Pet Lover Geek

From The Vault: All About Puppies

May 25, 2021 Lorien Clemens Season 6 Episode 9
Pet Lover Geek
From The Vault: All About Puppies
Show Notes Transcript

Join us for Pet Lover Geek's first ever From the Vault episode. We are bringing back previous episodes, so that you, our listeners, can hear Lorien's interviews with experts from all over the pet industry. Today’s rewind is focused on puppies! Our adorable little fur babies warm our hearts, but can also be a lot of work! This From The Vault episode will give you pet parents some useful information about how to give your “fur” babies the best lives possible.  Listen to Lorien's interviews with Robin Bennet, Kim Piciotti, and Ruth Ann Lobos to learn about what you need to know about our furry little friends!

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00:00 Music

00:02 Lorien Clemens

Hey pet lovers. Welcome to Pet Lover Geek powered by PetHub. I'm Lorien Clemens and today's episode is from the vault. Today's from the vault episode is from season four and it's focused on puppies. Yes, these adorable little fur babies warm our hearts but boy how they can be a heck-of-a lot of work, so this episode will give pet parents like you useful information about how to give those little puppies the best life possible. Stick around, after the short break. We're going to hear from Robin Bennett. Kim Paciotti, and Ruth Ann Lobos so you can learn what you need to do to get those pups started off on the right paw. 

00:52 Music

You're bringing home a new puppy. Life is about to get crazy and training is key to keeping the crazy at bay, because training your new puppy not only helps to improve their behavior, but it can also be crucial to their safety in certain situations, because according to one recent study done by the ASPCA. Only 4% of dog pet parents ever get proper training for their new dogs, either from a class or one-on-one sessions, and that's insanity to me because I think training is so important. So when you comes to training the new puppy, we all know that there's a lot of basics that you want to teach them. Like you know how to house train so they're not soiling in the house. Teaching them how to sit. Basic manners. That type of stuff that you want to work on as soon as you bring them home but, but there's a lot that goes into that, and there's a lot of other big stuff that you might want to consider too, when you're training and how do you know, especially if you've never had a dog before, where to start? What kind of training does a puppy need? How to go out and get it? Where is the best place to get help? Well, today we are bringing in a lot of experts to talk about puppies and our guest first, is Robin Bennett. She is a certified professional dog trainer, has been in the pet industry for over 20 years. She's an incredible resource and a good friend of mine and she's here to help us learn all about training that little furball that you just brought into your home. Thanks so much for joining us today, Robin. 

02:28 Robin Bennett

Thanks for having me, it's one of my favorite topics.

02:31 Lorien Clemens

I know, right? It's like the universal awh I love this, so let's start off though with some of those basic commands like the first things that you want to start with when the puppy first comes into your life. Where do you start and when do you start with the puppy? 

02:49 Robin Bennett

Yeah, when do you start is a great question. I start as soon as that puppy walks through the door. Actually, I would even start when I'm picking the puppy up from wherever you're getting your puppy, whether it's a shelter or rescue group, friend, whatever. Puppies are little sponges and I like to say if you and your puppy are together, one of you is always training the other. A lot of times that ends up the puppy training us.

03:13 Lorien Clemens


03:14 Robin Bennett

We want it to work the other way, so a lot of people do tend to say oh I need to wait until they're older and... But no, you can start training a puppy the second it walks through your door. Now you're going to keep the session short. Puppies attention spans very, very tiny, but throughout, so you're not going to do like a 30 minute session. You're just going to do a minute here. A minute there, throughout the day as you interact with that puppy, and that's the best way to just be consistent and get the puppy understanding the rules of the house, so to speak. Right off the bat.

03:42 Lorien Clemens

Right, and I know, and you're going to talk specifically about some of the things that you have available for pet parents, but especially for new puppy parents that have never maybe had a puppy before and are new to the whole training dogs. There's so much out there in so many different variations and training methods and things and it's hard sometimes to know what should I do, so there's positive reinforcement. There's dominance training, you know, we've got big celebrities who are touting their training methods and everything. Where do you start? What do you look for? 

