So, the time has come! You are now preparing for your new family member to come home. Bringing a puppy home is such an exciting time, but it is important to be prepared with the right tools and supplies. If you are stuck on what you may need for your new puppy, keep reading to learn about our suggestions!
A crate is the first and most valuable training tool that we recommend purchasing for your new Bernedoodle pup. We strongly recommend purchasing a metal crate with a divider and a plastic tray, although any crate is better than none. A divider is an extra "wall" that is sometimes included with a crate that can be added to make it smaller. By making the crate only large enough for your puppy to stand, lay down comfortably and turn around, you will discourage their want to have accidents.
The larger the space they sleep in, the more likely they are to have accidents. This is because puppies do not want to go to the bathroom where they will be sleeping, so will try to hold it until they can go somewhere where their bed isn't. Click Here to take a look at the style of crate we love to use. Remember to buy the correct size for your puppy's adult height. If you are unsure of which size is the best one for your pup, feel free to ask us!
We suggest not using pee pads in the crate unless you plan to continue using pee pads in there for your dog's lifetime. It may be tempting to give your puppy an easy place to go to the bathroom through the night, but if they get comfortable using the pee pads in the crate, it may be harder for them to understand why they have to stop going to the bathroom inside once the pee pads are taken away. It is best to put either a blanket, dog bed or crate mat in the crate.
As mentioned on our About Us page, it is imperative that you brush your Bernedoodle on a regular basis. Occasional trips to the groomer are not enough, even for a puppy. Doodles have coats that can be very prone to matting, which can be quite uncomfortable for the dog and can cause skin irritation and bruising. If your dog develops mats in their coat, the only solution is to shave them short so the matted hair can be removed and re-grow. Trying to brush out the thick mats is painful for the dog and should be avoided. Here are the right grooming supplies we recommend for your doodle to keep them mat-free:
#1: Steel Comb - The steel comb is an absolute must-have for your grooming kit. Due to their necessity, a steel comb will now be included with the supplies in your Foxboro Doodles Puppy Take-Home Package, so no need to buy this one! Even if you brush your dog's entire body with a brush, some areas that are right against the skin may be missed and will eventurally start to mat. This comb is great at tackling any tangles that your slicker or pin brush may have missed. It is also a great tool for trickier areas to brush, like the face, feet or around behind the ears.
#2: Slicker Brush - This brush is great for the doodle coats. The long, thin bristles are designed to smooth and de-tangle your dog's thick coat without pulling or tugging on the skin. There are many different types of slicker brushes on the market, so it is important to choose the best brush for you and your doodle's coat type and length. Generally, long pins are ideal for thicker doodle coats. Click Here to have a read through a helpful article that provides great information on what to look for when buying your slicker brush. The article also includes tips for keeping your puppy tangle-free! Click Here and Here for two slicker brushes we recommend.
#3: Blunt-Ended Scissors - A pair of trimming scissors will be an essential tool for some doodle owners, specifically for trimming around areas like the eyes/face, feet and sanitary areas in between grooms. Some coats will grow in very quickly, so having a safe and easy way to trim areas that grow extra quickly may be helpful to keep their face and coat looking well-maintained in between full grooms. Always be sure to take your time and be as safe as possible with grooming scissors! There are some excellent grooming kits available, but Click Here for a basic, inexpensive pair of trimming scissors.
While it is true that groomers will trim your dog's nails at appointments, it is so important that their nails are trimmed more often than that. The longer you wait between trims, the longer the nail quick will grow. This means, if you wait too long, your dog's nails will need to be left longer and longer to avoid bleeding, which can lead to big problems over time. Trimming your dog's nails every 1 to 3 weeks will prevent this from happening. We trim our pups' nails each week during their time with us, so they will already be very used to it. If you continue with a regular nail maintenance routine, trims will be an easy and stress-free event, and you will encourage better foot conformation, improved traction, and a greatly reduced risk of injuries.
There are two main styles of nail trimmers: scissor clippers and guillotine clippers. Both styles are fine options for puppies and adults, but we prefer the scissor trimmers, especially for larger dogs with thicker nails. The other option owners have is an electric nail grinder/dremel, available online or most places nail clippers are sold. Click Here to view one example, though there are lots of great options available. The powered nail grinders are a helpful tool for those that are nervous about cutting their dog's nails or want to take extra care to not trim them too short.
Keeping the ears clean is an important part of grooming your Bernedoodle. Many doodles will grow hair in their ears, which traps in dirt and moisture and reducing airflow, making it easy to develop infections. Regular ear cleaning is required in order to prevent bacteria from growing, and they may need to have regular ear plucking done as well. Click Here to read about proper ear health for your dog and the supplies you'll need. The article is written for poodles, but your doodle will require similar care.
