Portuguese Water Dogs

The Surfari Puppy Supply List

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Puppy Culture is a GREAT way to help your puppy grow up. Emphasis is on positive training and exercises designed to help you and your puppy have a great life together. We use puppy culture methods after whelp, so it is a natural way for families to continue a consistent training. A great place to start is the Puppy Culture video and Workbook bundle. Puppy Culture also has on-line access to videos. We cannot say enough good things about Puppy Culture!
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A lot has changed recently in recommendations for food, especially in the areas of kibble. Best practice for healthy dogs is now thought to be a mix of kibbles, NOT grain-free, switching between at least two brands. We use both Royal Canin and Blackwood kibbles for our dogs. Both these kibbles are available at We are starting to use Royal Canin for the puppies. We will have more information on the exact formulation by the time the puppies go home.

Some families have asked about crates and x-pens. First off, here is a great informational article from UC-Davis Vet School. This should be able to answer most questions you might have about crate training. There are many webpages that go into crate training, it doesn’t need to be made too complex.

A good size is a 30/36” length (these correspond to a “300” or “350” size crate). We suggest a crate by your bed for when puppy is learning how to sleep at night. Sometimes families try to make do with one crate, moving it back and forth, but we find that it is worth it to have at least two, and possibly three crates: sleep, living area/family room, and car. It is usually worth the $65 or so to not have to schlepp a crate up and down stairs! The gold standard of wire crates are Midwest or Precision Pet; most quality crates will cost $50-100. Here are some representative links: Link1 Link2

When puppy first uses the crate, you will have to down-size it so that the puppy will not have enough room to potty on one side. You want the crate to give the puppy enough space to stand up and turn around, but not much more. If the crate came with a divider, THROW IT AWAY! These dividers have trapped puppies and dogs by the neck and are not safe. The best way to down-size the crate is to use boxes, making sure they fit snugly so as not to allow the puppy to get wedged between the box and the crate. The boxes do not have to go to the top of the crate, although the box(es) should be large enough so the puppy cannot climb on top of them.

X-Pens: It is best to wait to use an x-pen until puppy is potty trained (at least mostly), as the extra space allows him or her to use one side for potty. An x-pen should not be a substitute for keeping your eyes on the puppy at all times. Be prepared to clean up poop and pee if you use one early. An adult PWD needs 48” of height, but a puppy can get by with 36”. Here are some links: Link1 Link2
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We love White Pine Soft Slip collars (each puppy will go home with one of these). These collars are limited-slip, and come in many colors. The webbing is designed to not break coat hair, and the edges are rounded, unlike most webbing-type collars. Reminder: No collars on at home! Collars can be dangerous when dogs are unattended!
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For control, we recommend either a Halti (shown here) or a Gentle Leader. These go over the dog’s muzzle, and if he pulls, it turns him, and takes him away from the direction he wants to go. We do NOT recommend harnesses, as they simply give your dog more leverage to work against you. You may hear some criticism of Haltis as causing neck injuries, however this is only if you use them as a correction (you shouldn’t!), and with dogs that don’t learn how they work in a few minutes. PWDs typically understand very quickly. We have had great success with these collars.
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Leads! We love these leads, for much the same reason as the collars. Round leads that are nice and thick prevent hand fatigue, and even cuts (tape-like leads, especially Flexi or other retractable leads can actually be quite dangerous!). Our favorites are 1/2”, Solid Braid Slip or Snap leads. Find them at Lone Wolf or Mendota Pet, or at Dog shows. It is a good idea to have both a clip-style and a kennel or loop lead (for times when your puppy or dog is without a collar).
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What was life like before Chuckit Balls? Honestly, we can’t remember. Fuzzy “tennis” balls from pet stores are not safe, as they are not manufactured like real tennis balls, and have a tendency to crack and split into pieces. Real tennis balls are better, but the felt fuzz can get wet and gross. Chuckit balls come in three sizes (your puppy will go home with the small size), and when the round plastic plug starts to come out, it’s time to get a new one. Very predictable and safe. At last count, there were at least 854 of these orange beauties in various locations at Rancho Surfari.

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