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Your New Wheaten Puppy

A New Owners' Guide


"An understanding of your dog's instincts and behaviour is a must for intelligent dog ownership. It's true that dogs just grew up in the "old days". But don't compare the "old days" with today. Know your dog and know him well. He's an extraordinary animal!" Quote from 'The Five Critical Stages in a Puppy's Life' by J.J. McCoy in the Dog Lover's Reader.

Many excellent books have been written on raising and training dogs. These are useful for gaining general information and may be purchased or, better yet, borrowed from your library.

These pages have been prepared to provide specific information on your new Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. As always, you should work in conjunction with your breeder and your vet. This guideline is just one viewpoint on how to raise a happy healthy puppy.


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Information on Dietary care
Health Care
A Few Grooming Tips
What about Crates?
Obedience Training ... Formal and Informal
How Much Exercise?
Stages in Your Puppies Development
A Few Timely Tips for When You Bring Your Puppy Home
Things You Should Have on Hand
A Sample Feeding Chart

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DIET: The puppy you receive at 8 weeks or 9 weeks of age has been fed three to four times daily. (A chart later on shows how much to feed and the number of meals in relationship to the dog's weight and age.) Your puppy will be on a good puppy chow with supplements added on a daily basis - these include small amounts of boiled hamburger, chopped liver, cottage cheese, chopped hard-boiled egg yolk.

For example, for one day, an 8 to 10 week old puppy might have as follows:

First Meal - 1/2 to 3/4 cup of puppy chow plus 1 tsp. chopped liver

Second Meal - 1/2 to 3/4 cup of puppy chow plus vitamin

Third Meal - 1/2 to 3/4 cup of puppy chow plus 1 tsp. of Cottage Cheese

Fourth Meal - (optional) - 1/2 to 3/4 cup of puppy chow or Milk Bone treats

In each case, mix together in a bowl and moisten with lukewarm water.

You might also want to boil up a quantity of liver, chop into small pieces and then freeze in daily amounts in small baggies. Save the juices they were boiled in as they are full of nutrients too. You can warm them slightly and use to moisten the Puppy Chow. If stools loosen up, cut back on the supplements. Through experimentation you will find out what and how much your dog's system can tolerate. Supplements should make up NO MORE than 10% of the total diet. Although supplements add vitamins and minerals, check with your vet to see if he or she feels it is also a good idea to give vitamins daily during the first year. If so, they may be purchased in tablet or powder form and should be given as instructed on the package or by the vet. Many Wheaten owners feed a coat supplement - a little corn or safflower oil (½ - 1 tsp.) sprinkled over the food once a day will keep the coat from drying out.

Daily milkbone treats add nutrition as well as keeping the teeth clean.

Fresh water should be available at all times. You may wish to remove the water dish about 8:00 in the evening - it might make it easier for your puppy to make it through the night if he doesn't consume too much water after this time.

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HEALTH: Your puppy will be sent to you in excellent health, having been individually examined by a vet. A health folder should accompany your puppy. A visit to your own vet within 48 hours for a general check-up is strongly recommeded. At this time, arrange a schedule for future vaccinations. It's a good practice to have your pup checked for worms every spring. DO NOT worm him if it's not needed. Always check first by taking a small stool specimen to the vet. (We find small baggies work nicely for this - turn it inside out, pick-up the sample, pull the baggie right way around and tie.)

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GROOMING: Get your puppy used to the grooming routine from the beginning. It is easy to comb now if he gets used to combing while he is young, it won't be so hard on him (and you) when he has more coat. If he will lay on his side while being combed you are better able to get under all the layers - he will learn to relax and may even sleep during the whole procedure! It's much easier to train an 8 to 10, week old puppy to relax and get used to grooming than it is to "fight" with an 8 to 10 month full grown puppy. It takes time to teach them to relax but if you are persistent in your efforts it is well worth the effort. (Remember, he will be just as persistent at first that he doesn't want to lie there - you must firmly but gently teach him that he does what YOU want.)

