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Puppy Kit Information

Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time!  You want to give your new pup the best start possible, but there’s a lot to learn and consider, especially if you’re a first-time dog-owner.  In this blog entry, we’ll walk you through some of the basics that every dog-owner should know.  This important information can help ensure that you and your puppy have a happy and healthy life together.

Household Poisons

Certain foods, plants, and chemicals commonly found in and around the home can be harmful– if not deadly– for your pet.  Protect your puppy from exposure to the following household poisons:


  • Raisins
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Raw bread dough with/without yeast


There are many other poisonous plants in addition to these, but the following are some of the most common types:

  • Begonias
  • Shamrock
  • Japanese Pieris
  • Pokeweed
  • Caladium
  • Foxglove
  • Laurels
  • Mother-in-law Tongue
  • Elephant Ears
  • Lilly of the Valley
  • Rhododendrons
  • Snake Plants
  • Philodendrons
  • Milkweed
  • Mistletoe
  • Castor Bean
  • Peace Lily
  • Oleander
  • Aloe
  • Rosary Pea
  • Scheffera
  • Azaleas
  • Holly
  • Wild Mushrooms

Seeds or Pits

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Peaches
  • Plums

Highly Toxic to Cats

  • Day Lily
  • Easter Lily
  • Japanese Show Lily
  • Stargazer Lily
  • Rurbrum Lily
  • Tiger Lily


  • Xylitol 
  • Antifreeze
  • Metonym
  • Windshield Fluid
  • Pyrethrins
  • Brake Fluid
  • Organophosphate
  • Permethrin
  • Phenothrin (toxic to cats)
  • Home Solar Units
  • Paint/ Ink in Pens
  • Sticky Pads

In Case of Poisoning…
Keep 3% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE (must still be bubbly) on hand in case you have to induce vomiting. 1 tsp. Per 5 pounds of body weight. Not to exceed 3 Tbsp. May repeat in 15 minutes if needed.

Alabama Poison Control   1-800-462-0800
ASPCA Poison Control   1-888-426-4435 ($55.00 fee)

5 Reasons to Microchip Your Pet

  1. Could save your pet’s life if they’re lost or stolen.

  2. Proof of ownership.

  3. Simple, quick, and easy.  Very little pain involved.

  4. Peace of mind. 

  5. Testing shows microchips can last more than 20 years.

Found a lost pet?  We’ll check for a chip for free. 

Ask us today about microchipping your pet!

Crate Training and House Training

Crate Training

A dog’s crate not only prevents behavior problems, such as chewing, house soiling, destructiveness, ect., but also serves as home for the dog to feel secure in. Crate training is neither cruel or unfair. On the contrary, leaving the dog unsupervised can be dangerous and can lead to potential injury which is far more inhumane than confinement. As long as the crate is big enough, the dog gets sufficient exercise and attention, and is not left in the crate longer than it can control itself, the crate is a perfectly human way to confine your dog. Keeping your dog outside in a yard confined to a pen or dog run, or in a room that can be properly dog proofed are also acceptable alternatives. Crate training has a number of important advantages. 

  • Security: A contented dog spends time sleeping, grooming, or chewing a favorite toy in a secure comfortable location. 
  • Safety: Since dogs, especially puppies, have a strong desire to investigate and chew. The crate, like a child’s playpen, is an excellent way to keep your dog safe when unable to be supervised. 
  • Prevent costly damage: With their instinctual desire to chew, investigate, escape, and or course eliminate, dogs are capable of doing a great deal of damage. A secure, inescapable, confined area can prevent costly damage. 
  • Prevent behavior problems: Besides preventing destructive behaviors, crate training can also prevent barking at doors and windows, jumping onto furniture or counters, and house soiling. 
  • Correct behavior problems: In order to correct problem behavior, the dog must be supervised so that the proper behavior can be rewarded and undesirable  behavior can be corrected. Since no owner is capable of 24 hour monitoring the dog should be kept in a confined area when the owner is not available. 
  • Trains proper chewing and elimination: Since most dogs will not soil their “den” crate training is one of the best ways to teach dogs to control their elimination. The dog can also be taught to chew on appropriate objects by placing selected toys in the crate. 
  • Reduce barking: Another common problem is crying when the owner and puppy are separated. Especially at night time. Using the crate training techniques, the puppy can be taught to spend time alone in its crate. Some owners may prefer to allow their puppies to sleep in their bedroom in the crate where it is less likely to vocalize.
  • Improved dog/owner relationship: Since crate trained puppies require less discipline for misbehavior, cause less problems and frustration for owners, and are much less likely to cause damage, the pet-owner bond will likely be stronger.

