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Puppy Preparation

"Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole." -Roger Caras

Bringing home a new puppy to your family is always exciting! It's a special time, and you have lots of hopes, dreams, and expectations for that little fluff ball in your arms. A new puppy is just like bringing home a new baby.  

In preparation for bringing home your new puppy, you should puppy-proof your home and purchase supplies and food. To puppy-proof your home, remove any ornaments, magazines, books, curtainVarious supplies to have on hand before you get your puppy cords, shoes, plants, or other household items that will be at your puppy's level. Put them all away in closed closets or on shelves that are well out of puppy's reach. Don't leave any small items lying around that could be swallowed, keep the lid firmly on the trash can, and make sure no cleaning products or human food items are unattended. Hide electric cords behind heavy furniture to prevent electrocution. No matter how carefully you puppy-proof your home though, you're going to need to supervise your puppy at all times as it only takes a minute for puppy to get into trouble. See suggestions below for general supplies.

In preparation for bringing home your new puppy, you should schedule a puppy exam with your veterinarian within 48 hours of your puppy pick up date. Be sure to review an appropriate vaccination schedule, parasite prevention, heartworm prevention, spay/neuter, and pet identification microchip with your vet during the visit.

On the day of pick up, you should bring a travel pet carrier, old towels, paper towels, and water for your new puppy. Remember to avoid public areas until your puppy has completed the full vaccination schedule. 

Don't allow your puppy to have full access to your entire home in the beginning. Having too much area to explore will hamper housebreaking and give more opportunities for your puppy to get into mischief. Use a play pen or exercise pen to contain your puppy or use baby gates on doorways to limit access to your rooms. Confine your puppy to an area with flooring that is easy to clean such as vinyl or ceramic tile.

If you have children, encourage them to be very gentle and quiet around your new puppy. Always supervise children with your new puppy. 

Begin crate training right away whenever your puppy is not supervised. Start off with short periods in the crate, but be sure to ignore any crying and whining while in the crate. Leave a TV or radio on when your puppy is left alone to help with anxiety. Never leave your puppy unsupervised with access to your entire home. Puppies can get into trouble or eat something dangerous very quickly. 

During initial housebreaking, the average 8 week old puppy will need a potty break approx every 30 minutes to 1 hour during the day and at least once during the night. Never leave your puppy alone outside for long periods of time. Do not change the diet of your puppy quickly as this results in diarrhea. 

Poodles do not shed, but they do require more grooming than other dog breeds. Touch and handle your puppy all over the body. Practice good hygiene early with your puppy by brushing the coat, trimming the nails, cleaning the ears, rub the belly, and brushing the teeth. Bathe your puppy every 2 weeks with gentle puppy shampoo. See suggestions below for supplies needed for complete grooming.

To make sure that your adorable little fluff ball grows up to be a friendly, well adjusted, and well behaved adult, you will need to make sure that your puppy gets plenty of positive socialization, learns basic manners, and attends a puppy obedience class. Don't encourage behavior that you'll regret when your puppy becomes an adult. Jumping up and biting may be cute when your puppy weighs ten pounds. It will not be cute when your dog is 55 pounds. After your puppy has completed the puppy vaccinations recommended by your vet, take your puppy out with you on errands, to the park, to PetSmart, to play dates with other vaccinated puppies/friendly dogs, to puppy classes, to Lowe's, etc. Expose your puppy to many different things in positive settings - car rides, people wearing hats, children, Penny and Pepper at Nags Head, NC. 9/15/09.agility equipment, vacuum cleaners, cats, baby strollers, steps, typical household noises, etc. Never leave your puppy unattended in a vehicle, ride with it's head out of the window, or ride in the bed of an uncovered pickup truck. Teach good leash manners early. At 16 weeks of age, we strongly suggest enrolling your new puppy in a basic obedience class at a dog training club or a reputable pet store so your well-behaved puppy will be an enjoyable pet for many years of companionship! See training suggestions below.

It is strongly recommended that you spay/neuter your puppy between the ages of 12 months-24 months of age. This will allow the growth plates to fully develop. Our contract requires the spay/neutering of companion puppies by the age of 2 years. Discuss this with your vet at your initial puppy visit.

Feed your puppy quality puppy food. We recommend ProPlan puppy chicken and rice. Switch slowly to a quality dog food at 1 year of age.

General Supplies
  • Puppy Culture The Powerful First 12 Weeks (plus other videos as needed)

  • Pet carrier or crate for use at home (recommend 42" folding crate with movable divider)

  • Nylabone puppy teething chew toys

  • Plush Squeak toys

  • Adjustable buckle collar

  • Pet identification tag

  • Buster food cube

  • Interactive treat toys such as puzzle toys and food dispensing toys

  • Stainless, glass, or ceramic food and water bowls

  • Cotton web lead (recommended 6 foot)

  • Kong sqeaker tennis balls

  • Poop scoop set

  • Bags on Board dispenser and waste bags

  • Safe Paw ice melter

  • Sealable food storage container

  • Flexi retractable lead

  • Pet/baby gate

  • Travel bowl/food container

  • Old soft towels

  • Dog bed

  • Puppy training pads or newspaper

  • High quality vehicle kennel for travel (recommended typically size Intermediate-Large)

  • Carpet cleaner/stain and odor remover (recommended Nature's Miracle)

  • Folding containment/exercise pen (recommended Play Yard)

  • Small training reward treats

  • Bitter Apple chew deterrent

Basic Grooming
  • Puppy shampoo

  • Nail clippers (recommend Master Grooming Tools Ergonomic Professional Nail Clippers)

  • Kwik Stop styptic powder

  • Ear cleaner

  • Slicker brush (recommend Chris Christensen Big G Slicker Brush Large coral color or Master Grooming Tools Ergonomic Slicker Brush)

  • Combs (recommend Chris Christensen 004 Poodle Buttercomb and Master Grooming Tools Ergonomic Pet Grooming Comb)

  • Dryer

  • Pet toothbrush and toothpaste

Finding a Groomer

If you don't have a groomer you are already happy with or are searching for a new one, here are some questions to ask:

  • How long have you been a dog groomer?

