Care and Training
Each puppy family receives extensive support in the form of education and resources.
Because we believe every puppy deserves a great start, some of it is provided here.
The most important, and first, thing to do with your new puppy is spend some time on bonding. It is the human-canine bond that is both unique and wondrous. Without it, a dog often becomes confused or lost. You are the most important creature in the world to him, a best friend. There is nothing a puppy wants more than to be loved.
Puppy wants to please and imitate his or her owner. He enjoys learning and communicating. It is up to the owner to give direction and be a role model. Negative training such as yelling or any physical pain makes puppy fearful and confused. The best thing to do is to keep all personal items out of reach of puppy, including wires and items on counter until puppy is fully trained to only touch his own toys. Food will always be tempting to dogs, so plan to always keep food out of reach.
Children and Puppies
Role play with your children before puppy arrives. Children need to have a calm voice for commands and a sweet, happy voice for praise. While pets can teach responsibility, be reasonable in your expectations and be ready to pick up the slack. Children fearful of dogs should not be around dogs. Dogs need confident, kind direction, consistent expectations and gentle handling.
We will provide you with a sample schedule to put puppy on when you pick him up. You will need to adjust the puppy to your timing, your lifestyle, and your own schedule.
Normal Puppy Behaviors
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 behaviors. It is our job to teach our puppies how to live in our world, according to our rules, in a gentle and positive way. Use this link for for a document on normal puppy behavior and use links below for ways to address.
Newer studies show that vaccines given too frequently are not effective and can actually cause numerous immune related problems, neurological problems, behavioral problems, allergies, skin conditions, and other disorders. Here is a link to an article pertaining to this online: Dr Jean Dodds vaccines.
Dr. Dodds suggests titers after the first annual boosters. If you have your vet send blood for testing to this lab using this VCL form, lab testing for titers will be much less expensive.
Meet other household dogs on neutral ground, or in backyard. Then go for a walk and come in together. Supervise them at first. Put cats in another room for a day or two so puppy can smell, but not see. Then introduce with supervision.
Take the puppy to puppy classes if possible. Read books. Start with Love Is All You Need by Jennifer Arnold. We also love The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller. In the middle of the book is a day by day training guide that works great! We highly recommend only positive training.
Other good training books: The Dog Listener / How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves/ Living with Kids and Dogs Without Losing Your Mind by Coleen Pelar /The Puppy Primer /Puppy Training: Owner's Week-By-Week Training Guide by Charlotte Schwartz are other good training books. We also love: The Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.
For those who like videos:
You Tube’s Zak George also has some good training videos. Dr Sophia Lin's web site has great videos/books on dog training as well as posters to print off for kids: Sophia Lin. These are also below and can be downloaded.
If stools are too soft, it could be you are feeding too much. Start with least recommended amount on bag and divide by 3 for 3 feedings per day. Gradually increase if puppy still seems hungry.
Should your puppy develop an upset stomach and soft stools during his first few days with you, do not be alarmed. This is normal and his body’s response to being stressed due to missing liter mates. Pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) can quickly and easily help this problem, one tablespoon mixed in with each meal. You may want to have some on hand just in case you need it.
A dog’s digestive system can be sensitive to changes in food. You can give her a bit of human food to get them used to it such as chopped chicken, beef, carrots, salmon, apple, eggs. Best to give a little at first as some dogs can be sensitive to some foods and any type of new change can upset a dog’s stomach. Some foods, such as some nuts and chocolate, should never be given to a dog. Items that can’t be fully chewed can sometimes get stuck in their intestines.
The SPCA has a list online of both foods and plants that can act as poison to dogs. Dogs are also very sensitive to chemicals. Consider using natural methods to treat your lawn and insect control. Read this for study linking lawn pesticides to cancer. Pesticides can also weaken their immune system.
For a list of common household dangers to pets FDA Guide to Household Dangers.
Keep fresh Drinking water available at all times. Add a teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to help prevent UTIs as well as prevent fleas from being attracted to your dog. I
Provide your puppy with lots of hard chew toys, such as bully sticks or porky puff chews from LA to help keep their teeth clean. We do not recommend rawhide or commercial dental chews due to the amount of preservatives and other artificial ingredients. Give your dog a daily Dental Treat from LA for added protection. See nutritional page for ordering.Your pup’s teeth should be brushed once per week. Again, as with all grooming activities it is important to acclimate your pup to this type of handling. Remember – patience and rewards are key.
