Preparing for "Puppy Pick Day" and other FAQ's!
Schedule for pickup on Saturday, November 12th, 2022
We look forward to spending this hour with each of you answering questions specific to your puppy and living situation and any advice we can give. We are here for you and your puppy for its entire lifetime and want to make sure you feel comfortable with all this new information. Remember that you should never “settle” on a puppy and there is always an option to wait for the next litter, or return your puppy for a full refund (minus the deposit) for up to 12 weeks!
With Love & Gratitude,
Grace & Family
Order Food: We now send our puppies home having started to eat Royal Canin X-Small OR Small Puppy. They can be found on Amazon in 3, 13, or 30lb bags and we also send you home with a few days worth. We've experimented with many different food types. So far, this has worked incredibly well for keeping their stools regular (and smaller!) and is also one of the Veterinarian Approved AFCCO brands. As they grow older, you can use the regular puppy formula, but we find the X-Small kibble size perfect for them at this age. We also highly recommend purchasing Fortiflora probiotics by Purina Pro Plan to add a FULL packet of this to their food each day for as long as possible (3 months ideally). We personally give our adult dogs and puppies Fortiflora every day (adults get the chewable ones).
Make a Vet appointment for within the week (preferably 3 days) after you bring them home. The puppies will already come home microchipped, but need to be registered by you at AKC Home Again (our packet will include this information), fecal tested (a level 3 comprehensive that has been sent out to a lab called ClueJay), 2 Distemper, Adenovirus, Corona Virus and Parvo vaccines (plus NeoPar at 10 days old), a deworming protocol at 2, 4, 6, & 8 weeks, and a protozoal preventative called Toltrazuril for non-detectable parasites like Coccidia and Giardia.
IF YOU HAVE NOT HAD A PUPPY BEFORE OR it's been a while, PLEASE Register with Baxter & Bella using GWD25 for 25% off normal pricing. I have personally spoken at length with Amy and Scott and know that their curriculum lines up very closely with ours. I am happy to officially recommend them. Why?
Because they respect and honor their puppies by empowering them and never enabling them.
A "nothing in life is free" ideology.
Ensuring you do not humanize your puppy but instead learn to effectively communicate.
So, so, so, so many videos, classes, and professional trainers for all kinds of learners. They even involve children in their training and have courses for dogs to become AKC good citizen certified (please let us know if you achieve this wonderful title!).
It takes 3 of us to create a great puppy. Their breeder, their owner (YOU!), and a professional/established training program. We are sending you home with a socialized, compliant and empowered puppy. Please help us keep them this way!
Also, as much as I would love to answer ALL your questions about training and go-home preparations, I'm only one person! This program is designed to begin before you even take your pup home :-)
If you live in the area, we also highly recommend Kathy Santos Dog training. We personally take our own dogs there all the time for tips and reminders. It's a low time commitment (30 minutes) in a group class... teaching you more than basic commands and they give individual attention to each family, showing you exactly how to time your voice/body movements, etc. We especially recommend this for older children who will gain great confidence with some instruction.
Take advantage of your 30 days of free Health Insurance through Trupanion! I will have already contacted them with your information and will send you home with a code. Simply go to the website and type in this code to get immediate activation with no further obligation. However, If you live in NY - You will have to set up a recurring payment to start the following month.
I recommend getting your deductible up to $1,000 so you only pay 32/month. The benefit of Trupanion is that they pay your vet directly (so no arguing with the insurance company for reimbursement or being questioned about what your vet performed, etc) and by taking advantage of this particular offer, you have NO WAITING PERIOD for your insurance to start. Most insurances have grace periods and required vet visits, etc, to begin working. If Pet Insurance is something you're interested in, this is definitely who we recommend and also the AGE to start. Locking in a low monthly rate for a health 8 week old puppy is paramount.
Please review our contract before pick-up. We will be sending them out via Docusign before you arrive. Pick day is SO exciting and also a little overwhelming. Who wants to be dealing with paperwork instead of getting to know their new companions?! Please note: signing the contract is not financially binding in any way. If you don't bing home a puppy on pick-up day, we simply void it.
Decide on your payment method. We accept personal check made out to "Ethical Breeding LLC". We also accept Cash, Venmo (there is a small fee for our business account), and Zelle. Arrangements can be made for credit card payment if required. We must charge Sales Tax (6.25% in New Jersey) as we are an established LLC. Remember, we take the puppy back for ANY REASON before 12 weeks, for a full-refund minus your initial deposit.
