When we have a puppy collected from us here at Hallslake, we will always sit down with the new owner and go through our puppy pack in great detail. We offer advice on settling your new puppy in once you get home, and answer any specific concerns the new owner may have.
Please allow us at least an hour when collecting your puppy.
Below are some of the common questions or issues we are asked about, of course there will be different methods and opinions on many aspects, but this is how we like to do things and we are happy to share our experience.
Transporting the puppy home – reassurance / travel sickness;
For the puppies first journey home we advise letting the puppy sit on the lap of a passenger. We are supporters of crates generally, but the first time being away from home and away from brothers and sisters, in our opinion, is not the best time to introduce the crate. We will not have fed the puppy his breakfast before he is collected in an attempt to prevent travel sickness, however there’s still a chance that he will be sick. Our advice is to have the passenger foot well of the car lined with newspaper / training pads and have the puppy on your passengers lap on a blanket or towel. If you feel the puppy tummy tense or he starts to wretch just put him on the floor while he is sick. Have some wet wipes handy to clean up his mouth, and then have him back on your lap so you can comfort him. Be aware he might get too hot all cuddled up in a warm car. If he is panting open the window to allow him some fresh air.
Puppy will never have worn a collar & lead when he leaves us, so his introduction to this can be a learning curve to both puppy and his new owners! The first decision is harness or collar. Our advice is start out with a harness. They put less pressure on the delicate neck and throat of a young puppy and since puppy will never have felt the lead before he is most likely going to pull against it, rearing up and jumping, or become a flat mop on the floor that will require a certain amount of dragging to be persuaded to come forward! Once the harness has been outgrown, however, instead of replacing it with another harness, change to a collar. A collar discourages pulling on the lead & by the time pup is old enough to have outgrown the harness he should be well educated enough not to hurt his neck or throat by being silly.
We ARE in favour of crate training. It’s a personal choice, and the new owners should be prepared for a stressful first week if choosing to use a crate, however its short term pain for long term gain and your commitment to creating a good routine will pay dividends for the rest of your puppy’s life.
Before taking your puppy home buy your crate and position it somewhere in a sociable room where puppy can see what’s going on, but in a corner or somewhere slightly out of the way. Cover the top and sides with a blanket or towel to give a cosy secure feel to the crate. Remember to shut the puppy in the crate whe you ARE there, not just when you are leaving the puppy on its own. Make closing the door part of your daily routine (just for the first couple of months of training) when you are there so the puppy doesn’t associate shutting the door with being abandoned. For the first few days the puppy will cry and howl, this is totally normal until he learns the routine he is expected to follow. The more attentive you are to establishing a routing the calmer and happier your puppy will be, and the quicker he will pass out of the noisy protesting stage. The times a puppy will want to go outside to pee/poo are when he wakes up from a sleep and after eating. Knowing this the easiest routine we find for the initiation to the crate is to bed the crate with towels or vet bed or something easy to wash (NOT the lovely comfy, puffy bed you have probably already bought… keep that clean ready for next week once the rules are a bit more established and puppy is less likely to mess in his bedroom), and just put your puppy inside and shut the door. If puppy cries, yelps or makes a fuss, DO NOT GO TO HIM and do not make eye contact, just ignore the puppy and continue doing your normal behaviour until the puppy cries himself to sleep, now is your chance to be attentive…. Watch the puppy until he wakes up, you will have a small window of opportunity between him waking up, needing to pee and starting to cry. In this window of time, you need to go to your puppy and take him outside to his pee place, and wait with him until he does his business. It may take a long time, be patient and don’t give in and go back inside, even if it’s raining! It’s helpful to choose a command to associate with having a pee/poo, such as ‘do your business’ etc. As time goes on you will be able to encourage timely loo breaks when you’re in a rush. Once puppy has gone to the loo take him back inside for play time. If he wants to go again he will quite likely try to skulk away behind a sofa or in to another room. Keep your eye on him and if he does this take him back outside again. Once you have played with him and he is starting to look tired return him to his crate, and shut the door. Repeat this process throughout the day. A helpful tip that we find helpful, is when puppy makes a mess in his bed or on a training pad, instead of throwing it away take it to the place you would like puppy to learn to pee/poo in the garden. That way when he smells it he will be reminded to go again, but this time in the right place!
