Training Tips and Resources

Developmental Stages part 1

Your puppy will pass through many stages as he grows and develops.  Many puppy owners are shocked, surprised or downright freaked out about the way that their cute little puppy is behaving.  Just checking what stage of development the little guy (or gal) is in explains a lot (like he isn't crazy).  Behaviors can be accounted for with these stages, but a lot of these behaviors are also not acceptable and you must train and lead the way.

The mother of your puppy will start the process by building the foundation.  This responsibility will then be turned over to you.  It can not be expressed enough times how important is for you to train and lead your puppy so that he will be a happy well adjusted member of your family for life.



During the Toddler period, the doodle puppies emerge on their own from the litter and venture into the surrounding environment.  The lessons learned in the toddler stage are CRITICAL.  Puppies removed too early tend to be nervous, bark a lot and bite simply because the lessons a mother and litter mates provide were missed.  Training and long-term behavior problems can often be attributed to a puppy being removed from the litter much too soon.


The first lessons learned are dog specific behavioral patterns

* They will learn various posture meanings and their affects on their mother and litter mates

* They will learn how to bite and what it is like to be bitten

* They will learn what barking and other vocalizations mean and their uses

* They will learn how to establish social relationships with other dogs


Vocalization and tempered activities (dog manners) usually are learned around 5 weeks of age

* They will learn how to be submissive to the leader of the pack

* They will learn and refine additional postures, vocalizations and acceptable dog interaction behaviors


The mother will growl, snarl and snap to communicate.  With a few very clear signals and repetitions, the young puppy will learn quickly.  At that point a mothers glare or low growl is all that is needed to keep a young pup in line.  Litter mates also learn clear signals of communication with each other.



Dogs that are denied socialization during this critical period often become unpredictable because they are fearful or aggressive.  It is during this time that your dog needs to have positive experiences.  They need to be introduced to new things and begin the groundwork to becoming a happy, well-adjusted dog.


* Short attention spans

* Things learned are permanent and will be resistant to change

* Puppy will be eager to learn

* What he does and learns now will follow him into adulthood

* Puppy's temperament and personality will become more apparent

* Puppy will be transitioning his education from his mother to his human environment


* Any traumatic, painful or frightening experiences can have a lasting impact.


* Gradually introduce your puppy to new things, environments and people

* Make experiences positive (provide treats or toys)

* Don't push your puppy into fearful situations - take things slowly and allow him to adjust and get use to the situation.

* Do not let others push your puppy or be forceful with them

* Have a secure and comforting demeanor

* Teach the puppy you are there to protect and lead



The puppy has been in the home now for a few weeks.  He has been watching you and the family very closely.  He is picking up on human behaviors and reactions. He is learning the pecking order of the pack.  As he observes and learns, he will then attempt to figure out where exactly he stands in the pack order, and to also see if moving up in the pack will work. After all, he knows who the "weak links" are and will start at the bottom and try to move right up the pack.  How could such a cute little pup be such a pistol?


* Puppy will begin to question authority

* Puppy will attempt to move himself up in the pack order

* Puppy will try to dominate

* Puppy will grab leashes

* Puppy will try to determine what activities are going to be done and when

* Puppy may growl

* Puppy may put his mouth on you

* Puppy can often become over excited


* Learn how your actions and body language communicate to your dog

* Do not play aggressive games during this phase. (Tug or wrestling)

* If puppy becomes over excited, growls or mouths you, you stop all activity

* Be very aware of how the puppy interacts with children - do not leave children unattended with the puppy

* Enroll in a puppy kindergarten class to redirect some of the energy

* Evaluate the whole family's methods of interactions and corrections and make sure that all are consistent and clear

Developmental Stages part 2



Your cute little puppy has been following you around for weeks now.  He has been aware of where you are and stays pretty close.  During this period that same cute little puppy will decide that he is ready to go solo and take off running quicker than lightening.  Teaching the puppy that he must stay close by or come when called is critical.  Failing to do this will result in a dog that will not be reliable to come or to stay close by as an adult and very well could lead the dog into a life threatening situation.