View our Puppy Evaluations posted on the smugmug page (there will be a link posted at the 7 week mark) and start making a list in your head of who YOU think fits your family best! We are usually able to narrow down your top 2-3 choices beforehand, based on lifestyle and temperament, and love to do face-time chats or calls during this 7-10 day period after you've seen them all in action. Please note: we DON'T offer personality "tips" before 49 days old. It is evidence based practice but we've also seen this in real life... SO MUCH CHANGES in that week! While we totally respect your reasons for choosing your puppy, try not get attached to any one of them based on how they look or a cute video you might see with one of them in it. We place a lot of value on our temperament evals and truly believe it sets up our puppies AND our clients for the best matches. But what if you don't get the puppy you really wanted/needed? Our puppies should NEVER be a burden or feel "settled" on. If you don't feel the puppy you end up with during your pick time is a good match, we are happy to move you to the next litter's list or refund your deposit.
There is NO PERFECT PUPPY. PERIOD. They are impatient, new to your home, and used to playing with their littermates instead of watching you for their new "cues". So PLEASE, if you want a puppy... be prepared to put in a few weeks of vigilance and patience. We have begun crate training, potty training, etc. HOWEVER - going to a new home with new routines is going to cause some regression. We highly recommend Baxter & Bella. It's truly effective puppy training and the families who purchase it before taking the puppy have a smoother transition. If you're not into the online format, PLEASE consider at least a few group training sessions. They are truly the best way to answer all the questions you have after go-home.
If you've joined a master wait-list, then it's time to join our Facebook group to keep up with siblings from their litter and share your puppies progress with us! We are working on video modules for training, slowly but surely when we have the chance with new puppies!
See a list of GWD's favorite Things for our recommendations on what to have. It's a very comprehensive list, so this is a BASIC NECCESSITIES for you to keep on hand:
1) A 36" crate with a divider.
2) A bed (we recommend washable fleecy surfaces).
3) A Nail Grinder (we highly recommend the Dremmel Animal)
4) Royal Canin X-small Puppy or Small Puppy Food.
5) Purina Pro Plan Fortiflora probiotic. This is extremely important!
6) A variety of different squeaky, crinkly chew toys, puzzle feeders, and ruffle matts.
7) Food and water bowls. We have Yeti Boomer 8 bowls available for purchase at $50 because we find them exceptional for keeping water cool all day, ease in cleaning, non-slip bottom, and nice large size.
LATER: When your dog is fully grown around 6 months, we recommend a harness for walking and recommend the "Ruffwear" Brand because of it's double leash placement. One up top, and one in front (where they should learn to walk beside you without being able to pull you forward).
These are the things we send you home with and you do not need to buy:
1) A basic collar with a pre-paid Microchip number attached from AKC ReUnite.
2) A "slip lead" collar for emergencies and to get them used to walking.
3) A seatbelt that minimizes carsickness and teaches them to ride safely next to you in the front seat.
4) A favorite toy.
5) Samples of the treats we use and 3-5 packets of Fortiflora.
6) A "slicker brush" and doggie toothbrush (they only need to stay desensitized for now, no toothpaste right now ;-))
7) The Official GANA book of Goldendoodles.
8) A packet with their Vaccine & Medical records, DNA results, PCA Fecal Test Results, AKC ReUnite Microchip Registration Information, Trupanion Registration Packet, Baxter & Bella "sample schedule" for the 1st three days with puppy, and our own reminders of how to continue the 10-step "touch tolerance" with your puppy after they go home :-)
9) For an additional charge ($40), we send home a "snuggle puppy" which we highly recommend. We buy them from amazon in advance to get your puppy used to sleeping with it as we gradually separate them (smaller groups at first, down to 2, and often down to 1). It has a heartbeat inside and a warming packet. We LOVE these and even if you don't opt to get one, we use our own ones with them for the last 2 weeks. Having their "own" one gives them the benefit of bringing home their litter-mates scent. It helps SO much during those first few nights in a new place! Please let me know if this is something you're interested in before 6-weeks.
1) How should I bring the puppy home? If you are alone, we will show you how to install the seatbelt into the front seat and use the slip leach to wrap it around the top of the headrest so that the puppy is secured in two locations. Puppies do not have fully developed "inner ears" and are prone to vertigo in cars, so they naturally may get nauseas. Most most of the time, the drooling is the biggest issue, but some do just fine! Since learning to position them securely, our previous owners have reported excellent results! If you have someone with you, just have them hold tightly:-)
2) How much do I feed the puppy? These puppies are (literally genetically) NOT over-eaters. They are less food-driven than other breeds, and we recommend giving them as much as needed to feel satiated. When in doubt, check with your vet. However, this is our personal experience with the parent dogs and other litters of the same exact puppies! They will be growing at a rapid rate and will need proper nutrition. Fill their bowl with about a cup of food. If they RUSH through it, give them a quarter cup more, and so on! We recommend feeding TWICE per day. Once in the morning when they wake up, and a second time in the EARLY evening (before your own dinner time). For treats and rewards, use pieces of kibble OR Stewart brand freeze dried liver treats. Dogs love this vet & trainer recommended brand and they're all natural and USA sourced. Dogs love liver, but save the organ meats for potty commands only. Organ meats are great for puppies for the B12 and other nutrients, but too much won't be good for their small puppy kidneys. Potty training will also be your number 1 priority at first, so save the high-reward treats for that!