At night make sure the puppy has been fed and had his food taken away by about 6-7pm, that way whatever he has last eaten will have a chance to leave before he goes to bed for the night. Make sure he is played with then taken outside for the toilet before shutting it in FOR THE NIGHT. Put bedding in the back half and newspaper in the front half. I prefer not to leave water in the crate overnight, but if you do then preferably make sure it is fixed to the bars of the cage. THIS PART IS IMPORTANT. Do all of your evening routine and get everything shut down and turned off before taking your puppy for his final pee/poo of the day. Stay out with puppy until he’s finished, then put him in bed, shut the door, turn the light off and go to bed yourself. If your puppy that wakes up and makes a noise in night, DO NOT GO TO IT. Remember - your puppy will be happier once he adjusts to your ‘pack’/routine. If you adjust to the puppy then it will not understand your routine and sleepless nights will become the norm. If you stick with this guide then noisy nights will be kept to a minimum. Then first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up, the puppy will hear you and will also wake up, and will immediately need a wee. You will not have time to make a coffee or clean your teeth, go straight to your puppy in your dressing gown and take the puppy outside and stay with it for as long as you need. If you are lucky then you will see puppy go straight to the last place he peed and go there again. When it does, PRAISE it with great enthusiasm.
We would advise everyone to complete this part of the puppy’s education starting the second you get him home as it is extremely difficult to crate train an older dog. Even if you intended, long term, for the dog to sleep on your bed, there may be occasions when you NEED it to be in a crate. As a crate trained dog is settled when traveling in a car; is happy to sleep in a crate when circumstances require, can be safely left alone when you need to pop out to the shops, when wet &muddy fresh from a walk and needs to dry off. After the first few months Puppy will learn to love his crate and will soon go there when the door is open as his favourite place of choice, and you will rarely ever have to shut the door again.
Here at Hallslake we use an Ad Lib feeding routing where the dog and puppies have as much food as they like available at all times. Using this technique we find that our dogs aren’t greedy or food obsessed, they tend to pick at their food and have a little every now and then rather than quickly eating each meal. This feeding pattern works well for us but it doesn’t suit everyone. It is particularly likely to fail if you have another animal in the house that is likely to eat puppy’s food or if your puppy is getting too fat and needs to have his calories controlled. If you choose to change to set meal times puppies should be on 3 meals per day until they are 4 – 6 months, they can then be reduced to 2 meals per day. Cockapoo puppies are predominantly fully grown before they are a year old, and their protein and calorie intake will alter dramatically once they stop growing. I would advise changing off a puppy food at 6 months old, and off a junior food and on to adult food by 12 months old. We will give you a bag of the food the puppies have been eating (Red Mills XCEL) but if you choose to change to a different food you should do so gradually. We recommend Lamb & rice feeds as opposed to chicken & grain feeds as there is often indigestible meat in chicken based feeds, such as beak, claws and feather which can lead to upset tummy and poor quality nutrition for the puppy. If cost is not an issue for you we recommend trying the RAW / BARF food options. We particularly like Natural Instinct, which can be found following this link https://www.naturalinstinct.com/raw-dog-food/natural
First worming when you take our puppy home
We advise giving your puppy a 3 day worming course of Puppy Panacure 10% starting as soon as you arrive home with your new puppy. This will ensure that any parasites which the puppy may have picked up from our farm or his/her parents since his/her last worming should not be transferred to your home and garden. We will provide you with a syringe of Puppy Panacure containing 10ml of liquid wormer. This should be given at a dose of 3ml per day over 3 days. This 3ml does allow for a small amount off spillage as the puppy is likely to spit a little out, and a little extra in the syringe in case it comes out a little fast! Don’t worry if you have a little left at the end of the 3 days, just throw it away.