To avoid matting, brush your puppy 2x a week for about 20 minutes. Learn to brush from the skin to the ends of the fleece, starting with the bottom layer and moving up, not just the top of the coat as matting can be happening underneath. A good video on how to brush can be found here: Brushing Your Doodle. and at https://www.wala-labradoodles.org/grooming-care
Directions for your Groomer
We recommend grooming every 8 to 12 weeks with a personal groomer that will get to know your dog.
Your puppy will go through a coat transition sometime close to a year old. His adult coat will begin to come in, and you will need to do some extra brushing or have your dog shaved down.The adult coat will be the same as the puppy coat: Allergy friendly, soft and low shed.
Monthly ear cleaning
Due to the non-shedding nature of the labradoodle, the ear canals do not shed. The ear hair has to be removed manually and the ear shaft cleaned. We recommend bi-weekly ear grooming. Using LA ear cleaner once a week is important. It has an ingredient that brings any bad things out of the canal to the surface where you can wipe out with a cotton ball.
DO NOT run with your puppy before he is at least 16 months old! Puppy joints are going through a lot of development very quickly. If you put too much stress on your puppy’s developing joints, you could actually cause or contribute to joint problems that could affect your dog for his lifetime. By 16 months walks can be increased to however long puppy wants as joints are now grown. This puppy exercise guidelines will help. Here’s one on appropriate exercise.
Do not let puppy go up and down stairs until at least a year old, except a few now and then.
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. Visit this site for more information:
What is K9 Nose Work.
Here is a quick list of some fun nose work games:
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. Here is a site that provides some examples:
We encourage you take your puppy on walks in your own yard, and to “safe” locations. Do not take him to the park or to the pet store, and carry him into the Veterinarian’s office until final booster vaccines are given. You can let him play with “safe” dogs that are well cared for and properly vaccinated, but must be cautious until he is properly protected by his vaccinations.
It is important that your puppy experience people, places, things, other animals of various shapes and sizes, textures, surfaces, smells, etc, but in a safe, controlled manner. Make sure all experiences are positive
Let them explore at their own pace. WIth proper socialization, you will have a confident dog.
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, but 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. As a reminder of the importance for respectful interaction, see the video at:
Tips for Respectful Interaction. This site also has many wonderful resources for families.
Puppy Manners 101:
We start teaching the puppies to have respect for their mouths, teeth and bite from a very early age.
When puppy puts something in their mouths that does not belong there, take it away and replace it with a dog toy or chew. Then praise puppy for taking it.
Do not allow puppy to chew on hands either. Say "ouch" loud and resume play. If puppy continues to chew on human, give him time out in crate for one minute.
Make sure everyone is on board, including children. Supervise young children at all times. No rough play or too much play. Puppies need a lot of naps. Do not allow puppy to climb on you or he will think you are another puppy.
Use fun retrieving games, “Find It” games, and proper chew toys to encourage the mind and mouth to behave properly.
A tagline is a great way to teach puppy manners. You can make your own with a 6 foot rope (not too thick) and a clip from the hardware store. Tie the clip snugly to the rope and clip it to puppy’s collar. You only want the tagline on when puppy is under direct supervision and never when you put him in his crate. Puppy is going to be testing his boundaries all the time. Using a Tagline allows you to easily stop him from rehearsing behaviors you don’t like without him realizing that you are the one stopping him. Also, it saves you from saying “no.”
How does the tagline work? Dogs and puppies have something called opposition reflex. When you pull in one direction their bodies instinctually pulls in the other. So when puppy is doing behavior you don’t want such as nipping, jumping or chewing on an electrical wire, you say nothing, but use the Tagline to lift him up and away, his body will naturally pull down and he will sit. If every time he jumps up he ends up sitting and gets nothing, including your attention, he will eventually stop jumping up. As your pup grows, use the Tagline to keep your puppy from jumping on guests, your children and you. The line itself teaches pup to sit when new people enter the door. When outside, you may need a longer one.
It is also important for your puppy to allow you to touch all parts of his body, look into his mouth and ears, handle his food bowl, and take toys or bones out of his mouth. When your puppy is getting tired, or when he is very calm, pet him heavily in long smooth strokes down his back, and praise him with a low calm voice. As he grows to enjoy it, start petting him down his sides, then down his legs, and under his belly, until he associates touch with something pleasant, and looks forward to this special bonding time with you.
Your puppy should allow any member of the family to touch him or his food bowl while he’s eating. Sit by your puppy’s empty food bowl and reach into it, touch it, pick it up, and set it back down while your puppy is watching. Then drop a piece of food into the bowl, and do the same thing. If he gently eats the food around you praise him. Do the same thing with bones or toys.
Before people come to your house, we recommend that your puppy have sit and some leash training ahead of the visit Guests should no attention to puppy unti he calms down. He should sit before anyone pets him. If he breaks the sit, they do not pet him. If he jumps, have them turn their back to him. Most people are perfectly willing to help you with this. You can also give them little treats to give him when he is behaving.