PLEASE give them a package of Fortiflora probiotic every day. We work hard to rid them of any parasites, but stress (new environments, away from their littermates, etc) can lower their immune system and make them more susceptible to activated parasites (which can be picked up even in soil and grass, remaining inactive in a healthy, older dogs gut). Fortiflora is a patented probiotic that has truly worked wonders. Yes, it is expensive - but WE have been giving your puppy a full packet every day since they were 4.5 weeks old! We are learning so much about gut-health in dogs and young puppies and how it can affect their health, future allergies, and even personality for the rest of their lives. We have personally experienced calmer, more even tempered litters starting 18 months ago when we used Fortiflora consistently.
3) How Much Water? Water needs to be available to young puppies and dogs, especially in the summer months, at ALL TIMES. Use a stainless steel bowl for easy washing and antimicrobial properties. We sell Yeti Boomer Bowls on-site because they keep the water cold, hold a LOT at one time, and are heavy enough to not tip-over or slide around. Stop water 3 hours before going into the crate for the night to avoid accidents. Every time you are in the car, out socializing, or going for a walk, plan for a way to hydrate them especially in the warmer months.
4) Can they be around other dogs? This is a personal decision and the internet and every professional under the sun will give you a different opinion. We make a HUGE push to get at least three Vaccines safely into 8 weeks old puppies as we can... SOLELY for the purpose of them being able to socialize as early and often as possible! SOCIALIZATION > IMMUNIZATIONS is our motto by a long shot. Be reasonable and don't bring your dog to dog parks or major dog-traffic areas etc until you've completed their full vaccine schedule. Also, don't let them go off leash sniffing and licking other dog or animal feces - this is the only way they'd actually get sick. However, if you're going to a BBQ or a party where you know other dogs are well mannered and immunized, there will be lots of noise, children, and caring adults who can't wait to meet your new puppy... bring them! Bring them everywhere you can. If they don't like the car? That's even more reason to get them in it more often! Expose them to all kinds of people, all kinds of sounds, beaches, forests, whatever you can POSSIBLY get them into. The absolute most important thing we can do for our dogs is to socialize. We only have until 20 weeks to lock it all in!
5) When should I spay/neuter my dog? Based on recent studies (and we are finding many vets agree with us) you should Spay your female dog before their first "heat cycle" at 5.5 months old. If you end up hitting the 6 month period and they go into heat (our dogs cycle pretty regularly, so don't be surprised!) - don't panic. You will need to keep them in a doggie diaper for just a few days until the bleeding stops, and wait another few weeks until scheduling the spay appointment. It's much too risky to spay a dog DURING their actual heat due to hormonal increases and blood loss. You should Neuter your Male dog around 15 months (between 12-18 months) because their testosterone will be a main ingredient in hip/joint/and bone formation. THIS BEING SAID - if you begin to see even the SLIGHTEST change in personality towards aggression, resource guarding (protecting their food, bones, favorite toys, etc.) during their testosterone "surge" at 6 months of age, you need to make a decision to spay them right away, or make a commitment to training them NOT to resource guard. If you get to this point and need advice, please call us right away. It won't be the end of the world to spay them early, and you will eliminate the risk of them progressing on to an aggressive dog that weighs 50-60 lbs, which can be very serious - even with Goldendoodles.
6) Should I crate train them? This is a completely personal decision. Because we crate the puppies at night, we have found that it trains the dogs to be "house-broken" much quicker. Dogs have a natural tendency to NOT poop/pee where they sleep. Buying a 36" crate with a divider gives you the option to contain them in a small sleeping space and gradually increase the space as they grow. It also teaches them to "hold" their bowels and pee, giving you a wonderful opportunity each morning to take them right outside and compliment them/give them a treat immediately for using the bathroom outside. We recommend getting "door bells," which hang from the door. Each morning as you take them out of the crate and guide them towards the backdoor, you hit the bells as you open it, and they quickly learn that this is the way to get your attention to open it for them during the day. Potty training is a course of its own and there is no "one fits all" answer for any family. We are happy to chat with you once your puppy goes home about your situation/environment to help develop the best plan for successful training.
