Frequently Asked Questions
Most frequent questions and answers
When you pick up your puppy, I will give you an estimate of your puppies adult size. The back of the dog food bag gives you a recommended feeding amount based on estimated adult size. Measure the whole amount into the dish. Offer your puppy food three times a day until it is 3-4 months old. At that point you can reduce feedings to twice daily until it is an adult (10 months). An adult schnauzer can be fed once or twice daily. You will need to figure out what works best for you and your dog.
We track the growth rates of all our pups and can give you an estimate based on size of parents, growth rate of your pup and its size at 6 weeks of age. We cannot determine mature size at birth. It takes at least 6 weeks before we have a reasonable idea of any pup’s mature weight. We cannot guarantee mature size. We can only give an ‘best estimate’ based on the information we track.
When your pup first gets home, it will likely wake up once or twice at night. Let it out to go to the bathroom…it’s a business trip only. No playing or cuddling. Let it out and then put it right back to bed. Young pups are capable of sleeping 5-6 hours at a stretch at night. Their night sleep will gradually lengthen to 8 hours or more as they get older. Making sure you take away food after supper and water by about 8 pm when your pup is young and learning/developing bowel and bladder control will help it be successful at sleeping through the night more quickly.
Puppy training should start the moment your puppy arrives home. Don’t wait for training classes. Schnauzers are very smart so with just a few minutes a day of consistent training, you will be amazed at what your dog will learn. We recommend starting with basic commands and gradually increasing your dog’s repertoire as it masters an individual command. “Sit” is often the best place to start. Sit is the key that unlocks opportunities for interaction. Dogs sit for attention, sit to get leashed up, sit before getting fed, sit before getting out of their crate etc. Our website has links to basic dog training videos to get you started. We recommend finding a good trainer in your area and attending a puppy class as soon as the training facility will allow. Sometimes pups have to have their second set of shots before they can attend a class with other puppies. Also, remember that training classes are more for you than for your dog so find a trainer you are comfortable with.
8 week old pups have only had their first of three sets of vaccinations at the time they go home. They are susceptible to contracting serious and life threatening virus and bacteria however, the 8-16 week old period is also a very important socialization period. I have personally never kept a pup at home before all the vaccinations have been complete. I have always had pups out in public and interacting with people and other dogs but used some common sense. DON’T take your pup to a dog park or any place where many dogs congregate and use the area for a bathroom. Many of the potential viruses etc travel in urine and feces so it’s important to limit exposure before all vaccinations are complete. DON’T let your dog meet other dogs unless you know that dog is up to date on shots and is good with puppies. You don’t want your pup having a bad experience playing with another dog at a young age. If you have friends/family with well-behaved dogs that are up-to-date on vaccinations, arranging playdates is a great way to help your puppy get socialized. 8 week old pups are very capable of walking for 5-30 minutes…it all depends on how patient you are. Walks in the first few weeks will be a work in progress. Stick to your immediate neighborhood and give your pup time to figure out how to walk on a leash.
Your puppy will have its first set of shots and a vet check before it leaves to join your family. A health booklet is supplied for each puppy listing the date of the first set of vaccinations as well as the dates for the second and third set of vaccinations. Every puppy is dewormed three times before it leaves us and the dates they were de-wormed are also recorded.
When your puppy first goes home, it will need to go to the bathroom quite frequently throughout the day. Key times to take your pup out: as soon as it wakes from a nap, right after it eats, about every 45-60 minutes during active play. Watch your puppy carefully for signs that it may need to go to the bathroom. Sudden stoppage in play followed by sniffing around and possibly circling can indicate your puppy needs to pee or poop. Ask your pup, “Do you need to go outside?” with emphasis on the word ‘outside’. Take it in and out the same door in your house and let it walk to and through that door on its own. Carrying pups in and out could actually slow down the learning process. They need to get themselves to the bathroom spot. Give your pup LOTS of praise when it successfully goes to the bathroom outside. Because of how we raise our pups, most clearly understand that there is a bathroom ‘spot’ somewhere. They just need to learn where that it in your surroundings. Whether you have a pee pad for them inside “just in case’ they need to go and you can’t get outside quick enough (think apartment or condo that has an elevator or stairs) or take them outside every 45-60 minutes, they will quickly figure out where they bathroom spot is. Some will even go to the door and hang around indicating that they need to go out or whine or scratch at the door to let you know they need to go outside. Be attentive and consistent with the door you exit and the words/phrase you use and your pup will be happy to keep their environment clean inside and only go to the bathroom outside. If an accident should happen inside, use a vinegar-water solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water) to clean up the mess. Unless you caught your pup, in the act, don’t scold. Just clean up and watch your pup closely so that you avoid more mistakes.
