Care Tips

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Care Tips


Things you will need to have prepared for coming home day:

·         A medium size black wire collapsible crate and have 2/3's of it blocked off with heavy cardboard box so pup only has very front small area to sleeping in [just enough room to lay extra room] a large heavy dark blanket as a complete cover for crate. 

·         Also a hard body plastic crate for travel in car so people outside cannot see what type of valuable dog is in the car.   Use old towels for bedding (no fancy new bed for quite a while).    

·         A supply of newspapers for indoor go potty area when contained to one place as necessary.

·         An engraved ID tag with only your first  name and phone number on one side and word 'REWARD' on reverse side. 

·         Only stainless feeding bowls (that can go in dishwasher). 

·         Also take a look around your home and figure out where there can be some type of contained play area where flooring will not be hurt if pup has accidents.  [Do not let puppy on any carpeting or rugs until well trained and even then only when being supervised. ] 

·         You will need a 6 to 10 foot long leash. No use of extendable leashes - they are too dangerous and lots of bad training habits results from using same. 

·         A small martindale collar for learning go for a walk; and in the very beginning pup can use a small harness and 6 to 10 ft. leash - but later it needs to walk nicely on just a collar and leash. Long term use of a harness just teaches a dog to get out front and pull...that is a very bad habit. 

·         Basic grooming supplies 


Only minimal 2nd and 3rd lepto shot ever unless confirmed out-break in your neighborhood.  No bordetella unless absolutely insisted on by doggie day care/dog walker/groomer and only when pup is a bit older.....   No rabies shot unless you are going down into USA - and if you do get a rabies shot it needs to be done 31 days before you cross border - carry photocopy of Rabies Cert. in your glove box.  Do not have Rabies shot on same day other shots are being done.    After the first year booster of basic shots the puppy will not need annual shots after that.....if your Vet insists then opt for a blood draw titer test instead as this will show that  the pups immunity levels are high and more immunizations are not necessary.  Too many immunizations destroy a dog’s immune system.  Google Jean Dodd’s research/history reports and her protocol regarding immunizations for pups/dogs.


No puppy treats from pet stores unless 100% positive they are chemical free and not just because the bag says they are made in Canada or USA....the best high value training treats are :  freeze dried sardines, home baked 'soft'  liver bits, strong cheese, natural chicken wiener bits, oven baked bacon [bake till dry - pour off grease -  broken into bits - store in baggies in freezer], salmon oil pills, krill oil pills.... all these things are easy to have on hand and make safe treats. 

No milk bone biscuits, no rawhide chews, no smoked/flavored bones or rawhide chews, no bags of garbage treats from pet store....they have too many chemicals in them.  Do not ever give a treat unless pup has worked for it....sit, comes when called,  go in your house, off, walk nice....even as a tiny baby they can be learning these things..... Never any random treats for looking cute as that takes away the desire to learn. 

Always have treats in your pocket for immediate reward when puppy goes potty outside....needs to be treated for every pee and every poop....big fuss and treat fast. (Do not wait till you are back in house - that does not work).   When very young training treats should be kept to a minimum else they will get diarrhea.  When taking to training classes or planning a training class at home do so when dog is hungry and use high value not try to train when dog is full and tired.


Feeding will be 4 times a day for first couple of weeks.... aprox. 8 am / 12 noon/ 4 pm/ 8 pm..... food bowl goes down for only 20 minutes and is then picked up.  The water bowl stays down all the time until 8:30 pm then picked up and no liquids in crate or elsewhere until morning. Pup can have a tiny drink just before going to bed...just enough to wet his throat - if pup wants it.   

When pup is 10 weeks old you can now feed 3 times a day and when 5 months old you can feed 2 times a day.  Switch to an adult type food (less calories) when 5 months old....[too many calories in puppy food - that going into a long legged fast growing pup can contribute to growth plate/joint problems].  Also calories in have to be expended (calories in = calorie out) or they will come out in over active hyper behavior.   You must never let a poodle get fat....too hard on their joints...always be able to feel ribs like a soft ripple when you run hands along your dog’s sides. Too thin is way better than overweight.


