Bringing Home Your New Puppy

The transition of your puppy’s new home will be more pleasurable if the next steps are followed. Please, understand that he is just a puppy. Your puppy is entitled to cry and bark (puppy bark). You must be patient with him and yourself. Once your puppy settles down, quietly praise him with “good boy”.

To get you started off right, let’s look at this experience from the puppy’s perspective. He has left familiar surroundings with a warm, comforting pile of siblings to enter a completely new environment filled with unfamiliar objects and new people. And more often than not he’s just had his first car ride.

There are a few key things you can do to ease your puppy’s transition from the known to the unknown.

  • When you arrive home with your new puppy, make sure he has the opportunity to eliminate before you bring him into your home. Follow the positive housetraining plan from the very first moment he enters your life.

  • Young puppies tire easily and need a lot of rest. Keep this foremost in your mind when introducing your puppy to new people and other animals. We know everyone is excited to see the cute new family member, but he’ll be there for a lot of years. If he seems to be tired or timid, let him rest.

Crate Training

Crate training is highly recommended as an effective and safe way to house train a puppy. There are many types of crates available. I prefer the plastic kennel to other brands on the market, they are easy to clean, very durable, and safe. Wire cages can sometimes catch their hair and toes. The size of the kennel can vary. I recommend getting a crate that will house an adult Cockapoo, block off the excess crate space so your dog can’t eliminate at one end, and retreat to the other. The basis of crate training involves leaving the puppy in the crate whenever you can’t give your puppy your undivided attention. These times may include dinnertime, cleaning the house, etc. If the puppy is unattended for an extended length of time, he will have an accident. The puppy may need to go to the bathroom every 2 to 3 hours at first. Taking him routinely and praising it for good behavior will aid greatly in housebreaking. When the puppy has had an accident in the house and you interrupt him, disciplining him with a firm “no” generally suffices, then take him outside immediately, when he resumes its “business”, praise him. Emphasis on praise versus discipline produces better housebreaking results! Correcting the puppy after the fact (without catching it in the act) only confuses the puppy since it has no clue why you’re screaming “no” and pointing to the floor. A towel and a few toys are recommended in the crate, food and water are discouraged. The puppy will try very hard not to urinate or defecate in the crate once it gets used to it, and with time the puppy may be able to go to 6 to 10 hours in the crate without an accident.

The First Night

It is an Old Wives Tale, that a puppy should spend his first night in isolation with a hot water bottle and a ticking clock to take the place of “mom” seriously underrated the intelligence of dogs. Since he has most likely never been alone before, and since everything else is strange and new, how much more comforting it is for your puppy to sleep near a person. Put him on a nice warm blanket in a crate or a box he can’t climb out of, and let him sleep by the side of your bed for the first few nights. He will be comforted by the sound of your breathing and your increasingly familiar presence, and if he wakes up and whimpers, you can stick a finger in the crate to reassure him. It is not unusual for puppies to need to eliminate 2 to 3 times during the night. If your puppy continuous to cries, get up and take him out to his special “bathroom area” where he can eliminate. You can use a command for this task as well. Example: “Go Now”. When he does his duties, praise him (good dog) and take him back to his crate. You may have to wake up several times a night to complete this task. He may not always have to go to the bathroom but you shouldn’t take chances. This is the most important step in training your puppy not to “spoil” into his crate and a good way to start housebreaking.

If you choose another sleeping area for your puppy, and are not willing to wake up during the night to let your puppy out, I would recommend setting him up in a bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. Use a baby or puppy gate to enclose the area to prevent the puppy from escaping. Ensure to puppy proof the area from anything he can chew or swallow. Place only a pee-pad and newspaper and his crate on the floor.

Your puppy will be missing his mother, brothers and sisters and the security he left behind. He will cry and whimper for some time while he is left alone. Even if it is difficult to hear, ignore it for now. The puppy will eventually tire and fall asleep. Each puppy will be going to their new home with a stuffed toy that’s been in contact with the mother and puppies so the puppy has a smell of home. You can put the toy in his crate with a blanket for his comfort.

The next day continue his crate training.

Feeding Instructions

The puppies are currently eating Science Diet regulars kibble from PetSmart. They are eating the dry kibbles, don’t add any water. It is advisable to keep the puppy on this diet so as to avoid gastrointestinal upset. If you wish to change the diet, do so gradually. Mix the Science Diet puppy kibbles with the new food over a week’s period of time gradually. Dry food is better for their teeth and digestion; canned food may lead to diarrhea. During the first week with your puppy you may add a little bit of water to the dry food to soften it, this also adds to the palatal ability of the diet. It is best to feed the puppy three times a day. Allow the puppy as much as possible for approximately 45 minutes per feeding, after removing the food-bowl. The puppy will soon learn to eat its “meal” when fed. This is healthier for the puppy and will help greatly with housebreaking. As the puppy matures (6-8 months) twice a day is acceptable. Edible treats such as rawhides, chews, and milk bones are not recommended during the first 6 months of the puppy’s life. Such treats distract the puppy from eating its regular diet and may cause vomiting and diarrhea.

