Tag Archives: Puppies

Advice for Introducing Your Dog to New People

First impressions are crucial, and not all dogs possess the same social graces when meeting new people. Problems in this area are sometimes difficult to address, but a few simple tips can help your dog achieve better people-greeting manners.


Start Introducing People Early and Often

In order to develop socially acceptable responses, dogs must be properly exposed to stimuli and experiences in a positive way. They need practice meeting people to learn that jumping, barking and other rude behaviors aren’t an acceptable way to say hello. Ideally, they start practicing these social skills in puppyhood.

According to renowned veterinarian and dog training expert Dr. Ian Dunbar, puppies should meet 100 different people by the time they’re 12 weeks old, and the people should be as diverse as possible, consisting of different ages, races, sizes and physical abilities. Adult dogs may be frightened by unfamiliar things, so early exposure to human diversity is the first step in developing positive behavioral and social skills.

If you have a puppy, try to introduce her to new people daily. Maybe you could shop with her in stores that allow dogs, take her for walks in a busy neighborhood or take her with you when you go visit friends and family. Tell her to sit before you allow strangers to pet her, and give her tasty treats from Freshpet if she stays seated during petting. This teaches her that “four on the floor” (four paws on the ground at all times) is the rule when meeting new people.



Understanding Your Dog’s Reaction to New People

If you’re training an adult dog with bad people-greeting manners, start by observing the way your dog acts around people. Does he act overly friendly by jumping and wagging his tail at light speed, or is he likely to growl, bare his teeth or even lunge? If it’s the latter, this is actually defensive dog behavior in action. It looks aggressive, but it actually comes from fear. Defensive dogs need specific training and exposure practice to learn proper people-greeting etiquette. It’s best to work with a trainer and be patient.

Although overly friendly dogs aren’t scary to most people, it’s still important to exercise caution and introduce good training protocols. An excited, jumpy dog can easily knock down a child or scare a dog-phobic adult, making this behavior potentially problematic in addition to being annoying.



Dealing with the Jumper

If your dog jumps on new people, temporarily limit his interactions with strangers to a handful of chosen friends who understand dog training. Greet them one at a time with your dog on a leash. If your dog jumps on your friend, have your friend completely ignore your dog and walk away while you stay in place holding the leash. They should not yell “off” or push your dog to the ground, as both actions can seem rewarding to your attention-seeking, friendly dog. For a dog who wants attention, being ignored is much more of a “punishment” than being scolded or shoved.

If your dog keeps all four paws on the floor, your friend should reward him with lavish attention and petting. If those front paws leave the ground again, your friend should immediately stand up and walk away in silence. This teaches your dog that jumping doesn’t get him what he wants. Further reinforce the idea that jumping isn’t a good choice by having your friend give him some treats when he has all four paws on the ground.


If you practice consistently, your dog will soon make the connection between keeping four on the floor and getting the attention he craves. After he masters this training, introducing your dog to new people will be something you look forward to.

Kitten & Puppy Nutrition by Dr. Katy Nelson

Bringing a new puppy or kitten home for the first time is so exciting, and there are many things you need to plan for ahead of time. One of the most important is how you will nourish your new little one. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions from new pet parents:


How long does it take for my puppy or kitten to grow into an adult?

This answer is very dependent upon the size your pet will be as an adult.  Kittens and puppies grow at an incredible rate from birth to about six months old. After six months, kittens and small breed dogs’ growth rate starts to slow down as muscles begin to fill out and bones begin to harden.  Large and giant breed dogs, however, can continue to grow for up to two years! The best way to ensure your pet’s growth stays on the right track is to provide them with regular veterinary care and proper nutrition.


I don’t like the food my puppy or kitten was eating before, how do I make a change?

For the first week or two after you bring your new pet home, it’s best to continue feeding them the same type and brand of food they were eating before. Changing their diet too quickly can cause gastrointestinal upset.  Once they’re settled and you’re ready for a change, gradually increase the new food and decrease the old food over a period of 7-10 days or until they are eating 100% of the new food.




Do I need to buy special kitten or puppy food?

