puppy care

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My Doodle Shopping list

  • A doodle

  • A 36"L x 22"W x 25"H Wire Dog Crate (any durable brand)

  • Nail clippers

  • Wire "slicker" brush

  • Grain-free puppy food (we will give you some of what your pup has been eating so you can gradually change to your preference)

  • A 3/4" Adjustable Medium Dog Collar (the Lupine design shown here offers an excellent size range good for pups and some grown dogs)

  • A 6' Leash (we like Lupin's -Both Collar and Leash have excellent warranty)

  • A 20' training lead (no specific brand)

  • ZYMOX Ear Cleanser (to prevent puppy ear infections)

  • ZYMOX OTIC HC 1.0% (to fight ear infections when they come)

    • With a proper grain-free diet and keeping the ears dry, ear infections can usually be avoided.

  • If you will groom your dog at home - One set of Professional dog clippers such as the Andis ARC ones shown here. (You need a high quality set for a good result.  Avoid cheap alternatives which provide three times the stress and one-third the result!) Even if you don’t plan on grooming at home, professional dog clippers are wonderful for keeping the “private” areas clean and also for trimming under the muzzle in between cuts (for those of us who don’t want water dripping everywhere!)

  • 1/2" Blade (this is a universal blade that fits the Andis Clippers).  This blade does a great job on the body of the dog and the #10 blade which comes with the clippers can be used for special areas (in and under ears, under mouth, feet and around base of tail).

  • If you desire a harness, I recommend the “Front Range Harness” by Ruffwear. It’s easy on, easy off, doesn’t make the fur mat and if you attach a leash to the front, your dog will not want to pull. And it looks nice too!

More Puppy Care

These are just my opinions on how to raise a puppy. Feel free to peruse this list for puppy care ideas.

The first few days…

After coming home, the change to your home is tremendous for your dog.  Your pup is leaving its litter and all that is familiar.  Adjusting to new surrounding is very tiring. Therefore, it is important to give your pup a few days to adjust to his new surroundings before starting the field trips.  Encourage children to give your pup space too!



I suggest having two crates – a small one next to your bed and larger one downstairs where you tend to be during the day.  Pups separated from their litter have a very hard time getting through the night separated from everyone. 


Preventing separation anxiety

To best prevent your dog from separation anxiety, ignore your dog when coming and going.  How do you treat your sofa when you leave the house or come home?  Treat your dog the same way.  No talking, no petting, no looking.  Ignore your pup for at least 5 minutes before leaving or after coming home.  While this can be challenging, it will allow your dog to return to a calm state, and eventually they will be able to maintain that calm state the entire time you are away. 



Our pups start to to relieve themselves on grates and trays by 3 weeks.  At 6 weeks, they are usually quite consistent with it. By the time they are ready to head to their forever home, it is usually an easy transition because they have the option to use the grates/potty trays.  However, I recommend keeping your pup in a limited area with the grate in easy reach to ensure success.  Very slowly give your dog greater access to the house.  For our layout, we start with the puppy in the kitchen.  Then we add the living room, and later the dining room.  After several months, we add the upstairs, and then eventually the full house.  If our dog has any accidents, then we narrow in the areas where the dog can be.

There are many videos online regarding crate training if you go that route.  My recommendation is to make it all fun.  Give your dog their food in their crate.  Throw treats in the crate and say “crate” in a happy tone.  Make the crate a happy, safe, and positive place.


Potty concerns

Set a place in your back yard for your pup to potty.  It is best if it is differentiated in some way.  For instance, if you have a lawn, perhaps there is a section of rocks, or maybe there is a spot which is fenced off. Choose a clear potty command which the entire family can use, such as “Spot!” or “Go Potty!”

Unique Pet Odor & Stain Eliminator is excellent for accidents.  Hopefully you are not having many more, but if an accident occurs on a carpet, blot out as much as possible, then pour the eliminator on top of that area (diluted according to the directions), blot that out, and repeat if desired.



To start out, every day touch mouths and paws.  This will pay off later, when you need to trim nails, and brush and scale your dog’s teeth.  If your dog develops plaque, you can scrape it off yourself with a tooth scaler and save hundreds of dollars.  (It is also much less stressful for most dogs to have their teeth scraped at home rather than to go to the vet, be drugged, etc.) 

Its important to keep the area around the pup’s rear shaved so that your puppy stays clean from pee and poop.  It is easy to trim with a quality shaver (see “Supplies” section), and you will not hurt your pup with the blade of a good quality shaver.  Your dog should start going in for regular grooming around 4-5 months or get groomed at home by this point.  Some people like to groom their dogs every six weeks.  Some go longer – even up to 4 months between grooming.  If you like to go longer, be sure to keep all mats out of their hair.  I have been told that it is very uncomfortable for a dog to have mats—it is like having their hair pulled!  If your dog gets very matted, often the only way to remove the mats is to cut or shave them out.  If this is done in the winter, your dog can catch cold easily.  Thus, stay on top of grooming!  Note: puppy fur generally doesn’t mat as easily, and then all of a sudden the matting problem can occur!  (Also, grooming at home can be extremely time consuming and difficult on the back unless you have the proper grooming table.)


We have found that we can go longer between groomings with good brushings at home and by some done at home trimmings around the eyes, under the ears, mouth, and around the privates.  Have these demonstrated to you before doing yourself.