04:14 Robin Bennett

Yeah, I really look for positive reinforcement with puppies, so one of the best books and it's a free download you can get on the Internet is by a guy named Ian Dunbar. Ian Dunbar is a veterinarian and the founder of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and he gives away his book called "Before and After Getting Your Puppy". And that's a great resource and everything in there is the stuff I would start working on right off the bat. Positive reinforcement is really the way that I would recommend. So here's the bottom line though, is if you can tell when your dogs happy and you can learn canine body language. That is the gauge by everything you do with your dog. How you train, how you work with them, where to take them. If you look at your dogs and you learn a little bit about body language, you can tell whether or not your dogs happy. That's going to tell you everything you need to know about any training philosophy about any location you take your puppy, because if they're scared then I would say change methods or change the way you're doing things. So generally speaking, you're going to see much more positive and happy behavior using positive reinforcement and more importantly, it builds a stronger relationship with your dog. So positive reinforcement means setting the dog up for success and then rewarding them when they make the right choices, it's all about kind of modeling... or molding the environment in a way that the puppy can succeed. So that's using crates, and using leashes, and those kinds of things.

05:36 Lorien Clemens

Some positive reinforcement folks use mostly, you know, verbal rewards or food rewards or clicker training, and there's a lot of different variations within there. Does that matter so much as the fact that you're choosing positive reinforcement training rather than dominance submission training? 

05:50 Robin Bennett

I think it does. Really positive reinforcement is rewarding the dog with anything the dog likes. That might be food, that might be a toy, that might be praised, that might be playing with another dog, that might be opening the door. Like if your dog wants to go outside, just opening the door is reinforcing. So it's really just rewarding the dog with what the dog finds pleasing and more, the dominance training is sort of intimidating your dog, so that's the dog doing stuff because they're afraid of what will happen if they don't do it

06:19 Lorien Clemens


06:20 Robin Bennett

and that isn't really the... it's not really a fun way of working with your dogs.

 06:24  Lorien Clemens

Yeah, you don't want that from your learning experiences.

06:25 Robin Bennett


06:27 Lorien Clemens

So you mentioned about the short little attention span, so obviously when you're first starting it's just like one minute here, one minute there. How, do you like build up to longer sessions? Or how do you know when they need a break? 

06:43 Robin Bennett

Well, I would really be looking at how much attention they have on you. So with a puppy they're going to be. It's like a little baby, you know they're like oh yay, here you are, and then squirrel. I'm over here doing something and if you can't get your puppy's attention back, it's probably just because they just have a short attention span. So initially I would just do tiny little increments, but after they get to be about four to six months, they do have a little bit more of an attention span, so you might be able to do like a whole 10 minutes with them and usually after six months you can start training for longer periods of time, but it's just easier to keep it short when you first get a puppy, so and I would be getting them to do the behaviors you want. Sit is probably the number one behavior I teach in the house, and so asking them to sit throughout the day, you go to the door, ask them to sit and give him a treat or open the door to reward them. If you're going to feed him, get him to sit before you put the food bowl down, so it's just those little times where you have the opportunity anyway, 'cause you have something the puppy wants,

07:39 Lorien Clemens


07:40 Robin Bennett

That you can start working with what behaviors you want them to do.

07:43 Lorien Clemens

Now what point is it appropriate to start doing the whole socialization classes and even the group training classes.

07:51 Robin Bennett

Well, so that's very controversial and you'll hear answers all over the board for that. My recommendation is keep up with your vaccination schedule of your puppy and if you're keeping up to date with that, you can expose your puppy to an environment where all the other dogs you know are also vaccinated. Meaning I would take a puppy under four months or six months even before they are finished with their shots. I would take them to a place that I know that the other dogs are safe to be around, for instance, a class, a training class or someplace where I know that I can encounter other dogs and do a training program, but I know that the other dogs have been vaccinated, but that is controversial. Some people will tell you don't take your puppy anywhere until they've had all their shots, but I think that more puppies have issues with lack of socialization and which causes behavior problems in the future, than puppies that get sick, but I wouldn't take them to a dog park. I wouldn't take them to any place where you don't know the dogs or where lots of dogs are passing through and you don't know anything about those. I wouldn't even necessarily take him to a pet store until they've had all their shots, but if it's a place where you know the dogs are safe but they're around, I would start because you really want to expose your puppy to whatever it's going to encounter in the world before they reach four months ideally because that's the best socialization window.

09:12 Lorien Clemens

Right and those kind of classes you're required to show that you have all those kind of vaccinations and things like that, so there are much more likely. Now, what kinds of products or systems or those kind of things? I mean, I know that you have a couple of things that you've done in the past that are that are geared towards that new puppy parent that are really good to kind of get you started, especially if you're somebody like me that likes a lot of structure and guidance when you're doing something. 

