Training Your Puppy
Walk your puppy on a leash
Please remember that even though your puppy is small, cute, and cuddly, he/she will get much bigger. Teaching them to walk on a leash as soon as you get them is important because if you wait too long, they’ll drag you.
Be consistent regarding pets on the furniture
If you don’t want your dog jumping on furniture when you have guests, it’s best not to let your puppy climb up on furniture. Sadly, that means you can’t hold the puppy in your lap while you’re sitting on furniture after 3 or 4 months of age so that you don’t confuse them. (We’ve started letting the small dogs on the furniture recently after 40 years of obeying this rule.)
No dogs on the bed
It’s a good idea not to let them in bed with you if you’re a light sleeper or are worried they could carry ticks that could be deposited on your bed. (We’ve started letting the small dogs on the bed after 40 years of obeying this rule, but they always sleep in their crates at night.)
Teach basic commands
Doodles are incredibly intelligent. You don’t want your puppy to get bored because they could get destructive. The following are useful commands to teach:
“Sit” is the first basic command. You gently push their hindquarters down while saying, “Sit,” and they figure it out quickly. My dogs know they don’t get a treat unless they’re sitting.
Stay” teaches them to sit in one place until you call them by giving them a command to move. For example, this can help your dog to stay in your car until it is safe for them to exit.
“Come” (after they’ve learned to “Sit” and “Stay”) helps them to know when they can exit a vehicle, go back into the house, etc.
“Fetch” teaches them to retrieve, and this is good for exercise. You may need a long rope to tie on the puppy’s collar. Have your puppy sit next to you while you throw an item. They’ll chase it but probably won’t bring it back at first. Therefore, you then pull them towards you, take the item from them, and reward them.
Be diligent during potty training
Potty training requires the most time commitment. You must take them out after eating, waking, playing, (essentially, every 15 minutes) and say, “Go Potty” with praise to follow each time they’re successful. Just remember to use the same word for your commands so that they don’t get confused. (Our Digory was completely potty trained by ten weeks of age but only because he’s incredibly intelligent and we were especially diligent. Most puppies take much longer.)
Don’t let your dog get away with unwanted behavior
Some dogs can be strong-willed (just like kids); therefore, you must maintain control and not let them get away with unwanted behavior.
Maintaining Your Puppy’s Health
Feed your puppy high-quality food
I feed most of our dogs Science Diet because I know they’re getting the best nutrition backed by many years of research. The current fad is grain-free diets but recently there have been concerns that this type of nutrition may lead to health problems (heart issues, bladder infections, kidney stones, etc.). Please research what you’ll feed your puppy. We also provide joint supplements for our larger dogs.
Don’t feed your dog people food
Do not feed your puppy people food. This practice sets them up to be a beggar and snitch. These habits are not only irritating but can be dangerous for your dog if they find something which is bad for them. Chocolate is poisonous, grapes cause kidney damage, and onions are toxic, etc. Please keep peroxide on hand should your puppy ingest something that is poisonous to them. Your vet will be able to tell you how much peroxide to administer or whether you need to bring your pet to an emergency vet. Please search the web for the complete list of foods to keep away from your dog. I’ve found the safest and least messy people-food snack is chunks of carrots, which I never give while I’m cooking or eating. We use carrots as treats, and all our dogs love them. Again, if they start liking our food, they may find ways (and they are creative) to get food that is bad for them that has been left on the counter or table.
Brush your (dog’s) teeth
Brushing their teeth a few times a week for the rest of your dog’s life will train them to allow you to provide routine care, will reduce tartar build-up, and save you a vet bill. Please use toothpaste made for dogs. Poodles are notorious for tartar build-up, and your vet will have to give them anesthesia to clean their teeth in a costly procedure. (I might brush their teeth once every few months and always say I’ll start doing better… just like I say I’ll eat healthier and exercise more.)
Guard your puppy against the Parvovirus
Most important advice: STAY AWAY from any place other dogs frequent until your dog is completely vaccinated!!! The Parvovirus can stay on surfaces for MANY years and is deadly to puppies. Therefore, don’t take your puppy to dog parks, pet stores, groomers, etc. until fully vaccinated. Also, be very careful when taking your puppy to the vet. Don’t let your puppy walk around at the vet and make sure they wipe the scale frequently. The Parvovirus is so dangerous that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you and your guests walk through bleach water before entering your home until your puppy is completely vaccinated.
Choose a Veterinarian that cares for your puppy and your pocketbook
Pick a vet that not only keeps their office CLEAN and takes excellent care of your pet but also allows you to order prescription medication from an online source. For example, some vets want you to buy their monthly heartworm preventative meds from them at a higher price and won’t approve medication from a reputable online pet supply provider. Your savings on medication can be significant.
Give your puppy the right medications
Please provide monthly preventative medications for your dogs for fleas, ticks, and parasites. Heartworms are spread by mosquitos and can be deadly, while some tick bites can make your pet (and you) VERY sick.
Brush and groom your puppy’s fur
Brush your puppy regularly to avoid matted fur paying particular attention to the top of their head, ears, tails, etc. Your puppy should be groomed every couple of months and note that you can choose to groom them yourselves. There are many instructional videos online, and remember that your puppy won’t feel embarrassment for your first attempts. Please handle your puppy’s ears, paws, nails, muzzle, etc. all the time and run the blow drier and electric clippers near them to help them have an easier time at the groomers.
Give your puppy opportunities to be social
It is crucial to socialize your puppy as early as possible. Safe, new experiences help to enable them not to be afraid of noises, people, or places. For example, start by running your vacuum cleaner in another room while they’re eating, have them meet lots of people of all ages and dressed in different ways, take them for rides in the car, etc. The best time for socialization is when they are young. Remember, you must keep them from areas, animals, or people possibly contaminated with the Parvovirus until they’re completely vaccinated.