Crate Training/House Training for Puppies

  1. A metal collapsible crate with a tray works well as long as the crate is large enough for the dog to stand, turn, lay down, and stretch. Some dogs feel more secure if a blanket is draped over the crate. A plastic crate can also be used but is usually more difficult to clean. Play pens or barricades may also be successful as long as they are indestructible and escape proof.
  2. Because dogs are social animals, an ideal location for the crate is in a room where the family spends a lot of time such as a living room or bedroom rather than an isolated laundry room.
  3. For the crate to remain a positive, enjoyable retreat, the dog should never be placed in the crate for punishment.
  4. A radio or tv may help to calm the dog when it’s alone. This also helps mask environmental noises which stimulate the dog to vocalize.   
  5. Introduce the puppy to the crate as soon as it is brought home and as early in the day as possible. The crate should be left open so that the puppy can voluntarily enter the crate for food, water, toys, and/or shelter. By making all crate experiences pleasant, the puppy should feel secure and comfortable in its crate.
  6. Choose an outdoor location for the puppy to eliminate. A short direct route is best. Take the puppy to the location, give your “go potty” command, wait until the puppy eliminates and reward lavishly with praise. Now it’s time to play and exercise the puppy.
  7. When you place the puppy back in its crate with water and a toy leave the room but remain close enough to hear the puppy. It is normal for puppies to cry, whine, or try to dig out when first placed into its crate. Ignore the dog until the crying or digging stops. Never let it out unless it is calm and quiet. 
  8. Place the puppy in its crate a few times before the end of the day. Each time, increase the time that the dog must stay in the crate before letting it out. Give the puppy exercise and a chance to eliminate before locking it in the crate.
  9. At bedtime, the dog should be exercised, locked in its crate, and left for the night. Do not go to the dog if it cries.
  10. If the puppy sleeps in one end of its crate and eliminates in the other, a divider can be installed to keep the puppy in a smaller area.
  11. NEVER leave the puppy in its crate longer than it can control itself or it may be forced to eliminate in the crate. If the puppy must be left for long periods of time in which it might eliminate it should be confined in a larger area than a crate. As the puppy gets older, its control increases, and it can be left for longer periods of time. 
  12. When the puppy is indoors, it must be constantly supervised for any signs of elimination. If the puppy begins to sniff the floor, circle, or squat, it should be taken directly to its elimination spot and rewarded if it eliminates. If the puppy is caught in the act of eliminating indoors, give a strong verbal reprimand, startling the pup will sometimes “freeze” them, then carry the pup to the appropriate spot and give a lavish reward if it eliminates. Harsh punishment should be avoided or the puppy might be reluctant to eliminate in front of the owner. 
  13. Although there is a great deal of individual variability, many pups can control themselves through the night by three months of age. During the daytime, once the puppy has relieved itself, a two month old puppy may have up to 3 hours control, a three month old up to four hours, and a four month old up to five hours. 
  14. Until the puppy is housetrained  it should be confined to its crate whenever the owner is not available to supervise. Once the puppy has completed four consecutive weeks without soiling anywhere in the house, the owners can begin decreasing supervision, particularly during the first hour when the puppy comes indoors. 
  15. Be certain to take the puppy outside to its elimination site regularly, particularly when it has just finished playing, eating, napping, before bedtime, first thing in the morning, or if any pre elimination signs are seen. Reward the pup with high value treats for using the right area. Teaching the puppy to eliminate in a single location outdoors is far simpler and much more practical than trying to teach the pup not to eliminate in thousands of locations outdoors.
  16. The puppy can be taught to eliminate on command by repeatedly giving cue words ( “Go Potty!”) in an upbeat tone during the act of elimination. 
  17. Using a leash indoors to keep the puppy nearby not only aids supervision but helps the puppy learn to signal the owner when it needs to go outside to eliminate. The puppy quickly learns that if it eliminates in front of the owner indoors it will be scolded. If it has to eliminate but can’t sneak away from the owner because of the leash, it is placed in a conflict situation which results in fidgeting or vocalizing. The pup should then be taken outdoors. Eventually the puppy will learn that if it approaches the owner and fidgets or vocalizes, it will be taken outdoors to eliminate and be rewarded.

Paper Training

If a puppy must be left alone for longer than it can control elimination, it should be placed in a dog-proof room, pen, or barricaded area. The crate can be placed inside the area with the door open. The floor outside the crate should be covered with paper for elimination. If the crate is large enough paper can be placed at one end until the dog keeps the entire crate clean. Paper training should be discontinued as soon as the dog gains sufficient control or it may become a difficult habit to break. 