We recommend bathing your puppy with baby shampoo once a week until it is completely housetrained. Clean puppies seem to housetrain faster. If your puppy gets dirty between baths, you can stick them in a sink or tub and rinse off the dirt without using shampoo. Anytime you bath, avoid getting soap/water in ears and nose. Rinse well to remove all the soapy residue. Soap strips the coat of oils that help keep it shiny and soft. Soap also dries out the skin so bath no more than weekly as a pup and as needed when they are adults.
Our pups go home eating Royal Canin Mini Puppy food. A small sample bag goes home with every puppy along with coupons for more food.
The crates in our crate packages are sized to fit your puppy as an adult based on their estimated mature weight.
Young puppies are happy with their dog food and don’t know there is any other food that exists. We recommend using their food before meals as incentive for training rather than employing the use of treats. When you introduce treats to young pups too early, you could accidentally cause your puppy to be a picky eater or you may contribute to stomach upset or diarrhea. Schnauzers are smart so if you give treats, your pup may decide to hunger strike and wait for the treat rather than eat the food. Frequent additions of new food items can cause your pups digestive system to be unsettled and this makes house training more difficult. If you want to give your puppy something as training motivation, try fresh fruit and/or vegetables. Our dogs enjoy apples, raw carrots, green beans, frozen blueberries, snow peas, bananas, sweet peppers for just a few examples. Please research which fruits and vegetables are safe for dogs. Introduce new foods one at a time and monitor your dog’s response to the new food taking note of what appeals to your pup and what does not. Fruits and vegetables are low calorie, low fat treats that are good for your dog…better than other types of treats that can be high in protein/fat and may have long term health implications for your pup.
To keep a puppy looking like a schnauzer and not a mop, you should plan to make an appointment with a good groomer about every 8 weeks. Comb your puppy daily to prevent mats and get your puppy use to handling and standing for grooming. Pups usually look very cute when they are shaggy but they look so sharp when they are neatly groomed. Some pups will grow coat faster than others. 8 weeks is about average. Some do better getting groomed every 6 weeks and some can go 10 weeks. When you do take your puppy to a groomer, take pictures along of what you want him/her to look like. Not all groomers know how to properly groom a schnauzer. You may come home with a dog that now looks like a cocker spaniel, a poodle or maltese. This is especially true if you have a puppy that is not a ‘regular’ schnauzer color. To avoid heartache and horror (I’ve heard from numerous people about their disappointment in the cut and how their pup now has no beard or eyebrows, lol). Schnauzers with natural tails are also still somewhat unusual so not many groomers know what to do with tails. We groom our Schnauzers tails so that the top and sides are short and there is ‘feathering’ left under the tail. This way, when they walk around, their tail looks like a little banner. Some people prefer the European look for the tail which is a tail that is completely groomed short all over…no feathering. Looks more like a rat tail. Either look is acceptable. It’s just your personal preference.
Pups nails grow quickly. We trim them weekly when they are with us using a regular pair of clippers identical to those you use for your fingernails. You can continue to do that after you bring your puppy home. When the nails no longer fit in the fingernail clippers, then you can switch to using a pair of nail clippers specifically for dogs once a month. Sometimes, if dogs are walked frequently on asphalt or concrete, the nails will trim themselves down somewhat and won’t need to be trimmed very often. If you want to know how to trim the nails, ask me when you pick up your puppy. I’d be happy to show you how to do it.
When you bath your puppy, take a cosmetic cotton pad and gently wipe the inside of your dog’s ear. Check it for weird smells or brown discoloration which could be a sign of infection or dirty ears that need to be cleaned more often. Perhaps they ear canal is very furry and needs to be plucked. Your groomer can do that for you but you may also need to do it yourself between grooms.
Your puppy will benefit from regular brushing. Schnauzers are prone to plaque and tartar build up which can cause tooth decay. A soft bristle child’s tooth brush dipped in coconut oil to add a little flavor is all you need to brush with. Start when your puppy is young and get them used to having teeth brushed. You can also give dental chews but be careful not to give them dental chews too often. For small dogs, some larger dental chews are a whole meal and it can throw off their appetite and digestive system.