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sundance labradoodles

how to care for labradoodle puppy

sundance labradoodles

- Crate Training

- House Breaking

- Treats for pup

- Feeding your pup

- Training tips

- Grooming



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sundance labradoodles

Crate Training and Potty Training

We highly recommend crate training your pup from day one.  Crate training will be a useful tool for the owner as well as a place of comfort and refuge for your dog.  In the wild dogs have dens.  Crates are a great way to mimic a den or cave. Dogs should actually like their crates and during the day should have the option to use it as a place to have of their own.  Crates are also a great tool for housebreaking your dog that first year.  Puppies will not soil were they sleep unless the space is too big.  If you buy a crate to fit your dog when it is full grown, we suggest closing off a part of it so the pup only has enough room to sleep comfortably.

Putting the crate by your bed for the first few nights is suggested.  You may need to reach through to comfort the pup or you may need to take the pup out to go potty.

For the first few weeks put your pup in his crate for short periods of time during the day.  Nap time is a great time to do this as they nap a lot the first few weeks.  As soon as you take your pup out take them to their potty spot immediately.  Say  potty word once, then when they actually go potty, say your potty word a few times while they are going and always praise after they go.  After they go potty you may want to have a short play session or training session or put them in puppy play area.  Another thing we may do when they are awake is put them on a leash and have them walk around the house with us.  After a short time they will need another nap so they can go back to their crate or to the play area which may have access to their crate.  If you notice that they are asleep you will want to close the crate door until you can take them potty again.

As the pup gets older and you leave the house for short times, place a fun chew toy or antler (something they think is wonderful!!) in the crate with the pup.  You will want to associate the crate with great things, it should never be a way to punish them.

We mentioned above a puppy play area, also known as an exercise area.  As a puppy grows you will want to designate a play area for the puppy.  The idea is similar to a playpen for a small child.  This area should be near the hub of the home.  It can be made with puppy gates, preferribly with bars so the puppy can see the rest of the family.(Great plastic portable kind at petsmart)  We use our bathroom for this area which is just off our kitchen making it so that our pup can still see everything that is happening.  I like to put my crate up to this area with the door open so that the pup can go in and out of the crate at will.  No puppies should have run of the house unsupervised until completely house trained!!!!!!!!!  This can take some time.  They spend a lot of time in their play area.  Reasons to take them from their play area would be:

-putting them in their crate for a nap until you can take them potty

-take them potty shortly after they eat and then about every 45 min when they are young

-play time 

-training time (can start training your dog the day it comes home!)

-when they are tethered to you (walking around the house)


If you cannot keep an eye on them they should be in their exercise pen, or in their crate if you are not able to take them potty.  (paper training is also an option you may want to consider if you don't have immediate access to the outdoors)


 Consistency and commitment are a big part of this training process. If you take the time up front and are consistant you will have one great dog before it is even a year old!!  It takes a lot of time and energy the first few months but the good news is, these are smart dogs and they learn very quickly.   If you are consistant you will be amazed!!  If your not so consistant you will need patience!   Puppies should never have free run of the house!!!



Great info on housebreaking -



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Examples of crates and excercise pens

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This crate is open to the excercise pen so pups can go in and out as they please.

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Example of a plastic exercise pen

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exercise pen


Feeding your Puppy

It is of utmost importance to feed your puppy and dog high quality, premium dog food.  We recommend high quality, premium dog foods. If you do feed your dog food with grain just make sure it does not contain corn, wheat, soy.  The Whole dog Journal analyzes dog food once a year and publishes their findings.  This is a great resource if you are researching dog food.  We also have links to dog food analysis websites if you go to our MORE page and look under 'Information'.


Grocery store dog foods a  lot of times are made up of fillers, bi-products, and poor quality ingredients.  These types of dog foods can lead to lots of food allergies and to developing diseases that shorten life span or spoil quality of life.


Dogs in the wild will eat a diet that is high in protein, they will also forage to find needed nutrients from certain plants and roots.  Dogs will actually eat less of high quality kibble and more of the low quality dog foods only to try and get the nutrients out of the food.  Low quality foods lead to a  lot more waste, allergies and sometimes even over weight dogs (which can then lead to more problems).  In the end we have found that either way, you spend the same because the dog will go through the lower quality faster.  We estimate that we spend about one dollar per dog a day when we are feeding the highest premium dry food.

 Our labradoodles main diet has been dry kibble.  A couple of times a week we will offer plain yogurt, cooked chicken, scrambled eggs and occasionally sweet potato and pumpkin.  Lots of doodle owners will even do the BARF diet or RAW diet.





Treats should be given when a pup has obeyed a command and in training sessions.  Treats should be earned.  We use high quality, all natural treats broken into the tiniest of pieces.  We will also use small bits of cooked chicken or liver.  We also like freeze dry raw dog treats.   As with dog food, we don't want treats that are all fillers or bi product with a little added flavor.  These kind of treats are not worth it as they can lead to allergies (from fillers such as corn, etc.) and unhealthy dogs!  

Puppies are ready to be trained starting the very first week they get to your home.  Treats are great incentive and reward.  They are a useful tool in crate training, command training and potty training!!!  We love treats!!

some of our favorites:

Ziwi Peak dry dog food

Stella and chewy patties (break into tiny pieces)

Liver Bites 

Instincts Raw Boost bites (pet store)

pieces of cooked chicken or liver, break into tiny pieces

pieces of high quality kibble or dog food and even cheerios!

Your puppy has been eating Life's Abundance (all life stages).  This is an excellent food that can only be ordered online and shipped to you.  For your convenience there is a link on my website to order this food.  We recommend to keep them on at least one bag of this as they come to you and trasition.  After the first bag you may continue to feed Life's Abundance or choose another premium, high quality kibble.