"Go Potty"  Training:  Outside quick  every time pup wakes up when in crate or is just being  released from crate (immediately) or when pup wakes up from a nap with you.... immediately... no fuss, no waiting, no eye contact, no talking...just grab pup and put  leash on quick  - carry pup out, no talking - no eye contact  "not a single word", no staring - pup will wonder around a bit - trying to get you to play - but you will ignore it (I don't care how cute it is begging by jumping up on you - just ignore puppy until 'go potty' is accomplished.  When squat happens (bum dips down about an inch) that means go potty is happening....first they will pee [you praise and give a tiny treat]...then you are silent again waiting (no talking no staring) while they start wondering around again...having them run beside you a little bit helps get their movement to happen faster...they will have one or even two poops...which you praise and treat immediately.... "GOOD GO POTTY OUTSIDE".  Some puppies only have one poop and some have will learn this by watching if puppy takes a 2nd poop when you come back in house....then you will know it is a  2 poop puppy and not bring it back in until  2nd poop happens.  They outgrow the 2nd poop stage in a few weeks. Treat every time and say same words every time. If pup has accidents in house right in front of you.... sternly say "NO"...grab pup and straight outside.  No talking, except to repeat the phrase 'Go Potty".    Talking is just a huge distraction.  No staring....would you want someone to be staring at you going potty.   Just keep corner of your eye on pup so you know when to move in quick with the tiny bite size soft treat and praise....same phrase - every time.  All folks in house have to do exactly the same way.   In morning you do not have time for chatter amongst yourselves, or for coffee or to brush your teeth...just throw your housecoat on and get outside with the puppy....rain or shine. The moment that puppy wakes up it has to go IMMEDIATLEY.  They have zero holding power on first waking from overnight or nap.   It is a good idea to work at having the  pup trained to 'go potty' by having a bell hanging on inside of door and ring it every time you are going out to 'go potty'.  After about 2 weeks pup will start ringing bell to go outside.  At first they will do it just cause it's fun to have you open and shut door a hundred times -  but that will pass.  In the beginning the only one trained is you...puppy is just an infant with very little ability to hold its business.  Each month of age gets them better longer holding power. 

It is pointless to discipline a baby puppy...being a poodle all they will learn is that they should hide where and when they go potty so they don't get in trouble.  If you give them heck they will start finding hiding places to do their business (like under bed, behind couch).   Just keep a spray bottle of disinfectant and paper towels handy and clean up each mess you find.

Don't use bleach as it smells a bit like urine...try vinegar full strength.  Do not say a word about it unless you catch them mid-action...then it is just NO and outside they go...maybe peeing all the way....


When leaving house and pup behind....  put pup in crate with some type of chewy (bone or Kong) .....Say  "Go In Your House" and only say it once... [ no fuss - no talking - no eye big good bye and especially no big hello's ] cover totally with heavy dark blanket - put TV or Radio on nice and loud and walk away [this is important - the noise from the TV / Radio helps to block noises from you inside/or outside the house and helps prevent separation anxiety - it is a dogs nature to react to outside noises to protect their territory - so as a baby/juvenile  they should not be hearing all the noises...they should be just relaxing not go back to crate for any reason.   If you do go back it has to be when pup has been quiet for at least 20 seconds...not sooner.  If you go back or anywhere near crate when it is fussing you are just encouraging louder longer fussing.  A few minutes of fussing can quickly turn into hours of screaming if you go back to crate.   Then - when you get back home or pup has had its nap - go to crate - no fuss - no talking - no excited greeting - no eye contact...just scoop up  pup - snap leash on quickly and head straight to go potty area - remember the treats.


Vehicle Travel should happen on a regular basis while baby is still young.  Should be in forward facing crate and best if pup can see out into direction vehicle is travelling.  It is best to travel on empty stomach for first month or two.  Car sickness is no big deal and pup will outgrow it.  Steady travel - no swerving - no fuss if dog does get sick.  Keep plastic bags, paper towels and water in car.  Cover seat area and just carry on.   Sign pup/dog is going to be sick is wet nose and drool...then retching, then vomit (into bag if you are quick and easy with this process) No fuss - if it happens....else dog will think its having thrown up is a problem.


Socialization can start full on once pup is 11 weeks old and has had its 2nd set of basic shots.   Pup should be out and about going to Pet stores (in cart only on your own blanket), busy shopping centers entrances, walks, kids playgrounds, auctions, outdoor flea markets, outdoor coffee places, Canadian Tire and Lowes, (always in cart on blanket or towel), your banks - carried, puppy socialization classes, 1/2 days at doggie daycares, groomers.... so many places where puppy can meet other people and other dogs....needs to meet 500 people in first few months.  This needs to happen most every day.