The Playful Chewing vs. Puppy Bite Inhibition 

Mouthing and biting is a normal part of being a puppy but is clearly unacceptable in an adult dog. Teaching bite inhibition is the single most important item for any pup. The pup must be taught to inhibit the force of its biting behavior so that it develops a soft mouth, and then to inhibit the frequency of its mouthing, so that the adolescent and adult dog learns never mouth or bite any person or their clothing.

The information below is appropriate for puppies (up to about 18 weeks, with their first set of teeth) that have not yet learned to inhibit their playful biting. For this program, it is important that EVERYONE who interacts with your dog, (e.g. ALL family members and ALL other people) follows the same rules. Children should be closely supervised to ensure that they are following the rules too. Your dog must learn that he should not mouth or bite ANYONE.

This program is broken down into three steps, to be followed in order:
1. No painful bites.
2. No pressure with teeth.
3. No mouthing at all.

Puppies normally develop bite inhibition through interaction with their littermates. When a puppy bites another puppy too hard, the second puppy will yelp and discontinue playing. In this way, the first puppy learns not to bite so hard. When you take a puppy from its litter, humans (you) take the place of littermates and need to continue the teaching.

1. No painful bites. In the same way, you as humans must act like fellow littermate and let your dog know when he has bitten you too hard. You should yelp in order to startle your dog and then walk away from your dog and ignore him for about a minute. Ignore means no looking at your dog, no speaking to your dog, and no touching your dog! If necessary you can leave the room for that minute (a ‘time out’) so that he has no chance of play biting you while you are ignoring him.

Dogs vary in their general sensitivity and it is important that you startle your dog APPROPRIATELY when he bites. If when you yelp your dog immediately comes back to bite you again then you are not startling your dog enough: Try a louder yelp or try shouting ‘ ouch’. Similarly, make sure that you do not startle your dog too much. If your dog runs away and hides when you yelp then you are most likely yelping too loudly: next time try a quieter yelp.

2. No pressure with teeth (gentle mouthing only). Once your dog has learned that painful bites are unacceptable and has stopped doing them, you can progress to training your dog that any pressure of his teeth against your skin is unacceptable. Use the same procedure of yelping and then ignoring for about a minute.

3. No mouthing at all. Once your dog has learned that he should not exert any pressure with his teeth against your skin you can progress to training your dog that ANY mouthing at all is unacceptable.

Depending on the age and temperament/breed of your puppy, the time it takes to reach step three will vary from a week or two to a few months. Here are some guidelines to help speed the process along:

Never hit your dog (his nose or any other part of him) in response to his mouthing or play biting! Not only is this unnecessary but also it will likely encourage him to continue biting you, either in play or in self-defense.

Do not forget to provide appropriate chew toys and bones for your dog and praise him for chewing on these. In this way, your dog will learn not only what is UNACCEPTABLE but also what is ACCEPTABLE in terms of using his mouth.

You may find it helpful to use a taste deterrent (available from pet shops) on your hands or clothing while you are going through this program. First, make sure that the product is actually distasteful to your dog. (Some dogs like the taste of taste deterrents; cheap whiskey or Bitter Apple seem to work the best).

Once your dog has successfully completed all stages of bite inhibition you will want ensure that your dog CONTINUES to have good bite inhibition throughout life. Therefore it is a good idea to handle his mouth daily (open it and touch his teeth and tongue) and reward him for being gentle.

Where Does the Puppy Stand?

Dogs are pack animals, and most people forget that when they bring home a new puppy. The new puppy soon becomes a little person in your mind, but in the puppy’s mind, it attempts to determine where it fits in the pack, the pack being your family! The puppy should be on the bottom of the pecking order, even under children. If dominance is not established at the early puppy stage, problem situations will occur. For example, owners are not able to trim their dog’s toenails, clean their ears, stop them from barking or jumping, just to name a few. Early dominance training greatly enhances the behavior of your pet. Starting young with your new pup really helps. Simple exercises such as holding a puppy in your arms and not allowing it to get to the floor even though THEY want down, allow the puppy to fuss a little, and when the puppy gives up put the puppy on the floor when YOU want to. Even though this is a very simple exercise, it is very important and it works. Other exercises such as holding the puppy on its back for a couple of minutes and not allowing it to get up until you decide are also effective. During the life of your puppy try to think of situations as mentioned above, understanding that your puppy is a member of your family as well as a member of the pack!


