Caring For Your Puppy
The First Few Nights.
The first few nights in the new home can be hard on everyone. Puppies who are used to sleeping with a pile of brothers and sisters and mom are suddenly expected to sleep in their new home, alone. Expect them to cry. People deal with this is many ways. We have done various different things with our own dogs from co sleeping to strict crating (and they’ve all turned out just fine). I’m happy to discuss and trouble shoot with you. Some of this will depend on whether you want to crate train or not. I generally recommend pups sleep nearby their new people so they can be comforted throughout the night regardless of whether they’re crated or not.
We have crate trained and not crate trained. Currently only one of our dogs, Milo, is fully crate trained, although we seldom use the crate anymore.
I highly recommend crate training. I regret that not all of mine are. Even if you don’t use it frequently once your dog is an adult, it is a useful tool to have and can be a life saver in an emergency. It is much easier to travel with a dog if they’re crate trained, for situations like flying and for staying in hotels etc . If you take your dog on trips, as we do, where you stay with family or friends it is nice to be able to crate your dog for their safety if they have to stay in a strange environment. It can also make stays at the vets or trips to the groomer less stressful as they are at least used to being restrained in a crate if it is required. The crate is basically a safe place to put your dog when required for a variety of reasons. The crate can also be a safe place for your dog to go on its own to get away, for example if you have a lot of activity and the dog needs a break. Children should never be allowed to play in the dog’s crate, this is the dogs personal space. Crating should never be used as punishment. The crate can also be an invaluable tool for use in potty training.
Your puppy will be well started on potty training by the time you bring them home. They will be familiar with pee pads and be using them for pees and poops, not perfectly but with some consistency. This should make the transition to outside quite easy.
Puppies pee and poop-a lot. But they tend to follow a pattern. They will often go when they first wake up, after eating and after playing. If you take your pup outside at these times you will maximize your success. Your puppy will often give signs that he/she need to go to the bathroom. They will frequently break off playing and begin to sniff around for a spot. This is a cue that you need take them outside. Puppies will often turn in circles a few times before they poop. If this happens you don’t have much time but you still may be able to avert an accident. Lots of praise and treats when they do go outside. The real key is to minimize accidents inside the house where you don’t want them, as each ‘accident’ reinforces the behaviour you don’t want. Never punish a puppy for peeing or pooping where you don’t want them to, but give them lots of opportunities to succeed and lots praise when they do. You can choose if you want to continue using pee pads in the house but I would suggest that once you decide to potty train in earnest that you remove the pads from the house and place them outside, starting with one that already has pee on it.
If you plan to crate train, your crate can be an excellent tool to help with potty training. In brief, puppies will not go to the bathroom in their sleeping space. So as long as your crate is not too large your puppy will consider the whole thing his sleeping space and won’t go to the bathroom in it. So when you’re potty training, any time that you’re too busy and can’t directly supervise your pup inside the house you can put him in the crate. Note: small puppies can only be crated for short periods of time. A general rule of thumb is their age in months plus one. So an 8 week old puppy could be crated for up to 3 hours.
We will provide a sample of the puppies current food so you can either continue with this food or transition them to the food of your choice. Pups will be being fed three to four times a day times when they come home with you depending on the litter. I will discuss individually with each new family.
Puppies will have received their first set of vaccination while still with us. They are not protected from disease until they have had follow up vaccinations according to your vet. Please do not allow them to be around unknown or Unvaccinated dogs or to be in places where unknown dogs may have been until your vet tells you it is safe to do so, after subsequent vaccinations. Parvovirus is very dangerous for puppies and is quite common in this area.
I’m my opinion properly socializing your puppy is the single most important thing you can do for for your dog (and your family). Puppies have a window of time where their brains are receptive to being introduced to new things and activities. This critical socialization period is generally thought to be from around 3 weeks to around 16 weeks, although some sources say it closes closer to 12 weeks of age. Things that they are not introduced to within this time frame will be much more difficult to introduce them to later. The more new things your puppy experiences during this time the better-they are learning how to receive and accept new experiences as a life skill.
A well socialized puppy becomes a confident and happy dog, they are confident and relaxed about learning new things or having new experiences as adults. In contrast an undersocialized puppy can become fearful and timid and have behaviour issues as an adult, including aggression, related to this.
Unfortunately, you will be limited during much of this socialization window by the fact that your puppy isn’t fully immune to disease until they are fully vaccinated which won’t happen until the window is already beginning to close. You’ll need to be creative to give your puppy all the experiences he/she needs. Make play dates with dogs you know who are full vaccinated. I’ve seen puppy carriers which strap on to the owner allowing puppy to go places without walking on the ground. I’ve also seen puppies in shopping carts or strollers in stores like Home Depot or Canadian tire meeting new people. Your vet is the best person to advise you when you can begin to take your puppy out but generally it is not recommended until after the second set of vaccinations, although I think that is slowly changing.