To worm your puppy try to have 2 people available, one of you hold the puppy tightly on your lap or in your arms, while the other person opens the puppies mouth and squeezes 3ml of the wormer on to the back of the puppies tongue. Then hold the puppy’s mouth closes until she or she has swallowed. It can be a little messy so having a towel or wet wipe handy is a good idea!
Probiotic & digestive enzymes
New situations can cause stress, together with transport, changes to food or water, being away from home & his litter mates etc. The result of these stresses will commonly be uncomplicated diarrhoea. Probiotic & digestive enzymes can help with this, and can be bought online & administered when an improved digestion or a more stable intestinal flora is needed. There are many readily available products on the market, but one we can recommend is ZooLac®PROPASTE®’s which claims its unique composition makes it the best probiotic on the market.
It has a High content of probiotics for stabilising the digestion and balancing the bacterial flora in the intestinal tract by working with the good bacteria and the animal’s own immune system. It contains several types of good and naturally-occurring bacteria. The overall effect is therefore very broad and works mainly by preventing harmful bacteria from attacking the intestinal wall, while the good bacteria attack the harmful ones. The attack is a naturally occurring action that limits the growth of harmful bacteria.
I’m sure it isn’t recommended by vets but I have to admit I have often used Yakult (human probiotic from the supermarket) for my own dogs following antibiotic treatment for whatever reason, and have found this to be pretty good too! I can’t officially advise doing this though!
Puppy's Place in the Family (I have borrowed the following info from Mick the founder of Cockapoo Club GB CCGB – he spent his career as a police dog trainer, so seriously knows his stuff)!
The reason dogs are such good pets and fit so well into human society is that they are social animals by nature. Their greatest psychological need is to be part of a group. Whether it's a family of just you and puppy, or a boisterous household full of children and pets, in order to be happy your new puppy must feel secure about her place in the group.
If you watch puppies at play, you will see a lot of growling and tussling. There is more to this play fighting than meets the eye. Those little guys are already deciding who is going to be "top dog". Whether you realize it or not, something very much like this play fighting is happening at home between your puppy and the rest of the family.
To be confident and secure what puppies need most is a master they can depend on. For your dog to have a happy life and be a pleasure to own, at least one person in the family must become such a master. Dogs have no mental concept of "friends and equals". Somebody has to be boss. Assertive puppies will grow up trying to be boss, which won't make either one of you happy. A submissive puppy may spend its entire life fretting and worrying, never sure what is expected. Everything usually works out just fine automatically--puppies find their place in the family without much trouble and everyone is happy with the arrangement. If, on the other hand, you have a strongly assertive or unusually submissive pet there are some things you should keep in mind:
How to create a lifestyle at home which the cross of Poodle & Cocker Spaniel requires in order to be happy;
There are a number of ways to ensure that your dog gets the opportunity to express natural behaviour. Ideal activities for would include:
Dog sports - Sports like agility gives your dog the chance to explore new things, use up some energy and challenges them.
Swimming - Gun dogs help both on land and water they generally like a good swim. It is a good way to keep them agile. If there's not an opportunity for swimming they will more than likely like water so a walk near water where they have the opportunity to run and splash is often appreciated.
Hiding food/toys - This allows them to retrieve and track and also allows flushing behaviour. Try putting a scent on a toy before hiding it so they can sniff it out.
Fetch - Let them chase and retrieve toys. Add in sit & stay to get them thinking and working under instruction.
Off lead exercise - Allow your dog, where possible, opportunity to explore off lead. It is what they love to do and allows natural exploring behaviour.
Canine play - Try to arrange group dog walks to allow your dog to interact with other dogs. Allow your dog to meet, greet and play with other dogs when out and about, preferably off lead, if possible, so they can respond to each naturally and freely.
