As breeders we spend a lot of time talking about which doodle breeds or specific puppies would be a good fit for different families.
However, we spend less time discussing the flip side — what does a puppy want in an owner? Let’s visit the mind of our cuddly little companions to see what expectations are from that perspective.
1. A good puppy owner keeps their puppy safe
Safety is not the first thing on the puppy’s mind which is exactly why we list it as a top priority for the owner! Puppies are endearing because of their playfulness and exuberance, but these are the same characteristics that can get them into trouble! So when it comes to being a good puppy owner, it is important to keep your puppy safely contained when outdoors. Puppies can squeeze through impossibly small holes in fences or wriggle out of your hands at a moment’s notice. We’ve seen puppies wriggle out of collars and harnesses, too, so make sure yours fits appropriately. You should be able to slide two fingers under the collar but feel resistance from the collar if you try to stretch or twist those fingers. Also, puppies LOVE to put everything they find into their mouth including choking hazards or other harmful substances. Check out our article on puppy-proofing your home for a fuller list of how to keep your pup safe indoors.
In addition to physical safety, pups also thrive on emotional stability in their homes. Doodles in particular are very people-oriented and intuitive dogs (thanks to their Poodle half). This makes them smart and easy to train, but also sensitive to harsh correction or other disturbances.
Being kind and gentle with your pup as well as keeping his environment free from yelling or other impulsive behavior.
2. A good puppy owner spends time with their pup
Dogs are incredibly social, relational animals with a strong pack mentality. There is simply no substitute for spending time with your pup when it comes to bonding. In particular, puppies love to play and have a consistent need for exercise. All young animals (including humans) have one aim in life — to figure out the world. Puppies do this by playing. Their play teaches them the social skills they need to appropriately interact with humans and other dogs as they grow up. While walks/exercise, and structured training sessions certainly have their place in a puppy’s day, good old fashioned play is a big key to being the ultimate dog owner in your puppy’s eyes. Carving out time just to relax and play with your pup each day is incredibly important for his social development. It gives you the opportunity to teach boundaries when play goes too far (for example your pup may playfully but painfully nip your hand!) as well as give your pup a chance to just have fun and be a puppy! If you are struggling with a busy schedule & working full time, or figuring exactly how to spend time with your pup, we have some ideas! First, if you need to get something done such as cooking or making a phone call, you can attach your pup’s leash to your wrist or belt loop with a pile of toys nearby.
Your pup remains close to you and available for quick interactions, but he can also play with his toys without straying out of your eyesight. Another fun game is various hide-and-go-seek options to engage your pup. You can hide treats around the house as well as hiding yourself and rewarding your pup with praise or treats when he finds you.
3. A good puppy owner gives his puppy a structured environment
If given the chance, your doodle puppy will probably play with you all day. It is important to play with your pup, but it is also equally important to give your pup some rest time. Similar to human babies, puppies sometimes fight the urge to sleep, preferring to play instead. (See what types of doodles are best with kids.) But also similar to a human baby, they can become overtired and cranky without their naps! An overtired pup can become forgetful about their obedience and become more frenzied in their play. Often an increase in biting, jumping, etc. can be a sign that your pup has reached a frenzied state of over-exhaustion.
This is why keeping your pup on a schedule can be very important. Puppies generally need at least 18 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period. They are often ready to tucker out after roughly an hour of activity or play time. So giving your pup predictable rest times in between bouts of activity will give him the rest he needs to continue learning about the world and respond well to training!
In addition to making sure your pup has a nap schedule, giving your pup a few predictable things he can count on is helpful as he is learning to navigate his big new world. Dogs typically thrive on routine, especially as young puppies.
First, keeping your pup in a smaller, confided area of your home is often recommended during the first couple weeks both to make house training easier as well as keeping things less overwhelming for your pup. If he is limited to just a couple rooms of your house, he will be more relaxed and able to focus more on training and bonding with you. Also, in addition to naps, having a few more predictable aspects to your pup’s routine will help him feel safe and settled in his environment. We have an example of a puppy schedule here. Even if your habits vary daily, simply keeping morning wake-ups or meals at the same time can help your pup feel secure.
We hope this helps you develop and idea about what makes a good puppy owner. Do you have specific questions about your new pup? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll provide expert advice.
Jenna and the JLDD Team