09:37 Robin Bennett

Yeah, so I would definitely.. one of the programs I have is called raising your puppy, and it's a video guide to raising your puppy the first six months. It's week by week starting at 8 weeks of age, so I put this program together when I got my puppy and I literally, it's like real life, real time stuff I did with my dog. The good, the bad and the ugly. All that stuff that my dog was doing when he was a puppy and how I solved that. You know, I'm sitting on the floor of my house is a mess. It's like literally ok he's chewing on my feet. Here's what I'm gonna do and I videotaped all of it, but that's a great starter program I do. I did start it at 8 weeks because I want people to get going as soon as they get their puppy home. I would look for positive classes in positive training classes in your area, and then a couple of sort of gadgety things since I like gadgets anyway, but for puppies I know getting them to sleep through the night is often an issue, so I usually tell people go download some kind of a heartbeat app so anything that makes that sort of heartbeat sound, a lot of times people will put, you know, in the old days we used to put alarm clocks that were ticking clocks in the crate to make that sound, but most people don't have ticking clocks anymore so they do have access, but you want some kind of a soothing repeated sound like that can help your dog sleep through the night. Some people like to kind of keep an eye on their dog during the day when you're not able to be home and there's a couple of products out there now that have cameras in them, so you can actually check in on your dog and pet chats is one, Furbo's another one where you can literally turn the video camera on and see what your puppy is doing and kind of gives you peace of mind. So some of those are great as well.

11:19 Lorien Clemens

And creating I'm just going to mention, if you're not home with the dog, you need to have him in a crate, is that a recommendation that you normally give?

11:27 Robin Bennett 

Oh yeah, absolutely. I would definitely, and I would create train a dog of any age as soon as you get any dog, I would start crate training, for puppies in particular, what you're doing with the crate is you're helping them to learn to control their bladder for number one, 'cause most puppies don't want to go to the bathroom where they're sleeping, and you want the crate to be just big enough that that puppy can turn, stand up, turn around and lay down. You don't want like a super sized crate because they will just go to bathroom one end and sleep in the other. You want to make sure it's the right size, and then you're also teaching that puppy how to settle down, how to be by themselves, and you're also teaching them that sometimes the only appropriate chew toy is the one right in front of them that you've given them. So they learn what appropriate chew toys are, as opposed to leaving them on their own where they learn.

12:12 Lorien Clemens

Where goodness knows they could do all kinds of damage. So tell people where they can learn more from you online. 

12:19 Robin Bennett

You can go to, so WWW-Dog-and-Gurus. The dog gurus with an S .com and you can find my raising your puppy class there as well. 

12:33 Lorien Clemens

Thank you so much for joining us today Robin. Really great stuff.

12:35 Robin Benett

You're welcome, thanks for having me.

12:37 Lorien Clemens

Stay tuned pet lovers, when we come back we're going to be talking to a founder of a new look at the way you train your puppies. It's actually looking at the brain science that's behind how they learn, and how they cognitively process things. It's really cool science stuff that I can't wait to geek out with you about, and it's also about puppies. So it's so exciting, while you wait, go check out Robin's Dog Guru site. Pet Lover Geek brought to you by PetHub, we will be right back. 

13:01 Music

13:42 Lorien Clemens

Puppies, uh, it's one of my favorite things in the world. Who doesn't love a puppy and how wonderful they are, but one of the biggest struggles that people have when they have a new puppy in their home, is training them, discovering how their puppy learns best so that we can help them be good canine citizen's and get that really important, "you're a good doggy" kind of thing going, so I'm really excited that we have on the show today. Kim Paciotti to talk to us about Empowered Puppy. It's a new series of cognitive tests, online and video training programs that are specifically designed for puppies and based on current science, super exciting to have you on the show Kim, welcome. 

14:23 Kim Paciotti

Thank you so much, I appreciate this.  

14:26 Lorien Clemens

So I want to start off by talking about what exactly is Empowered Puppy and one of the things that was so exciting when we found out about you is how science based this is and it does seem to be a totally new approach to training puppies. So can you talk about that? 