Having said all of that more dogs die each year due to behaviour issues than from disease. So the bottom line is that it will be up to you and your vet to decide when and where you can start to socialize outside.
When Milo (my BRT) was a puppy I knew he had to be very well socialized as he is a guard dog by breed and I have a large family with young (at that time) children. I made the choice to bring him twice daily to my kids’ elementary school to have lots of fun and interactions with the kids and people there even before his last vaccination. There are a limited number of dogs in the area and I didn’t allow him to sniff at the ground where there could be dog waste. I felt the risk was worth the benefit, and he truly does love people now especially children. But I have to say it did give me anxiety until his vaccinations were complete.
Socializing your puppy and obedience classes are examples of putting the work in on the front end to save it later. By that I mean that it may take a lot of effort to ensure your puppy is having new experiences every day or that your young dog practices his obedience lessons twice a day, but if you put the work in when they are young you will have a good dog for the rest of its life. If you don’t put the work in when they are young it will cost you more time and effort and heartache in the long run.
We will have started your puppy on clicker training. Your puppy will know that the clicker means he’s done something good and a treat is coming. I am happy to discuss clicker or any other training with you. Here’s a good article to read to learn more. https://www.rover.com/blog/clicker-training-101/
I highly recommend that all puppies attend at the very least a puppy class. I believe they teach skills above and beyond sit, stay, and other basic commands, although those are very useful in themselves. Being in a classroom situation will help your dog learn patience and manners around other dogs. It can teach that not all places are play places and really help with self control and of course basic commands will make your life easier. Obedience classes don’t need to be intimidating. Petsmart offers a very good puppy kindergarten class in my opinion.
If you’re interested I certainly recommend attending some additional formal obedience classes. They build confidence and enhance the relationship between you and your dog and are the foundation if you want to participate in any dog sports with your dog. These dogs will have the potential to excel at pretty much any dog sport you choose to put them in. I would recommend agility as both Newton and Darby are incredibly agile. I have seen Darby jump like a gazelle and clear a huge snow fence at the dog park, from a standing position. Be sure to wait until your dog is mature enough to begin jumping in agility. Your vet can advise you on this but I think the current recommendation is one and a half to two years of age depending on the size of the dog.
Regardless of what you may have heard doodles do shed. Both of my F1 doodles do shed. It isn’t like the shedding of a Newfie or a Pyrenees, not anywhere close, but they do shed. Being a mixed breed there is variety in the coat type with some shedding more and some less.
Our pups will have a high likelihood of being very low shedding as they are F1b Newfiedoodles (ie newfiedoodle crossed with a poodle) but this is not a guarantee that they will not shed at all.
Newfiedoodles have significant grooming requirements. They need to be brushed and clipped regularly. How often they need to be brushed depends on how long you keep their coat. A short clipped coat requires little brushing while a longer coat will need to be brushed several times a week. You can do your grooming yourself but some equipment is required. If you choose to have your dog groomed professionally expect to spend a significant amount of money. Depending on where you go it can cost $100 or more for a large dog. You may be better to invest in some grooming tools yourself. A good set of clippers and a long tined slicker brush are extremely useful tools. I do both. I most often groom my dogs myself but will take them in once a year or so to the groomer. I have no grooming training whatsoever but I have learned through trial and error and after all it’s just hair, it grows back. I am happy to discuss grooming requirements, and tricks and recommendations for things and products that have worked for me.
Newfiedoodles can also inherit some of the oiliness that the Newfie has in its coat. Darby does have some oiliness in her coat and so does require slightly more frequent baths to keep her coat from matting when it’s longer.
These dogs will likely have hair between the pads of their feet. I find this is to be a problem in the winter, especially if they inherit the webbed Newfie feet from their mom. They will tend to get ice balls build up there in the winter and this can be irritating and painful for them. Keeping the hair well trimmed helps somewhat but only dog booties actually solve the problem. I prefer a sled dog bootie, which is very simple and inexpensive, to something like a mutluk, which you would have to spend a long time looking for if your dog lost one at the dog park. I am having some difficulty finding these booties in Canada and I hate paying shipping but I will include a link if I find a good source.
Newfiedoodles require a moderate amount of exercise. They are generally quite quiet inside the house and are more than happy to keep you company while you go about your activities or curl up by your feet while you watch a show but they do require daily walks or trips to the dog park to stay happy and healthy. Dogs need to get out and explore their environment in order to maintain their mental health as well as their physical health. Many problems dog owners have with their dogs can be due to,or at least made worse by, inadequate exercise. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise are restless and restless dogs get into mischief. You will find your dog more pleasant to be around if they are adequately exercised.