Crate Training an Adult Dog

  • For adult dogs or older puppies that have not been crate trained, set up the crate in the dog’s feeding area with the door open for a few days. Place food, treats, toys, and water in the crate so that the dog enters the crate on its own. 
  • Before placing the dog in its crate, provide plenty of exercise and allow the dog to eliminate. 
  • When the dog is capable of staying comfortably and quietly in the crate, begin to lock the dog in at nighttime. Once the dog sleeps in the crate through the night, try leaving the dog in the crate during the daytime. Try short periods at first and gradually increase the time. 
  • An occasional dog may not tolerate crate training and may continue to show anxiety or even eliminate when confined. These dogs may adapt better to other types of confinement such as a pen, a dog run, a small room, or a barricaded area.     

Puppy Training Classes

Lesson I


A.  Have fun. Make training fun for you and your puppy.

B.  Look for opportunities to praise your puppy.

  1. This is the only way the pup will learn what you want it to do.
  2. This sets the pup up to succeed.

C.  Most puppy behaviors are predictable:

  1. Elimination
  2. Chewing
  3. Short attention span
  4. Easily distracted

E.  Consistency

  1. The family should decide which behaviors are permissible and which are not. Desired behaviors should always be rewarded and unwanted behaviors should always be reprimanded. 
  2. Only use one command to watch behavior you teach; Don’t use “Down” to tell the pup to lie down on command AND to get off of people or things.


Food Lure Reward Training

  1. The movement of food or a toy is used to lure the puppy into the desired behavior or position.
  2. The cue word (command) is spoken as the pup is performing the movement.
  3. The food is given immediately upon completion of the desired behavior.
  4. The food is gradually phased out and praise is the primary reward. 

Play Session

Play is very important for proper development and socialization and is great for burning off energy. It also teaches puppies to play instead of fight.



  1. Have someone hold the puppy. With a tasty treat in hand, show pup the treat, then call the puppy by name and say his/her name and “Come” with an inviting tone in your voice.
  2. Run backwards and then squat down and invite the pup to you using the food lure.
  3. Praise the pup all the time it heads in your direction. When the pup reaches you, make a big deal out of it, take it by the collar, give it a treat, and then release him/her with “Go Play”. Repeat this over and over in the house as well as the yard.

RECALL with the SIT

  1. Do the Recall in the same way, but when the pup is 2 dog lengths away, say “pet’s name sit!” ALWAYS use the dog’s name before a command.
  2. Stand up with your left hand behind your back, keeping the lure close to your puppy’s nose, move the treat in your right hand over and behind your puppy’s head. As your pup lifts its nose to follow the treat, it will sit down. (Do not lift your hand too high or the dog will jump.)
  3. As soon as the pup is in the sit position, give him/her the treat and say “good dog!” with lots of enthusiasm. Touch the collar with your left hand and then tell him/her to go play.

DOWN from the SIT

  1. Show the puppy the lure, have it close to his/her nose, then say “pet’s name, down.”
  2. Quickly lower the lure to the ground between the pup’s front paws and hold it there. Wait for the puppy to lie down. BE PATIENT. If the pup does not lie down, no problem – no treat. 
  3. When your puppy lies down, say “Good dog!” and give the treat.



From the first day your puppy comes home, always make him/her sit when greeting people. When he/she does jump up on you, say “NO” like you mean it, place the puppy back on all four feet, ask him/her to sit, then reward him/her with praise and a treat.

Lesson II

Play Session:

During this play session, each owner will take a turn and call their dog to them, reward the dog, hold the collar, then let him/her go play again by saying “Go play.”

Review the RECALL, SIT, & Down exercises. Add SIT from DOWN, say “dog’s name, sit.” as you hold the lure in front of the pup’s nose and quickly raise the lure upwards and backwards over the pup’s head. When the pup resumes sitting, praise and give a treat.


Heeling off Leash

  1. Take a piece of food for a lure in the left hand and several pieces in the right hand.
  2. Use a food lure in your left hand to position the puppy on the left side, as you walk away say “pet’s name, heel”. Do right and left turns (slow turns so the puppy can keep up).
  3. Occasionally sit the puppy, say “pet’s name sit” as you give the sit signal with the right hand and give food reward, and of course PRAISE him/her.
  4. Repeat the short heeling sequences, gradually increasing the number of steps between sits. Remember to make it fun!

Come When Called

  1. ALWAYS make coming to you a pleasant experience. NEVER call a dog to scold or spank. 
  2. Don’t call the pup if it is distracted.
    Don’t call unless the pup is looking at you.
    Don’t use a harsh tone of voice to call the puppy. 
  3. Show the puppy a piece of food, wiggle your fingers, and backup. Say “dog’s name, come” as the pup approaches, when the pup reaches you, give the treat. Repeat exercise.
  4. OR get the pup’s attention with a squeaky toy, whistle, or hand movement. Make eye contact, say “dog’s name, come” in a happy voice as you wave your hand toward your body and move away from the pup.
  5. Lavishly reward a correct response.
  6. Outdoors:
    Walk away from the pup to entice it to follow.
    Give a hand signal and say “dog’s name, come” as the pup runs toward you.
    Give a food reward and praise him/her when he/she reaches you.
    Give a second reward by telling the pup “Go play.”


