House training your puppy is very important, and it is the source of so much anxiety for all new puppy owners. It can seem like a tough, demanding and frustrating job initially, but it is well worth it in the end! I can’t stress enough that the secret to house training a dog is patience and consistency on your part. From the time you pick your puppy up, please be vigilant for signs he may need to void. Circling, squatting, or sniffing around an area are usually good indicators that your puppy needs to go outside. Do NOT leave your new puppy unsupervised in the house, even for a minute, until they are reliable. If you or another adult can’t give your puppy your full attention, please put it in a crate. Every single time you remove your puppy from the crate, take him immediately outside to potty. If you don’t go immediately out, you are likely going to see an accident since your puppy has been holding his bladder in the crate.
The length of time it takes to train your Poodle can range from a few weeks to a few months. It takes time for him to realize that the house is his living quarters and not a huge toilet. If you are vigilant about supervising him you will have quick success. Puppies have small bladders and need to go to the bathroom regularly. Remember the #1 rule in house training: What goes in, comes out. This means after you feed your puppy, or he drinks water he will need to potty. When he is a puppy, this will seem like a constant in and out—-and it is—-but remember that the hard work you do now is setting your dog up to be successful throughout the rest of his life.
Having a new puppy is much like having a newborn baby during the early days. The daytime schedule I have been following with your new puppy looks like this:
7:00 AM up and immediately outside to potty
7:00-7:30 AM put water down for the day, puppy has playtime
7:30 AM breakfast (1/2 to 3/4 cup of dry kibble)
7:45 outside to potty
8:30 AM outside to potty
8:30-10:00 AM nap time
10:00 AM up and immediately outside to potty
10:00-10:45 AM playtime
10:45 outside to potty
10:45-11:30 AM playtime
11:30 AM outside to potty
11:30 lunch (1/2 to 3/4 cup of dry kibble)
11:45 AM nap time
1:30 PM up and immediately outside to potty
…you get the idea…
Dinner is at 6:00 PM, 1/2 to 3/4 cup, with the water bowl picked up for the night at 8:00 PM. This ensures your puppy has an empty bladder for the night. Take him out right before you go to bed, and first thing in the morning. I currently put your puppy to bed about 11:00 PM.
This is a basic schedule. Your home schedule will be much different, and your puppy will adapt quickly to it. What is missing from this schedule are all the times your puppy circled and I took him out, or he drank a bunch of water and I took him out etc. Definitely only use this schedule as an outline, and not as absolute. Pay attention these first few days, watch and learn your own puppies particular potty clues.
In your puppy pack, I have included what I think is an essential product for a new puppy owner: an enzyme cleaner. You can use this on all flooring types and it breaks down the urine so the puppy won’t be re-attracted to the area. You can also use this product to clean dog vomit or feces stains. Hopefully, you won’t need this product much but I consider it an essential.
Unless you catch your poodle in the act of messing in the house, never scold him, he’ll just wonder what you’re yelling at him for. If you do catch him, give a very firm “NO” then take him straight outside to potty. If he goes outside, lavish on the praise. Afterwards, get some paper towels and clean up the mess using an enzyme cleaner. Never, under any circumstances, hit your puppy for messing in the house or rub his nose in it. That will only encourage him to find other places in your home to hide his waste.
Puppies need to be on a strict schedule when house training. As we covered, they should be taken out to potty after eating, waking up, and after playing. Take them out the same door, to the same area in your yard each time, so he eventually knows where he is supposed to potty. Make sure you give your puppy or dog lots of praise when it goes potty in the correct area. I always ask, in an excited voice, “Do you need to go potty?!!” Then when they do go potty I always say, “Good potty!!!” in a happy voice. Heap on the praise——poodles crave it and it is a powerful motivator.
If your yard is fenced, please go outside with your puppy in these early weeks until he is dependable in the house. You will not know if he has eliminated if you don’t accompany him, and you won’t be there to give him lots of praise.
If you don’t have a yard to let your dog out in and have to take your dog for a walk to go potty, try not to get him too excited or disturb him too much while he’s looking for a place to potty. Save the play for after he has done his business. Be sure to take plastic bags with you whenever you walk your dog to pick up any messes!