Fear Stages happen around 10 weeks old and again around 14 weeks old.  It is their growing awareness of how big the world is.  When you are with your puppy and if it acts scared ( shaking, yowling, screaming, cowering behind you, barking at folks for no reason) this means it is scared of something, someone, some noise.... it will be up to you to laugh him/her right out of not fuss or sooth a scared puppy ... your normal voice needs to be  fearless [NO BABY TALK]  just jolly them out of it....  you must  carry on like there is nothing to be scared of  [even if you are scared you must not let if show]....  Pup will take cue from you.  If you do scoop down and pick pup up then you must be laughing and playful and tossing pup around like you do not have a care in the world...not like you are feeling the fear must not feed into fear - quite the opposite.  They need to know they have a brave leader who is not a nervous-nelly.  If you are scared or nervous your puppy will be scared and nervous.  This is how anxiety problems gets started in a dog....if you the big leader are scared then pup  will take the cue from you and believe there is much to must be brave and calm always.  Even if pup is screaming its fool head off ....just laugh and distract and carry on.  Do not feed into the puppies fear with your own fear or your own concern.


Visitors to Meet Puppy at your house or elsewhere....     Have pup in its crate.  Let guests come into home and have them seated and quiet.  They are not to make a huge fuss over puppy... no squealing or excited interactions.... just calm and steady.  Quietly take turns greeting puppy when it goes to them and all talking to puppy should be is soft normal voices.  This way puppy will learn that people are great but that meeting people does not need to be an over the top meeting that would over stimulate the pup and cause it to start submissive peeing - that happens in a pup by strong instinct and is what a puppy does if over stimulated and a little bit nervous. 


Submissive peeing if it ever happens is a normal dog reaction...more often in females than male.... and it must be TOTALLY ignored.   If totally ignored it will quit happening as dog gains confidence and gets older.   It will happen automatically in some when meeting new adult dogs... the pup will pee, roll over on its back, lick other dogs muzzle.... all signs of respectful submission.  Pups outgrow submissive peeing if encouraged to be brave and outgoing - through socialization and the owners confident attitude in new situations.


Do not let your puppy lick/kiss your face or use its mouth/teeth on any part of your face or hands.  Puppies lick - it is an instinctive habit to get a mother dog to accept them and to regurgitate for them.  It can easily become an annoying unhealthy very bad obsessive habit.  Do not let is start.  Do not let anyone else let pup do it.


Teach Pup to Retrieve:  This is a truly great way to exercise a poodle.  Practice teaching this at young age inside home.  It can become a good type of obsessive behavior if used properly. 

Poodles need exercise.... ten minutes a time a few times a day will burn off excess energy and give you a happy stable dog.  Walking is not exercise for the body of a dog....they can walk all day long - walking is only for mental stimulation and for teaching them you are the big pack leader which gives them confidence and sense of safety.  They need to run and jump and frolic....retrieving lets they do all these things. When they lay down with tongue hanging out they have been exercised.


Great and essential as it is great place to have dog  meet other dogs but to also understand that sometimes they are to  pay attention and 'work' not to play.  Only take a dog/pup to class after it has burned off some energy.  Do not feed a dog before class.  Use only high value treats that dog will want to work for and pay attention to you.  Tiny bits that are soft and easy to chew and swallow quickly.  Do not buy the bags of chemical loaded treats from the big chain pet stores....they are bad for dogs.  Even when it says made in Canada/USA they are still using products from other countries.   Use homemade soft baked liver, cheese, chicken wieners, bacon bits..... all this stuff is human grade healthy treats that you can make up in big batches and store in small bags in your freezer.  Keep in a plastic bag in your pocket and by the ‘go potty door' all the time so you can have fast access to training treats.  Don't give a baby more than a couple of tablespoons of treats a day or it will result in diarrhea.


Puppy will have its first basic minimal immunization at 7 weeks old...will need a 2nd at 11 weeks and 3rd at 15 weeks...then one combo booster on 1 st birthday.  After than it does not need annual immunizations of any type...for a few years.  If your Vet office pressures to do shots - have them do a blood draw for a Titer Test... this lab test will show that dog's immunities are high.  Get a copy of this for your records.  Pup/dog does not need Lepto (can cause seizures) unless an outbreak in your neighborhood is confirmed.  Pup does not need Kennel Cough [spray up nose] until much older and going to day care or training class if they insist on it.  Does not need rabies unless going down into USA - as Rabies shot is powerful - it should not happen at same time as other shots.  If needing it for travel then it must be done 31 days before you cross border with pup....but should not be done until pup is past 12 weeks old....meaning pup cannot cross into USA (and some other countries)  until 16 weeks or older.   Rabies needs to be repeated (for documentation if travelling) at one year old and then is good for 3 years.  Too many immunizations can harm a dog’s immune system.  When a dog's immune system is impaired it gets many diseases/cancers....please be careful with this.  Read up on Jean Dodd's protocols - dog’s immunization needs....


