Caring for your Cotonwind
Coton de Tulear





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            Crate Training    
            Choosing a Veterinarian



Feeding your Coton de Tulear puppy

During the time that your puppy has remained at Cotonwind your puppy has been eating Royal Canin Mini Puppy.  We recommend continuing on this food as your puppy is well adjusted to it.  Other foods that are good are any of the more wholistic foods.  Our adults are on Royal Canin 27 and we are happy with this food.

When you first get your puppy home it is not unusual for your puppy to be disinterested in its food for the first few days.  Part of this is because your puppy is now in a new environment and is adjusting.  However, another factor to this disinterest is the lack of competition for the food.  Here at Cotonwind, your puppy has been eating together with its siblings and, while we feed enough to ensure no-one is hungry, the puppies still feel competition.  This is natural and normal.  With the removal of competition comes a more relaxed attitude towards the food bowl as well.  It is for this reason that we do not recommend free feeding during puppyhood.  Give your puppy its food with a little warm water on it, allow it to have access to its food for twenty minutes, then remove the food until the next meal.  This instills artificial competition and has the same effect as real competition; the food has disappeared.  Over a couple of feedings the puppy will realize that it needs to eat while the food is there.

Regardless of the instillation of artificial competition, it is still possible that your puppy will be "off" its food.  If this persists, then adding a small amount of canned food, some cottage cheese, small bits of cooked chicken, or other yummy tidbits might just do the trick!  Animals will not typically starve themselves and your amount of worry will far surpass the danger that not eating poses to your puppy   :-)  . 

Do make certain that your puppy has access to fresh, clean water at all times.  If your puppy refuses to eat AND drink for a long period of time then secondary causes may need to be explored.  If your puppy will accept treats chances are all is well and you are well on the way to being trained by your Coton to bow to his every whim!  :-)

Crate Training your Coton de Tulear
We advocate crate training for Cotons.  Crates should be used to keep your Coton de Tulear puppy in during times that you are away from home, sleeping, or preoccupied with something which precludes you from being able to completely supervise your new Coton de Tulear puppy.  Initially some people react with believing that locking up your new Coton de Tulear is cruel.  We believe that it is not.  Crating your Coton de Tulear puppy allows you to go about your required business knowing that your beautiful new puppy is safe and sound until you can once again return to him/her.  Imagine being out, coming home,  and finding that your puppy has broken/chewed  something valuable or close to your heart, eaten something and is now either poisoned, has a bowel blockage, or is dead from something lodged in it's throat.  Now imagine, coming home, your Coton de Tulear puppy is in his/her crate, the house is just as you left it, puppy is healthy, and both of you are thrilled to see one another.  Personally, we would pick the crate.

Crate training is not only useful for keeping your Coton de Tulear and your home safe.  Crate training your Coton de Tulear aids in housetraining (see below) and in training against unwanted chewing.  It is also the best way to keep your new puppy safe while traveling in a vehicle, and it is a wonderful way to keep your puppy quiet following spay and neuter surgery (Coton de Tulears like running and playing long before the vet recommends they run and play following surgery).  As well, the crate can become a private place for your Coton de Tulear where there are children involved, and it is quite simple to instill the rule that when puppy is in his/her crate, the puppy is to be left alone.  This is valuable in giving young Coton de Tulear pups much needed rest time, and teaches the youngsters to respect this time.

How does crate training help in training against unwanted chewing?  When your Coton de Tulear puppy is in the crate, it cannot chew on things it shouldn't.  Puppies chew for a lot of reasons; boredom, teething, exploring, or 'just because'.  If your puppy is properly supervised, you can teach it what is allowable chewing (i.e. their own toys) and what is contraband chewing (your family heirloom, the poisonous houseplant, etc.) (see Obedience section for more on this).  When your Coton de Tulear puppy chews, it is rewarded.  It either is no longer bored, its teething pains feel better, it's having fun.  This sets up the puppy that, as it grows up, whenever it feels uncomfortable, such as when you've gone out the door and it's a little anxious, or when it is bored, it will chew whatever it finds.  Thus, you have an adult Coton de Tulear that will chew.   If, however,  through training and proper supervision, your Coton de Tulear has learned what it is allowed to chew, then when it needs to satisfy the urge, you will have a non-destructive Coton de Tulear  who understands what his/her toys are for.  We again, choose crate training.