Although chewing /biting is initially playful it can easily turn into aggression. The puppy is trying to figure out if he is the dominant one in your pack/family. It is very common for the first few days, even weeks when you get your new puppy home, that he will be extremely sweet and easygoing. Then you may notice that the pup may growl when picked up, or growl when you put him down from the couch, or bite at you when you take away a toy. He is testing you and you must correct this behavior quickly-with a firm “no” to stop this behavior. You are his Alpha, and he must listen and give in to you. The most common reason dogs are euthanized every year is due to aggression problems – and most of these problems can be stopped at an early stage. It is nearly impossible to correct an older dog for such behavior. Watch your puppies’ response to your correction. If he stops the behavior and looks worried/concerned, maybe even cries a little or retreats from you, he will have understood what you want. If the puppy continues the behavior or gets worst, it will be imperative to show him your alpha behavior.

Children and Puppies

Cockapoos are generally excellent with children. Sometimes problems will arise. The most common problem is covered in the above section of play-biting. Puppies will play-bite children more than with adults. If this occurs and the child is old enough to understand how to properly correct the puppy, then the child should do so. If the child is younger, then you must correct the puppy. It is always important to correct the puppy during the act because correcting the puppy afterward only scares and confuses the puppy. Another problem that may arise with children is biting that is not playful. Young children, especially toddlers, can be frightening to puppies. The child can hurt the puppy by falling on it, squeezing it, or dropping it. If the child is too young to handle the puppy properly, then you should supervise them while playing with the puppy. If the puppy ever tries to bite the child, regardless of the reason, the puppy should always be corrected; otherwise, puppies can learn that if they do not like a particular situation, they can resort to biting. This can become a terrible habit that the dog might exhibit during situations such as baths, brushings, or nail trims.

Other Extraneous Information:

TOYS AND TREATS: Most toys that are safe for dogs are fine for your Cockapoo Puppy. “ChewMen” (fuzzy sheepskin type toys) and rope toys are favorites. Edible toys and treats are generally best given to puppies over 6 months of age, once housebreaking is accomplished, and eating habits are established.

FOOD/WATER DISHES: Stainless steel bowls are best; glass and ceramic dishes break and plastic dishes can be chewed and sometimes are the source of allergies.

COLLARS/LEASHES: When you get your puppy, realize that it will get bigger, so generally getting an inexpensive, adjustable collar and leash will suffice early. As the puppy matures, a nicer collar and leash can be obtained. You can start putting the collar on the puppy on day one, and getting the puppy used to the leash early can help. Always take the collar off the puppy when it is in the crate unattended.

VACCINATIONS: You will be given a record of the puppy’s vaccination status and a schedule to follow for future vaccines. Your veterinarian may alter the schedule to fit their recommendations. Basically, your puppy will require vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until the puppy is 18 to 20 weeks of age. The yearly vaccinations are required.

HEARTWORM PREVENTION: I highly recommend heartworm prevention. Some of these medicines prevent gastrointestinal parasites as well. Ask your veterinarian about heartworm diseases and other parasites!

GROOMING/BATHING: Your puppy may need to be bathed more frequently than what is required with an adult dog. Puppies, like children, get dirty faster. Bathing a puppy once a week is not excessive. As an adult once every 3 to 4 weeks is acceptable. There are many shampoos available. My recommendation is to use a shampoo that is designed for dogs, not human shampoo. Flea shampoos are good in the spring and summer, as long as it is labeled safe for puppies. Cockapoos require grooming as an adult, about 4 to 6 times a year. The first grooming that your dog will need will be at about 6 to 10 months of age. I recommend that you find a professional groomer for its coat. Basic grooming such as nail trims, trimming hair under eyes and under earflaps, and trimming the hair around the rectum can be performed at home. Learning basic grooming to perform at home helps maintain your dog’s health. Ask your groomer for assistance.

SPAY/NEUTER: Spaying and neutering are healthy for any pet! If there is no intention of breeding your dog then it is best to have it spayed/neutered as young as 5 months. If the male dog is not neutered at that time, he will start to exhibit unwanted male behavior, due to hormone production. Neutering an older male dog may not stop the frequent urination “marking” and “riding” behavior.

To Conclude:

Within a few days, your puppy should be feeling confident and getting used to the household members and routines-but remember he is still a baby. Take the time to familiarize yourself with puppy issues such as diet, housetraining, crate training, leash training, and chewing. Learn about her developmental stages. Above all, appreciate your puppy as a new and important part of your family life. Treat him with love, respect, and understanding, and the bond you form will last you for the many years of your life together.

If you have any questions or concerns in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact us. I love getting progress reports and pictures.