14:43 Kim Piciotti

The name of my company is called Training Canines and I basically was fascinated with how the puppy learns, and so I was fascinated with how the puppies mind was. Our research began with studying litters, and nobody really had done very much, Dognition had done a little bit with some canine -- you know research that they had done and so forth, but I know that it has to start early. So going in and finding different research studies that have been done, you know through the past and so forth. So we started with litter, after litter, after litter, just taking observations, and one of the first things that we start with these common particulios biosensor programs and that was done by these guys in the military, but basically what it is you're placing the dog under specific stress. Five different movements, very, very quickly showing the dog. This is how stressful it is, and then turning around and putting the dogs. You know relaxing. That makes a huge difference. I didn't think so when I first started it five years ago, but there happened to be a litter that I didn't get in till the puppies were four weeks old and by not doing it I really, really notice the difference in the litter. So the second thing we start with is actually sense with them smells, and we start at 10 days old, and presently we use essential oils. We have a four stimulating scents for calming scents in for environmental scents that we do. We do specific ones on specific days, and we basically put the smell underneath the dogs nose, and we watch and observe how the dog reacts to it. If their heads resting their head back, that would be a negative reaction. If they're, you know, leaning into it or locking on to the smells, we call it, that would be a positive reaction, side to side where they're going to it coming back. That would be a mixed reaction. And you can go all the way through an extremely negative and extremely positive, on the positive end where they actually salivating and you know really literally, going right after the scent. Well when I first started, I really just was doing it because I thought, well, let's let the scents out there to the dogs and I kept seeing certain little personality traits coming out, like I found that if the dogs of were, you know, liking the pine and liking the rain, or liking the fresh cut grass and so forth, they were very, very highly distracted when it was time to train them outside, but I was what was cool as I was finding this out at 11/12/13 days old and I mean their eyes and ears aren't even open yet and so it was just something kind of set off there. So I was like there's way more to this than I even realize there is. Now we're talking. We've probably done over 250 puppies with us. It was litter after litter, So what we did about a year and a half ago was we took all the litters we had, took all our results and keyed them all into the computer. We tried to see the common denominator. Common denominator personality was what we finally ended up where we found our common denominator. If the dogs were turning positive in certain areas, they happen to be a routine learner. Or maybe this one was timid to sounds or this one is there was so much faster. We were running 88% exact to the personality, of the personalities coming out just by what items that they liked and didn't like. And from a training standpoint, now I know. How my puppy can learn? How my puppy can focus, and how well my puppy is going to be for socializing? Because you know as well as I do know, no two people learn the same, so you may be a visual learner. I may be a learner that you know has to learn by reading books or or whatever may be. Well, everybody thinks that dogs, it's one size fits off, but it's not. 

18:17 Lorien Clemens

Well I I'm just. I'm as I'm listening to this, so I've got a lot of questions, but did you find that there are certain archetypes that that came up, most commonly when you were doing this initial testing because? Having been a former teacher myself, you know there are eight to ten learning styles that you know, nobody fits exactly that one learning style, but everybody you know gravitates towards. So did you find that there are main archetypes that the representing in these puppies?

18:43 Kim Paciotti

Yeah, absolutely. You have about four different types of learning styles. You had four different abilities. There probably was a little bit more, but we broke it into a more of a generalized-okay-these are your four learning styles. These are your four, focus abilities these are your four socialization styles, because when we rated everything we rated it on a category from zero to four, so we kept it going into that grouping, so it was much easier to -- we could've gone -- probably really, really detailed I should say, but I didn't think that that was where we haven't tested enough dogs to do that. I don't feel that, I think we need to stay broad as best. 

19:26 Lorien Clemens

Yeah because at the end of the day you want to bring something that people are going to be absolutely able to use, ok so I want to fast forward a little bit here. Now you did this training when puppies were really young like 10 days old something like that, but most of us, most parents, and I understand for breeders that's one thing they can start some of this testing really early, but for most of us we don't even meet our puppy until they are 8-8-10-12 weeks old and is that kind of testing to figure out their learning style. Is it still applicable at that point or have we kind of too late?

19:56 Kim Paciotti

 Well no, you're not too late, the latest we've tested is 10 weeks. We've tested, we go back and we retest. When the puppies been eight weeks, 9 weeks, 10 weeks. So to find out are we having the same results, and once again going back into that 80% rate, I think we were like 81%. We had the same results as we had earlier. That's just phenomenal to me. 

20:22 Lorien Clemens

Ok, so then let's talk about the Empowered Puppy program. As far as a new puppy parent is concerned, then so they're able to test their puppy to see ok, like, how does he think? How does he learn? And then what happens? What's the next step?