The bottom line is, Coton de Tulears don't mind their crates.  Their crate becomes their little space where they can rest and spend time comfortably.

How to Crate Train A Coton de Tulear ...

When you first bring your Coton de Tulear puppy home you should already have your crate.  Set it up in an area central to the family, but not in heavy traffic areas of your home.  We recommend in your kitchen, near a door leading to a fenced yard where puppy will go out to relieve him/herself.  It helps to leave the crate in one location (Coton de Tulears are dogs and dogs are creatures of habit and learn to rely on these things).  The day you get your new Coton de Tulear puppy home let it explore the crate.  Put a doggy biscuit and/or an interesting toy into the crate.  Let the pup wander in and out of the crate (you may have to coerce it to go in a couple of times), leaving the door open at first .  Several times through the day, take your puppy back to where the crate is and repeat the toy/cookie routine.  Praise your puppy for going into the crate in a quiet, happy voice.  Praise him for playing in the crate.  After your pup has entered the crate a few times, put a brand new exciting toy into the crate, lure your  pup in and close the door, just for a few minutes.  If the puppy whines you can talk to him/her, put your fingers through the door and touch him/her, but do not take the pup out until s/he settles.  Then give lots of praise and open the door.  Patience is the key to the effective crate training of your new Coton de Tulear puppy !!!.

Wire or plastic?  What size crate? Blankets? Alarm clock? What should you put in the crate ...

We personally use wire crates for our Coton de Tulears.  The size of crate for Cotons varies depending on the size of the dog (males are usually bigger).  We recommend no smaller than 21W x 30"L x 21"H for smaller Coton de Tulears and 24"W by 36"L x 24"H for larger Coton de Tulears.

With respect to bedding, we recommend putting a towel in the crate for puppy.  Some Coton de Tulear pups chew their bedding and an old towel is worth less than the new $85.00 designer version of a pet bed.  We do not recommend ticking alarm clocks or hot water bottles.  To help your new Coton de Tulear puppy feel a little more secure we recommend an old stuffed teddy bear which has any button eyes and nose removed and restitched securely.

Do not provide water in the crate as food and water will cause the puppy to have to pee and poo.  You can leave the pup with a safe toy or two (nylabone, kong, rope toy) and perhaps a doggy biscuit.  Do not put your Coton de Tulear in the crate wearing a collar, or give him rawhide, pig's ears or squeeky toys.  Remember, you want him to be safe.


For how long do you use the crate?

When you first get your new Coton de Tulear puppy s/he will be 9-10 weeks of age.  At this age it is advisable to have your pup in the crate for no longer than about three hours before letting him/her out to relieve themselves, have a little play and a cuddle.  Once your Coton de Tulear reaches 12-16 weeks, about four hours is the rule.  It is not advisable to leave your Coton de Tulear in its crate for longer than 5-6 hours regardless of age once your get past the 16 week mark.  Should you find you must leave your pup for longer than this, then be kind and have a neighbor or relative come in and let your puppy out and spend a little time with him/her.

With respect to until what age you will need to crate your Coton de Tulear, there is no exact age.  Each Coton de Tulear is different.  I personally would crate until your Coton de Tulear is one year old.  At this time you can "test" the dog.  Leave him out for very short periods of time when you are preoccupied.  Watch what he does.  Then increase the time spent out until he stays out while you are sleeping.  If he shows himself trustworthy, then you can begin to "test" him when you go out.  Only ten minutes at first.  Then an hour, then two or three.  Do not rush to getting your Coton de Tulear "crate-free" as bad habits can still be formed.

House Training your Coton de Tulear

Everyone looks forward to the day when their Coton de Tulear puppy will be trained to do their business outside.  Using the proper technique, this process need not be a long, drawn out ordeal.  Crate training your Coton de Tulear (see
"crate training" section) goes hand in hand with house-training.  When in their crates, Coton de Tulear puppies will not soil, unless the puppy absolutely cannot help it due to being left too long or due to a bout of diarrhea.  The crate helps Coton de Tulear
puppies to "hold it" and, when used properly, is an effective aid in housetraining.

