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Taking Your Labradoodle Puppy Home

Listed below are answers to the most common questions I receive as you are preparing to take your puppy home:

1. What is my puppy eating? We are feeding Purina Pro Plan Performance for All Life Stages, Sport 30/20 and you can buy this food at Petsmart. The bag has a purple stripe on it and I feed 1/2 to 3/4 cup per feeding, per puppy.

2. How many times per day should my puppy be fed? I feed puppies, 8-12 weeks old 3 x per day. I try to keep them on a schedule such as: 6:00 a.m., 12:00 noon and no later than 6:00 p.m. Once the puppy reaches 12 weeks, I cut them back to eating 2 x per day, eliminating the noon feeding. Increase the amount you feed based on the recommendations you will find on the dog food bag as suggested by weight of the puppy. I do not recommend free feeding - give your puppy about 20 minutes to eat, then pick it up and put it away. Water should be provided at all times, except during the night.

3. When can I start training my puppy? I like to see training start as soon as you pick up your puppy from my home, or your puppy arrives via car or airplane. I recommend transporting your puppy home in a crate that is lined with a bath towel. Feeding time is a fantastic opportunity to train as you can spend a few minutes several times per day with teaching the basic commands of sit, stay and come. Please see my training booklet for details on training.

4. What size crate should I buy for my puppy? Most puppies that will mature to a medium size will need a large crate once they have reached maturity. Initially you will want a smaller crate for your puppy, so that he/she doesn't go potty in one end of the crate. A nice sized large crate for a mature medium sized labradoodle (40 pounds) is: 36" X 25" X 27". For a small/medium labradoodle (30 pounds), you might like a 32" X 22.5" X 24".

5. What type of collar and leash do I need and what size is best for my puppy? I like to buy the less expensive, adjustable-type of collars and a nylon leash. I do not care for the expandable leashes that allow the puppy to walk way out in front or way off to the side of you. The smallest setting for the collar would be about 8 inches and expanding out from there. Puppies like to chew, so it might work out well to buy a choke chain to attach to the end of your leash and then to the puppy's collar. We use small carabiners to attach the stretched chain between the collar and the leash. This will prevent your puppy from chewing your new leash. I do not care for harnesses for puppies as they promote the puppy to pull forward against you.

6. Where should my puppy sleep when I first bring him/her home? I suggest you have your puppy sleep wherever you would like him/her to sleep as an adult. So if you'd like your puppy sleeping in your bedroom with you, then start him there. If you'd prefer he sleep in a laundry room, start there. You can play the radio softly if your puppy is in a different room from you.

7. How many times per night will my puppy need to go out to go potty? I suggest you feed your puppy dinner no later than 6:00 p.m. and limit water consumption after that. Make sure that you see puppy go potty and poop before putting him to bed for the night. If your bedtime is 10:00 p.m., then put the puppy to bed at that time as well (right after he's gone potty one last time). Once puppy goes to bed, do not let him out of his crate, no matter what he says :-) for at least 6 hours. The goal is for your puppy to learn to hold it and puppies at 8 weeks of age are very capable of holding their bladder for 6 hours. Then only if puppy is whining, let him out very methodically to potty (no playing) and put him right back to bed. Begin to lengthen out the time so that you're getting an 8 hour night of sleep.

8. How many times per day should my puppy need to go potty? Puppies will always go potty right away after they wake up and after they eat. If you take puppy out right after eating, see him go potty, then allow about 30 minutes of some free time in your home before making his world small using a temporary fence or leash. If puppy gets "fussy" or restless, take him right out to potty and say "let's go potty outside".

9. Should my puppy have contact with other vaccinated dogs? I like to make sure other dogs have not only been vaccinated, but are also free of parasites. Worms of all sorts can live in feces and it just take a quick second for your puppy to injest enough to get a parasite. I would keep your puppy away from all feces (even dried up along the sidewalk) until he's had his complete vaccination series (parvo/distemper is complete at 16 weeks of age). You will also need to get your puppy started on a good flea/worm preventative medication. This product should be alternated every 6 months - i.e. frontline for 6 months, then advantage for 6 months). There are also some great products that protect against fleas, ticks, heartworms, round worms, tape worms, hook worms and whip worms - all in one monthly tablet. Check with your vet for their recommendations.

10. What type of brush should I use for grooming my Labradoodle? We like the Les Pooche style of brush and we use the one with the green color and the Furminator Rake. You should get your puppy used to being brushed every other day.

11. How often should I give my puppy a bath and what should I use? I do not bathe my puppies unless they are dirty and I use baby shampoo or something gentle. Make sure you put cotton balls in your puppy's ears to prevent water getting into the ear canal. It's a good idea to clean the ears after the bath with a good cleaning solution like MalAcetic Otic. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to clean your puppy's ears.

12. How often should I have my Labradoodle Puppy's coat cut? I usually suggest people decide what they like in the look of their Labradoodle. Do you like the longer, shaggy look, or do you like the shorter, more manacured coat? The shorter the coat, the easier the care will be, but it's totally up to your personal preference. If you leave the coat longer, you will need to keep it combed out and mat free.