Do not let puppy jump up on you or others.  Good way to control this when out walking if you stop to talk  - is to anchor your foot on about 14" of  leash - down towards the  ground - so dog is held to this  height and can't get up on back legs.  Pups learn this quickly.  Jumping up once started is hard to change later.


A harness on a very young puppy is fine.  However, a pup must learn to walk nice on a normal Martindale collar and 8’ leash...right beside you - not out ahead of you.  No use of retractable leashes as they are very unsafe and lead to bad unsafe behaviors.  A dog on a harness learns (usually on the very first day) to pull and to get out front of you. This leads to your having arm and shoulder problems which in long term means poor dog and poor you and nobody gets to go for walks anymore.  A young pup/dog on a harness and retractable leash gets way out front...this develops into very bad behaviors - like barking and snarling at other dogs/people....this is because a dog being 'out front' means it has to take a leadership role and it is does not have enough confidence to able to do so....then dog over compensates by acting badly.  This is especially true during the 'fear stages'.   A long leash and harness are dangerous as it can trip people and even get caught up on dogs own legs and cause injury.  Poodles should have a Martindale Collar because of their narrow head and slippery hair...this type of collar will tighten if the dog tries to get out of collar by backing up but will hang loose the rest of the time thereby protecting the hair from the damage caused by a normal flat collar.


Dog should not free feed until past 2 years should go down on a schedule.  Bowl stays down for 20 minutes and then gets picked up until next feeding time.  Dogs will not starve themselves. They will eat when hungry.  Best food choice is good human grade raw meat/fish diet enhanced with raw vegetables, next best is dehydrated 'real'  protein base dog foods, then some natural tinned foods and finally kibbles.  Some of the quality tinned foods can be used as an enhancement to kibble foods.  There are some good kibbles on the market - stick to a single protein food with no grain, no rice, no potato.  Keep kibble bag tightly sealed and stored in fridge as it easily spoils and become rancid.  Pet Food stores will take back open bags of food if you keep receipt and no more than 1/3 of bag has been used.  Puppy diet should not be changed frequently as this can set pup up for allergies....   If feeding basic raw diet it must be enhanced with raw eggs, kelp powder, diatomaceous earth powder - human grade, root vegetables, greens and coconut oil.  Lots of raw diets in good pet around and find out who has what available.

KIBBLE:   If you choose not to feed a raw diet we would recommend Orijen Dog Food. 


Raw bones are safe bones and the best way to clean a dog’s teeth.  Do not use cooked/baked bones as they can splinter.  Be home to supervise when your dog has a bone. To keep teeth clean they must have on a regular basis.  SPLIT antler horns are also good [but only the ones that are split in half lengthwise....not the fully round ones as they are so hard that they can wear down a dogs teeth.  The split antler lets the dog get at the marrow/minerals on the inside of the antler and the two long edges are what clean the teeth without harming the teeth.    Also great are 2" pieces of beef shank marrow bones (specialty cut at a butchers)....dogs love them and when all cleaned off (polished by dog) they can be filled with peanut butter and re-used many times.    Bones are an inside crate or outdoors treat as they are messy.  Bones will keep dog’s teeth clean and gums healthy.  Try to avoid any cleaning if it is done under anesthetic as anesthetic is very bad for dogs.  Should never be an annual occurrence.


They will have more than one teething stage.  Big back molars are the hardest teeth for them to cut (at around 7 months old) and they need to 'chew' on something that will fit into back corners of their mouth.  Beef marrow shank bones, split antlers,  wet twisted frozen washcloths, ice cubes, small Kong's with peanut butter, small rope toys that are in good condition...all these things will make good teething toys...  The puppy teeth loosen and fall out properly on schedule if the dog has good chew things.  If a baby tooth seems to be staying in place when a big new tooth is pushing through right beside it - spend some time (at least 3 times a day) wiggling the baby tooth so it comes out....they have a very long deep roots (way longer than the tooth that is showing) so it can take some persistence to get it to loosen and come out.   This can save you a big Vet bill...the baby teeth need to come help the pup get them out.    Chewing toys and your wiggling the baby teeth will help a lot.  Do not play ‘tug of war' with your puppy / is hard on baby teeth and new teeth that have not yet settled firmly  into the soft bone of their jaws.   They are still a work in progress and you can harm the placement of their adult 'tug' games teach a dog aggressive behaviors so do not do this. 


Adult dogs often get small cysts under skin....they should be observed and if growing or changing shape you may want to get your Vet to do a needle biopsy - do not have surgically removed unless test reveal they are  cancerous or if they in some way impede dogs ability to move freely.... you are trying to avoid anesthetic.  Just keep an eye on them...they will likely be nothing to worry about.