* The puppy will become more independent

* A puppy that previously would never go very far, will venture off

* The Puppy will ignore commands to stay close or come

* How you handle refusal to come or stay will affect future reliability off leash

* Puppy will be clever in attempts to run around loose


* Leash on 100% of the time they are not in a confined area

* Never allow dog loose in an unconfined area (Yes this is redundant to the above, so it must be pretty important for us to say it twice.)

* Being off leash outside of a confined area is reserved for those who have been well trained

* Enroll in training class that utilizes positive training techniques

* Reinforce and continue to train your puppy "come"

* Make coming a very positive experience

* AND never allow your puppy to be off leash in an unconfined area



This is one of the most difficult times for pet owners. They are so surprised when their puppy turns into "devil dog" or "cujo".  This often is a time when many families start to worry that maybe they made a bad decision in getting a dog. Remember: you get what you put into it. Take the time right now to teach good habits and you will have the dog you always dreamed of for many years.  This work will payoff.


* The puppy will become a free and independent thinker

* The puppy will continue to review the pack order

* The puppy will be very energetic

* The puppy will be exuberant and enthusiastic

* They turn into clowns with teeth

* They will delight in learning new and fun things


* Appreciate the humor of it all

* Have you read the book The Dog Listener yet?  It will help

* Understand that despite the behaviors it is your time to continue to train and reinforce the things you do want him to do

* Reaffirm the family pack order

* Be realistic about expectations (still very much a puppy in a big boy body)

* Channel all that energy into positive learning experiences

* Continue with training classes; explore options for additional training opportunities



You have a puppy that is full of beans, he runs around like a clown in search of his next show.  But then, BAM, he refuses to walk down some stairs, he is shaking in the car, or he jumps at the sound of the neighbor's music.  Surprise! This is normal, but you must help your dog figure out how to deal with his fears or concerns.  The skills of learning how to "shake it off and keep going" will be valuable to him for the rest of his life.  It will also reduce the chances that the things he fears will not be permanently imprinted for life.


* The puppy that was so confident will suddenly become reluctant to new things

* This period can be subtle

* This period can come and go several times over this entire period.

* It may appear to be unprovoked or unrelated to any specific occurrence

* Puppy can become frustrating to owners

* You may notice this behavior more in males


* Avoid extremes in your response (no anger or forcing or over comforting)

* Be patient and understanding

* Be aware of surrounding and potential triggers

* Work on desensitizing him with gradual introductions and rewards

* Avoid too much reassurance or coddling (which is a reward for this behavior)

* Don't over react or correct the fearfulness - just make light of it and encourage him to deal with his fear (work through the fear)

* Praise with grand rewards for his attempts

* Your dog will take his cues from you, if you act frightened or concerned he will too



So the puppy is no longer an itty-bitty baby.  He is pretty much fully-grown in height.  He will begin to fill out a bit and develop more muscle tone, but he is still maturing mentally.  He IS a member of a pack and now begins to find that his turf is worthy of monitoring and protecting. Sort of sounds nice to have your dog be protective, but don't fall for it.  You do not want you dog to take over these responsibilities because in no time you too will be under the rule of the King Dog. This can lead to aggressive behaviors, protective to the point of creating fear, or actually harming someone or another animal as he protects.  This is bad news, and often a reason a dog is taken out of the home or destroyed.  So, don't allow your dog to be the King of the Castle.  Assign him the role of court jester - he will be happier and so will your family.


* The dog may become more turf protective

* Strangers may be greeted with barking.

* Barking at noises, birds, cars, butterflies, pretty much everything he believe worthy of attention

* Playing with other dogs may escalate to fighting

* Same sex confrontations with other dogs can occur

* Once again, checking the pack order to see if he can move up


* Reinforce how to greet strangers into your home

* Teach your dog to ignore dogs he cannot be nice to.