The only tools you need for proper ear care are: #1 - an effective ear cleaning solution, and #2 - ear powder to absorb moisture and make plucking easier and less uncomfortable for the dog. These items can be purchased at any pet store or your vet's office. A 50/50 solution of apple cider or white vinegar and water can be used for regular cleaning insted of a store-bought solution. However, if your dog is showing signs of a painful ear infection, only use a store-bought gentle cleanser or a very diluted vinegar/water solution, as a high concentration of vinegar will sting and make it an uncomfortable experience for them. Click Here to read about the ear care products we use in our house, which are safe for your puppy and can also be found on Amazon.
If plucking is required for your doodle (your groomer or vet can let you know if you're unsure), you may choose to use tool #3 - a hemostat, which will help you hold onto loose hairs to gently remove them. If you are unsure of how to care for your dog's ears, it is best to speak with your groomer. Most groomers will include ear care with any grooming service. Keep in mind that wet ears are the #1 cause of infections, so be sure to clean your dog's ears after they go swimming or have a bath. Ear cleansers and diluted vinegar solutions will dry out any leftover moisture.
Toys are very helpful when it comes to occupying a bored or teething puppy, as they are going to want to chew, chew, chew! It is best to provide your puppy with durable toys that they can gnaw on to ease any teething discomfort and have a little fun while they're at it. With any toy you give your puppy, make sure they are not capable of breaking or ripping off any small pieces that they could swallow or choke on. Toys with stuffing or squeakers are fine for puppies under supervision, but if they are able to rip apart any small pieces, they need to be taken away. Here are some favourites for puppies in our house:
#1: West Paw Toys - These toys are fun and durable, making them a great choice for puppies and dogs that love to chew! We have a few West Paw chew toys at home and even with heavy chewing, they have survived for years! Some are more durable than others, but we find the Tux and Jive to be the strongest toys, at least with our crew. And the Qwizl makes for a great bully stick holder. They have lots of fun and interactive toy options, as well as dog beds, leashes, etc. Their replacement guarantee is a nice bonus as well. You can buy West Paw toys on their website, Amazon, and some pet stores. Let us know which West Paw toys are your favourite!
#2: KONG - The classic KONG toy is a fantastic option for dogs of any age! It is a durable toy that can be stuffed and frozen to make a yummy snack that lasts quite a while. They are great for new puppies because they can help keep them calm and occupied during crate training. If you have a strong chewer, it may be a good idea to buy from their Power Chewer collection, or perhaps buy a larger size for your pup to reduce the chance of them chewing pieces off. For lots of amazing KONG stuffing ideas, Click Here and Here. Remember: when feeding any human food to your dog, make sure it is safe, healthy and not a choking hazard.
#3: Treat Balls/Interactive Toys - There are tons of toys on the market involving treats or games that are designed to keep your dog occupied for long periods of time. With the treat balls or dispensers, you can add any treat you'd like that can be added and dispensed through the toy. You can even feed entire meals using the treat balls if you wanted to! Interactive toys usually incorporate treats as well, that are hidden within the toy or puzzle for the dog to discover as they search and play. There are lots of toys we could recommend for this section, but here are a few examples: Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, Tornado Treat Dispensing Toy, and Starmark Bob-A-Lot. Snuffle mats are a great option as well if you're looking to spruce up meal times specifically. There are hundreds of designs on the market, or you can make your own!
#4: Crinkle Toys - While lots of puppies enjoy the traditional stuffed or unstuffed fabric toys, we have found that lots seem to love the crunchy sounds the crinkle toys make! These are toys that have a loud plastic strip inside that makes chewing and playing a lot more entertaining for some puppies. These toys are inexpensive and easy to find, but they are definitely "under supervision toys" only, because they aren't an durable as some other options. Click Here for a fun 5-pack that your pup is sure to love! These ones have both a squeaker and crinkle paper inside.
Treats can be handy with so many situations you will face with your puppy. Whether you are training at home, taking part in a training class, out on a walk, or just want to give your dog a fun snack, the right treat can make all the difference! However, with so many treats being available for purchase, it can be hard to decide which ones are the best for your puppy! When doing your treat shopping, take a look at the bag/box and try to choose treats that are Canadian-made with the fewest number of ingredients. Treats that have artificial flavouring or fillers can still be fed to your puppy, but they certainly do not offer any nutritional benefit. If you're looking for some reliable Canadian companies to purchase your treats from, we have some great companies to look into on our Recommended Companies page.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced, high-value treat, you can even make your own treats at home! The easiest treats are just boiled protein of your choice (chicken, beef, turkey, etc), fully cooked and cut into tiny bite-size pieces (size of your pinky nail is perfect for big training sessions so they don't get full too fast). Always choose low fat meat options to reduce the risk of an upset tummy. If you're just doing basic training at home with minimal distractions, you can even just use their regular food for their reward. You can also bake or dehydrate your own healthier treats at home. It's easier than you might think!
