal system. Remember to always measure the food for the recommended weight of your growing puppy; don’t simply eye-ball the amount and never leave food accessible all day.
3 Appropriate Exercise
- Regular small daily exercise is important, rather than nothing during the week and too much on weekends!
- Avoid forced exercise where the puppy can’t stop and rest - avoid jogging on the beach on soft sand, avoid long uninterrupted walks, do not lead your puppy while riding a bike.
- Avoid rough or excessive play with people and other dogs; limit ball throwing time, avoid too much 'rough and tumble’.
4 Mental Stimulation
Providing mentally stimulating toys and play is another great way to keep your pup calmly ‘exercised’ and interested. You may be surprised just how tired and calm they become with these types of interaction.
Try giving your puppy a Kong toy, which takes the pup time and persistence and mental challenge to get some little morsels of food. Hiding a ball and hide-and-seek games are great for fun, stimulation and bonding. Training is included in this area of mental stimulation, especially leash training - your puppy is mentally stimulated and alert to your cues. See our Ridgy Didge Puppy Leash Training Guide.
A great way to challenge your puppy and dog mentally, is to play scent games. This article at Doggie Solutions is a great summary of 5 scent games that your puppy will love!
4 Training and Socialisation
Start early, make training frequent, and be consistent. Ensure your puppy clearly understands his order at the bottom of your family pack. Remember that when your Cobberdog puppy is a larger dog, many of the seemingly cute puppy behaviours may be unpleasant, threatening and even unsafe especially around small children. These behaviours include jumping up, standing against you, growling and nipping, pulling on the leash, rushing ahead out the doorway, jumping up onto furniture and bedding, etc. Discourage these behaviours early in your small puppy before it becomes a large, strong, determined dog.
Be gentle but firm and consistent with training and positive reinforcement for all areas of your puppy's education. With this approach you will watch your larger breed Cobberdog puppy become obedient, easily managed, and a pleasant well-socialised companion to take out and about.
See our Puppy Training drop-down menu for a growing list of Ridgy Didge Guidelines for training, including Child Safety, Toilet Training, Crate Training, and Leash Training.
For information on early socialisation, see our Blog 'Socialise Your Puppy Early'.
For information about setting early discipline and establishing your puppy's order at the bottom of the family pack, see our Blog 'Sharp Little Puppy Teeth!'
It is important to condition your large breed puppy to grooming early, including bathing, brushing, ear care and clipping. Once the pup is large and strong, it is much more difficult to clip and groom an uncooperative dog especially if it is large and strong!
Start brushing your puppy from the time it comes home, often at first so that it becomes used to being brushed. Brushing time is a lovely connection and bonding time too, so your puppy will come to enjoy being groomed, and will be calm and manageable with grooming when it is fully grown. Once well conditioned to grooming, brushing only needs to be done monthly or sometimes fortnightly. For details on grooming your Cobberdogs coat, see Grooming Cobberdog Coats on our Cobberdog Coats page.
Work closely with your trusted Veterinarian to establish the best course of real, natural health for your larger breed Cobberdog pup as it grows and develops. Your vet can help guide you with your pup's needs around food quantities and nutrition, and ongoing health maintenance.
The Australian Veterinarian Association is now recommending tri-annual vaccinations for dogs, instead of annual vaccinations, as overvaccinating has been linked to various health problems. Titer testing may be done to definitively check immunity levels prior to further vaccinations being given. Speak with your vet about these changed recommendations.