Activity feeding - Rather than just putting your dog’s meal in a bowl twice a day give your dog challenges and get them to find and work for their food as they would naturally. If you feed kibble throw it out across the garden so they have to sniff and search it out. Try giving your dog a raw, meaty bone so they really have to get stuck in and use those teeth to rip, pull and chew. If you feed wet food stuff it in a Kong or hollowed out marrow bone. Put their kibble meal in a treat dispensing ball so they have to work out how to get the food then actively work for it.
Working with an assertive puppy
Assertive puppies tend to immediately investigate new people and objects. They are quick to begin play fighting activities with people. When they want to be petted or fed, they are insistent and demanding. These puppies fall easily into the role of family protector because they think the people belong to them. This is well and good, but because dogs cannot really understand human society, there is soon trouble. They may try to defend you from everyone, and biting the UPS man because he invades your yard is not ok. Biting the children is not ok. The most serious problems happen when grandchildren are involved. Perceived either as an outside threat or a competitor, it is not unusual for grandchildren to be badly injured by big assertive dogs.
The training techniques used to establish your teacher-learner relationship are especially important. Remember that your dog will be much happier in the long run if he earns praise and pleasure by obeying you, not by demanding it.
It is especially important for you to be master. Do not allow your dog to nip or bite at you in a friendly way. If a puppy play bites stop the ‘game’ immediately by holding the puppies mouth shut with a little pressure until he/she pulls away. Combine it with a gruff ‘No’ if you like. You may have to repeat this two or three times if an assertive puppy comes back at you, do it with a little firmer pressure each time. You must make the puppy choose to step away from the encounter and you become the ‘older grumpier dog’. Do not hold a grudge, when you win the moment then let it go. The next moment can be back to normal. Do not stimulate your puppy by waving your arms and acting excited or by playing tug of war. Do not become what your puppy perceives to be an equal and competitive playmate.
Working with a submissive puppy
Submissive puppies tend to "shy away" from new people or things, either by lying down or actually running away. It is normal for most puppies to be slightly submissive. They wish for nothing more than to please you and this makes them easy to train.
Teach shy puppies things they can do that will earn your calm, reassuring praise. Try to provide a peaceful environment and a dependable schedule that includes exercise, a daily obedience session, and reliable feeding times.
Most puppies and young dogs have a tendency to urinate in response to new situations, when meeting a stranger, or even when their owners come home and greet them excitedly. This is a sign that your puppy is uncertain about what is expected. Never scold when this happens. Puppy is already trying hard to please. Calmly reassure, ignoring the urination. Clean up later, in private.
If puppies don't know what is expected of them, particularly if they are beginning to believe that people are supposed to do what dogs tell them to do, they may react inappropriately to strangers. The puppy is afraid, but psychologically unable to be completely submissive. They usually show signs of fear and try to run away from a threatening situation, but when escape is prevented, they bite. It happens when children insist on petting a frightened dog, and happens at the veterinarian's office. These puppies need the firm leadership and reassurance best achieved through obedience training.
It is natural for puppies to chew--that's one of the ways they explore and learn. Try to keep valuable objects that are chewable safely out of reach and provide a satisfactory alternative like a Nylabone chew toy. Destructive chewing is merely a way to work off excitement and relieve frustration, not an insidious plan to get even with you. Help encourage your puppy to be calm. Be easy-going. Don't encourage tug of war or play that involves chewing and biting.
When you leave home for the day, don't make it into a big deal for the dog. By showing lots of emotion of any sort (threats or cheerfulness, it doesn't matter) you build up emotional stress. This is often vented in destructive chewing. Your last three or four minutes at home should be spent calmly reading or sitting. Then get up and leave, ignoring your puppy completely--don't even say goodbye. Arrive home the same way. Ignore your puppy at first and avoid the area where things are most likely to have been chewed. If things are a mess when you get home, don't let puppy know you care. Behave calmly. Clean up later when your puppy can't watch. Do not build up more stress by scolding--that just makes things worse. Again, work on teaching simple obedience and building the teacher-learner relationship. Puppies need a calm, dependable master.