If you follow these steps and are patient and consistent, you should have a house trained standard poodle in no time! Remember that I am here as a resource should you have any questions, or need some help. You are never alone with any training issues——if I don’t know the answer I will do my best to help you find it.
Your puppy is eating dry Royal Canin medium formula puppy food, and I have sent a sample bag with you. I have no relationship with this company, other than as a customer, but I strongly feel it is a very high quality food for standard poodles. If you would like to feed something else, please change over very gradually over a weeks time to avoid stomach upset. Other brands of dog food I would recommend would be Nutro Ultra, Dr. Gary's, Earthborn Holistics, Natural Balance, or Eukanuba. I truly believe feeding a low quality food is a penny wise, pound foolish proposition. For a healthy dog, you need to feed a high quality diet. The money saved by feeding a cheap grocery store dog food will be spent in vet bills later, and your dog will not be at its full potential. Your puppy is eating three times a day, 1/2 to 3/4 cups of food each meal. Sometimes he will finish it all, and sometimes he won’t. If he leaves food in his dish, you can cover it and feed it next meal adding more to make his serving size. If it doesn’t get eaten that meal please discard it and start fresh next meal. You will gradually increase the amount of food you serve your dog as they grow. Also, you can cut the meals down to two a day if you would like once your puppy is about 4 months old. It is never recommended to feed a standard poodle only once a day at any point. Read the bag for serving size suggestions based on current age and weights. I switch my own dogs from puppy food to adult or an all life stage food at 6-7 months. I have found the majority of their height is achieved at that age, and they are filling in from there. Switching to the adult formula lowers the calories just a bit and allows for a gradual growth from there. In the first couple days in their new home, don’t be alarmed if your puppy isn’t eating very much. Everything they have known in this world has been turned upside down and some puppies take a couple of days to adjust to all of that. You can wet the dry food with a bit of warm water, let it set 10 minutes and try that to encourage your puppy to eat. Crumbling a soft treat or two over the top of their kibble can also coax them to eat if they need some help in the first days in their new home.
I am including a recipe of the peanut butter biscuits that my girls, and your puppy, just love. You can feed a whole cookie, or break off pieces to use as a training reward. I can’t tell you how many batches of these cookies I have made over the years, but they are very easy and a bit hit! I am including a couple of bag of treats in your going home bag. My girls all love these and are a great small size to use for training rewards. I have also included a few other of our poodles favorite toys and goodies.
Aglow’s Favorite Peanut Butter Dog Cookies
• 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup natural peanut butter creamy or chunky (can substitute pumpkin, banana or sweet potato for other biscuit flavors, too)
• 1 cup water
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 egg
1 Preheat oven to 350F
2 In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and the egg. Add peanut butter, water, honey and stir until you have stiff dough. The dough becomes very firm and sticky.
3 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick and use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes. These cookies barely spread and rise, so get creative with your shapes. You can also make tiny round drops to use as training treats.
4 Bake for 20 minutes, until golden.
5 Keep cookies in an airtight container or they make a great gift!
*****Be sure your peanut butter is free of Xylitol, a sweetener that is toxic to dogs*****
My best advice: Seek out a clean grooming shop, one with kind help who seem dedicated to their profession and cares about your puppy as well as your wishes. A well-groomed puppy should present a "picture" when finished—a showpiece—and if properly cared for, should be in good spirits when retrieved from the shop. The groomer should be willing to help answer any questions you have, make product suggestions and over time will develop a great rapport with your dog. Even if you plan to groom your poodle at home, please seek out a groomer in the first few months. A bath and brush is not an expensive treat for you, and it is priceless socialization for your puppy to have someone else handle and care for them even if it is once. If you need or choose to use a groomer’s services in the future, this will not be a new experience for the dog and it will go much smoother and be less stressful for both your dog and the groomer. Please take my advice and schedule an appointment with a professional groomer after the puppy shots are complete.
