Preparing for Puppy!
Basic Training and Answers to "Puppy Questions"
We HIGHLY recommend Bella & Baxter Online Training, which features a lifelong membership and starts before the puppy gets home. They have recorded, live, group, and private sessions all included. They are even launching a KID user-friendly interface, which excites us the most! Our 9 yr old will be training her first AKC "good citizens dog" using this program! This is a must. The company provided us with a discount code for our puppy homes: use GWD25 to get a 25% Discount. We are happy to answer questions after puppies arrive home, but we really encourage this program since we use it as well.
Your puppy has the option of 30 days free health insurance through Trupanion. An e-mail will be sent with registration instructions before Puppy Pick-up Day. Most vets love Trupanion because they are paid DIRECTLY with no out of pocket cost to you. Pet insurance rises as dogs age, unless you register them as a health young puppy, so be sure to follow through with this wonderful option! We have no incentives to offer this program other than the fact that we have choose it for our own dogs.
Crates, Leashes & Toys
Your puppy will begin crate training in our home with a Crate like this one. Buy the Large 36" size and be sure to use the divider it comes with to make their sleeping area small and cozy as they grow. Dogs instinctively want to use the bathroom away from their bed, so this helps them learn to "hold" their bladder. We start crate training by dividing the litter until they are eventually alone with a Snuggle Puppy. We will send the one they used along with the blanket they sleep on to help them settle in at home! The crate is their safe space. Never let your child climb in there with them and never punish a pup by locking them in. Have it accessible to them during the day and preferably, let them eat their food in there too! Lot's of pups like having their crate "covered" with a blanket at night.
Your puppy won't be crazy about a leash at 8-weeks and there's no reason to rush to get one. We do send them home with a "slip leash" for emergencies (if they get loose or you're going somewhere and need a basic handle on them). Baxter & Bella has more detailed information about teaching them to walk and you can choose your own collar at that point. We also send home our favorite puppy clicker that will help you with training.
They will need plenty of things to chew on and lots of toy options. We personally use Bark Box for our dogs because it comes each month with new toys and treats without having to think about it! Novelty is key. It's a good idea to pick up the toys they are done playing with and store them away for later, switching daily. At this age they will be tough chewers. Correct their chewing on furniture, etc. by offering them a bully stick or their toy instead. Textured teethers, small Kongs filled with cheerios, and squeaky toys are great for this age. Their little teeth will be falling out soon! Most of them get swallowed, but don't be surprised when you find one on the floor :-)
Food, Supplements, Poop (!!), and Grooming
Please use the PawTree link below to see our recommendations before taking puppy home. It helps you customize their food as they grow, explaining how much to feed your specific dog. We do not recommend any CBD products. Shipping highly nutritious food that can't be found in pet-stores always has a shipping fee. Therefore, we recommend ALWAYS buying the largest bag and storing it in an airtight container. For full transparency, we are part of PawTree's "Breeder Program" and do earn a very small commission when our customers use them. HOWEVER - MOST nutritious dog-foods have these programs available (Royal Canin, Fromm, Purina Pro Plan, Life's abundance, etc.) to high quality breeders. It certainly has nothing to do with why we chose the food. If this makes you uncomfortable, or you have questions about other options, feel free to talk to your vet or ask us for another recommendation. This will be what your puppy starts eating at 4 weeks old and we recommend that you order the food early to have at home and ready to go. One of our favorite things about PawTree is the different flavor options and food toppers. You can change their food without going through a "weaning proccess" that causes GI distress. Because the food is so nutrient dense, the dogs eat less and poop less! We have also observed MUCH less issue with gas and smell.
We love that the probiotics from PawTree are individually sealed unlike other pet probiotics. Whatever food you use, please include probiotics especially while they are young puppies. It is inevitable for dogs to have Coccidia and Giardia, whipworms, hookworms, and roundworms in their GI tracts. They are picked up from the water they drink, the soil, and normal environments - even in utero and through breastmilk! However, with underdeveloped immune systems, these parasites can easily multiply and give your puppy diarrhea in the best case scenario. We de-worm the puppies several times before they come home to you (and obtain clear fecal samples with firm stools), but you will need to follow up with your vet to get a monthly prescription like NexGuard or Frontline (as well as a Flea and Tick preventative). We will send you home with a few tubes of Bene-Bac probiotics which are easy to administer and will help transition to a new setting. Stress can induce diarrhea and multiplication of parasites.
You will learn from Baxter & Bella, as well as your vet, that Cheerios make a great treat for constant reinforcement of good behavior without adding extra calories. We use Jack & Pup's mini Bully Sticks (no real rawhide please!) for a high-value reward and also to help with teething. Don't be alarmed if your pup refuses to eat when they first come home! Hydration is much more important than calories and they will eat as soon as they are adjusted. Split the meal into morning and evening, and bring them to use the potty about 30 minutes after mealtime. We begin with that training here, but 8-week puppies can only hold their urine for so long. Expect accidents and never be angry with them. We use alphalfa pellets and a false grass pad to get them started, starting at 4 weeks. After that, we start bringing them outside after each meal.
PawTrees Wild Alaskan Salmon oil is a high quality Omega-3 product to add to their dry food. Stick to dry food to keep their teeth healthy and strong. We breed our dogs to have hypoallergenic coats... but nutrition (Omegas) and coat care (weekly brushing and regular grooming appointments) are a big part of keeping that healthy coat! We always have a "Slicker Brush" on hand and use Burts Bee's cleaning products for their baths. We also like the Dremmel Nail Sander. Trim their nails early and often to keep them used to it (we start at 1 week old!) and to keep their "quick" (the blood supply to the nail) at a short length.
Your puppy will come home de-wormed, vaccinated with Neo-par at 3 weeks, a 5 in 1 at 6 and 8 weeks (Parvo, Distemper, and common viruses) by Nobivax, and with a microchip. We use Nano Fi, a newer microchip that is much smaller (easier to place) and less easy to migrate - all registered and ready to go. All microchips can be accessed by any shelter or vet with a chip-reader. You can also register your other pets with Nano Fi for a free life-time subscription (We have no incentive to promote this). Bring the health form with the microchip number and their vaccine to your first vet appointment. We also provide a sterile fecal cup to conveniently bring to your first vet appointment, who will want to do a fecal analysis as part of their wellness check.
Look over the contract posted here before Puppy Pick-up Day and you will bring home a copy of that, a receipt for your payment, and the DNA test results of your dog. Some of our dog's, like many, have low ALT levels. This is not a defect or disease, but is something your veterinarian can make note of. In the future, if liver problems were suspected, the vet will know that their baseline levels are on the lower side. Read about that here. We will also provide you with The Goldendoodle Association of America's Book about Goldendoodles.
This isn't Goodbye!
We would LOVE to stay in touch with you and watch our grandpuppies grow! Please don't hesitate to reach out with questions or to share how things are going. Puppy-Pick Up day is hard for us... but don't be worried about Mom or their siblings. At this stage, mom loves them but is ready for them to go so she can finally get some rest and our undivided attention!! Rest assured that your puppy's littermates are also going to loving homes, and remember how formidable they are at this young age. They have been well socialized to humans and will seek your comfort easily. They have learned that "the world is safe, humans are kind, and other dogs are friendly"... and we take a lot of pride in that!