Glenbern Golden Retrievers & Bernese Mountain Dogs

Preparing and Caring For Your Puppy

Necessities before the pup comes home:

1. Two stainless steel bowls – one for food and one for water.

2. A crate – (NOT A SOFT SIDED ONE) This is invaluable.

A dog is a den animal and this gives him his own place to live and call his own.  It is a place to feed the dog, a place for the dog to sleep, and a place to put the dog when you are out or when you want him to be out of the way.  It is also an invaluable tool for house training.  It is not a playpen for the dog, but a place for the dog to be quiet.  Therefore, you do not need a giant crate.  It is more important that it be wide enough so that the dog can lie down comfortably and tall enough to stand and turn around.  You can buy a larger crate for a full grown dog. Most new crates come with a divider so you can make the crate smaller until the puppy grows or you can put a cardboard box in the other end also to make it smaller.)

Placement of crate is important.  Make sure the crate is free and clear of anything around or above it (i.e. electrical cords).  Don’t put anything on top of it (stuff).  Make sure it isn’t in front of a window where sunlight could heat it up (be especially cautious in summer), or where it is too drafty. Preferably place in the room that has the door that the dog will be going in and out of to do its business. A 42” wire collapsible crate with a divider should work for a golden and a 48” for a berner.

The crate is also usable for traveling with the dog.  It also protects the dog and yourself if you get into a car accident.  Most hotels will accept dogs if the dogs are crated in the room.  If you go visiting the crate is a way to not allow the dog to bother your hosts or their house.  Not everyone likes dogs or dog hair.  If your puppy prefers a covered crate you can hang a sheet over it.  If the puppy pulls the sheet off or into the crate you can put a piece of plywood, cardboard (or something similar) on top of the crate but let it hang out over all sides of the crate by about 6” and then put the sheet over that.

What you put in the crate for the dog to lie on depends on the dog.  It can be a blanket if the dog doesn’t chew it up and swallow it, or it can be nothing at all.  I use a bath mat in the car to stop the dog from sliding around in the crate, again, only if he doesn’t chew.  Be sure to put something under your crate i.e. towel etc. to stop the crate from scratching your floor and keep it out from your walls a little to prevent it from damaging them. This also prepares your dog should they have to go to the vets. for any length of time or a kennel for boarding.

3. Exercise pens 36” tall with a gate in them or baby gates to block a puppy in a room.

4. A collar - for a golden you will initially need the smallest adjustment to be about 8.5 inches (preferably with a quick release plastic buckle as it can be tough trying to get a collar on a wiggly puppy) and for a berner about 11” with a 6’ leash(no retractable leashes).  Do not buy collars or leashes from the dollar store.  I have tried both and the buckles or clips have broken on them, luckily I was in a safe environment when it happened.

5. Toys I Recommend - Benebones are excellent; the Kong (black one is the toughest– to stuff food and treats in), “Chuck it” rubber balls (I don’t recommend Tennis balls as they usually shred them and contain a substance that is harmful to dogs and if swallowed could result in a bowel obstruction) and the following toys under supervision,  A stuffed toy is good (if not a chewer) without squeaker if possible and only buy stuffed toys for dogs not children’s stuff toys (the stuffing can be harmful to dogs) again under supervision.  For teething puppies frozen ice cubes work well and you can also flavor them (low sodium chicken broth etc.)

6. Food – The puppies are currently eating ROYAL CANIN MAXI PUPPY, but need to be switched to the food you choose. Buy a couple of big bags of the food I am feeding then switch them gradually to the food you choose. Do this by gradually decreasing the puppy food (one I am feeding) and adding the food you are going to feed.  If you are interested in researching dog food there is a good website called Dog Food Project. There is another website called Dog Food Advisor which also has info on dog foods. If you choose to sign up you will be alerted by email of dog food recalls.

7. Grooming – A slicker brush and steel comb, nail clippers, doggy tooth paste and tooth brush, good pair of scissors, puppy shampoo, conditioner and possibly Skunk off (shampoo).

8. Veterinarian appointment – Remember that you are to take your pup to the Vet within 72 hours of picking it up to validate your guarantee, to establish a working relationship with your vet and to substantiate our claim that the puppy is in good physical health.  Please arrange your appointment with your Vet in advance so that you can comply with this requirement.  If the puppy is found to be in poor health you may return it to me for a refund or another puppy if one is available. I recommend you keep your puppy confined to your house and yard for the first 2 weeks and don’t overwhelm it with lots of people or other dogs.  It allows the puppy to become familiar with its new surroundings and helps with the house breaking.  Leaving our house, their mother and siblings is stressful on a puppy so you want to make it feel secure again by doing this.