IMPORTANT: Puppies. taking probiotics and staying on the same food they go home with are easier to house train. Regular, healthy bowel movements teach puppies to respond to their "urge" and give them the ability to warn you when they need to go. If they change foods suddenly or don't have healthy gut bacteria, they will quickly develop diarrhea and this is a huge missed opportunity to learn WHERE you want them to relieve themselves! Just like humans, intestines and bladder exist in the same abdominal cavity. When your bladder is full, your brain tells you to pee... and when your bowel is full, you are able to hold it longer to get to the bathroom. When puppies develop diarrhea, not only does it put them at risk of dehydration... but it rewires their ability to hold their pee or bowels, and thus their ability to communicate with you about their needs.
Crates are also very useful for giving your puppy a safe place to go when they feel overwhelmed. If you have frequent house guests or young children, a crate is a way to let them have control over feeling their "safe space" is always available to them. NEVER use the crate for punishment. Introduce it slowly. We recommend placing your dog in the crate with some treats, a chew toy, and other abilities to "self soothe." They may whine and bark at first, but getting them used to this safe space is very important in their ability to self-soothe when needed. Baxter & Bella has a great course on how to introduce this process to them slowly, day by day. If you are a family who wants the ability for your dog to go into the crate on command, we highly recommend starting their training program. We also recommend a product called "Adaptil" which is an all-natural pheromone diffuser that can be plugged into an outlet near their crate. It lasts 60 days, and gives them a feeling of natural comfort when inside their crate. We have already started using Adaptil near their sleep space and also play "soothing sleep sounds" with the lights out as they go to sleep. A cover over their crate is also a great way to tell them that it's time for bed. Please try not to worry about traumatizing your dog if they are upset about their crate the first few times. They are NOT humans, and they need to learn how to co-exist in their new environment! Believe me - they will be MUCH happier in the long run, and so will you :-)
7) How often should we groom/bathe? Baths should be kept to a minimum, especially when washing their genital areas. Again - this is all about healthy bacteria. Their skin at 8-weeks old is thin, fragile, and prone to yeast development (which will show up as itching and possible dandruff), so once a month is more than sufficient. We personally love the shampoo on amazon called "Mink Sheen." Brushing and Nail grinding, on the other hand, is extremely important for keeping them used to it. We will show you how to use the nail grinder when you come, and the slicker brush is something they need to get used to daily, when possible. We already do this with them from the very beginning. While it might not seem "needed" as young puppies with soft coats, they WILL need it to prevent matts forming as they get older, and you want them to stay compliant. Matt's can becoming very serious when they tighten near the skin and can even cut off blood circulation in places like the tips of their ears. Please keep them compliant with these practices. It isn't always easy, but as doodles, it will always be a big part of their life and they need to stay used to it! Try to make their first grooming appointment before 6 months of age. Just because you don't like seeing them squirm during nails or brushing, does not mean they aren't uncomfortable getting it done at the groomers! The BEST thing for your puppy is to get comfortable and used to these practices with you at home. We also recommend using your fingers to "pluck" the little goobers from their eyes that stick to their fur every-time you see them. They'll eventually love when you do it for them :-)
IMPORTANT: These puppies, in particular, have big floppy lady-and-the-tramp ears that are beautiful! ESPECIALLY as puppies, moisture can get trapped in their ears and develop yeast infections. They are easy to detect because the puppy's normally light pink ear skin will turn more red, they will scratch them frequently, and there may be wax buildup. Prevent yeast infections by checking that their ears are kept DRY inside. At the slightest sign of redness, get Zymox drops inside their ears (as much as is needed to lubricate) and squeeze/rub their ears until you hear the "Squishy" noise! Do this for a few days until the redness subsides. Zymox Otic solution (hydrocortisone and an enzymatic/antimicrobial solution) has been a godsend for us and we find it works better than anything even the vet can prescribe!
8) Why is my puppy nipping so much and how can I stop it? These pups will be loosing their baby teeth in just a few more weeks! They are teething aggressively but it's very important to teach them not to put their teeth on your skin, ever! This is especially difficult with young children, but there are ways to redirect this behavior as well as stopping them "jumping up.". Join our Graced With Doodles private facebook page to see some tips on how to train them to say "please" before playing, how to introduce gentle playing with humans (which is something we need to teach them - they're used to playing with their litter mates!) and how to wait for their "lick" (no teeth on skin) before giving a treat. If things are overwhelming, PLEASE join Baxter & Bella. They have absolutely wonderful resources for dealing with young puppies and children. If your child is feeling intimidated - please supervise or separate them until the puppy is acclimated. If they begin "teething" on your child, it becomes a fun game thats difficult to stop. In extreme circumstances - consider a soft cage muzzle when the dog is around your child. It is NOT cruel, as they can eat and drink right through it! You don't want excessive teething/nipping to hinder the bond between them. Jumping up on children is inevitable and stops in time. They are seen as smaller "playmates" and not as assertive as we are... so it's only natural for them to try roughhousing. Puppies need to be taught how to play nicely. Keeping their nails nice and ground so they aren't scraping your child when they do jump up is also beneficial.