A grooming table of some sort is convenient and comfortable. If you do not wish to purchase one, groom on top of a table with a non-slip rug or mat. By the time your puppy reaches 8 to 10 months, more frequent grooming may be required as the coat goes through a transition stage (from puppy coat to adult coat). As it mats easily at this time, don't let the coat get ahead of you!

For grooming, use a good metal comb - do NOT rely on a brush. As he gets older, you will learn how often to comb him out to maintain a mat free coat. (Our adults are combed once a week).

If the coat feels dry and the dog is scratching a lot, use a spray such as mink-oil to condition the coat. You could also increase the intake of corn or safflower oil slightly. (We find that our dogs' coats dry out mainly in the winter when the weather is cold and dry.)

1. Trimming - A grooming chart is available. If you are not "showing" your dog you may simply wish to use the chart as a guide for a "modified" show trim. Your Wheaten will look lovely and your combing will be easier with less coat on the chest, head and rear. Thinning shears keep the coat looking natural by avoiding scissor marks.

A hand-held shower attachment for your bath is most useful for bathing your dog. As Wheatens do not develop "doggy odour" he may require as few as four baths a year. Unforeseen circumstances, such as a romp in the mud may lead to extra baths however! After the shampoo is lathered and rinsed out, a creme rinse should be applied for easy comb-out and a lovely soft coat.

3. Nails - KEEP THEIR NAILS CUT. If the hook is cut off each week you can keep this under control and it doesn't become a traumatic experience for either you or the dog. If you cut too much off, the nail will bleed - a little "Kwik-Stop" will stop the bleeding right away. If "Kwik-Stop" isn't available, kitchen flour will do the trick, but it is not as effective. Here again, if he will lay down on his side relaxed, it will be much easier. If this becomes part of your regular grooming routine, you will find that he will learn to accept it quite willingly - if you only do it occasionally it will be much more difficult for everyone.

4. Ears - Keep the ears clean. Pluck the hair from the inside of the ear canal, using your fingers or a very blunt, round tipped tweezer which may be purchased from your vet or pet supply store. Use extreme caution in the ear canal. Following removal of the hair, it is a good idea to clean the canal and ear with an antiseptic or alcohol and a Q-Tip. (Long hairs left in the ears of a long-haired dog provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and germs which may lead to ear problems that are difficult to clear up.)

5. Pads - keep the hair clipped out from between the pads on their feet. Blunt-nosed scissors are good for this job. (With long hair growing around the pads the dog will have trouble getting traction on tile floors and will also have a tendency to bring in more dirt or mud than necessary.)

6. Eyes - just keep the corners clean of dirt.

7. Teeth - if you can obtain an old tooth scaler from a dentist it will do the trick. Again, with the dog lying down, carefully clean all the yellow build-up from the teeth. If you choose not to do this, have your vet do it for you as needed. It is also a good idea to look at your puppy's teeth daily when he is little - this makes it easier for you (and your vet) later on.

The following chart might help you in the first few weeks until you have a regular grooming routine established.


Weekly Monthly

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CRATES: A kennel or crate is very useful but not absolutely necessary. A crate can become the puppy's own private "den" to which he can retreat from the human world. It is an invaluable house-breaking aid as the puppy will not soil his crate when confined to it. If you do a lot of travelling, he is safe in his crate in your car. (Motel owners are much happier to greet both you and your dog if he knows your dog will be in his crate in the room.) Be sure to buy one large enough so the adult Wheaten can stand up or lie down in it comfortably. The ones we like measure 30.5" long by 18.5" wide by 22" high and seem to be ideal for a STANDARD sized adult Wheaten of either sex. Crates are available at most pet supply stores or at some of the major department store chains.

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OBEDIENCE: No matter what role the puppy will play in your life, obedience training will enhance the relationship between you and your dog. Following a consistent set of rules from the beginning will let your puppy adapt to your way of life and learn that you are the boss, not the other way around.

