Prep for your new pup...
It’s an exciting time, bringing home a new Australian Labradoodle puppy.
These dogs are easy to train, incredibly intelligent and make great family pets.
Hopefully the following information will give you ideas on how to make the transition as smooth as possible, keeping you all and your new furry friend as safe and happy as possible.
The journey home
Puppy will have had at least one journey to the vet with the breeder, but could still be very anxious being in a different car without mum or littermates with lots of strange sights , sounds and smells.
Decide whether you are going to take puppy home in a crate or on the lap of a passenger, both will keep him safe. Personally, I prefer it for a passenger to have puppy on their lap, (at least for this first journey) on the back seat with a harness attached to the seat belt point with a seat belt attachment. This way puppy can be comforted by being gently stroked and spoken to. Cover your lap and any upholstery with an old towel. Have with you some paper towels, wet wipes and a plastic bag, just in case of accidents or car sickness.
Puppy will not normally have eaten within two hours of travelling. Have a toy, towel or piece of bedding with you that has been rubbed in mum and siblings scent. This will help settle puppy.
For longer trips, stop for bathroom breaks and stretching. Remember to keep your puppy away from areas where other dogs may have been until he has had his full course of vaccinations. Until this time your puppy is susceptible to a number of diseases. A good idea is to have puppy pads with you to lay on the ground for him to use.
Offer some water to drink as he may be thirsty.
A travel crate is recommended for future journeys as it provides a familiar and secure environment for puppy to travel.
Preparing your home
Your puppy has been raised with lots of love and care. This and the fact that both parents are of excellent temperament and health means you can be well assured that your puppy is well balanced.
Before you bring your puppy home for the first time make sure your home is well prepared. It can be a very stressful time for your puppy, he’ll be in a strange environment without his mum and littermates for the first time.
You’ll need to make your home and garden safe and set rules for yourself and your family about how to care for your puppy. It’s a good idea to create a ‘safe’ area for your pup, keeping him in the confines of one or two rooms. Popular choices are kitchen and/or utility area.
Clean the area well, removing any items the puppy may chew or swallow. Puppies will chew anything, electrical cables are no exception, so make sure they are out of puppy’s reach, put all hazardous substances, this includes cleaning products, medications, vitamins, plants, rubbish bins etc where puppy can’t get to them. Make sure there are no small objects like children’s toys that could be swallowed. Anything you don’t want soiled, chewed, scratched or broken are all removed from this area.
This will allow your puppy to be able to explore while keeping him safe. It also makes it easier for you to keep track of him and clean up after him.
Making your garden safe
Puppies will eat anything and everything, luckily they grow out of this and after a few months you can relax a little more. In the garden restrict access to plants that are dangerous to dogs, these include Daffodil, Hyacinth, Oak, Holly, Bird of Paradise.
Click here to see more foods and plants dangerous to dogs (link)
If you are prone to getting foxes in your garden, until a few days after puppy has had his second vaccination, keep puppy away from any area the fox may have been.
One of the diseases we are most concerned about here in the UK is Canine Parvovirus. Foxes are susceptible to this disease and the virus can survive for quite a while in infected faeces.
Therefore there is a possibility that a wild sick fox could defecate in the garden where puppy plays and he could be contaminated by contact with this.
If worried or unsure, clean an area close to the house, fence off or use a puppy pen.
Supplies you need
Bowls for Food and Water
You will need to have at least two bowls, one for food and one for water. Choose easy to clean bowls that are dishwasher safe. Ceramic or stainless steel bowls are good, as they cannot be damaged by chewing and they have a smooth surface that cannot harbour as much bacteria as plastic ones.
Make sure puppy always has access to clean fresh water, keep the bowl filled and change his water daily.
All Regency Reds Australian Labradoodles start their lives on high quality food. Talk to your breeder about what they have been using to feed your puppy on, its best to keep them on the same food for at least 6 months before considering change. If you feel you must change, make sure what you are going to use is good quality and make it a gradual change over a few days. Expect puppy to have loose stools for a for days while his body gets used to the change. You will be given a few days supply of the food puppy is on when you collect him.
Puppies require more frequent feeding than adult dogs. You should feed your puppy three meals a day until he is about 4 - 5 months old, then cut down to two. It is best to measure out the recommended daily requirement and divide this by the number of feeds. After this time you can cut the feeds down to 2 a day and at about a year old you can continue with 2 feeds or change to feeding just once a day.
Don’t worry if your puppy doesn’t eat much at first, he will need time to settle in to his new home.
For more information on the different types of food available to dogs look on the Feeding page on this site.
Beds and Bedding
You can choose to either use a basket or to crate train your puppy, either way its best to get two sets of washable bedding, ‘vet bed’ is very good as liquid soaks through and the top stays dry and comfortable for puppy to lay on if he’s had an accident, its also stronger than most other material if puppy decides to try and shred it.
If you choose to get a basket don’t forget that puppy will most likely chew it, so save that really expensive one for when he has grown out of the puppy chewing stage.
Crates are a very popular alternative, its one of the easiest ways to achieve good house trying habits. A crate is also a safe comfortable place to keep your puppy while you are away from home or when travels with you.
A puppy that is carefully introduced to a crate will usually find it a pleasant and secure place to be. Dogs don’t like to soil their bedding, you should be able to build the time up you leave your puppy in there without a toilet break, until you are able to leave him overnight 6-8 hours.