Lesson III

Play Session: Repeat as in Lesson II

Review previous exercises. Add STAND and SIT, say “dog’s name, stand” as you move the lure parallel to the ground, forward, and away from the pup’s nose. As the puppy stands, lower the lure just a bit to get the pup to look down and give him/her the treat. (If the pup looks up, it will probably sit again after standing)


  1. Place a food lure or toy in the left hand and the end of the leash in the right hand. With the pup on the left side, walk forward saying “dog’s name, heel.” Begin walking by taking the first step with your left leg. Walk briskly.
  2. Keep the leash slack as you walk, unless a correction is given, and occasionally as the pup to sit.
  3. If the puppy fights the leash or pulls, simply stand still holding the leash with both hands, and don’t move. Eventually, it may take a while, the puppy will stop pulling. Many pups when they realize they are not going anywhere they will sit or lie down, if they do, reward them. Give the heel command and step off again. Give quick, sharp tugs on the leash and encourage your puppy to move along with you.
  4. Choose a triangle or square walker pattern, with points approximately 20-30 feet apart. When the first point is reached, stop and sit your puppy by saying his/her name and “SIT”. You may need to raise your right hand and apply tension on the leash and push down on the pup’s hips to sit him/her. Keep the dog facing straight ahead. 
  5. Give the heel command and immediately start walking. Use your heel routine with corrections when necessary.
  6. Intersperse heeling and sitting and PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE at every opportunity.


Lesson IV

Play Session:  Call the dog from playing, reward with lots of praise but no treat this time, release with “Go play”.

Review previous exercises.

STAY COMMAND – Stay means STAY until the handler releases the dog with another command.

  1. Ask puppy to sit.
  2. When he/she sits, put the palm of left hand toward his/her muzzle and say “Stay” in a commanding tone.
  3. Do not move for 1 to 2 seconds (we want the pup to succeed so keep it short) then give it a treat. Next time, try for 3 to 4 seconds, gradually increasing the time of the stay.
  4. To leave the dog in a sit stay, give command, hold your hand in front of the dog’s muzzle as you take a single step with the RIGHT foot, pivoting on the LEFT foot toward the dog, so you are facing the dog from a location one step in front of him. The tension on the leash should be at an angle to encourage the dog to remain sitting instead of following you.
  5. With restaining tension still on the leash, reverse your pivoting step so it puts you back in position at the dog’s side. Remember to give the “STAY” command BEFORE you leave, not after!
  6. Gradually increase the amount of time of the stay to 5 seconds and the distance from the dog. When you return to the dog’s side PRAISE, but don’t let him/her move until you heel off.



Training must continue for the rest of the dog’s life. Use the control you have developed in your dog.

It can be used every day in many situations, integrating training into every activity that the puppy enjoys. 

To have a dog that is reliable you must train in different environments, not just at home.

Attend an adult obedience class.

And last but not least….. BE THE PACK LEADER!



The purpose of this command is to get the pup to stop mouthing or biting on command.

  1. Give a piece of food to get the pup’s attention.
  2. Present another piece of food and say “Off” in a stern voice, but don’t yell.
  •  If the pup doesn’t make contact with your hand or the food for 2 seconds, say “OK” and give food. 
  • If the pup touches your hand before 2 seconds pass and before you say “Ok”, immediately yell “OFF” loud enough to make the puppy back away. Be dramatic, make eye contact, give a forceful command. Sound like you mean it!
  1. Repeat, gradually increasing the time that the puppy has to sit.
  2. Work toward the pup not taking the food even if it is offered. 
  3. Place your hand in the pup’s mouth and ask it “Off” when it is in a calm mood. Gradually do the exercise when the pup is more excited.
  4. You must practice this every day to attain a dependable response.

Feeding Your Puppy

Deciding what to feed your new pet can be confusing.  There are so many brands and types of food available– so many trends and fads.  Meeting your pet’s nutritional needs can feel extremely complicated.  You want to do right by your pup, but what is “right”?  

Click here to learn how to tell fact from fiction so you can make informed choices about your pet’s nutrition.

Congratulations on your new puppy!  If you have any concerns about your pet’s health or are looking for a local veterinarian for your pup’s vaccinations or next wellness visit, the veterinarians at Animal Medical Center of Foley, AL, would love to help!  We provide a full range of services for dogs and cats.  Call (251) 955-5900 to schedule an appointment for your pet!