* Practice or reinforce dog manners (utilizing no threatening dogs)

* Learn to read your dog and other dogs (Circling, walking on toes, stiff tail wags, tense facial expressions - are the signs of aggressive behaviors)

* Rally your family to review that the pack order is clear and very one is consistent with training and corrections

* Reward him for good behaviors

* Give that dog another job, therapy work, obedience classes, agility

Thank you to Beth at IDOG for this valuable information!

Puppy Care

We've put together a few tips to get your puppy started off right.


We think the most important thing you can teach your puppy - starting the minute the puppy comes home - is SIT. This is the easiest thing to teach and most of our puppies go home knowing it. You simply push the puppy's bottom down and say SIT. When they do, you say GOOD SIT and praise them. Do this a few times and they will learn what a SIT is.

Tell your puppy to SIT before you put the food/water down. Tell your puppy to SIT before you pet or give any affection, when you let your puppy out of the crate, etc. Before anything, your puppy has to SIT. What you are doing is teaching your puppy to be mannerly and greet people sitting. You have taught the puppy that nothing good comes when you jump on us but when you sit, you get lots of praise and/or treats.


Start shopping for obedience classes in your area. Find a trainer that uses positive reinforcement and comes recommended. This will be the most important thing you can do for your relationship with your puppy. The puppy and everyone in the family will benefit. We've heard good things from our customers about PetCo's Positive Dog Training, which can be found in most larger markets.


As with children, you will likely want to puppy proof your house. Part of it is to keep the pup safe, and the rest is to keep your stuff safe from the pup. Puppies chew things. Everything below four feet is fair game. Expect it and prepare for it. One of the best solutions is to offer a wide variety of puppy safe chew products all over each accessible floor in the house. If the pup is going to chew, you might as well control what he is chewing. Supervise your puppy at all times. Use child proof locks to keep substances like pesticides, medications, cleaning products, plants, etc locked up in cabinets and away from your puppy. When puppies are young, even rawhide strips and greenies can be dangerous, never give these to your puppy unsupervised.

Avoid heat stroke and don't leave puppies or dogs in the car. Puppies and dogs should never be left alone around water or pools. They can drown in a matter of seconds. You should teach your puppy how to swim and how to find the steps to get out of the pool. Most puppies can swim but need to be able to find the stairs to get out.


Make an appointment with your Vet for a new puppy wellness check. Your puppy will not need any vaccinations at this appointment but it's good to establish a relationship with your Vet and the puppy.


Some great articles that are a must read on early puppy socialization...

"What is Puppy socialization?" from the Dog Obedience Training Review

"Socialization for Young Pups" from the ASPCA

"How to Socialize your puppy" by Karen Pryor Clicker Training

"Puppy Socialization is Part of Training a Pup" from Perfect Paws


You should not allow your puppy to be out in high risk public places - dog parks, pet stores, rest stops, doggy day care, kennels - until after the Parvo vaccinations have been completed, 16 weeks/4-months. You should wait at least 2 weeks after the last booster. Speak to your Vet about the risk in your area. 


Ear care is very important! The number one reason dogs visited a vet last year was ear infections. This is not Doodle specific but with all dogs. We use Derma Pet's Malacetic Otic weekly and after every bath, swim and groomer appointment. Order online at or purchase at your vet's.  Doubledoodles are floppy eared dogs - which doesn't allow air flow to the ears. It's very important to keep their ears dry and clean. Don't be afraid to let them swim! Just make sure you use this product or another drying solution afterwards. We have learned being proactive with ear care will save you lots of trips to the Vet. Here's a great set of step-by-step instructions from Pet Wave on How to Clean your Dog's Ears.

Puppy Shopping List


• Pin Brush

• Medium tooth Comb

• Puppy Shampoo

• Puppy Conditioner /Grooming Spray

        • Ear Wash solution (See the Puppy Care Info page)

• Plier-style nail clippers w/nail guard

• Ear cleaning/drying solution. Cotton balls for cleaning ears.