Don’t leave puppy in there for long periods during the day, if he needs some quiet time, or you need to pop out for a short while its fine. Leave the door open when he’s not in there for a reason, he may choose to take his naps in there himself. Always make sure puppy has water available to him.
Collar and Lead
Although you can’t take puppy out until a few days after he has completed his course of vaccinations. You can spend this time getting him used to wearing his collar and walking him on the lead in your house and garden.
Puppy will grow quite a lot over the next few months, so buy an adjustable collar so you can increase the size as he grows. You should be able to easily slip two fingers in-between the collar and his neck. You don’t want the collar too tight or too loose.
Because Regency Reds Australian Labradoodles will grow beautiful long fleecy coats, the best collars to use are rolled leather ones as they minimise matting around the neck. You can find them online in many colours.
Even though puppy will have a microchip it is still the law that he wears a collar with an identity tag on it (with at least postcode and phone number on it) whenever he is in a public place.
Brushes Combs and Dog Shampoo
Grooming isn’t just about untangling your dogs coat and making them look good, its a bonding experience that reminds them of being back with their mother.
Australian Labradoodles need regular grooming with a slicker brush to get rid of tangles and a metal comb. Its also useful to have a matt breaker for difficult tangles. As puppy grows he will need more grooming particularly between 10 months and 2 years when the adult coat is developing. Brush and comb at least once a week, making sure you comb right through to the skin. When the adult coat has come through brushing and combing will become quicker and easier.
You can choose whether you prefer your dog to have a longer or shorter coat, if kept well groomed they can look lovely either way. Do check your groomer can give an Australian Labradoodle cut and they don’t give a poodle or cockapoo cut. A good idea is to find pictures on the web of how you would like your dog to look and take them with you. Or learn how to clip or scissor cut yourself.
Australian Labradoodles can suffer from ear infections, to avoid this clean their ears regularly (once a week) with a good quality cleaner.
Australian Labradoodles need the occasional bath, about once every 6/8 weeks is ideal. Use a dog shampoo with natural ingredients and a conditioner to keep the coat healthy and shiny. You will need to clip your dogs nails from time to time, so its worth getting some nail clippers, and the earlier you start, they will get used to it and make less fuss.
For more information look on Grooming page.
Puppies first night
Puppy’s first night in his new home can be a trying experience for both of you. It's the first time he has spent the night away from his mother and littermates. Because dogs are pack animals your puppy instinctively knows that being separated from his pack is dangerous. Whining and crying at night is puppy’s way of calling for his pack to find him.
With a little preparation you can minimise the anxiety. At about 6 or 7pm take away any food and water bowls. Shortly before you go to bed spend some time playing with puppy, this will help tire him ready for sleep. Just before bed take your puppy out to his soiling area and wait for him to go, when he does, praise him and bring him back inside. This reinforces good behaviour and begins the house training process.
At first you may want puppy to sleep near you in the bedroom for a few nights, this will reduce the chances of whining and crying, also the constant contact throughout the night will help puppy adjust to you and form a bond. One note of caution Do not let puppy sleep in or on the bed unless it is something you’ll want to continue. It will be very confusing if you say yes to start with and then change your mind and say no. Put puppy’s crate or basket near your bed (if using a basket it is better to tether to the basket so puppy cant wander around.
For the first few nights it’s a good idea to take puppy in the night for a bathroom break (carry him (If possible) or he may be tempted to go before you get outside) extending the time each night to a little later until you are getting 6/7 hours of unbroken sleep.
Veterinary exam and Vaccination
Do some research before choosing a vet, it will give you an idea of which you prefer, you can compare prices, also some practices hold puppy socialisation classes that can be fun and good for puppy to start meeting other young dogs.
You will need to visit the vets with your puppy within the first few days of his arrival, he will have already had a vet check at the breeders veterinary practice, but you should also take your new puppy to your own vet to confirm he is in good health. Until puppy is fully vaccinated remember to always carry him to and from the vets in your arms to avoid any risk of infection.
The vet will routinely scan your puppy to check he has a microchip (this will have already been implanted by your breeder). Then puppy will have a thorough examination eyes, ears, mouth, coat, abdomen will be checked, also puppy’s heart and breathing.
Your breeder would normally have done the first vaccination for your puppy, when looking for a vets take into consideration what puppy will be vaccinated with so you can match it for their second one. It needs to be the same otherwise your vet will start a whole new course and this isn’t good for puppy to have more than is necessary. So check out what your breeder does, and book puppy in for health check within a couple of days of taking him home. And first vaccination for the recommended time after the first.
The vet will probably discuss with you, worming and flea treatments, always give these a couple of days apart. Feeding (puppy will have been on an excellent quality food from the breeder and as long as puppy is thriving there is no need to change it) Also neutering, we recommend about ten months for this, ask your vet for information on this and remember you will need to get a conformation letter from your vets to pass on to your breeder when this procedure has been completed.
To help your puppy not to get too stressed at the vets get them used to being handled all over, picking up each paw one at a time, checking around their ears in their mouth, running your hands all over their body.
To make visiting the vets an enjoyable time for your puppy, make a fuss of him and always have some treats on you to give to him if he gets at all anxious.