  • Do you have a portfolio of your work you could share?

  • May I see your facility right now?  (Are workstations clean with study tables and tubs?)

  • How do you clean and sanitize your salon?  How often?

  • Besides a basic wash, dry, and haircut, what other services do you provide?  

  • Are you active on social media? (You can check out their work and testimonials on social media.)

  • What training and certifications have you completed?  (Training can vary from apprenticeships to formal pet grooming school.  What is their experience, training, and knowledge?  Are they an AKC SAFE groomer?)  

  • What type of continuing education do you do?

  • How do you ensure safety of dogs and groomer while on the grooming table such as restraints, muzzles, etc.?  Do you work with a licensed veterinarian to offer sedation for anxious dogs?  

  • How do you make the grooming experience positive for the dog?  

  • At what age do you accept new clients?  

  • Do you offer pre-booked grooming scheduled appointments?  How far in advance should appointments be scheduled?  What are your grooming hours of operation?

  • Do you do dogs straight through or are dogs kept at your salon all day?

  • Do dogs only work 1:1 with one groomer or are multiple people involved in the process such as a bather, groomer, kennel attendant, etc.?

  • When not on the grooming table, how are dogs secured so they are safe?  How are they supervised?  

  • What happens in case of an injury?  Do you have a dog first aid kit?  Do you carry liability insurance?

  • What type of products do you use on dogs in your salon?  All pet safe?  

  • Are you very comfortable grooming Poodles?  Are you familiar with the breed standard?  Do you ever do Poodle show trims?  

  • What are your fees?  Do you offer packages or additional services that are a la carte?  

Full Grooming
  • Book - Poodle Clipping and Grooming by Shirlee Kalstone

  • Dog clipper (recommend Oster A5)

  • Clipper blades (recommend sizes 30, 10, and 4)

  • Straight and curved shears

  • Grooming table

  • Reach out for more grooming information if you will be showing your puppy

Online Shopping Resources

Pet Edge - wholesale pet products and grooming supplies

J & J Dog Supplies - training equipment and supplies

Max 200 - agility and training equipment


Purina ProPlan Puppy Chicken and Rice

Basic Training Videos
Obedience Training

Oriole Dog Training Club - Baltimore, MD

Papillonia Dog Training - Red Lion, PA

Breakaway Action Dogs - Frederick, MD

Canine Training Association - Beltsville, MD

Obedience Training Class of Harrisburg - Mechanicsburg, PA

My K9 Buddy - Westminster, MD

Blue Ridge Dog Training Club - Fairfield, PA

Dauphin Dog Training Club - Harrisburg, PA

Top Dog Obedience School - Flanders, NJ

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - online

AKC Training Resources

Zak George Dog Training

Front and Finish - Canine Performance publication

Fenzi Dog Sports Academy free puppy resource 

Finding a Dog Trainer

If you don't have a dog trainer you are already happy with or are searching for a new one, here are some questions to ask:

  • How long have you been a dog trainer?

  • What training education and experience do you have?  What hands-on experience do you have?

  • What type of continuing education do you do?

  • What dog sports have you trained?  (agility, barn hunt, conformation, disc dog, dock diving, flyball, formal competition obedience, freestyle dance, herding, field work, manners companion obedience, protection work, rally obedience, rehabilitation, scent work, therapy work, tracking, trick dog, search/rescue, service, etc.) 

  • What performance titles and certifications have you personally earned on your dogs?  

  • Can you share videos of your dogs working?  (Are they eager, happy, and responsive?)

  • What professional certifications or memberships do you have?  

  • What training methods and philosophies do you use?  

  • At what age do you accept new clients?

  • How do you make learning fun for the dog?

  • What do you use to reinforce and reward correct behavior?

  • What do you do when a dog makes a mistake?

  • Do you offer personalized 1:1 private lessons, group class training, or both?  Will I always be present with my dog?  

  • Do you have good human communication skills?  Can you explain techniques simply to new pet owners?  

  • What training props or aids to you use?

  • Are you active on social media? (You can check out testimonials on social media.)

  • What happens in case of an injury? Do you have a dog first aid kit? Do you carry liability insurance?

  • Do you accept aggressive dogs in your facility?

  • Do you offer training for more advanced dog sports or just companion pet and puppy classes?

  • What happens when my dog achieves the highest level of training you offer?  

  • May I see your facility right now? (Is the area clean?  Is there access to training props or aids?)

  • How do you clean and sanitize your facility? How often?

  • May I just watch a couple training classes before deciding to enroll my dog?

  • What are your class size limits?  Are their age requirements in certain classes?  

  • What is the length of your classes?  How long per session and how many weeks?  

  • Does your facility host any dog shows or trails?  If so, may I attend as a spectator?  

  • How far in advance do your training classes schedule?

  • Are you very comfortable training Poodles?  

  • What are your fees?  

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