Basic Puppy Care Guide
Until 6 Months of Age - Feed your pup 3 times a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
6 Months to Adult - 2 times per day (breakfast and dinner)
For suggestions on high-quality food options, please talk with your breeder or veterinarian.
Pups should have unrestricted access to water from morning until about 7:00 pm. Limiting water in the evening will help limit your pups need to toilet in the night.
Crate training appeals to a dog's natural instincts as a den animal. The primary use for a crate is to assist with house training and keep a puppy safe until it learns it shouldn’t chew on electrical cords or furniture. However, if a crate is not used correctly, a dog can feel trapped and frustrated. Never use the crate as a punishment. Puppies under six months of age shouldn't stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time except at night. They can't control their bladders and bowels for that long.
House training can be one of the most difficult and important parts of training your dog. It can be frustrating and definitely demands a lot of effort. Although it is possible to avoid accidents in the house at a young age through extreme diligence on the part of the family, full house training takes several months. A young pup can’t be expected to hold their need to toilet for long, so if you aren’t paying attention, don’t be surprised to find a mess in the house.
Puppies and dogs deserve to be treated with respect. They are not stuffed animals, but living creatures with their own desire for affection and respect. Puppies should not be carried around excessively but should be allowed to walk freely or, if they are to be restricted, on a leash. Puppies should not be restrained or forced to sit with someone they don’t want to. Puppies should be invited to interact. If they accept the invitation, they should be handled gently and respectfully. If they decline the invitation, their refusal should be respected.
Normal Puppy Behaviours
Your puppy is a baby. Just as we don’t expect babies to behave like adolescents or adolescents to behave like adults, it is important you keep your expectations reasonable. Jumping, nipping or biting, chewing, toileting accidents, limited attention span, grabbing objects and running off, not listening, etc., are all normal puppy behaviours. It is our job to teach our puppies how to live in our world, according to our rules, in a gentle and positive way. If you and your pup are struggling with some of these behaviours, please check out some of the resources noted below for tips on how to address them.
Obedience issues and behavioural issues are not the same thing. Sometimes our pups need more one-on-one focused effort to address behavioural issues. Often the best way to deal with behavioural issues is to hire a trainer or behaviourist to come to your home for a one-on-one consult. We recommend trainers that use positive training methods.
Balanced trainers use a combination of positive and aversive training methods. As an intelligent, trainable breed, Labradoodles do not respond well to strong aversive training. Positive reinforcement and clicker training are far more successful and fun for Labradoodles.
Puppies have lots of energy and need to exercise. The most common cause of behaviour issues is a lack of exercise and mental stimulation.
Mental exercise is as important as physical exercise. This means challenging your pup to use its brain! A dog’s most sensitive sense is its nose, and challenging its nose is one the best ways to use its brain.
Training and sports (obedience, agility, fly ball, etc) are also great ways to challenge your dog mentally. There are many puzzles and games available for your dog.
Going Home - Be sure to take any health care and/or vaccine records from your breeder with you to your first vet appointment.
Often breeders will require you to see your veterinarian within 3-5 days of taking your puppy home. This is for you to make contact with your vet so they can look over your puppy and check their health care record to be sure your new puppy's immediate and future health care and vaccine needs are matched to your lifestyle and location.
Your Vet may also suggest a set of Non-Core Vaccines to give your puppy additional protection. Please discuss these additional vaccinations with your veterinarian. Some breeders have limitations on their Health Warranty for certain vaccinations. Always get as much information as possible before vaccinating your puppy.
Examples of Non-Core Vaccines include Leptospirosis, Bordetella, and Lyme Disease.
Vaccines demand a significant immune response and attacking your pup’s immune system with multiple vaccines may create short-term and long-term health risks.
Only one vaccine should be given at a time. You should wait a minimum of two weeks between vaccines. The exception would be Bordetella, which can be given at the same time as DAP.
Dogs need protection from heartworm, fleas, and, depending on where you live, ticks for 6 to 12 months a year. Please discuss the appropriate options with your veterinarian or breeder for protecting your pup from these pests.
To best teach your pup how to live in our world, through socialization and training, it is important to understand the developmental phases of puppies. Their reaction to similar stimuli will be different depending on their stage of development.
Step 1- Good socialization may be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your dog. Socialization is the first step in creating a well-behaved dog.
The goal is for your puppy to have positive experiences, not neutral or negative ones. You must be careful to monitor your puppy’s threshold for the experience and not push it beyond that threshold or it will become negative. Once the pup has had a negative experience, you need to work harder to turn it into a positive experience. All experiences can be taken in ‘baby steps’ to make sure you keep them positive without crossing the threshold. Present them in a way that your pup can draw confidence from you, without coddling them.
Puppy Socialization Classes are also important to provide an opportunity for your pup to interact safely with other young dogs in a controlled and supervised environment. Once your pup has had its second set of vaccines (DAP), it can attend puppy socialization classes.
Follow this link for a useful socialization checklist from Dr Sophia Yin's web site. It lists the situations to expose your dog to for optimal socialization.
Step 2- Once your pup has graduated from Puppy Socialization Class, it will be ready for Obedience Class. Basic Obedience Classes will help you with the five most important commands: Sit; Come; Stay; Down; Leash Walking. They also provide an opportunity for your dog to interact with other dogs in a controlled and supervised environment.
Step 3- If you are interested in going beyond basic obedience but not interested in competing, you may be interested in the Canine Good Neighbour Certification. You can find information at this link below:
Information on CGC & CGN
Responsible Dog Ownership
Responsible Dog Ownership means being the best owner/caregiver to your dog that you can be. Much more than providing “food, water, and shelter” for your dog, responsible dog ownership is the obligation dog owners have to incorporate their dogs into their family and into their community.