My Leo is going to be 4 this upcoming March and I’ve had her ever since the 8 weeks were up when she was a puppy.
Tips I have: (for a new owner, puppies, and what to expect in general)
- They hit their growth spurts very quickly.
Be sure to accommodate (whether you crate or not) and watch to make sure her joints aren’t bothering her during the time.
- Bigger dogs are prone to Hip Dysplasia.
To check if your dog may have it a simple x-ray from your vet is all that is necessary.
- Socializing is very important.
Leo’s are very friendly dogs, but most people are afraid of big dogs. Mine scared my niece and nephew the first time because she’d never been around little kids that yell and run around the house. She wanted to chase them. So whether you’re in a situation like that or not, just be sure that your Leo meets all types of people and dogs.
- Your little puppy will eat and eat.
I was feeding mine three times a day when I got first her so her weight would keep up with how big quickly she was growing and trying to fill her out. It took a while but it happened. Now just twice a day is fine. Leo’s aren’t below telling you when it’s time to eat when they catch on to the schedule.
- Deep chested dogs (example: Leos) are also highly susceptible to stomach bloat (torsion).
This is when the stomach becomes painfully distended and starts to twist, cutting of blood and air supply and it’s only a few hours befor the dog can die. (Immediate surgery is possible)
For prevention: vigorous exercise, excitement and stress should be avoided from 1 hour before and 2 hours after meals. If she’s breathing heavily, panting, and not calmed down enough, don’t feed your dog or let her drink water excessively.
Always read up on Leonberger health.
- As a puppy she’ll try to swim right in her water bowl and probably dig out the rest. They’re naturals in water, take her to lakes when you can.
- Training is another big thing.
Any tricks you want your dog to learn, sit, stay, come when you call, lay down are fine. (no circus dog acts with getting on their hind legs and spinning or anything like that. It’s something big dogs can not do.) To not jump up on people is a big one. When yours gets big enough she’ll probably be tempted to try and take food off counters or table as well. Watch out for that.
I do food reinforcement. Leo’s are loyal but can be lazy. Keep up the training.
- Laying on hard a hard ground (laminate, hardwood floors) aren’t good for the joints so try out beds, a footrest, or just a blanket. Just don’t let her rip them up. Mine’s allowed on the couch and bed. They have a lot of coat, so also don’t try to ‘cuddle’ her, because within ten minutes she will be too hot, panting and wanting to get away.
- All puppies start teething, just like a baby, and so she’ll want to chew everything.
Mine got two legs off a chair when she was around five months. Have plenty of chew toys, that she’s actually interested in. And even get the actual baby toys that you can freeze. mine loves squeak toys and frozen marrow bones (which are at any grocery store and will keep her entertained for hours.)
- (I do all my own grooming.) Keep up with her coat.
Leo’s shed a lot. And while yours may still have her fuzzy puppy coat right now, the transition to the big dog coat becomes a constant battle. I’d say brush her once a week. Even start brushing now so she gets use to a brush. Get her as use to grooming as possible so she’s not fussy when she’s older.
A rake gets your Leo’s undercoat that she’ll lose during a coat change and a comb gets out any knots she may get (usually when the hair on the back of her legs starts growing out)
These brushes will do nothing to keep up with your dogs coat. They are mainly for short haired or curly haired dogs.
With bathing - waterproof coat - wash properly.
- Leo’s have the floppy ears that hang against their heads.
They get very dirty and your dog can get a yeast infection if not taken care of properly. It shouldn’t start until later, but swipe the insides with paper towels or q-tips to check for a thick brown residue. If it happens, she’ll hold her ears a different way, shake her head, and there will definitely be a smell to them. You can take your dog to your vet and they can also clean their ears if it’s too much for you.
(Another thing I do is trim the hair on their feet. I call it “grinch feet” when it gets too long. I just don’t like the look. It’s all up to you.)
- They don’t drool slime like a St. Bernard,
Leo’s actually have quite tight lips, but some Leo’s don’t exactly swallow the last drink of water and drip it around the house.
- Get an elevated water/food feeder.
With how big a Leo gets, they have to reach down to get to their bowls on the floor and it is not good for joints in the long run. Any pet store should have these.
- Temperament test.
See if she’s food aggressive, (which is a big problem you need to work on breaking as quickly as possible) if she’s shy or dominant. Try any test out with a puppy because when they’re around that age you can tell the exact kind of dog they’ll be.
I know this is a lot, and some just in general topics, but I hope it helps and that you have fun with your puppy. Come back any time for more questions. :)