9. Outside Confinement – Do not tie your dog!!!  It has to have a securely fenced yard, or an escape proof run of approximately 10’ x 20’ off of a door from your house or invisible fencing (after 6 months of age) if you do not live on a busy street.   Dogs can still run through invisible fencing. Their space should have adequate housing, water, shade and protection from the elements. Remember though the invisible fence does not protect your dog from other predictors coming into their space.

10. The day of picking up your puppy – Please make arrangements well in advance for a time to pick up your puppy. Please alot about one hour here to do the paperwork and go over things.  If you cannot pick up your puppy by the time it is 9 weeks of age, you will be charged a fee for boarding and after that time and you will be responsible for any veterinary costs that may be incurred unless other arrangements have been made with me. On the day that you pick up your puppy, be sure to bring their collar, leash, paper towels, and a garbage bag in case the puppy becomes sick while traveling.  It is best for the puppy to travel on your lap in the front seat for its very first ride.  This gives it comfort and the ride is better in the front than in the back.  You will probably want to bring a towel or a washable blanket to put on your lap for the puppy to sit on.  Make a list of the questions that you may have and there is no such thing as a stupid question.  If you have questions after you are home or at any time in the future, please email or call me I am always happy to be of assistance.  If I can’t answer it right away I have a lot of great resources I can ask.


Recommended Reading

How to Raise a Puppy you can live with by Clarice Rutherford & David H. Neil (my first choice.)

The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete

Before & After Getting your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar

Another piece of the puzzle: Puppy Development by Pat Hastings & Erin Rouse

GPS Tracking Collars/Tags

I am highly recommending real time GPS tracking collars.  If anyone has gone through losing a dog they know the panic, helplessness, sadness, loneliness,  heartbreak, and having to live with the constant stress and anticipation of wondering if the dog will ever come home or be found.  It can take a second for a dog to bolt in fear or get out of the backyard by chance. I have had both of these scenarios happen to me over the years.   Nobody should have to go through this, we now have the technology.

Real time GPS tracking collar tags are quite reasonably priced ($99.00), some require plans (like cell phones) from $40.00 to $80.00 per year and some do not, with most you can use your cell phone to track them.  For your peace of mind and safety of your dog, in my mind it is so worth it.

Tractive GPS For Dogs and Cats  (I have one pet person using this one and love it, they live in the heart of Ottawa.)

5 Best Pet Tracking Systems - Reviews and Recommendations

High-tech microchipping: Tracking Devices For Dogs


I think what you feed your dog is a personal choice. I like all diets (raw, homemade, kibble) as long as they are well balanced. I personally feed kibble and believe in feeding adult dogs twice a day, puppies 3 times a day until 6 months of age. Remember to keep your growing puppy/dog at a good weight as this can lead to orthopedic problems.

Here are a couple of good websites about dog food:

Dog Food Project

Dog Food Advisor - I highly recommend that you sign up for the dog food advisor as he sends emails about dog food recalls promptly. You will also never receive junk mail from him, just food recalls.


Always have fresh water on hand.



Both breeds need to be brushed at least once every couple of weeks with a slicker brush and steel comb. You will need to remove matts if present. This is a great time to feel your dog for lumps, bumps and sores. Kind of like a mini checkup. Bathing should only be done every 3 to 4 months. Unless there is a special need for it, like rolling in something smelly just before company shows up or being skunked. Toe nails should be cut every couple of weeks, at least once a month or the dog could end up with orthopedic issues due to the foot not sitting properly on the floor. In the toe nail there is a vein called the quick, it will continue to grow as long as the nail. You can’t just cut the nail right back or you will cut the quick. By keeping the nail short you keep the quick short. If cutting dogs toe nails is not for you I recommend taking them to a dog groomers and having them do it. It only costs about $10.00 a month and it will save your dog’s structure and your hard wood floors. How To Trim Your Dog's Toenails

I only clean ears if the dog has a problem otherwise I leave them alone, as I don’t want to set the balance off in the ear. You can get special ear cleaners and some cotton pads to clean the ear if needed.

Check teeth and gums also and brush teeth if you can.

It is especially important to groom and handle your puppy, this gets them used to being touched in places that they aren’t comfortable with. Your vet/groomer will thank you for this.


How To Pick Up A Dog

Dr. Becker Demonstrates The Correct Way To Pick Up A Dog



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