Informal obedience can be started as soon as you receive your puppy. He should learn to sit and wait patiently for his meals, instead of jumping all over you - cute while he's a puppy but a bit of a nuisance when he is full grown. When he chews on something he shouldn't (and he will!) a firm "NO!" and/or a tap on the nose will teach him that that is not acceptable behaviour. Be sure however, to have LOTS of things around that he CAN chew on.

We recommend leaving "formal" obedience training (an organized class with instructor) until the dog is at least one year old but you should gauge this to your own dog. We are sure that you will find that your Wheaten will excel in obedience work.

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EXERCISE: A dog does NOT need to run free to get exercise. Fifteen minutes of planned exercise each day will provide better exercise for your dog than allowing it to run and play at will. Remember, a dog in a fenced yard or run is healthier than one running loose for any car to hit or irate neighbour to shoot. Just because your new pup is beautiful and registered and well-mannered for you doesn't mean the neighbours will love him too.

Planned exercise can be accomplished by walking your dog a mile or two, jogging with your dog, running him on a quiet country road or biking with him - you ride, he runs beside you at a steady pace (on lead of course!). Exercise keeps your dog's muscles in tone and provides an enjoyable experience for him.

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7 to 10 weeks - the ideal age to establish a sound relationship between dogs and people. A puppy is eager to form an attachment and what's more, he's ready to learn.

12 weeks to 4 months - the puppy starts to assert himself. He'll be bold, perky, testing you in all kinds of situations. It is time to teach him discipline. The puppy could be teething. A good shin bone or rawhide chew will help save your furniture during this period.

4½ months to 5½ months - Milk teeth fall out, permanent teeth appear. If double canines appear (milk and permanent canines at the same time) every effort must be given to loosen and/or remove the puppy canines so there is enough room for the rest of the teeth to come in. (A game of tug-o-war with an old sock might do it!)

8 months to 15 months - the Matting Stage (may vary from dog to dog). Brushing and combing your pup up to this point has been quite easy since the puppy coat doesn't mat too much. If you have trained your puppy from an early age to lie on his side to be brushed, this stage will be much easier for both of you. Thorough and frequent (daily is not too often) grooming is essential at this time.

12 months to 15 months - your Wheaten's coat may go through a LIGHT STAGE at this time - all of the puppy coat has gone and the adult coat with its Wheaten guard hairs has not yet fully developed. This stage is quite normal and will soon pass.

15 months to 20 months - At this time your Wheaten will begin to develop his adult coat with the coarser wheaten-coloured guard hairs. At this stage the coat will feel less soft than during earlier stages but this too will soon pass.

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1. The first couple of nights with a new puppy could be noisy - the puppy misses his mother and litter mates. Something soft and cuddly, a radio playing softly, a loud-ticking clock wrapped in a towel may help. It's best not to give in and go to him. After a couple of loud nights he will settle nicely.

2. If you MUST, a Wheaten can be easily paper-trained. Put down a few papers if the puppy goes elsewhere (within reason) place the papers in that spot as he obviously prefers it. Frequent trips outside with the puppy (take him out, don't send him) will get him used to the idea that he should be "going" outside.

3. One area of your yard should be set aside as a "bathroom area". Train your dog from the beginning to go there. It could be fenced in and be paved or covered with roofing rock. Keep an airtight garbage pail lined with a plastic garbage bag and a couple of small shovels (kid's shovels work great) or a scoop for pick-ups. Each week, the bag can be sent away with your regular garbage. With this method, all messes are in one area for quick and easy clean-up, there are no burn-spots on the lawn from urine and the area can easily be disinfected whenever necessary.

4. Giving a puppy an old slipper and an old sock of his own often saves yours. A puppy will soon learn which he can or can't have. A firm NO! if you find him with the "wrong" slippers will soon discourage him.

