New Puppy Handbook
You are welcoming a new puppy to your family - what an important and exciting decision! This handbook offers information to make this transition a positive and smooth experience for both you and your puppy.
Welcoming a new puppy is much like welcoming a new baby. The first few days at home are an important opportunity for you to bond with your puppy as well as make her feel comfortable in her new home. If possible, set aside 3 full days to help your puppy with this transition. Depending on your schedule, weekends often work great!
Keep in mind that even though you are excited, your puppy may be a little unsure or nervous in her new surroundings. She has left the only home she has ever known - her siblings, her mom, and her human mom, and she needs a period of time to adjust. Don’t worry, it usually doesn’t take long! With plenty of rest and some TLC, she will be feeling at home in no time.
The first week of training is very important. This period of time sets the routines and expectations that your puppy will live by. All family members should agree on how your puppy will be trained and abide by the rules.
Potty training should begin as soon as you arrive home. We recommend crate training, as this method is highly effective and also very natural for your puppy. Dogs are den animals and find comfort and security in a cave environment. They are also naturally clean animals and do not wish to soil their den. A crate mimics this cave-like environment. By providing your puppy with a crate, you are giving her a safe and comfortable space that she will want to keep clean.
Put your puppy in her crate for naps and nighttime. When she wakes up, immediately take her outside to eliminate/potty in the designated area. Watch for restlessness or whining, which are common signs that she may need to potty. Only praise your puppy when she potties where you want her to, but don't scold her (even playfully) when she has an accident. Remember, she's a baby and will have accidents!
Only put your puppy in her crate after she has satisfied her play and potty needs, and do not use the crate as an area of confinement or punishment. In addition, let your puppy spend some time in her crate when you are home with her. This prevents her from associating the crate with being left alone.
For the first few days at home, we recommend following the One Hour Rule. Take your puppy to the designated potty area every hour, and praise her when she goes! As you continue to work on potty training, your puppy’s schedule may look something like the following:
Wake up & potty
Potty 5-20 minutes after eating
Nap/Rest in crate
Potty 5-20 minutes after eating
Nap/Rest in crate
Potty 5-20 minutes after eating
Bedtime in crate
Nighttime potty break 3-4 hours after going to sleep
This is just one example of what your puppy’s schedule could look like. Remember to be flexible and find a schedule that works well for your family. In addition, resist the temptation to over-play with your puppy. She is still a baby and needs lots of rest! Too much play can cause her to exhaust herself. As a result, she may be too tired to eat, or she may experience potty training delays.
Dogs are pack animals, and it is very important that your puppy recognizes YOU as the leader of the pack. Keep this in mind as you begin teaching your puppy the behaviors you expect from her. In addition, consistency is key to having a well-trained and obedient lifelong companion. If you don't want your dog to sleep on the furniture or beg for food at every meal, don't allow your puppy to practice those habits from the beginning.
We highly recommend a basic obedience class. Training books and videos are also an excellent resource. We have listed several recommendations below. Find a training system that you like and be consistent!
The Dog Listener by Jan Ferrell
Cesar’s Way by Cesar Millan
Dog Whisperer (TV series) with Cesar Millan
Dunbar Academy - Online courses by Ian, Kelly & Jamie Dunbar
Dog Training Revolution by Zak George
As you begin to train your puppy and develop a routine, keep in mind that Cavapoos thrive on companionship and playtime. Make sure you spend time with your puppy each day, as well as give her the exercise she needs. A daily walk is a great option! If you must leave your puppy for several hours every day, consider hiring a daily dog walker.
FEEDING YOUR NEW PUPPY
Prior to sending your puppy home with you, we do not restrict her food intake. She has been eating with her litter mates, and we want to make sure that each puppy gets the food they need. Once you bring your puppy home, we recommend that you begin to establish a feeding schedule. This will assist with potty training.
Start with ½ cup of food, and let your puppy eat until she starts to play or becomes distracted. Then, quietly take away any uneaten food, and wait until the next feeding to offer more. For the first week at home, repeat this process 3-4 times a day within a 12 hour window. This process will teach your puppy to respect mealtime. When she’s adjusted to her new schedule, you can establish 1 or 2 meal times a day. While feeding amounts vary across brands, your Cavapoo will most likely need ¾ - 1 cup of food per day.
We feed our puppies Purina ProPlan Puppy food (Chicken & Rice Formula). We will send a small bag of this food home with you. We recommend you slowly transition your puppy from this food to the food you plan to feed your puppy moving forward. To do so, mix a small amount of your food with ours. As time goes by, gradually increase the ratio of your food to ours. Eventually, your puppy will be completely transitioned to the food of your choice.
Eating things is part of a puppy’s natural instinct to explore, so please be aware of what is toxic to your puppy. She is counting on you to keep her safe. View our toxin list. Some of the items will surprise you!
It is our goal for you to have a loving and well-socialized puppy, which is why we begin holding all of our puppies from birth. While your puppy definitely spends a lot of quality time with her mother, she is also held by both adults and children so she grows comfortable with human interaction.
You can continue to socialize your puppy as soon as she arrives home. Introduce her to new experiences and people, as well as environments that she may regularly come into contact with (e.g. sand at the beach, water for baths/swimming, etc.). All of these interactions will help her grow into an accepting and joyful dog who isn't easily startled or upset. Research “Puppy Socialization Checklist” on Google for additional tips and ideas.
As you start socializing, please remember that your puppy has not had all of her vaccinations yet. Make sure that any other animals she comes into contact with are healthy and up to date on their vaccinations.
INTRODUCING PUPPY TO OTHER PETS
If you have other pets in your home, it is best to introduce them to your new puppy when she is in her crate. Allow plenty of time for them to sniff and get to know one another. Offer praise and treats, and avoid scolding. Keep all of their interactions supervised in the beginning. If your other pets are much larger, consider playpens, if necessary, until all the animals in your home have grown comfortable with each other.
BITING & TEETHING
Puppies will naturally chew on things as they teethe and explore. Encourage appropriate chewing habits by offering your puppy a variety of toys. Only set out a few toys at a time, and change them out regularly to keep your puppy excited about chewing on them, rather than your shoes and furniture! Offer different tastes, textures, noises, and shapes.
Cavapoos are gentle dogs by nature, but it is important to encourage your puppy to have a “soft mouth” to prevent her from developing bad biting habits. Acquired Bite Inhibition (ABI) means your puppy has learned to keep her bite strength at a moderate level, not biting hard enough to actually hurt you. Your puppy will begin to learn this while playing with her littermates. For additional information on how you can encourage appropriate behavior, consult training experts. Ian Dunbar and Zak George both offer helpful YouTube videos on this topic.
Regularly brush your puppy’s fur to prevent tangles. We also recommend teeth brushing at least once a week to prevent tartar build-up. Begin these practices right away so your puppy becomes comfortable with them.
Cavaliers and Poodles are both genetically inclined to some cosmetic tear stains, so these stains can occur in Cavapoos as well. Gentle washing, eye combs, Angels’ Eyes wipes, and OcuBright supplements are all options for addressing tear stain build up. If needed, consult your veterinarian on what option would work best for your puppy.
LOVE & AFFECTION
While affection does not take the place of obedience training, it is a very important part of it! Your puppy will respond well to you when she feels loved. Snuggles, talks, walks, and playtime are all important parts of communicating that love to her!
So love and dote on your new puppy! It is our hope that she will fill your home and life with joy!