• Firm-up Pumpkin or 100% Pure canned Pumpkin (from the baking isle of your grocery store) Pumpkin is a good source of fiber. When puppy has diarrhea or constipation, a tablespoon or two with every meal for several days should help alleviate symptoms. Freeze excess in ice cube tray.


Puppies don't need a lot of treats from the first month until they are about 12 weeks old - treats can upset their stomachs and cause diarrhea. It's best to treat them with pieces of their dog food and lots of praise.

• Medium or Large Kong Toy

• Stuffed Dog Toys w/ squeakers

• Balls (squeaky rubber balls)

• Sterilized bones or bully sticks for chewing.  One of our favorites is Deer, Elk and Moose Antlers.  Here is a link to an amazing company we use for our dogs.


• Ownership and Training books recommendations include: "The Dog Listener", "Puppies for Dummies", and many more found at your local book store.  The Internet is also a great source.

• Start shopping for Obedience classes

• Lots of Love and Patience :)

Pool and Water Safety

Many Doubledoodles enjoy swimming as much as people do, and cool times in the local swimming spot or backyard pool are one of the best parts of summer. But you have to look out for your Doubledoodle puppy around water, since even the strongest, most enthusiastic swimmers can get into trouble.

The keys to water safety for dogs: prevention, preparedness and awareness.


No dog should be given unsupervised access to a backyard pool or a neighborhood pond or creek. Swimming pools are best fenced off for safety. And if that's not possible, they should be equipped with alarms that sound when the surface of the water is broken by a child or pet falling in. Escape tools like the Skamper-Ramp (; 1-877-766-5738) are a good idea, but it's better to prevent pets from getting in unsupervised in the first place.

Prevention also includes teaching your pet what to do when he/she's in the pool. Dogs don't get the idea that the steps are on one side only, and they may tire and drown trying to crawl out the side. If your pet likes to swim, work with him/her in the pool to help them learn where the steps are so he/she can get out easily. Most puppies/dogs can swim but they cannot find their way out of a pool. Get in with your puppy and teach him/her where the steps are and how to get out.

Finally, obedience training is extremely important. Your dog should come when called, even when swimming, so you can call him/her back before the dog heads into deeper water or stronger currents. Emergency shortcut: Always carry extra retrieving toys. A dog who's heading out into a dangerous area after a ball or stick can often be lured back into shore with a second item thrown closer in. It's no substitute for training, but it could save your dog's life.


Before letting your dog swim in any natural surroundings, survey the area for safety. Rivers and oceans can change frequently, and an area that was safe for swimming one visit can be treacherous the next. Consider currents, tides, underwater hazards and even the condition of the water. In the late summer, algae scum on the top of standing water can be toxic, producing substances that can kill a pet who swallows the tainted water.

When in doubt, no swimming. Better safe than sorry.

One of the best things you can do is take courses in first aid and CPR for your pets. Many local Red Cross chapters offer these classes, and some veterinarians may also teach them in your community. A dog who's pulled out near death from drowning may be saved by your prompt actions -- if you know what to do.

If your dog isn't much of a swimmer, or is older or debilitated, get him a personal floatation device. These are especially great for family boating trips because most have sturdy handles for rescue when a pet goes overboard.


Be aware of your dog's condition as he/she plays. Remember that even swimming dogs can get hot, so bring fresh water and offer it constantly. When your dog is tiring, be sure to call it a day. A tired dog is a good dog, but an exhausted dog is in danger of drowning.

Be particularly careful of young and old dogs. Both can get themselves into more trouble when a healthy adult dog with lots of swimming experience. Young dogs can panic in the water, and old dogs may not realize they aren't as strong as they used to be. Keep them close to shore, and keep swimming sessions short.

Swimming is great exercise and great fun for all, and with these few simple precautions you can keep the cool times coming, with safety in mind.


Just as it seems that as many "baby" gates are purchased for pets as for children, the ubiquitous kiddie pool has thoroughly gone to the dogs.