Coton de Tulear puppies need to relieve themselves a lot !!  That is rule number one.  Puppies pee whenever they wake up, after drinking, during play sessions, and well, just about every couple of hours other than that.  They will poo after eating (right after eating) and in the morning and in the evening.  A completely untrained Coton de Tulear puppy will relieve him/herself whenever the urge strikes.  Training is the process of getting the pup to "hold" it until it is appropriate.  As Coton de Tulear puppies won't soil in their crate, this is the first step in getting them used to holding it (just remember there are limits as to how long they can hold it even in their crate).  Therefore, whenever you take the pup out of the crate, take it outside to where you want the pup to go.  At first you will want to carry your Coton de Tulear pup to the spot otherwise they will squat to go on the way there.  Whenever the puppy eats or drinks,  take it outside immediately after.  Whenever puppy is having a playtime, partway through -- take it outside.

Whenever you take your Coton de Tulear puppy out to do its business, praise it as soon as it starts to do its business and continue praising in a  happy, excited voice.  Coton de Tulears respond very well to praise.  Conversely, at first, when puppy has an "accident" in the house, ignore it, clean it up, and say nothing.  The difference between excited praise outside, and dead silence inside becomes very apparent a Coton de Tulear puppy.  Scolding for indoor "accidents" should only occur if after a few weeks puppy is still messing inside and only if you catch them in the act.  If you do, then say no firmly and take puppy outside.  Continue hearty praising for business done outdoors.  Never, never, never, rub the puppy's nose in its mess.  This achieves nothing, is disgracing to your Coton de Tulear, and quite simply, the pup won't understand why this is being done.  In fact, I dare say the pup will think you've gone a little crazy!

Housetraining is a process involving commitment, supervision, and patience.  It is not difficult to housetrain a Coton de Tulear, but it requires consistency and persistency.  Most of all it calls for kindness and praise, as does all training with Coton de Tulears (or any animal).  We call it housetraining, not housebreaking -- the difference being that anything called training involves kindness and patience.

Choosing a Veterinarian

Choosing a vet is one of the most important things you will do for your new Coton de Tulear puppy.  Your new puppy will need to see the veterinarian you choose for:

  • their second examination (their first is done by our veterinarian before you get your puppy)

  • spaying/neutering

  • annual vaccinations/checkup

  • when sick or injured

When choosing a veterinarian for your new Coton de Tulear puppy, consider proximity to your home.  Most city and suburban homes are central to a number of veterinarian clinics.  It is best to chose one that is relatively close to home in order to enable you easily access your veterinarian in case of an emergency.  Close proximity will also make it easier for you to make and keep appointments for your Coton de Tulear.

You may wish to ask friends or neighbors whose opinions you respect, which veterinarian they use and if they are happy with the service/care they receive.

Before you get your new Coton de Tulear puppy home, make an appointment with a veterinarian you are considering and let them know you are getting a new Coton de Tulear puppy and are looking for a veterinarian.  Make sure you are satisfied with the courtesy of the veterinarian and his staff.  Ask questions, take a look around.  Are your questions being answered enthusiastically?  Is the clinic clean and relatively odor free?  Do the staff seem interested?  Are you being treated as you expected?  Does this look comfortable for you?  For your new Coton de Tulear puppy?  Your instinctive feelings should guide you.  Is this a place you will feel comfortable coming to when your Coton de Tulear is sick or injured?

We list here a chart of symptoms, what is somewhat "normal" and what is cause for concern, for reference with your new Coton de Tulear puppy.  This is to be used as a general guideline only.  If you are concerned about your Coton de Tulear, see your vet.  If you are unsure, see your vet.