20:38 Kim Paciotti

Okay, basically what happens is we have a scent kit that a new puppy owner can purchase, and we asked him to do this as quickly as they get their puppy. In fact, if you can get it before you get to the puppy, that's even better yet. What we want you to do for the 1st 12 days is we want you to test your puppy. It basically takes 2 minutes, you place, we have metal tins in the container and you dampen the cotton ball, place a couple drops of the oil onto the cotton ball. You put it inside the tin which has a hole in the top, because we don't want the cotton ball or the oils touching the dog at all, they're going to wait till their puppies extremely calm, in a distraction free area completely. What they do is they let their puppy smell the scent. They mark it down. Then they go back after the 12 days, they'll input that, go to our website though and put that into the computer, and within 48 hours we will send them back exactly how their puppy learns. Best way to teach the puppy. The best socialization way for their puppy, and the best ways to teach their puppy as far as focus. There is specific ways dogs learn from the standpoint that could be a routine learner. They can be a learner that is basically by imitation. They can be a learner where we could have a very very smart puppy. That's very bored very quickly. And then we could have our really out there, puppy, which we've had a few of that. That we have actually taught how to read. By flash cards. Basically we place the commands on the flash cards, and we hold the command up and we don't say a word and the dog knows what we're asking for and we have video after video of this on our YouTube and Instagram channels and so forth.

22:13 Lorien Clemens

That's so exciting. It's crazy exciting. 

22:15 Kim Paciotti

It's all a matter of if you understand how that dog learns and change the personality of the dogs. It's it's easy. It is so easy, and all it is talking to the dog. We don't use clickers, we don't use collars, we barely use food anymore. With this litter of Bernese mountain dogs we have this time, we pulled the food, a lot of it out, but one thing really cool that we do that I haven't even told you is that we actually teach them by imitation. We start teaching them the commands by them watching themselves on television. 

22:46 Lorien Clemens

So talk to me about that because people say dogs can't see TV's. 

22:51 Kim Paciotti

Oh yes they can.

22:52 Lorien Clemens

So talk to me about that. 

22:53 Kim Paciotti

We had litter after litter where the puppies were going around and eating each others poop at three and a half and four weeks old. Now mom's eat the dogs poop. They simulate the dogs to go to the bathroom. They continue doing that all the time. The dogs are nursing and so forth, but to have a litter of puppies doing it to each other. Now I know that sounds gross, but to me I'm like oh my god, this is like the coolest thing ever, because if you think about it. It's a learned behavior, so what that told me was they learned this by watching Mom. So that means at 3 1/2 weeks they can actually learn by watching another dog. So we then took pictures of themselves of that age, sitting, laying, standing, doing here, walking, waiting all the commands that we teach, and we put them, it's basically about maybe about 60 second video for the very first time we tried it we got on this, this ritual and family found that all of a sudden about on the 7th day, these puppies were sitting on command at four weeks or five years old at the time. 5 Weeks old, sitting on command. Some of them were at six weeks already doing their laying. We could say at one time, and we would wait and they would look at us and they would process. We would see the wheels going, and they would do it, and once again we have videos up on YouTube that anybody can see all of this happening. So then, we had it where we showed one litter of I believe, it's golden retrievers. We showed them 2 times, a 4 week old puppy sitting on command after two times of watching the video. 

24:33 Lorien Clemens

Wow, that is incredible.

24:36 Kim Paciotti

But the coolest thing was, you know how like if you call a dog to sit the dog runs to you and sits down right in front of you. By teaching this way, what we found was we took ourselves out of the picture. Now the sudden we'd be walking and we could say sitting and guess what we turn around the dog sitting five feet behind us, and that's the other thing we found. If you use quarrels the dog was 50% faster. So instead of saying sit, I'm just say sitting instead of saying, you know, lay, I'm going to say laying, and waiting and all those types of things and the dogs learn faster. 

25:08 Lorien Clemens

That's fascinating, but I wish we could go on 'cause there's so much we could dig into here, but we're out of time no it's all good. So people I know are gonna want to learn more. So tell them where they can find out more about the Empowered Puppy project.

25:18 Kim Paciotti

Sure, you can actually see the puppies that we work with at and that's training, and then, you can go to and what I'm really excited too. We have that you will be able to see our lifestyle training. You can take the class. We've even got it where you can pick what you want to pay for the class, because everything is just going to benefit the research. So this way we've got 15 lessons online, that you can do with your puppy and the most important thing to teach first is temperament. Don't worry bout the obedience 'cause that comes later. 

