Care & Training Tips
Pictured is "Houston" Ch Elluje Out Of Control.
All information on this page was written and compiled by Fay Thomasen (Lefay Toy Poodles) and Julie Henville, it may not be reproduced in part or full without permission.
The most common question we get asked from puppy buyer's is do we buy a girl or boy. A desexed male is the best pet you will ever own, they are clean and love everyone in the house, where as a female will attach itself to the head female of the household.
All long coated breeds need regular grooming or clipping by a professional groomer. A Poodle is no exception and one of the highest maintenance breeds of dogs available. I have found that a Grooming Salon will be able to offer you the best service and advice for your new baby, always ask your breeder who they recommend for grooming.
Most breeders start puppies off by clipping their faces from 3 weeks of age, this gets them used to the noise of the clippers and the feel of them on their face, it will also help to "toughen up" the skin and prevent clipper rash, which can occur if a puppy is not clipped regularly enough. All Poodles need to be clipped every 4-8 weeks they are not a breed that can be "let go" as their coats will mat causing discomfort and in some cases bruising to the skin. Poodles do shed their coat but unlike most other breeds it does not come off when you pat them or on your clothes or furniture it stays in the coat causing mats if not groomed out or clipped off. Get your puppy used to grooming by putting a non slip mat on your washing machine (never on your lap this starts bad grooming habits and makes life for the groomer difficult when the dog will not stand) and groom it first with a slicker brush and then go through the coat with a metal comb always before you bath it, never bath knots as they will only go tighter and be impossible to get out. If you have a double sided brush you bought from the supemarket or pet shop throw it out these types of brushes are useless. Always buy a mild lanolin based shampoo or conditioner (more expensive is not always better) and make sure you rinse the coat until is squeaks any shampoo residue left in the coat can make your dog scratch.
I have always followed a simple inexpensive diet for all my dogs and find they are in peak condition all year round. I feed the following, Royal Canin Mini Dry Food, Lamb Mince (raw) , grated cheese, raw veges such as broccoli, carrots, spinach, parsley, pumpkin put through the food processor or blender, 1/3 raw chicken wing daily, cooked pasta or rice, sardines a couple of times of week. The Lamb Mince maybe substituted for 4 legs (from the Supermarket) or Scotties (from your butcher) but I don't recommend any other pre package or tinned dog foods as a lot of them are full of preservatives and colours which can upset your dogs skin. Also a lot of chicken or beef can do the same. This may seem a lot of work but the preparation is easy and can be done ahead of time and frozen. If I can be of any help please don't hesitate to contact me.
Most poodle puppies are keen to be clean. The mothers take care of the personal hygiene until babies are up on their legs and weaned, as soon as they can walk they will find a spot to use away from their bedding. But the owner of a new puppy must remember that it has very little control at such a young age.
Puppies want to relieve themselves immediately after waking – either from a nap or a long sleep – and after eating. Take your puppy straight outside and stay with it until it has been to the toilet, always use the same word such as toilet, and then pat and praise it before taking it back inside. This is a very important aspect of toilet training and the few minutes you spend out there each time will reward you in the long term with a fastidiously clean pet.
Young puppies spend lots of pennies – not just after bed and breakfast. You can often tell it wants to relieve itself when it starts to sniff the floor in search of the right spot. Pick up your puppy and take it outside. As puppies grow their bladder and bowel control improve, remember though that there will be accidents along the way. Never scold a young puppy for an accident, simply clean up and try and be more observant next time. As your puppy is further toilet trained it will let you know it needs to go by simply going to the door you have trained it to go out for toilet stops. If accidents are frequent and not toilet training is not improving stop and look at your routine with the puppy you will find in most cases it is poor guidance or routine, not the puppies fault.
A tip for new owners is to ask the breeder what sort of surface the puppies have been accustomed to use for toilet purposes. For some it will be grass, for others concrete or timber, sand or gravel, lino or newspaper. Keep this in mind when deciding the “no go zones” in your environment. They quickly learn to go where you wish them to, but you may need to put in a little extra effort training them away from that special piece of lawn or your timber deck etc.
When out exercising on the lead or in the park, always carry a disposable bag with you and pick up after your poodle. Aside from the possibility of incurring a fine if you simply walk away from your dog’s mess, it’s most un neighbourly not to pick up and gives anti dog folk perfect opportunity to air their disgust.
Some breeders introduce puppies to a slip lead (light lead and collar in one) before they go to their new homes. Others do not, many believing it is an important part of the bonding process between puppy and new owner. If yours hasn’t been trained, fear not – with poodles it’s easy.
First the lead, I recommend a slip lead. Do not use heavy collars or check chains you will upset you puppy straight away and they will not be easy to train. When they are older a soft webbing collar with a buckle and light webbed lead will do nicely, I still use a slip lead on most of my dogs even when they are adults. Never buy a collar that your puppy will grow into this will make it heavy and cumbersome for the puppy.