Pups/dogs with poodle hair need to be brushed out right down to skin on a regular basis.  OR clippered really short.   A Master Groomer will teach your pup to behave on table. Pups need to learn this while young as they will have a whole lifetime of grooming ahead of them.   Puppy fluff hair lasts till around 10 to 14 months old and as their adult type courser hair is growing in it has a stronger twist/curl and gets all matted into puppy fluff - this is a very awkward ‘bad hair' time for owners/groomers and requires extra time/work to keep brushed out or just have it all cut off.   Poodles need to be kept clean and most love their bath.  Always brush their hair through before bathing as wetting the un-brushed hair only causes more tangles.  Using tepid water (barely even warm) and very little diluted dog shampoo (oatmeal base) is how they have their bath.  Rinsing is the most important part of the bath...rinse, rinse and then rinse again.  Do not use conditioners as this just clogs skin pores and dog just gets dirtier faster as oil on hair makes dirt stick more. 

You will need:

·         a mat splitter

·         a slicker brush (soft)

·         a strong medium toothed metal comb for basic at home grooming...for in-between trips to groomers. 

Do not go to Pet Store Groomers - as most have very little experience and you don't need low skill people working on your dog - basically practicing....too many mistakes and bad habits will form.   [Dog will start to hate grooming - if your dog does not want to go into door of salon that it has been to before then it means it is time to find a better groomer]. 

Do not leave bad hair mats on your dog....they can pull on skin, cut off blood supply to skin and cause serious hematomas (big blood blisters or skin that is rotting under the mat) that can cause need for surgery .  Around  the neck - under collar, behind/under ear flaps, inner leg pits,  groin, inner thighs  and around back leg hocks....all places mats can cause serious troubles.   Keep hair clipped short in front of ear opening for air circulation, keep hair out of dogs eyes as can cause serious infections.  Keeping hair short around genitals and anus can avoid urinary tract infections and messy clean up jobs. Keeping hair on feet and between the pads clipped shaved short is important as this is how you will discover any problems with feet (sliver/thorn etc.) plus it keeps your house way cleaner.  Keeping hair on face short will avoid smelly faces from food bacteria growing on face and keep eyes clear for better vision and no infections.


Now is the time to go through whole house, garage and sheds...  puppy proofing is critical.  Electrical cords, computer cords, phone charging cords are dangerous and expensive.

TV remotes, cell phones, hands free phones, eye glasses, car keys are all very pricey but such delightful chew toys and are usually left laying around in fairly easy accessible places for a clever poodle. Kitchen cupboards that open with the nudge of a nose need baby fasteners on them.  Garbage under kitchen sink needs a new location or a secure cupboard door. Boxes of chocolate on coffee table is huge danger for a pup/dog. Laundry rooms with baskets of soiled clothes are a favorite place for a puppy to find great things to chew up.... Gardening supplies (bone meal, slug bait, fertilizers are all dangerous. All rodent bait - even the ones in plastic boxes are deadly.  Cat litter boxes are full of bacteria - keep away from dog.   Bags of garbage stored where dog can easily rip open (like in the garage - the very first time you accidently leave the door open are hazardous...with things like cooked chicken/turkey bones in them. Items disposed of in open bathroom trash cans can be the plastic disposable razors...pups like plastic and will get seriously hurt on those.    Soft leather like items that get all spongy when wet are wonderful to a puppy...your shoes, runners, car interior - head rests, steering wheels, gear shift all make great chew items, wooden household furniture is also great for chewing - especially tapered legs on dining chairs/tables as they can get a good fit into the back corner of their mouth when molars are cutting through.  These are all the reasons you want your puppy in a crate or contained area when you are not able to watch him or you are going to be out of home.


·         Dr. Jeanne Becker at is a great resource to read as questions come up....just search through all her archived articles.

·         Dr. Jean Dodd is the recognized international expert on immunizations.  Believe her and follow her protocol.  

·         Cesar Milan programs on TV (National Geo channel) and his web site at is a great resource for overall puppy training....his video on puppy training 'puppy's first year' is a good one.  But lots of free videos on line.

·         For grooming we recommend Shirlee Kalsone’s book, “Poodle Clipping and Grooming: The International Reference”    


I am always available to help in any way I can but do need some notice... I welcome your puppies/dogs back here to board if you need to be away and don't have folks you really trust to look after pup/juvenile especially during the first two years.  Traditional kennels can be very bad - even deadly as there is no one closely monitoring the pups or dogs from 7 pm till 8 am.   They need to be in a home (sleeping in their crate) so if they are getting sick during the night the caregiver can hear them and react immediately.

Sincerely,  Gwen Toews





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Last modified: November, 2007