25:53 Lorien Clemens

Fantastic. Thank you so much Kim for chatting with us today. 

25:56 Kim Paciotti

You're welcome!

25:57 Lorien Clemens

Stay tuned puppy lovers because we're going to continue to talk about all things puppy. Pet Lover Geek is going to be right back. 

26:05 Music

26:44 Lorien Clemens

One of the biggest factors about getting a new canine friend in your home that a lot of people tend to neglect, particularly folks that have never had a puppy before, is proper nutrition, because not all dog foods are made alike, a lot of times you're going to be given a welcome home kit from the shelter or the breeder and it's going to contain a small sample of food so you may have already gotten some guidance there, but you may not, you know, maybe you don't want to use the brand that they gave you, or you're not exactly sure where you should go from here and what do you really need for your pup to be healthy, so there are so many brands out there that have food that say all stages of life, and some that say puppy food, but what do you really need to give them the proper nutrition that their growing bodies need? Well, that's where our last guest comes in. It's Doctor Ruth Ann Lobos, she's a scientific program senior manager at Purina, and she and her team worked very closely with veterinary clinics across the country to advance the role of nutrition in clinical practice, and help our pets live long healthy lives and today she's going to give us critical insight into puppy nutrition. Thank you so much for being on the show with us today Doctor Lobos!

27:54 Ruth Ann Lobos

You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

27:56 Lorien Clemens

So who doesn't want to talk about puppies right, and I know nutrition is what you live day in day out, so this is perfect. I want you to talk with us about just the core proper nutrition for puppies, because there's a ton of information out there about older dogs and what to feed them, and there's a lot of frankly, misinformation out there on the Internet, and I really want us to kind of start with that base of what does it mean to have proper nutrition for a puppy? 

28:25 Ruth Ann Lobos

Yeah, that's a great question, and it's one of the things where it almost seems obvious, but yet a lot of times it gets overlooked in conversations, and you know there's some good studies-surveys that have been out there where you know two out of every three dogs that come into a house are puppies, but yet less than half of those-those new puppies actually receive any information or receive puppies specific pet food. So this is a key part because nutrition we know, not only at Purina, but as a veterinarian that having proper nutrition from the get-go, sets them up for, as I like to say success later in life and certainly longevity later in life when nutrition plays that proper role. So again, starting at that good foundation of giving them that puppy nutrition from the get-go can help to ensure that your puppy lives into their golden years and you're able to maintain their health and their happiness throughout, and so with puppies, some of the key things to think about it. You know it's similar to almost feeding, you know, a baby only their growth years, their rapid growth years are condensed to about 1 to 2 instead of in the human space where we look at maybe reaching our kind of max adulthood as far as development wise goes, you know over a span of 18 years, so I'm taking that kind of  compact growth segments in their lifespan. Some of the really key things to think about are a nutrient known as DHA, which is its founding mothers milk. It's actually a fatty acid and it's so very important we know for vision development, as well as brain development, and you want to look for that as far as when you're looking at the different ingredients that are in the pet food. Because again, we want them to be well behaved dogs and to be able to enjoy their environment as much as possible. So those key senses of vision and their brain are certainly critical to having that experience, and the other thing that's super important is calcium and phosphorus. While these are pretty small minerals, when it comes to like the total makeup of pet food, they are critical again for developing their strong bones and their strong teeth that are going to be able to help them you know, as their skeleton develops and you know and their teeth are growing to make sure that they're able to chew the kibble and chew the bones that they want to, and pick up the ball when you're playing fetch and all of that so the other things that that puppy food can be more specific for are things like protein. Again, they have a higher protein requirement as they're developing, because if you think about it there, their muscles are also kind of growing to keep up with their growing bones. Other pieces that people don't think about where protein is very important is their immune system, so their immune system, their antibodies, those things that are going to fight any kind of bacteria or virus that they may come across. All of that is made up of proteins and the way they make those proteins is they breakdown the protein in the pet food that you feed them, and then they can build them back up into proteins into their bodies. So as that immune system is developing and they're coming across new things that they've not experienced before, that they can mount the proper response and stay in good health. So having a good solid protein level in that pet food is also critically important. And it all really boils back down to looking at the company that produces it, and that's one of the things that I find so very reassuring. I've got three dogs at home myself and knowing that I'm feeding a Purina product that has been specifically developed for their life stage, and has gone through testing to show that it is complete and balanced for whatever life stage. Whether it is puppy or adult maintenance. Those sorts of things that it had been scrutinized, and we do that here at Purina, which again helps me to feel reassured that I'm providing the proper nutrition for my own dogs as well as being able to speak about it to others. 

