Go Home Tips

Congratulations on your new Australian Labradoodle Puppy!

Your Spring Valley puppy has been raised with much love and care. Nothing has been spared in giving your puppy all it needs for it’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Now the rest is up to you! The following are a few commonly asked questions from our puppy-families

What should we do when we first bring our puppy home?

The change of home environment is very stressful on your new puppy, even if they don’t seem to be stressed. Please resist the urge to have visitors in or to take your puppy out to show him off during the first week. Give him time to get used to your family first. He needs to bond with you, his new “pack”. He also needs plenty of quiet time. Like children, new puppies need lots of rest in order to develop healthy physical and emotional systems. So, please, limit playtime with children and provide your puppy with adequate downtime.

What is my puppy’s schedule?

They go out to potty and then are in their crates for bed between 10 and 11pm.  They are let our of their crates between 6 and 7 am to potty and start their day.  Typically I put a towel in their crates for the first few months.  It’s easy to clean if there is an accident and they can not remove any stuffing from it.  Take their collars off when they are in the crate.

Puppies eat 3 times a day, morning, noon and evening (no specific time).  Follow the guidelines on the Life’s Abundance bag.  Give them water several times a day but do not free feed until they are potty trained.

Puppies should go out to potty every hour unless they are napping.  Also, when they wake up, after they eat or drink and before they play with the kids.

When do we socialize our puppy?

Early socialization is a difficult balancing act. Before your puppy is fully vaccinated (First three shots) they are susceptible to many diseases. Therefore, stay away from areas where other dogs have visited, especially dog parks, and pet stores (i.e. Petsmart). It is OK to gently socialize your puppy, after the first week, with dogs you know and are sure have proper health care and are current on all of their shots. If your vet is in your area, ask him/her if there is anything going around that is a concern. Chances are any affected dog(s) in your area have been to the vet and they will know about it.

Flea and Tick Meds

I strongly recommend Front Line Gold.  Do not give your puppy oral flea and tick meds under any circumstances.  It says right on the box that it can cause seizures.  Sometimes they can have a reaction to Front Line but on the rare chance that happens you can simply wash it out.  You cannot get the oral flea and tick meds out after you have given them.  The FDA released concerns about oral flea and tick meds and seizures a few years ago. 

I also highly recommend Wondercide as a second layer of protection.  I put it on my dogs when they will be outside and where a tick could get on them.  Ticks have to bite dogs for  tick meds to work.  That does not stop the ticks from hitching a ride into your home and ending up on your sofa where your family sits.  Wondercide helps make the dog unappealing to even catch a ride on.  I also use it on my family.

Hugging and Tug of War

Some dogs love being hugged and all of the things that we love.  However, I’m sure you have something you don’t like… for me it’s having my face touched.  If your dog doesn’t like hugs then don’t hug them… if your dog doesn’t like your children to pick them up then don’t let your kids pick them up.  We all have boundaries, as long as they are reasonable consider respecting your puppies boundaries.  I think we ask a lot of our dogs and always expect the to say “yes” and never have a bad moment.

I do not play tug of war with my dogs. I have no evidence to support this but my thoughts are that when I want to take something from my dog I don’t want them to think it’s a game.  if I ask for it, I want it.  I think that playing tug of war can make them misinterpret our intentions.

The crazy zoomies, the over-biting and the “I’m not tired”

Puppies are like children, they need a lot of sleep.  If your puppy turns into a small dragon or simply can’t calm down and it’s just not like them then ask yourself if they are likely tired.  We have all seen a toddler that has lost all sense of reason, is exhausted and is confident that they are not tired… your pup does this too.  Give them a bone and put them in the crate to take a nap.

Teaching them to Settle Down

Puppies need to understand quiet time just like kids need to understand quiet time.  When I sit down for an hour before bed I want a pup that cuddles and is not playing.  I put a leash on them, put the loop over my foot (so they can’t leave) and then give them a favorite thing to chew on.  

Jumping and Asking for Attention

Your pup is SO little and SO cute.  It’s tempting to pick them up when they jump on your for attention.  Don’t do it… you are teaching them to ask you for attention by jumping.  Teach your puppy that sitting is how they ask for attention.  Make sure you reward them EVERY time they ask correctly.  A reward can be a treat but it can also be a pet or picking up.