Raw dog food is the absolute best for canines and easiest to digest as long as it is balanced in vitamin content.  We start our puppies out on raw and Honest kitchen (Freeze dry raw)  we then add kibble to their diet to make sure the are use to kibble as they go home as most people like the ease and cost of kibble.  If you do use kibble for your puppy make sure it is the very best you can afford.  The very best kibble you can buy may seem expensive on the shelf but usually only runs about a dollar a day.  


Some quality dog foods you may consider:  Honest kitchen,  Natures Logic, Lifes Abundance, Natures Instinct, Fromm, Great Life grain free, Acana, Nutri Source, Orijen,  Taste of the Wild.


If you go to a specialty pet store they will most likely sell outstanding dog food and will  be educated enough to tell you about what your dog might need.  Employees at 'mom and pop' shops usually know their stuff and can answer all kinds of questions you may have.  Ask lots of questions about food and what kind will be best for your doodle and fit your budget.


Ask questions about ear cleaning, eyes, trimming nails, taking care of teeth.  You will be suprised at what you learn.  The knowledgable  employees at  specialty food stores can actually save you lots of money in potential vet bills!  They may even be able to help you figure out a food allergy.

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Training your Pup

Here at Sundance, we believe 100% in positive training.  Please research positive training methods and only use positive training trainers and classes!  Positive training is  more effective with faster results.  Please watch Dominance and Dogs (below) to understand why.

It is important to begin training your puppy as soon as they come home.  And it is even more important to get them inot puppy classes as soon as they have had their 16 week shot.  Plan ahead.  Check out classes even before your pup comes home and observe training methods of different trainers.

We recommend 2 six week session classes the first year of your puppies life.  This will benefit you greatly and it always pays off!

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nails -

Lift your dog’s foot and examine the nails, trim where the nail narrows and starts to curve. Look at the tip where you trimmed, if the center is white and dry looking, you can trim a bit more off, if the center is dark and moist, stop – another bit off and the nail will start bleeding! There are several powders on the market to stop the bleeding if you do trim too much. Nails can be trimmed once a week, but usually it is done with each grooming if you are grooming regularly. Dogs do not like their front feet picked up and nails being trimmed, they may object. Having someone hold your dog and feeding treats will be of benefit. The back feet will be easier  (start grooming touches by picking up feet and examining often, this gets puppy use to having the humans groom their paws.

Do not forget  the dew claws, Labradoodles are left natural with their de claws.

ears - 

You can pull the hair from the ear canal with your finger and thumb. Go as far into the ear as you can reach. I actually do this once a day for a couple of reasons.  One, then I don't have a big painful job once a month and two, lifting their ear flaps and letting in some air  is good for labradoodles as they have those ear flaps that cover their ears.  Most dogs don't like their ears messed with but I find if I do this every day while I am petting them they don't mind at all.  

The use of Ear Powder helps to grip the hair and pull it out. There are several Ear Powders on the market. Do not squirt the powder into the ear – remove the lid, hold the opening against the ear and tap some powder into the outer ear.


Clean the ear with an Ear Cleaner once a week, there are several brands on the market. I make my own out of alchohol and vinegar.  I squirt a dropper full into canal (that is completely free of hair) then I rub ears with my hands until hear swishing sound then let the dog shake their head.  It's as easy as that and only takes seconds once a week.  

If there is heavy dark matter, blood and/or pain in your dog’s ear, consult a veterinarian.

If you do suspect infection do not use a cleaner until you have it checked out.  Once a week cleaning should prevent infections.


If you notice your dog holding his head to one side, shaking his/her head more than usual or crying when you rub his ears, consult a veterinarian.

Clean your dog’s ears every time you bathe and groom him/her. If your dog’s ears have yeasty or foul odour, see your veterinarian.

Use only shampoos and conditioners made for dogs! There are many brands and formulas, select the one that is right for your dog. Use puppy shampoo on puppies, always use a no-tears formula on all dogs. Some shampoos and conditioners are in a concentrated form and require mixing with water before use – follow the directions on the label. Flea shampoo is to be used with care, read the labels and follow them exactly!


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coat - 

A doodle coat does require grooming.  It is personal preference on how long you would like to keep the coat.  Keeping your doodle tangle free is of utmost importance as tangles can be extremely painful for their skin.  You can use a slicker brush to help with matts.  Line brushing is a technique used to keep your doodle tangle free.  There is a detangeler product called cowboy magic on the market that you should invest in if you would like to keep the coat longer.  It is one of the best detangelers out there.

At around 8 months of age the adult coat starts to come in.  At this time you will find the coat matts up more as the new hair grows in.  At this time it is quite a chore to keep up with the matts.  We choose to have them cut down to about 1/2- 3/4 in  all over except heat and tail which we leave long and just scissor trim.  Find a good groomer or learn how to groom yourself!  The doodle coat is very forgiving so if you do make  a mistake it won't be that noticable and will grow out!   We try to scissor trim our doodles most of the time but find that a good groomer is invaluable!!


teeth - 

We brush our doodles teeth once a week!  80% of dogs have periodontal diseases at 3 years of age and it can be very costly!  This can be prevented by proper care of the teeth.  There are fingers scrubs and all kinds of different toothebrushes.  We simply use a human soft toothbrush.  Never use human toothpaste as it can be fatal to dogs.  You can buy dog toothpaste or simply use coconut oil to brush with.  Let your dog chew on raw beef bones, antlers, etc to keep the tartar down!


We also add 1 tsp of coconut oil per 10 lbs of dog to their food once a day!!

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