Since grooming is simply a fact of life for a standard poodle, I have started grooming your puppy very early to make this a regular experience for them. Your puppy has had it’s paws, ears and face touched regularly since birth. I desensitize the puppy to having it’s feet touched, first with a Q-Tip tickling the toes from birth until day 16, then I gently added an electric toothbrush to acclimate your puppy to the buzz on their feet and face they will feel from a clipper. This will insure nail clipping will be a breeze and they won’t mind an ear cleaning. I start clipping the face at three weeks of age, then bathe, brush and blow-dry them completely. Thereafter it is a bath every week, with clipping. Grooming has become part of the lives of these puppies before they go to your home. You will find puppies raised like this are very clean from the youngest age on, rarely soiling their immediate sleeping or play areas, much less the living room carpet. I have put in the work early on, and you will now continue this going forward. Please continue what I have started by gently touching your puppy’s feet and ears daily as they transition home with you.
If you feel the expense of having your puppy professionally groomed is a little too much you can do as I did in the beginning. I read every book I could get my hands on about poodle grooming, as well as tons of great YouTube videos on the subject. There are some very good books out on step-by-step grooming, choice of equipment, etc. Remember—Rome wasn’t built in a day— no one expects your poodle to look like a "Best of Breed" show dog the very first time you groom it! Or the second—or even the third—or—well, you get the idea! My favorite book on grooming poodles is available for under $20 on Amazon and it is “Poodle Clipping and Grooming" by Shirlee Kalstone. It is a great step by step guide with wonderful photos. I still use it as a reference guide, and it is always on my coffee table.
Your #1 goal should be that you do not injure, scare or hurt the puppy. Don’t get discouraged about the haircut; keep in mind hair does grow back. Mistakes will only be visible for a short while anyway and each time you groom, your puppy will look better and better.
Clippers will fit your hand better, the angle of the blade will be right and it will almost float over the clipped areas; it will become second nature to you. This goes for scissors too; a good pair of scissors makes all the difference between a well-groomed poodle and a disaster! Scissors are to be used only on poodle hair; no cutting paper, ribbons, rubber bands or anything else whatsoever. I do have shampoo/brush/clipper etc recommendations on the website, and please always feel free to contact me with any grooming questions. It can be intimidating at first, but it is necessary as a poodle owner so embrace it. Grooming is an excellent bonding time, and I look forward to this time spent with my dogs. It doesn’t feel like a chore, it is part of caring for them and they love the attention. There is absolutely nothing like a well groomed standard!!
CORE VACCINES: These vaccines are strongly recommended for your new Standard Poodle. I have started age appropriate vaccinations while you puppy was with us and I STRONGLY encourage you to continue along with your vet’s advice. Much information that is anti-vaccine can be found on the internet, and while I do agree that a dog can be over vaccinated, I do feel vaccines are also very necessary. Once your initial series of vaccinations are complete, you can chose to titer test, which is a blood test your vet can do to determine your dogs immunity levels. Please direct any concerns you have to your vet who can give you the best advice for what may be necessary for your lifestyle, in your area of Michigan or where you are in the Unites States.
NON-CORE VACCINES: Your veterinarian will assess your pet’s risk contracting one of these diseases and help you decide whether your pet is a candidate for receiving any of these vaccines.
• Bordetella bronchiseptica Vaccine: If your dog frequents dog parks, a groomer, dog shows or boarding facilities, she will need a Bordetella bronchiseptica (AKA kennel cough) vaccination. This bacterial infection affects the respiratory system, and while usually not life threatening, it can progress into pneumonia. This vaccine does not provide 100% immunity from the disease; however, it will lessen the clinical signs of the disease if your pet is exposed and hopefully speed recovery time.
• Leptospirosis Vaccine: Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria and is transmissible to people. It is transmitted between animals or people through contact with infected tissue. Indirect transmission occurs through contact with infected tissue. Indirect transmission occurs through exposure of susceptible animals to contaminated water sources, food or bedding. Infection can cause severe life-threatening damage to the liver and kidney even with antibiotics and supportive care. For puppies, a series of two boosters administered 3-4 weeks apart is required for full immunity. Yearly booster vaccines are needed to keep immunity at a proper level.