If you are looking to spoil your dog a bit and offer them a treat that will keep them entertained for an extended period of time, there are lots of healthy options available. Do not feed any rawhide products whatsoever as they are difficult to swallow and digest, which can (and often does) cause choking or impaction in their gut. All cooked bones should be strictly off limits as well due to risks of splintering, causing punctures in the gut. Our personal favourite treat to give our dogs when we want to spoil them is bully sticks! They are easily digestible and are great for teething puppies. Himilayan yak chews are another great option to try as well. Bully Bunches is the company we buy all our bully sticks and himalayan chews from.
Our puppies are primarily fed TLC Puppy Food, a high quality chicken, lamb and salmon kibble made here in Ontario. We wean all of our puppies onto TLC Puppy Food and feed most of our adult dogs TLC All Life Stages Food. We love the quality of the food and continue to have great success with the health of our adults and puppies. We send home a 15lb bag of TLC Puppy Food with each of our puppies, as well as a coupon and details on how to order more. We also feed our puppies some fresh and raw ingredients to provide them with a well-rounded diet with lots of variety. For more information on kibble and fresh/raw feeding, visit our Food & Treats page.
To help your puppy get through food transitions, an upset belly or times of stress, we recommend incorporating a high quality dog-specific probiotic to their food. Click Here to check out the brand we love. Incorporating a high fibre additive can also assist in regulating bowel movements, so we also recommend having either 100% pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) or powdered pumpkin on hand as well for when your pup may need it.
In regards to food bowls, a good set of stainless steel food bowls are our suggestion. Do not buy your bowls from dollar stores or unreliable sources as some bowls have been found to have dangerous levels of lead. Any food-grade stainless steel bowls from kitchen or pet stores will work great. Plastic dog bowls work fine as well, however they have a tendency to hold onto bacteria and can cause acne on some dogs' faces. If you find that to be the case, switch to stainless steel or glass bowls and be sure to wash them daily.
Two other must-haves to add to your supplies list include a leash and collar. Your leash can be any length and material, although we recommend using a 5' or 6' leash, either nylon, rope or biothane material, as they are durable and easy to wash if needed. A second longer leash can also be used to work on longer distance training if you'd like. The collar will likely need to be around 10-13" long, but the size may vary depending on the puppy. Fortunately, a collar will not be needed for your puppy's drive home because we now include a properly fitting harness with every puppy, along with a doggie seatbelt. Owners can now have total peace of mind knowing they've got properly fitting safety measures for their pup's car ride home, as well as an easy way to stop for potty breaks. The harness is an ideal tool for leash walking, training and all future car rides. Be sure to always use a harness with the seatbelt (never just a collar) for safety reasons.
When your puppy eventually outgrows the harness you've received from us and it's time to purchase a larger size, the replacement should be made from a breathable material and should not interfere with the dog's movement. Any harness that runs straight across the chest and shoulder blades (for example, the Petsafe Easy Walk Harness) should be avoided as they restrict movement in the shoulder and can cause rubbing, sores and gait irregularity. Look for a harness with an "x" or "y" shape on the chest so your dog has room to move freely at any gait. A harness that has an area to clip both between the shoulders and on the chest is ideal. Click Here for the harness style we prefer.
There are a few other points we want to mention to families before you bring home your new fluffy family member. Firstly, we recommend not bringing your puppy to any dog parks or have them socialize with any unvaccinated dogs or dogs you don't know until 2 weeks after the 3rd set of puppy vaccinations. This includes puppy classes and pet store visits. Many trainers host appointments for puppies 8 weeks old and over, but please keep in mind that you are enrolling in these classes at your puppy's own risk.
When it comes to flea/tick treatments, do not use any products available at stores like Walmart, such as Hartz brand products. There have been many cases of dogs having severe reactions to products available without a veterinary prescription. Always do your research and follow your vet's guidance when it comes to flea and tick medications, as they can be very dangerous if the dose or product is not correct, and any side effects caused by flea/tick medications are not covered in our health guarantee since they are preventable. There are lots of all-natural remedies and essential oil sprays you can use that can provide protection without all the risks.
Every owner is different so your list will depend a lot on you and how you plan to raise your puppy. However, hopefully after reading some of our tips you feel more prepared for the arrival of your new puppy! If you have any questions about bringing home your new Foxboro Doodles puppy, please don't hesitate to ask us!
Foxboro Doodles Inc.
Madoc, Ontario, Canada
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