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1. Puppy food, milk bones

2. A fine toothed metal comb (PSI #3329F is super) this will probably be your most used grooming tool.

3. Slicker brush (or pin brush) - great for "back-combing" the hair prior to combing. I like to brush through the coat before I use the comb.

4. Nail clippers - either "Millers Forge" or "Resco" are good. The "Resco" brand has replaceable blades so might be the best buy in the long run.

5. 'Kwik-Stop' - be sure to have on hand when trimming toe-nails.

6. Curved hair puller (5" or 6½" size) - this is a blunt, round tipped tweezer that you might be able to get from your vet. Works well for pulling hair out of the ears.

7. Baby nail scissors or moustache scissors or blunt-nosed scissors. These are great for trimming the hair off the ears and pads.

8. Thinning shears - it is well worth your while to put your money into a good pair of these - cheap ones don't work all that well and if you are going to be doing your own trimming, you will be using them a lot.

9. Ordinary barber scissors

10. Collars, leads, identification tag, dog licence. For your puppy, you might find that a "show lead" works well - it will serve as both collar and lead and can usually fit all sizes of dogs. Once he is about 7 months old you can purchase a proper collar. Metal collars are not usually recommended since they have a tendency to tear the coat.

11. Flat-bottomed stainless steel food dish - two quart size works well.

12. Water dish - if you can find them, the brand name "Water-Hole" is probably the best - it has a lid on it with a hole in the middle. This system helps keep the beard out of the water and keeps your floor much drier! The lid snaps off for cleaning; it also makes a dandy travel dish as water doesn't slop all over the floor of your car.

13. Shampoo and Creme Rinse

14. Rawhide chews, bones (use shin bones from cows only! They do not splinter.)

15. Doggy "Toys" - check your Pet Store for "indestructible" toys and balls. (Bits of rubber chewed from a regular child's ball then swallowed could prove dangerous!) An old sock, small blanket, old slipper are other things puppies seem to love.

16. A Crate - this is optional but highly recommended. It really isn't cruel to use a crate (contrary to popular opinion!) and it sure makes house-training a lot easier. You can clean-up "accidents" for several months or use a crate and have him trained in a few weeks - the decision is yours!

17. A grooming table and grooming arm (optional) - I made my own table by simply putting an old piece of carpet (rubber would do as well) on a piece of 3/4 inch plywood about 40" by 26" and then attaching a pair of folding table legs. Adding a bit of chrome trim around the edge gave it that 'professional' look. Since you will not be "showing" your Wheaten, the grooming arm will be of limited use (they are nice to have when you are trimming him) but if you do decide to get one, look for the "clamp-on" type.

18. Hand-held shower attachment for your bathtub faucet. This makes for easy bathing and rinsing (and is nice for you also!). A non-slip rubber bath mat for in the tub is also nice - he'll feel a little more at ease if he's not slipping all over the place.

Now that you are completely confused and wondering whether a dog is worth all the effort, just think about all the "joy" that dog is going to give you in the years to come and LOVE it at all times. The love you get back is worth every bit of work you will do!

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Weaning to 3 months 4 feedings per day or self feeding 6 - 12 600 - 902 1/2 to 3/4 cup 1/4 to 1/2 can
3 to 5 months 3 feedings per day or self feeding 12 - 25 960 - 1584 1 - 1½ cups ¾ - 1 can
5 to 7 months 2 feedings per day or self feeding 20 - 35 1400 - 2148 2 - 3 cups 1½ - 2½ cans
7 to 10 months 2 feedings a day or self feeding 30 - 45 1920 - 2464 2½ - 3½ cups 2 - 2½ cans
Adult one feeding per day or self feeding 30 - 50 960 - 1372 3 - 4 cups 2 - 3 cans

The daily intake is the amount shown times the number of recommended feedings.
Approximate calories in commercial dog food (this will vary from brand to brand):

Be sure to check with your vet to see how much you should cut down your dog's daily intake once it has been neutered/spayed.

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