• Lyme Vaccine (Also called borreliosis): Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Ticks carry these bacteria, transmitting them to the animal while sucking its blood. Your veterinarian will help you decide whether a Lyme vaccine is appropriate for your dog in addition to tick prevention. Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that often causes recurrent lameness, fever, swollen lymph nodes and joints, and a reduced appetite. More serious complications include damage to the kidney, and rarely heart or nervous system disease. For puppies, a series of two boosters administered 3-4 weeks apart is required for full immunity. Yearly booster vaccines are needed to keep immunity at a proper level.
• Canine Influenza Vaccine: Canine influenza is a relatively new disease, and was first diagnosed in 2004 in a group of racing greyhounds in Florida. Testing has shown that the virus mutated from a strain of equine influenza and gained the ability to spread from dog to dog. The symptoms of canine influenza are indistinguishable from "kennel cough" — a generic term for a condition caused by a number of different viruses and bacteria. Canine flu spreads best in enclosed spaces that house a lot of animals, such as a boarding facility, doggy day care,
groomer’s shop, or shows (but not dog parks. If your dog frequents any of these places, he has a higher than average chance of getting sick. My current recommendation is to consider this vaccine if your pet is kenneled consistently 3+ days or more per week, but please ask your vet for his/her opinion as well so you can make the right choice for your situation.
FLEA & TICK PREVENTION, AND HEARTWORMS: Fortunately, today we have very effective flea, tick and heartworm preventatives that have a wide margin of safety and are easy to administer. We use Nextgard tablet orally from April-October here in my part of Michigan for flea and tick protection. We use Heartgard Plus orally every month of the year for heart worm protection.
SPAYING & NEUTERING: The old adage that “if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem” is particularly applicable to unwanted pregnancy in dogs – and that includes purebred dogs. Breeding is not for the faint of heart, and is a very costly endeavor.
Spay Your Female Dogs. Aside from the very real pet overpopulation problem, there are some valid health reasons for spaying female dogs. Spaying your dog will not change her personality, and there is no benefit to letting a dog “have just one litter”. It is a myth that spaying your dog will cause her to gain weight. There are numerous benefits to spaying your dog including:
• Eliminates Chances of Pyometritis. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus that is fatal if emergency surgery is not performed immediately. This is a life-threatening condition and creates a great financial expense to the owner.
• Decreased Risk of Mammary Cancer. Ideally, to give a female dog protection against mammary cancer, she should be spayed. Each subsequent heat brings a greater chance of mammary cancer at a later time.
Neuter Your Male Dogs. This is the most proactive step. Neutering is a relatively simple surgery with a quick recovery period. Besides preventing unwanted pregnancies, neutering a male will help mitigate certain problem behavior found in intact males, and it will help prevent certain medical conditions too. It will not take away his personality or his “manhood.” The only thing he will miss is fighting and running away from home.
• Neutered dogs are less likely to mark their territory by urinating.
• Neutered dogs are easier to obedience train and are better family pets.
• Neutered dogs will be less likely to try to escape/run away and neutered dogs will be less likely to get attacked by other dogs.
Some foods that are considered good for people can be very dangerous for pets. The list below highlights some of the most common foods that can be dangerous to animals. This is not an exhaustive list, and any decision to provide your pet with food not specifically intended for animals should be discussed with your veterinarian. For much more information on foods that could be unsafe for pets, visit the ASPCA's "People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets" page or speak with your vet.
The following foods are dangerous to your pet:
Bones that are cooked, or small raw bones that will splinter
Candy (particularly chocolate, which is toxic to dogs—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
Corn on the Cob
Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
Hops (used in home beer brewing)
Moldy foods of any kind
Onions and onion powder
Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
Tea (because it contains caffeine)
Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs)
Brands will vary based on availability, but your going home bag will include:
A folder with AKC paperwork, microchip information, vet records, bill of sale/health guarantee and pet insurance information
A blanket that has been scented by both Mom and littermates
A Royal Canin medium formula puppy food kit (when available, otherwise a bag of food)
A bottle of enzyme cleaner
A full size bottle of shampoo
An assortment of training treats
An assortment of toys