Typically kitten and puppy food contains higher levels of protein and fat per serving than adult food to help support their rapid development, but buying it is not necessary. If a pet food is labeled “complete & balanced for all life stages” it is appropriate for young and old alike. However, you will need to adjust the amount you feed so be sure to talk with your veterinarian about the proper amount for your pet’s life stage and carefully read the recommended feeding guidelines on the packaging.




How much should I feed my puppy or kitten?

In general, kittens and puppies from two to fourteen months old should be fed up to twice the normal adult requirement. Every couple of months, as their growth rate slows down, you will need to reduce the amount they eat to keep them from becoming overweight. To sustain their energy levels even throughout the day, I recommend splitting their daily feeding amount into three or four smaller meals. Giving your new bundle of joy treats is okay in moderation, as long as they do not account for more than 10% of their daily caloric intake.


As always, be sure to check with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet’s diet.  Best of luck with your new addition!

Meet Freshpet’s Newest Customers!

One of the best parts of working here at Freshpet is how often we get to give food to rescue pups and kitties all over the country. One of our favorite places is the Hopatcong Pound Project, right here in New Jersey.

This past week, we were delighted to receive the following email in our inbox:


“Thank you for the donation and thanks to Freshpet! A pregnant mom was rescued from being put down and was able to give birth! The babies will be going to good homes.  Thanks for the feeding frenzy!”


We get all kinds of wonderful thank you notes from the shelters we donate to, and it never gets old. But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.


vital product customers


Needless to say, the email brightened up all of our days. Making pups everywhere as happy as these cuties are is exactly why we come into work every single day. It’s inspiring to see such resilience and pure joy on the faces of our newest “customers!”


We’re so happy to get these pups started on the right track with our Vital recipes. Giving fresh starts to dogs and cats of all kinds is something that we’d like to strive to do for all the pets in our families.

U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy and the Sochi Pups are Going Fresh!

Back in February, the hearts of pet lovers everywhere were captured by the story of U.S. Olympic Slopestyle Skier Gus Kenworthy, and his adopted dogs from Sochi, Russia.


Gus met a litter of puppies living close to the athlete’s village in Sochi. The avowed animal lover fell in love with them immediately and pledged to bring the mother and her puppies home with him. Sadly, two of the pups didn’t make it, but the remaining three dogs were brought to the States with the help of Gus’ friend and photographer, Robin Macdonald, and the Humane Society International.


Fast forward to the present, and the Sochi pups are living in Denver with Gus and Robin, adjusting to their new life. They’re loving their new home in Colorado and are looking and feeling better than ever. Check out the Sochi Pups on Instagram to see Jake, Mishka, and Mama sleeping, playing and loving their new lives.


We were so inspired by this story and wanted to help in any way we could. Fortunately, on a Today Show appearance in February, Gus met our friend Dr. Katy Nelson and was introduced to Freshpet. We decided then and there that those amazing dogs deserved to eat real, fresh food, and Gus agreed. So we started the Sochi pups on a fresh food diet by sending Gus and Robin a supply of Freshpet meals and treats. And (not surprisingly) they have enjoyed every last bit of it.


According to Gus, the Vital Balanced Nutrition Chicken Recipe with Peas, Carrots & Brown Rice has been their hands-down favorite. He can’t even make it to the fridge to get his own food without the dogs rushing to him, expecting their Freshpet to come out of it! And just by looking at the photos on their Instagram, we can already tell the Freshpet Effect is starting to take place: beautiful, smooth coats, clearer eyes and happy faces!


But there’s more! We’ve got a special announcement regarding Gus and the Sochi pups. Check back in with us on June 16th to be one of the first to hear about this very exciting program and how you can join in.

Presenting the Winners of #FreshpetTeamCuddle!

 About one month ago, we partnered with our good friends Mommy Shorts and Momma’s Gone City to launch the Team Cuddle contest. We were completely blown away by every single one of the photos we received. Each one showed us just how genuine the bond between family members can be.  Thank you to each of you who voted on your favorite finalists. So without further ado, here are the winners of Freshpet Team Cuddle!