The small pools made of hard plastic are perfect for dogs of all sizes, providing a tummy-cooling wallow for an overheated retriever or a safe way to wade for a swim-challenged pug. (Be sure to choose the hard-plastic variety; the inflatable kind doesn't hold up well to dog claws.)

Always supervise the pool's use, to prevent any accidents.

Kept clean and stored in a covered spot for winter, a kiddie pool will last for many seasons. Just remember in the summer that standing water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes and toxic algae, so rinse it clean after every use and refill it with fresh water every time.

Potty and Crate Training


Gate off an area with the potty door in it. Use the same door every time you take your puppy out. Hang the bells (see below) on the door and ring them, with their foot. We say "Go Out" - Let's "GO OUT" once the puppy is on grass, we say "GO POTTY" - "LET'S GO POTTY".  Doubledoodles are extremely smart and eager to please.  Once they go potty, praise them and tell them how fabulous they are for going potty outside. The key to house training your puppy is you have to be consistent and have patience. This is all new to your puppy. They don't know what you expect from them until you teach them.  Never use anything but positive reinforcement with your doodle!  They will understand quickly with just the tone of your voice.  Watch your puppy constantly! If you can't watch the puppy, crate it.  Crating the puppy for naps and periodically during the day will teach your puppy to hold for longer period of times and get your puppy used to being calm in it's crate faster.  Always potty your puppy before and after crating.  The rule of thumb for how long your puppy can hold it in the crate during the day is it's age in months.  At 8 weeks old - 2 months, your puppy can hold it 2 hours in the crate.  3 months, 3 hours etc.  Teaching the puppy to sleep in the crate and not soil it, is an intensive and exhaustive task.  The early days of this process are the most difficult.  We introduce them to the crate at 3 weeks.  We start by leaving a crate for the puppies without a door.  As they grow, we introduce a second crate and this time we leave the doors on.  We start by closing them in for 10-15 minutes at a time, before gradually working up to 4-6 hours at night.  We take the water away by 6 pm.  The last time out is around 11 pm.  Once your puppy is asleep, if your puppy wakes up crying in the middle of the night, s/he probably has to go out.  You should take the puppy out, say "go potty" or any cue but be consistent, afterwards, it's directly back in the crate. Let them know that middle of the night trips are all business.  No playtime, no drinking etc. 


We recommend a 42" or 48" wire crate as the permanent crate for standards and the 36" for Mini's. Make sure the crate has a divider.  You will want to section off a small space in the beginning, just large enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around and lay down in.  You can put a blanket around the crate to make it feel more like a den.  Puppies, by nature, prefer to be clean and will not lay where they have had an accident.  This makes the crate an invaluable training tool, as it is safer for your puppy to be crated than unsupervised. 


Poochie-Bells work!  Hang them on the door you let your puppy out.  Every time you take the puppy out, say 'Let's go out - Ring your bells - Go Outside' and ring the bell with one of the puppies paws.  Once you get to the grass you say 'Go Potty'.  We don't say 'Potty' in the house because doodles are extremely smart and learn to potty on command. :) At first you will take the puppy out often - don't wait for them to ask or have an accident - take them out on schedule unless they are napping in the crate.  For the first few months puppies should be taken out for a potty break:

• when they wake up

• after they eat

• after they drink

• if they start to sniff and circle

• every 20 minutes or so while they are awake

• before and after they are crated

Thankfully puppies sleep a lot.  The trick is to let them understand that outside is for relieving themselves.  It's a new concept for them - but if it's clear, then they will understand what they need to do.  The less accidents they have, the faster they learn.  It takes some puppies only a few days to learn to ring the bell to ask to go out.  (And for a while there, you're trained to the bell, because they go often - but it's worth it in the long run.) 

Your friends and family members will think you have an Einstein puppy when he/she rings the bell to go out in front of them! :)  It's really easy to teach with repetition, praise and patience.

Order your Poochie-Bells online.