Remember when hiring a groomer that you are bringing YOUR dog.  You can decide how you want your dog to be groomed!  You do not need to take the latest doodle fashion!  I have a groomer who is very wiling to work with me and so here is what I ask for and why:

  • Simple ¾ inch clip over entire body.  (Nice in-between length)

  • Short around eyes  (very important that your dog can see…keep fur around eyes trimmed.)

  • Short #10 blade under the muzzle (I dislike beards since water then drips everywhere and food gets messy too)

  • Short #10 blade everywhere around privates (for hygiene - it’s a small area so can easily blend into rest of cut)

  • Short on feet (to prevent bringing in dirt and snow clumps)

  • Ears clipped short to the leather (helps prevent ear infections)

  • Ears shaved inside (helps prevent ear infections)

We shave our pups around the privates twice before our pups leave, but I suggest that pups have a few cuts and get comfortable with being groomed before having the trimmer used on their ears or muzzle.  As with all things, we want trimming to be a positive experience!  When your pup gets groomed for the first time, we recommend just asking for a limited puppy cut – no trimmer anywhere near face and no plucking of hair out of ears.



Maintain regular nail clipping.  Regular clippings will keep the quick from growing too long, so clip the nails every couple weeks. We clip the pups nails weekly from age 3 weeks on.



Don’t bath too often, as it can dry out the puppy skin and water in the ears can cause ear infections. Probably no more than once every other week.  There are many excellent dog shampoos out there.  We use Fresh ‘n Clean. Take care that no water gets in the ear. If necessary, use cotton balls to protect the ears from water.


A word on Food

Always have water available.  Feed your pup 3 times a day.  Some pups in our litter have proven to be big eaters.  If this is your case, the “free feeding” might not be for your pup!  (Around 14 weeks, reduce feeding to twice a day.) 

Ask your vet for recommendations for your dog.  I recommend going with a high-quality kibble such as Paw Tree or Life’s Abundance or a kibble which ranks at least 4 stars on dogfoodadvisor.com.  Always switch dog foods very slowly - consistently adding more and more of the food you will be switching over to.

Paw tree has very few fillers so use less if you use this food! If your dog’s stools get soft, you are overfeeding. Our pups eat a maximum of 1/4 cup three times a day when they first go home.


If you are interested in trying out a raw diet, I suggest the following books…

Raw Dog Food:  Make it Easy for You and Your Dog by Carina Beth Macdonald

Work Wonders: Feed Your Dog Raw Meaty Bones by Tom Lonsdale

 Note that some vets are advocates of raw diets and others hate raw diets, as it’s important to balance the nutrition.


Treat Warning!

Do not give your dog any treats that come from China or contain ingredients from China.  These can result in liver failure and other problems. Try to avoid giving your pup any food or treats with wheat in them.  (Do not give pieces of bread, etc.)  For many poodles and doodles, eating wheat will result in ear infections! Avoid rawhide bones which can peel apart and cause choking. We find that organic bully sticks work very well for teething.


Ask your vet for further recommendations for your dog.   


Puppy Safety and Health

Be aware of environment factors.  Know what is on your lawn!  Make sure you only have organic products used on your grass.  Be aware of any poisonings, coyotes, and hawks in your area.  (Coyotes can jump a 6-foot fence and hawks can easily swoop down and carry away a pup.  Someone needs to be always diligently watching pups outside in any area which opens up to Colorado’s open space!)


Limit very young puppies from walking long distances.  Start off with 5-10 minutes and go from there.  Do not take young pups on runs.  It is better to do short routes several times a day, until you know how far your pup can go.  Check your puppy’s pads to make sure that they are not wearing out on the asphalt.  If the pads are showing areas (little holes) of irritation, try to find dirt paths or grassy areas for them to walk on.  Never drag a puppy on a walk or run.  Gauge their energy level.  As your dog gets older, walks are essential – see training section.


Limit your dog from doing steps until 6 months (ie. Don’t let dog run repeatedly up and down the deck steps all day to chase squirrels.)


Until your puppy is fully immunized, keep your puppy away from any areas where dogs routinely go. Puppies can easily pick up the Parvo virus, an extremely nasty illness that can kill puppies. Adult dogs are hardly affected by this disease, but it is still often fatal for puppies. Parvo can linger in soil for months, so until the puppy is fully immunized, avoid areas that dogs frequent such as dog parks, pet stores, or any place where dogs routinely go.


When to spay and neuter

As with many things, there is a great debate here.  Some vets recommend waiting for better bone development.  But those who have male pups and want them to not mark and to “pee like a girl” usually neuter prior to 5 months.   Once hormones have come in and dogs learn how to mark and lift their leg when peeing, these behaviors are learned and rarely change.  (Note that males which are allowed to become dominant may still mark even if neutered.) 


Mind Your Manners

It important to teach your pup how to mind their manners. Master the “sit” command right away.  Have them sit before receiving food, going outside, coming back inside, and before being pet. In addition, do not reinforce bad aggressive manners such as jumping on you or others for attention. See more in the training section.

Don’t allow pups to chew on your hands; give them a bully stick, pig’s ear, or chew toy.  I try to let pups think that I am made of tissue paper and say “ouch” real loud when I feel their teeth. This will ensure they do not get in the habit of play biting which may not hurt now, but can definitely be painful as they get older.



From a couple days after your puppy comes home until it is six months old, socialize your dog and provide him with new experiences. See dozens of ideas under “training section”!!

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