Potty Training 101:
Your Coastal Austin Labradoodle puppy began “housebreaking” at an early age. Your puppy’s Mother kept herself, her puppies, and her whelping area clean to teach her babies good habits. We helped the puppies along by providing a potty area for them that we kept tidy. Soon they learned this was the place to "go." Once the puppies are old enough, we take them for puppy walks so they can experience different surfaces. Here they are free to go potty as well. We praise when they go outside.
We highly recommend placing your puppy on a schedule with eating, sleeping, playing, and going to the bathroom. Young puppies will poop first thing in the morning, last thing at night, sometimes in the middle of the night, after each meal, and sometimes in between each meal. Take away all food and water about 3 hours before bedtime and take him out for potty before putting in crate for night.
When you take puppy out have a word like "go on." You can also lead them to the same part of they yard. Dump some sand here so the surface feels different. Paise them when they go.
Watch them carefully when they come back into the house. Look for signs of distraction, sniffing, pacing, circling, whining, etc. Scoop them out and take them outside when they show signs of having to go.
If your puppy has an accident, and because you were busy elsewhere in the household, you didn’t see her do it, it is your mistake. The puppy will not remember that she did it, so correction doesn’t work. Quietly clean it up, using a chemical deodorizer/cleanser that breaks down the scent, and move on.
As puppy grows, you can gradually lengthen the time in between outside sessions. This will help your puppy learn to “hold it” for longer periods of time. Consistency and careful watching in the early days will pay off big in potty training. Most of our puppies are house trained within a few days to two weeks.
Crate Training 101
Your Coastal Labradoodle puppy began “crate training” at an early age, when he began to spend short periods of time away from his Mother. We also put puppies in little crates at night for about 6 hours. We do not use treats for crate training, and we never leave a collar on a puppy in the crate.
Young puppies should be sleeping in their crate at night (near where you sleep), during daytime naps, and anytime you cannot directly supervise them. During the day, place the crate in a location that is central to your Family, and where the puppy can easily go in and out of the open door of the crate at any time during his play sessions. You can also place several toys in the crate during his play session.
We also recommend feeding your puppy in his crate or giving him “yummy” meals if you have many distractions in a busy household.
When we place a puppy in a crate to sleep, we use a washable towel as bedding. It’s important that you have a clean, dry, cozy place for your puppy to sleep. Very often doggie beds can be hard to wash, and babies can have accidents. We also place one soft toy and one chewable (non-edible) toy in the crate. He can cuddle with the soft toy, or teeth with the chewable toy, until he falls asleep. A stuffed animal with beating heart sound inside also helps.
Make sure he is tired and empty whenever he goes in his crate! Say “Night-time”, and take hm to his crate. Close the door and quietly walk away. If the puppy makes objections to being placed in a crate, ignore him. He will settle down have testing you.
If puppy whines or barks in the middle of the night, take him outside to go, then immediately return him to the crate.
Tired puppies get emotional, unruly, switch into high gear, and they stop listening. When you see this behavior change, take your pup outside for one last potty session, then put in crate.
Never let puppy out of his crate when he is noisy, such as whining or barking. This is rewarding bad behavior, and the next time you place your puppy in his crate, you may have to work on quiet time for twice as long. Try to wait until he has quieted down, even if it is brief, and then take him out.
Training and Behavior:
Dr. Sophia Yin: Kids and Dogs Interactions
Dr. Patricia McConnell, Blog
Dr. Ian Dunbar, Training Tips:
Dr. Ian Dunbar: Before you get your puppy
Dr. Ian Dunbar: After you get your puppy
Health and Wellness:
Whole Dog Journal, Free Tip of the Week
Dr. Jean Dodds, Blog
Consider traveling with our dogs in a crate or use a harness that attaches to the seat belt. This is a safety feature in the case of an accident, for us as well as our dogs. We do not need the distraction of a dog hopping around the vehicle as we are driving on a busy highway.
For the initial trip home, you can have your puppy ride on your lap, but after that you should check into either having the puppy ride in a crate or in a seatbelt. We recommend that you keep the temperature in your vehicle very cool while traveling, remember, your dog has a fur coat. Also place a collar with an ID Tag on him, and walk him on a leash during any stops.
We expose puppies to car rides and motion in the monkey swing, however if your puppy needs more support, take them on a car ride that ends in something good. Instead of ending up at the dreaded vet office, puppy gets a treat at the local drive through or a walk at the park.
Links to Important Information
Posters for Kids
More Great Resources