Don’t Chase Your Puppy

Your pup will eventually test you to see if you will chase them.  Sometimes it’s by not coming.  Sometimes it’s by stealing things….  Do not chase your puppy.  If they steal something, grab a toy of theirs, sit down on the floor and play with them.  They will drop what they had.  If your pup will not come under other circumstances then consider doing a better job of training them.  If it’s an emergency or you absolutely must catch them in that moment then lay down.  99.9% of the time they will come over and jump right on you.

Do NOT “poison” your come.  When you ask your dog to come make sure that they know they will get something positive.  When I want to cut their nails, trim their ears or give them medicine I go and get them to do it.  Never call them and do something that they do not like

How about Obedience Training?

Here lies the “rub”. Early obedience training is so very important for both you and your puppy. You may want to start even before your pup is fully vaccinated. Many breeders, including us, feel that the early training outweighs the small risks involved. If you put your puppy in training before it is fully vaccinated, choose a training facility that requires proof of vaccines or does not have other outside dogs in and out constantly (i.e. Petsmart). On this subject you may want to get further counsel from your vet and trainer.  I take all of my resident doodles when they are 10 weeks old to puppy kindergarten  I really think group classes and a relationship with a trainer that trains because it’s their passion and not their job is SO important.  

When should we see our vet?

You need to take your puppy to the vet within three days of going home. This is important for several reasons: First, a complete health check will reassure you that your new puppy is fit and healthy. Second, it gives your vet a chance to meet your new family member and give you guidelines on proper care. Lastly, this early visit will serve to activate your Health Guarantee. Please remember to have your vet scan and document your puppy’s microchip number!

What should we feed our puppy?

This is a great question! While your puppy has been in our care, we have given it the best possible nutrition. We have been feeding the litter Life’s Abundance All Stages.  It is made and sourced in the USA.  The company has not had a recall and if they ever did they know who received each batch and can proactively contact those people.  They also have AMAZING customer service.  My orders of 1 or 20 bags all ship for $7(ish).  I looked for a long time to find a company that I can feel confident in and I have been extremely impressed.   If you are going to switch foods to something other than Life’s Abundance, I am happy to recommend other brands that are safe for your pet. Dogs are OMNIVORES!  Never, ever buy anything but a premium dog food.  Don’t ever purchase treats, food or chews from a supermarket or anything but a store that sells high end products.  Please also remember to always have fresh water available for your puppy. Also… please wash out the water and food bowls daily to avoid bacteria growth.

What about nipping and biting?

Dogs naturally use their mouths to explore things and communicate. Dogs must be taught that humans should be treated gently and that they must restrict jaw pressure when connecting with us. Most breeders (including us) begin teaching this while handling puppies. Puppies will bite and mouth your hands. If they exert pressure, you should immediately say “ouch”, remove your hand for 1 second and then allow the pup to mouth your hand more gently. If the pup is not being gentle, stop the game and try again in 5 minutes. This game is essential to teaching dogs that they must treat humans gently. A dog with good bite inhibitions is essential. Once the dog has been taught to be gentle, we teach the word “Off” to discourage them from mouthing our hands. Another good approach is to redirect your puppy’s chewing towards acceptable objects by offering it a small chew bone or other type of chew toy whenever you pet it. This technique can be especially effective when children want to pet the puppy. Remember, your puppy is looking for you to be the pack leader. Let him know he is at the bottom of the pack in your home, even down to the smallest child. This will put him at ease and give you peace at home

What type of grooming does a Labradoodle need?

It is important to get your puppy used to being brushed early on. It is a great time of bonding for both of you! We recommend gently with a slicker brush each day. At about 9-12 months of age you will begin to notice matting as the adult coat comes in. Since labradoodles shed very little, you may need to consider a trip to the groomer to remove the puppy fir and let their beautiful adult fur come in. Routine trips to the groomer will also keep your puppy looking it’s absolute gorgeous best!

Puppy Identification – VERY Important

Please do not forget to go online to register or mail in your microchip information. Do this ASAP! If your dog is not registered, the microchip is of no use. Also… make sure you get a name tag for the puppy’s collar. The most important thing is to get your dog home safely if he gets lost . Most people that find your dog are going to want to call you. This means that including phone numbers is the MOST important thing you can do. I list every possible number that I have so that they will have multiple numbers to call in case I’m not at my home phone. On my dog tags, I have my cell phone number and Tim’s cell phone number. That way no matter where I am or when my dog is found, there will be someone there to answer the call. Cell phone numbers are the best. After that, put your home, work and any additional numbers that might help. Some examples would be your family, close friends, or vet (anyone that might be around if your dog gets lost when you are not available).