Symptom "Relatively Normal" Cause for Concern
occasional loose stool with normal
intake of food and water
ongoing for 24 hours or more,
blood, foul odor, lack of
appetite, lethargy, apparent
abdominal pain (any one symptom
should cause concern)

Occasional bile or vomiting of grass
ongoing. particularly if associated
with lethargy, diarrhea, or pain
Lack of Appetite
ongoing. particularly if associated
with lethargy, diarrhea, or pain
Occasional accident
frequent, particularly if straining is
evident or if puppy continually tries
to urinate but only small amounts are
passed.  Blood in urine

Should your Coton de Tulear puppy have any of the "cause for concern" symptoms, you should see your veterinarian as soon as possible.  Occasional lack of appetite, mild diarrhea, or occasional vomiting are usually not serious.  However, next to your veterinarian, you are the best judge of your Coton de Tulear's health .  If you feel concerned about your dog, then see your veterinarian.  Any Coton de Tulear which has diarrhea and/or vomiting which is leading to him getting sicker very quickly, must be seen by your veterinarian immediately.  Coton de Tulear puppies can get extremely sick very quickly and immediate intervention is critical.

What if your Coton de Tulear is showing lameness or is limping?  Cause of lameness/limping is very difficult to diagnose.  If your Coton de Tulear appears lame or is limping, your veterinarian is your best resource.  Only your vet can diagnose what is a mild injury and what is more severe.

Injured and sick Coton de Tulear puppies/dogs can go into shock very quickly.  Shock is extremely dangerous to animals and humans alike.  Shock can be caused by dehydration, injury, poisoning, and many other causes.  If you suspect your Coton de Tulear is in shock, keep them warm and comforted, give nothing by mouth and seek veterinarian assistance immediately.

Grooming your new Coton de Tulear puppy

Your Coton de Tulear requires grooming - lots of it.  When your Coton is still a puppy you may believe that grooming is a breeze - and for now it is!  However, do not be fooled into complacency. 

While your puppy is young you have the opportunity to not only learn to groom him, but also to teach him the rules of the game!  The rules are -- he must be groomed and therefore he must accept all the aspects of grooming without fidgeting and fighting you.  It is best to start right away so that when the grooming does become more intense you will not be fighting a dog that has better ideas!

Start with the right tools!  You will want a good quality pin brush with uncoated metal pins.  Helpful also is a "poodle" comb, and a "greyhound" comb, as well a nail clippers.  Here are a few pictures of the products you may wish to purchase.  These products can be ordered at various online retailers.

Pin Brush


Greyhound Comb


Poodle Comb


Resco Comb

Scissor Nail Trimmers

Guillotine Nail Trimmers

You may wish to purchase a grooming table as well, though it is not absolutely necessary.  The grooming arm and noose are not required.

Start grooming your puppy as soon as you get him home and settled.  Keep the sessions short and fun, but make sure the puppy understands what you require of him.  Use the various combs and brushes on him even though any one of these will do the job on its own right now.  As he gets older the various grooming tools will need to be used and you want him to be used to them from the start. 

Lightly use a spray conditioner when you are grooming.  This will help avoid breakage while grooming and will provide the coat with extra conditioning.  Use the poodle comb for an initial combing, followed by the greyhound comb, then the pin brush.  Remember to be gentle.  The idea is to preserve coat, not break it.  If there is a knot or mat, gently separate the hairs using your fingers, do not pull the mat out in a clump.  Your resco comb is handy in the facial areas.

Following the grooming, once or twice a week you will want to clean out the ears with a mild ear cleaning solution and a cotton ball.  Do not try to dig into the ear.  Any foul smell or reddish brown buildup requires veterinary attention as soon as possible as it means your puppy has an ear inflammation or infection.  You will also want to trim your puppy's nails once a week.  Take a little bit off the nails at a time to avoid cutting the quick of the nail.  If you do cut the quick your puppy will scream and the nail will bleed.  While painful, this is not serious and a styptic powder will eliminate the bleeding.  In a pinch, flour works reasonably well in place of styptic powder.

Every two to three weeks or so you will want to bathe your puppy.  Ensure that you use a quality shampoo and conditioner.  Prior to bathing you will want to ensure that your puppy is tangle/knot/mat free.  If you bathe a dog that has knots or tangles they will tighten to the point of needing to be shaved out.  So, carefully brush the dog first.  Make sure that you rinse all shampoo and conditioners out of the coat thoroughly.  Rinse, rinse, then rinse some more.  When finished, put your puppy in a towel and pat dry.  DO NOT RUB or you will have one very large white knot in your arms.  Brush out your puppy and blow dry.  Make certain you have dried out his ears with a cotton ball.