your new best friend
When your puppy comes home, be sure to continue the handling we’ve done here so that they’re well behaved for your Vet, groomer, and yourself when they need something done for their own good.
While the puppy coat requires little brushing now, at about 6 months the adult starts to come in and during this period you’ll want to brush them daily to prevent matting. Anticipating this, you should practice brushing your pup now so they’re used to the feel of the brush and learn to enjoy sitting or laying quiet while you brush them. We use Madden pin brushes on our labradoodles and have found this brush to be excellent quality. The pins don’t fall out or push in, and it does an excellent, gentle job on the labradoodle coat.
I find it’s easiest and much less of a battle to brush a puppy in the evening when they’re sleepy. If you catch them in play mode during the day, you will only be reinforcing that brushing time is something to get all riled up about. When they’re tired, they are less likely to want to bite at the brush (which most puppies like to do as they’re in the stage of exploring with their mouths). If they do bite at the brush, tell them “no”, establishing right away that this is not a toy or game. Find them napping and brush them gently and calmly for a few minutes, (remember the purpose of this exercise is not to do a thorough brushing job, it’s just to familiarize them with the brush and end on a good note.). Praise them calmly as you’re brushing so it’s a good, relaxing experience for them.
Clipping their nails is also a good exercise to do when you find them tired out. They tend to care a lot less about things. It’s good to clip their nails often enough so they are used to it and so you won’t need two people when they’re adults (one to hold them down) to clip their nails. You can start by just clipping the nails on one paw. This way your pup learns this is quick and no big deal. It also gives you the opportunity to practice this exercise 4 days in a row, rather than once and then having to wait for them to grow again. When clipping, clip just the tip of the nail where it starts to curve downward, holding the nail clippers parallel to the bottom of the paw. Be careful not to clip too much, otherwise it will hurt and the nail will bleed. Lean towards clipping little bits more often than trying to get a lot off all at once.
Ear cleaning is something that labradoodles need since they have those long ears that trap and hold in moisture. You can make sure your puppy will be good for ear cleaning by handling their ears even when you’re not having to clean them. Check their ears every few weeks and if you notice they look dirty, then get a cotton ball (or makeup remover pad, etc.) and wet it with an ear cleaner solution, then gently rub the inside ear flap and folds you can see, but not down in the ear! Never push anything down in the ear, you could damage the ear and cause your puppy pain. When you’re done cleaning what you can see, pour some ear cleaning solution right into the ear then rub the outside of the ear to work it all around. (you’ll hear swishing) Then allow your pup to shake it’s head (this gets the dirt that was just loosened up out of the ear). Do the other side, and finish with an ear drying powder.
We use and recommend Vet’s best ear cleaning cleaner as it’s alcohol free (alcohol feels cold to the skin and can sting, making it unpleasant for dog’s ears) and all natural.
You don’t need to bathe your labradoodle often as their coats are meant to repell dirt. In fact, over bathing can harm this quality in their coat, and actually cause you to need to bathe more often. If they get dirty, let them dry and simply brush the dirt right out. It is good to get them used to getting wet though, and when you do use shampoo, we recommend a tearless shampoo specifically designed for dogs as their PH balance is different than humans.
While the Australian labradoodle is not a hyper dog requiring hours of activity every day, every dog’s core need after food and water is exercise. A dog lacking exercise, no matter how much they’re loved, may become frustrated, acting out with bad behavior. A good 30-45 minute walk daily will meet this need your new family member has. You will want to do appropriate exercise for your puppy’s age. For example, an adult dog would probably love being a running partner but you should avoid such rigorous activity with your puppy until they’re a year old. Up until then, their joints are developing and jogging on pavement would not be good for their joints. However, this does not mean you have to limit their activity. Running across the yard chasing a ball at their own pace and will is good for their developing body, and talking walks through the neighborhood is an excellent way to meet their exercise needs.