The Leonberger is one of the oldest large breeds of dogs in Germany. It is strong, powerful and needs socializing and training from a very young age in order for the owner to be able to live with and handle this full grown dog when he reaches his ultimate weight, which is typically over 100 pounds. Leonberger’s are long-haired dogs that love companionship and want to do just about anything their owner wants to do, including just being involved in family get-togethers. Although they are athletic, agile, and active, they do not prefer activities like running or biking, due to their size, so owners should not look to them for good companions there. They are considered mountain dogs and are very elegant to look at. Although they are very large, they should not be plump or overly massive in size. They have long succeeded in activities such as water rescue, carting and herding, and in obedience. They are highly trainable, but you should plan to use your patience and have a sense of humor. These dogs have a lively personality and can be a great addition to the right family. If you are looking to get a Leonberger puppy, here are 7 special tips for raising a Leonberger puppy.
Your puppy will require excellent nutrition in order to grow healthy and strong. The correct way to feed your puppy is for the ages of eight to twelve weeks of age, your Leonberger puppy will need 4 meals every 24 hours. Three to six months of age, feed your puppy 3 meals every day. When your puppy reaches six months old, start feeding him two bowls every day, until he reaches one year. On his one year birthday, reduce the feedings to one bowl a day. If your puppy seems to be happier with two small meals a day after one year, you can opt to change to this method of feeding. Always monitor your puppy’s eating habits and stick to a routine. Not all human food is good for your Leonberger, but if you want to indulge him with a few good foods you can mix with his dog food, you can give him broth, fruits and vegetables, as well cottage cheese and cooked eggs, for protein. Always keep your puppy supplied with fresh, cool water.
2. Comfy place to relax
You want to give your puppy a comfy place to relax that is out of busy walkways, off cold floors and out of breezes. A comfy bed or box with a pillow or blanket to relax in gives your puppy a sense of security and relaxation knowing he can go there any time to rest – that it is his special place.
3. Crate training
When you are unable to watch your puppy or need to leave the house, you should put your puppy in a crate that has plenty of room and is comfortable. Your puppy is learning the do’s and don’t’s for being in his new home, what is expected of him, good behavior and getting housebroken. He is unsure of what to do and where to go, and in order to help him learn, crating your puppy confines him to an area where he cannot get into trouble. It helps him to learn how to hold going potty in your home until taken out, and will prevent puppy-damage he can do to your personal property by chewing on things he shouldn’t. Crates also give your puppy security since dogs naturally love cave-like environments.
4. Socialize and behavior train
Leonbergers become very large in adulthood, reaching 100 pounds or greater. An unruly, large dog is a lot more trouble than small dogs. It is important to start behavior training right away, which includes socializing your puppy with all kinds of situations and environments to get him accustomed to being around different kinds of people, pets, and in a variety of situations and environments. Being consistent is one big key to training your puppy. If you are strict with bad behavior one day and slack on another, he will get the wrong message and feel confused. Do not yell or punish your puppy out of anger. This can make him scared, nervous, insecure and aggressive. Firm but gentle is key to good behavior training. Be patient – he will get it.
Your puppy will be quickly growing to become a big dog and needs lots of regular exercise in order to not only be healthy, but this breed loves to be active. Take your puppy out several times a day for play time. Play ball, chase, hike, whatever you want your puppy to learn to love to do to spend time with you and have fun. Allowing playtime is not only fun, but it helps to teach your puppy how, and when he can expect to play each day. So go outside with you Leonberger puppy and get some quality outdoor playtime together.
Leonbergers do not require a lot of grooming, only a few baths per year, unless they get really dirty. You will want to brush or comb his fur regularly, however, in order to keep his long fur free of tangles and help remove the undercoat that can cause shedding and dander. Because Leonbergers do like outdoor time, regularly check the fur and skin for ticks and fleas. They can be hard to see without looking thoroughly, due to the long fur. You can set your puppy up on flea and tick preventatives, so talk to your doctor about the best protection.
7. Health checks
Like any breed, Leonbergers are susceptible to health issues so it is important you take your puppy for his regular checks with his veterinarian. Keeping up with his shots and exams will help prevent issues from developing, and quicker treatment if they do arise. If your Leonberger develops bad breath, which is one issue they can get, do not ignore and assume tooth and gum issues. Bad breath can be a sign or liver or kidney trouble too, so he should be checked if halitosis develops.