32:58 Lorien Clemens

Now I would love it if you can kind of talk or address 'cause I mentioned the internet is full of information, and some of its great, but some of it's frankly, misinformation, and can you talk a little bit about some of the biggest misconceptions and misunderstandings that people have about puppy nutrition? 

33:18 Ruth Ann Lobos

Sure, yeah, I think one of them is that kind of are made seem a little bit obvious is that puppies don't need specialized nutrition, so it's almost the flip side of that, but it is you know, it's pretty common out there that people will think. Oh, I can just pick up an adult dog food that's for maintenance and it'll get them what they need and you know, as I mentioned earlier, they do. They've got more specific needs than adults dogs do, and some of the other misinformation that's out there is supplementing. So do I need to give my puppy vitamins? Again if you're going with a pet food that is labeled as complete and balanced, and has been through the analysis, whether that's through feeding trials, or ASCO feeding tests, that says that it's complete and balanced. There's actually no reason to supplement with vitamins and minerals and that actually can oftentimes do detriments. If you are over supplementing with some of the vitamins and minerals that can cause health problems for the puppy themselves, so it's much easier to go with a pet food that again has been through that testing and is complete and balanced. The other things that can go out that can be misunderstood out there is for our larger breed dogs, and people think oh well, I've got this Great Dane puppy. So he needs to eat tons and tons of kibble because he's going to be a really big dog, which you know he will. Probably you know your average Great Dane can run anywhere between 130, sometimes 188 pushing a pound, but we want that growth to be controlled, and we know that if based on research that if we feed them too much too quickly, their bones will grow really rapidly. Their muscles can't keep up, and that can predispose them to a number of orthopedic diseases, both in puppyhood as well as later in life. So it's really again important too have first of all, have those nutrition conversations with your veterinarian and make sure that you're on the same page, and that you're on the right page for the breed of dog that you have, or the predicted size of the dog that you've got as well as for particularly for these large breed puppies that you've got them on the right formulation, because they do specific requirements and we actually want them to grow a little bit more slowly than we would say, a beagle puppy, or you know, even a Labrador puppy which can be kind of in that middle, pushing the edge of a large breed dog, but certainly not as big as a Saint Bernard or or Great Dane or something like that. So really, having those in depth conversations with your veterinarian about the specific requirements for the breed of puppy that you're bringing into your home will also help to ensure that they are getting the proper nutrition. 

36:17 Lorien Clemens

That's really interesting that you're bringing that up 'cause that was actually one of the questions I was going to have, like what kind of different nutritional needs do different breeds of puppies have? And it's interesting too, because like I'm thinking just of either the Purina line or some of the other well known lines there are these general puppy, you know, food type things, but can you talk a little bit more about like if I... when do I need to I guess look outside of that generalized puppy food and look into more specialized puppy food? Is it having a smaller, the smaller breed dogs and the bigger breed dogs? Where's the line? That I need to draw as a consumer and a new pet parent to look beyond just that generalized complete puppy food. 

37:03 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, it's a great question. We do, so across our lines, whether it is our puppy chow or Purina One or Pro plan. There are a variety of that kind of more specialized nutrition within those lines, and I would say that probably goes across the board for many of the other larger pet food companies, and some of the differences are when we think about like our small breed or even our toy breed. Versus again, say a Saint Bernard or Great Dane. If we think about their just the the sheer fact of their mouth size is very different, and so having those for those small and toy breed dogs, the kibble is going to be smaller so it's easier for them to be able to chew and digest. It also is going to be a little bit more calorically dense because these guys, especially when they're puppies, will need to be those in particular the toy breed dogs. Will need to be fed much more frequently than some of our larger breed dogs because they can be at risk for getting what we call hypoglycemia or their blood sugar drops too low if they go too long between meals. So we tried to make sure that with this small and toy breed puppy foods that we developed, that they are more calorically dense so that it helps to maintain their their blood glucose and doesn't you know, they don't have those swings and put them at risk for other problems. On the flip side of that, for our large breed dogs, as I mentioned earlier, they are going to be actually less calorically dense so that we have a specific calcium to phosphorus ratio that really, those really important minerals are critical in bone development to make sure that their bones grow at the right rates, that their muscle mass keeps up at the right rate, and that they don't grow and get too big too quickly, and so that's you know, those are some of the key ones that when we're looking at the different breeds that the pet parents are selecting that we want to look at kind of the differences in the kibble there.