Chew Treats, Bones and Toys
Don't give your puppy anything small enough to swallow that can't be digested, or things that can be chewed into large indigestible chunks and swallowed.
COOKED bones are the most likely to cause trouble as they splinter. Old gooey rawhide chews or bones from the butcher that have been around for a few days get rotten and stinky and cause diarrhoea. If you give things like this, use good sense. Bones should be too large to swallow and solid enough that they won't be broken up into smaller chunks. We suggest using Nylafloss chew toys. If your puppy first learns to prefer bones and rawhide, he probably won't think chew toys are all that great, so use them from the beginning. Nylafloss looks like a big thick chunk of nylon rope. Puppies like it because they can really sink their teeth into the rope, and it helps keep the teeth clean.
Resource Guarding and Dominance in Puppies
Food, Toy and Resource Guarding
Like humans, dogs understand the concept of possession and ownership of resources. Perhaps also like some humans, dogs can take excessive measures to guard these resources. The types of resources can be numerous, but the most common and problematic ones are usually food, objects (toys/chews etc) and particular locations such as their bed, your bed or their crate.
Where resource guarding manifests itself in dangerous aggression, you should seek the advice of a professional behaviourist who can make a comprehensive assessment of the causes and develop a detailed corrective programme. These tips and advice are intended as guidance to help prevent or aid minor cases of this type of behaviour.
How can I prevent Aggressive Food Guarding?
This is the most common type of resource guarding. It is usually easy to spot and occurs when a dog is aggressive (or threatens to be) when approach whilst eating from their food bowl. It can also occur when an owner attempts to retrieve food items snatched or found by the dog. Dogs are also known to guard their empty food bowls.
First things first, disciplining your dog for food guarding, is more likely to aggravate the problem than cure it. Using harsh discipline often results in the dog deciding that it needs to be even more aggressive to retain this resource.
The reason a dog guards its food is the fear that the approaching person is going to take it away. So we need to remove that fear and create positive associations with people approaching its food. The best way to achieve this is to tempt your dog away from its bowl with an even tastier resource (i.e. its favourite treat). Do this in small steps and start by keeping a distance from the food bowl. Let your dog take the treat and return to its bowl. Over a number of sessions, gradually get closer to the bowl to the point where you can drop the treats into its bowl. Further develop this by oﬀering the treats right next to the bowl whilst the dog is eating. Diﬀerent people should carry out these exercises to avoid the positive associations only being related to one person and the dog continues to guard when others approach.
Another useful exercise, particularly to prevent food guarding, is to feed your dog in small instalments. This is where you feed your dog a small amount of its food, and then take the bowl away to add more food. Repeating this 3-4 times until its meal is finished. Again, this exercise helps build positive associations as your dog soon learns that when the bowl is taken away, it is going to be returned with more food.
How can I prevent Toy & Object Possessiveness?
Guarding of this nature usually relates to dog toy and dog chews, but can also relate to more obscure items such as laundry, tissues, food wrappers or objects found by the dog or have a particular smell. As with food guarding, we need to look to building positive association around people approaching the guarded objects. We want the dog to understand that approaching people and the removal of objects means more fun, excitement or a special treat.
A good place to start is by approaching your dog whilst near an unguarded low value object. Pick up the object with one hand then produce a treat from behind your back with the other. Then give the object back and walk away. Repeat this, but change the angle of approach and intervals between approaches. Work on this over a number of sessions, then change the exercise so that as you oﬀer the object back to the dog, as soon as they touch it, withdraw it then praise and treat, then give the object back.
Over time, start to carry out the exercise with higher value objects. Then move onto carrying out the exercise when the dog is more engrossed with the object. But always remember to keep it positive and that the removal of resources results in even more positive experience.
Another useful exercise to help against object guarding is to introduce the concept of sharing. This works particularly well with chew toys and the exercise involves you oﬀering a chew toy to your dog, but keeping a hold of the other end yourself. Allow your dog to enjoy the chew, but after a period, take it away for a spell then oﬀer it back. Your dog soon understands that the resource is not his, but he is allowed to share it. Practice this with diﬀerent people and objects.