For people that travel with their dogs, you may also want the City and State listed. This way if you lose a dog in North Dakota and my tags say “West Chester, PA,” the person that finds the dog knows that this dog is lost and a long way from home.

We also use a few other things on our tags to help get our dogs back. “Requires Daily Medication” is one of my favorites. It adds a certain amount of urgency to getting the dog back home. If folks know that your dog needs medicine and that it’s daily, they will be in more of a rush to locate you. “Reward if Found” is another good one. Just keep in mind if you put it on there, be ready to pay up when someone locates your dog.

Know you may be asking, “How do I get all this information on a 4 line tag?”

The first tag may include:

REWARD IF FOUND (or even just REWARD)
NEEDS DAILY MEDS
CELL PHONE NUMBER(S)
City, State

You can decide what you think will work best for your particular situation. Some may think just having it say reward will be enough in their area. We like to order our tags from Boomerangtags.com

Also… if for ANY reason you find your need to part with your precious puppy, please call us first. We will make sure he/she gets a good home.

Stairs and ball chasing…

Do not let your puppy go up and down stairs.  Puppies are the usually not even as tall as a step and you will end up with joint issues.  This also applies to slippery floors… no running on slippery surfaces.  People ask me when they can go up stairs on their own and the answer is when you carry them to the top and are tired.  At this point your pup has likely grown enough to handle stairs.  it will likely be around 5 months old.

Ball chasing is also hard on puppies.  Wait until the ball stops and then let them go after it.  Studies have shown that the impact and flipping around they do when chasing a moving ball causes injuries.  

The Vet…

The vet is where sick dogs go.  Do not let your partially vaccinated puppy walk around on the floor.  Carry them in and do not let them touch a bunch of surfaces.  Think about the sick child room at the Dr. office… how many times do we tell our kids not to touch something and we certainly don’t let them hug the other sick kids.  With this in mind don’t let your pup greet the other dogs.  Assume they are all there because they are sick.

I LOVE my vet.  I could not do what I do without them and the amazing advice they give to me.  They have saved sick pups, helped me when I had no answers, given their all.  With that being said I have been through several vets over the years and I’ve had issues with some and their approach differed from mine..  The reason I love my vet is they are my partner and they see me as an important component of that relationship.  I have had several situations where if I had listened to someone who is not my partner in finding a solution I would have lost a puppy.  You MUST be an advocate for your puppy.  If you have a vet that wants to give your tiny puppy 3 shots on the same day, tell them it’s not OK.  If your vet wants to give your puppy oral flea and tick (the labels are now required to say that they cause seizures), question it and ask them why that is their first choice when there are safer alternatives.  We all know someone who has had bad advice from a Dr. and how important it is to understand what is happening and ensure you agree.  It’s the same with vets.

Here at Spring Valley we have done our best to give your puppy the best start possible. We consider it an honor to have part of their lives. Please know that we would love to stay in touch, and follow the growth and progress of the puppy. It’s always so much fun to get pictures as they get older. It is also reassuring for us to know how well they are doing with their new families.

Christmas photos are a favorite of ours… but we will love anything you send. If you have any questions or need help with your puppy, please email or call. We will be here for you. And remember, Spring Valley puppies may move on, cut they will never be forgotten….

Dear New Family:

Thank you for giving me a “forever” home, for being patient, for being kind, for training me to be a good dog, for understanding that I am a baby dog and I get tired quickly. So please don’t wake me up to play with your kids when I fall asleep in the corner. If I wake up, please take me outside to potty because I can’t wait very long. If you see me circling, that means I have to go NOW. If I make a mistake, please don’t yell at me or smack me on my bottom, because I will get scared and not understand what I did wrong. My breeder says that I am very smart so give me a few weeks to learn your way of doing things. I will try my hardest to please you. Thank you for always having fresh clean water out for me, and for feeding me 3 times a day until I am at least 6 months old. Thank you for always moistening my dry food so it will be slippery and I won’t choke on it. If I eat too fast, please spread my food out on a cookie sheet to help me slow down. Thank you for making my home a safe place for me, by removing electric cords and poisonous plants from where I can chew on them, by not leaving items around that I can chew up and swallow, and for crating me in my nice safe crate if you can’t be with me to help me learn your rules. I promise to grow up quickly and be the perfect dog for you. I promise to love you unconditionally for as long as I live.