39:11 Ruth Ann Lobos

You know you just like are teeing up my questions perfectly. I love it. My next question was how much and how often should be feeding the puppy because frankly most of the puppies that I've had, you know, their endless caverns of eating. They all they want to do is eat and so how often should I be feeding them? Because they do seem to want to eat. My adult dogs are happy with their two times a day, but puppies seem to always want to be eating.

39:35 Ruth Ann Lobos

Right and you know it's a great question, and it really, you know it does come down to, you know depending on the size and the breed is giving me the breed and the activity level of the puppy is really going to be what dictates how often you feed them and how much you feed them. You can start the feeding recommendations on the back of the bag are a good at least starting point, but it's certainly something that you want to talk to your veterinarian about. Again, based on what they're being from a body condition standpoint so that we know that that's a really critical piece to longevity and also reducing the risk of developing various diseases is keeping them at a nice lean body condition. And certainly as puppies, just like humans, they'll go through different growth spurts, and their metabolism will speed up while they're going through that growth spurt and then it may taper off a little bit and then speed up again, so keeping an eye on on their body condition can also be a really good guide to knowing if you're feeding the proper amount, and so really easy. There's a very more technical way of doing this, but very kind of simple three simple steps to know if your puppy is of ideal body condition, is you want to put your hands on the sides of their ribs and you should be able to feel their ribs even as a puppy, you don't want to be able to necessarily count every single one of them, but you should be able to feel their ribs if there's a lot of insulation between them, between your hand and there rib, while roly-poly puppies, are really cute.

41:11 Lorien Clemens

They're not healthy.

41:13 Ruth Ann Lobos

Right, exactly. That's not setting them up for success later in life, and then when you look at them from above, they should have a little waist that you can see, so behind their ribs they should have a little indentation, and then when you look at them from the side, you should have what we call an abdominal tuck. So basically their rib cage should be lower than their actual belly, so they shouldn't be log shaped. They should have some definition there, and as you know, maybe once a week you get into a routine of hey, I'm you know just petting him and feeling can I feel his ribs as he had a good place, you know? And does he have a waist so that way you can as a pet parent kind of start to get an idea of what ideal for for your puppy looks like, and how that then translates into the amount of kibble that you're putting into the bowl. And you know, even within a breed it's going to vary and it's similar again to human metabolism, there are some people who you know I'll use my husband as an example. I mean, he can eat a whole entire large pizza and he is still, you know, this skinny little guy and he just leaves a very active lifestyle where other people can look at a piece of pizza.

42:28 Lorien Clemens

And gain twenty pounds.

42:30 Ruth Ann Lobos

Right and it doesn't do them any favors. So it's you know it is very individualized. Even within breeds, so that's why, again, you know, I've stressed it several times, but having that conversation with your veterinarian doing the body condition, scoring yourself, and then also asking your veterinarian to do it to make sure that you're on the right page for your particular pet. 

42:52 Lorien Clemens

Awesome, excellent information. Thank you so much for being our guest today. Doctor Lobos.

42:55 Ruth Ann Lobos

You're welcome, I'm happy to share and this is a topic near and dear to my heart. So glad to be a part of the conversation. 

43:03 Lorien Clemens

Excellent and make sure everybody goes to They have amazing nutritional information about all stages of life including a button right there that says puppy, and you can check out all their information on their puppy nutrition. There's so much out there for our canine companions I know it can be hard to know what to believe and where to go to so we're really happy that we could have experts like we had today on the show to give us some insight on to living with new puppies in the home. Robin Bennett who talked to us about training our pups, Tracy Krulik from the Empowered Puppy, and last but not least, Doctor Ruth Ann Lobos from Purina. All great and we thank them so much for joining us today. Remember pet lovers, if you have questions or ideas for future shows, just drop us a message on our Facebook page or email us at and we will continue to bring the latest in geeky and techie pet products and tips. Until next time this is Pet Lover Geek brought to you by PetHub. 

43:56 Music