Tots & Pups: Tristan, Vera and Tank


This adorable and color-coded trio hails from Seattle, Washington where they love to play and cuddle with one another. Tank, a five-year old lab is a big cuddler, who is fond of burrowing into the couch. He acts as the big brother to three year-old Vera and three month-old Tristan. Since Vera was born, Tank has been by her side.  Tank is very mindful of his younger siblings, even letting them play fetch with him with no struggle (something that his dad Johnathan has yet to do)! These three are what loving families are all about: enjoying each other’s company all day.


Kiddos & Kitties: Phoebe and Colbey Rae


Colbey Rae and his kitten Phoebe were best friends right from the start. This past December, Colbey Rae was scheduled to have surgery and his mom decided she needed a friend to snuggle with during her recovery, so they found little Phoebe. Two hours after bringing Phoebe home, the two took their first nap together and haven’t looked back since. Wherever Colbey Rae sleeps, Phoebe is there as well. If Colbey Rae is upset or not feeling well, Phoebe is always the first one to check up on her. She’s taken it upon herself to be Colbey Rae’s big sister and that’s a role that she fits perfectly. We know these two are going to be best friends for a long time.


Freshpet Fave: Stephanie and Wheeler


It’s no secret that we love rescue pets. That’s why Steph and Wheeler here got our vote for our Freshpet Fave. This photo was taken the very first time these two met at the shelter. That looks like love at first sight to us. This display of affection is what makes pet parenting all worth it.  Steph and Wheeler, we know you’re both glad you found one another.


We’re sending each of these families a special prize gift pack to enjoy. It’s the least we could do. All of the Team Cuddle entries told us a lot about how special the love between families can be. Thank you all so much for sharing your special moments with us.

Meet the Dogs, Ace and Deuce

Golden retriever dog meets yellow lab puppy - picture of golden retriever and lab puppy

Ace, Kristen and Deuce on Deuce’s Adoption Day. (Don’t worry. Ace warmed up to him quickly!)

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you’re more interested in pets than people. So, meet my guys, Ace and Deuce.

Ace was a golden retriever we adopted from a shelter when he was just 8 weeks old. A certified therapy dog who visited hospice patients, he was our practice baby, a much-loved hospital volunteer and my firstborn child…just the best boy. Sadly, he was diagnosed with lymphoma when he was 6, then he fought the cancer for 10 months. He died in May 2011. He was just 7.

When we learned that Ace was dying we thought we’d adopt another puppy, and we just had to call him Deuce. Though Deuce will never replace Ace, we’re not the same without a dog and we hoped it would make the loss a bit more manageable. Eventually I would need a new therapy partner and I wanted to start training the puppy as I had trained Ace.

Deuce the Lab puppy - lab puppy picture at 10 months old

Deuce (at 10 months old and 60 pounds) proves that dogs really do bury bones…not just in cartoons!

When Deuce came home (from a high-kill shelter in Georgia) he was 10 weeks old and weighed 4.8 pounds. We called him the Teacup Labrador. He was the smallest puppy in the litter, probably because he had several parasites hitching rides in his coat and his belly. With lots of TLC, several visits to the vet, and consistent, loving training he’s become a cherished member of the family. Fortunately he had Ace, who was always polite and well mannered, to teach him the ropes.

Deucey is almost 1 now and he’s a 65-pound handful. He eats Freshpet puppy food — and shoes. He gets into trouble in two shakes of a puppy’s tail. This week’s casualties include one pair of my sandals, numerous rope dog toys (his favorite to shred) and several action figures, toy train cars and stuffed animals. Hopefully, Deuce will chill out enough to pass his therapy-dog evaluation in a year or so. (Or two years. Or nine. Fingers crossed.)

Deuce loves to come to work with me at Freshpet. He has his own bed and dozens of refrigerators filled with healthy, fresh dog food. It’s doggie Nirvana! Now I just have to teach him not to mount the CEO’s leg.

I must say he’s smart as a whip and he picks up tricks and commands immediately. He’s strong as an ox and likes to prove it on our walks, but we’re working on that every day. He has mastered the sit, stay, wait, down and leave-it commands and he sleeps through the night and rings a bell to go out. I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.

He’s a cute little bugger, don’t you think?