Start lead training your puppy by putting their lead on them during play time, make sure you have some soft food rewards for your puppy before you start training it, when you want the puppy to come towards you pick up the lead and go to the end of the lead without any pressure on the puppy’s throat, use the food to encourage the puppy to come towards you, if it does give the food to it. If it doesn’t try again, placing the food near the puppy’s nose even give it a small taste, take the food away and the puppy will follow. Always follow the puppy never ever drag or tug it harshly this will only make the puppy more determined not to do it. Always train you puppy with food rewards and when it is hungry. When your puppy does walk on the lead for you praise it lots!
If your puppy decides to throw itself around screaming ignore it, if you go to the puppy and pick it up and cuddle it you are only encouraging the bad behaviour. Remember they are not a puppy for very long if you put some positive reinforcement techniques into this puppy from the beginning you will end up with a well behaved puppy, if you don’t you will end up with a neurotic hard to live with pet, it is all up to you. I recommend you take your puppy to puppy classes (not the kind run by the vet) I always go to a lady by the name of Luci Ellem she is fantastic, if you can’t get to Luci’s classes give her a ring and she may be able to recommend some one in your area who uses the same techniques, you do have your dog a long time so it is worth the effort.
A very handy hint for having a clean, well behaved, easy travelling poodle is crate training. I know some of you are turning your noses up at the prospect of your beloved pet being in a cage, but, in actual fact a crate train dog is an extremely easy pet to live with. To start with travelling in a crate is safe and comfortable for your dog, they have a lovely warm bed to snuggle in and perhaps a chewy and in case of an accident do not turn into a missle to be thrown around the car, which could cause serious injury or even death to you or your pet. By law they must be harnessed or crated whenever travelling in a car, also from personal experience, if you must leave the car to run into the shops (always park under a shady tree and leave the windows cracked open, never, never on a hot day) they can’t destroy anything or rummage through pockets or bags, this one comes from personal experience. Feeding time is much easier if you feed your dog in a crate especially if they have chickens wings or bones, the mess is confined just to their crate, not your lounge or bed, it will also help with busy puppies instead of being distracted with everything going on around them they will concentrate on their food and become good eater. And lastly when you go on holidays a crate trained dog is easy to leave with anyone just pick up their crate (this becomes like their own bedroom) and take it to your carers, they will have a clean, quiet well behaved dog to look after and won’t mind doing it for you more than once. My older Miniature, Houston can often be found asleep in his crate with the door wide open.
Introducing your new puppy to older dogs in the household
A common concern most people have when bringing a new puppy into a house which already has older dogs, is how will the other dogs react!!! A few simple things can help make this transition easier. Firstly introduce them on your front lawn bring the older dog/s out to meet the puppy, make sure the person that the older dog/s are most attached to are holding them, not the new puppy as this will put them off side already. NEVER go mad on the older dog/s for growling or showing teeth at the new puppy this is just their way of telling the puppy I’m top dog not you. If the older dog/s snap at the puppy and it runs away screaming IGNORE IT!!! This will be hard but if you pick up the puppy you are telling it it is ok for this behaviour, it’s not. The only time you should ever scold the older dog/s if they become nasty and really seem like they will hurt the puppy. Most dogs would never do this but they must re establish the peeking order within the household, if you don’t let this happen you will have problems, lavish the older dog/s with much affection and show very little to the puppy for the first few days as this will reassure the older dog/s and the transition will be easy. Never feed the puppy with the older dog/s you need to make sure the puppy is eating enough and not getting bullied at meal times.
Make sure fresh water is always available. Bottles such as rabbit or guinea pig bottles can be attached to your puppies crate to save upturned water bowls and ensure that your puppy has clean fresh water when left for any period of time. On hot days puppies and dogs and dehydrate and die very quickly.
Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t feed cooked chop, steak, fish, rabbit or chicken bones. Raw brisket bones or chicken wings are recommended.
Don’t put tablets in your puppies food always give separately then you know they have actually taken them.
If you puppy doesn’t eat the raw chicken wings, cheese or yoghurt make sure you put it on a calcium supplement, I don’t usually have this problem.
Be sure to continue with the worming and heartworming programme and distemper boosters.
Don’t take puppy out in public until 10 days after his second booster, this will ensure he is covered.
I always recommended that all pets be desexed . A good age for this is around 8 months old, any earlier can result in leaking bladders in later life. Undesexed dogs or bitches can result in life threatening illness in later life. Or in bitches you can end up with unwanted pregnancies. Also if you are an inexperienced breeder you can produce hereditary disease in your pups which you have sold on unfairly to another household.
A common misconception amongst puppy buyers are "buy a girl as boys lift their legs on everything" Wrong, if your dog does lift his leg on everything you are at fault not the dog diligence in the early days of toilet training will make sure this problem does not arise.
Julie & Erin Henville
Southern Highlands, NSW, Australia
Email : [email protected]