How can I stop Location Guarding?
A common behavioural concern of owners is aggressiveness by their dogs whilst in a particular location. The most common locations being their sleeping area, which could be their bed or crate, you're bed or the sofa. An interesting feature of location guarding is that the level of severity is not only tied to the value of the resource, but also to who is approaching. For example a dog may allow a child to approach but not an adult. Or perhaps a woman can approach, but not a man.
I always recommend that you prevent dogs sleeping on your bed or on sofas from an early age. Sleeping in the same place as the pack leader (that's you!) or in an elevated location (on sofa) gives your dog a higher sense status within the pack hierarchy. Not only can this cause guarding, but it can also cause other issues such as diﬃculties with training and general challenging behaviour.
Some dogs show guarding behaviours whilst in their bed or crate. This is usually when a person attempts to handle, caress or move them. The reasons for this may be varied, it could be they are just tied and want to be left alone or it could be that they are poorly. Obviously in the later case, you should seek advice from your vet. But in all other cases you need to accustom your dog to being handled whilst they are in these locations. Like other forms of guarding, the best solution is to make this a positive experience. Start by oﬀering the dog high value treats whilst in these locations, and then start to lure them from the location with further tip bits. Keep practicing this over a number of sessions and like food guarding, change the angle of approach, the intervals and the person who does the exercise. Over time your dog will soon learn that positive things always happen when people approach previously guard locations.
How to become Pack Leader….
To your dog, all members of your family are members of the same pack as they are. Both for your dog and families well-being, it is essential that your dog quickly understands that its rank is right at the bottom of the pack hierarchy. This way they will be more compliant to commands and generally better behaved, and as a consequence be more of a pleasure to include in family activities.
Establishing yourself as the Pack Leader helps enforce ranking hierarchy and ensures your pack operates in harmony. Despite popular opinion, this does not mean bullying your dog. Being the Pack Leader means taking responsibility for pack decisions, protecting the pack and ensuring stressful situations are avoided or resolved. There are a number of very positive actions you can take to establish yourself as the Pack Leader. It is important to start these as early as you can, ideally when your dog is still a puppy. It may not be necessary to take all the measures outlined below, but you must be consistent in those that you impose.
- In games of strength (eg. Tug-o-war) ensure you win more than you lose. This sends a signal that you are the stronger member of the pack.
- When you play possession and chase games, use a set of toys that you can remove from your dog at the end of the game. Your dog can associate possession of privileged items with higher ranking. Taking the toys from your dog at the end of the game sends a clear signal that they do not own the items.
- During play sessions, teach your dog to release toys at your request. Thus reinforcing the earlier point that you are the owner of the toy and can request it back at any time.
- Stop playing and remove the toy immediately if your dog touches your hand with its teeth or begins to growl aggressively or get over excited.
- Dominant dogs always have the best sleeping places, usually higher up than the rest of the pack. Reinforce your status and don't let your dog sleep on your bed or furniture.
- Doorways represent entering new territory. Don't allow your dog to walk through doors ahead of you.
- Make areas of your house no go areas. Allowing your dog into these areas should be a privilege for good behaviour and not a right.
- Your dog should know that you own all territory. If your dog is lying in the way, ask them nicely to move, don't walk around them.
- Higher ranking pack members eat first, so ensure your dog eats after you and DO NOT feed them tip bits while you are eating. Not only does it discourage your dog from scrounging, it also reinforces the fact they only eat after you.
- Don't always respond to your dog’s requests for attention. The pack leader will initiate most grooming and petting interactions. On occasions, be aloof to requests for attention by your dog, don't tell them oﬀ, just ignore and don't speak to them, when you return after periods of absence and puppy/dog has been left alone they will be very demanding for attention be matter of fact, when they are calm then you initiate the greeting on your terms establishing the dominant pack leader position.
- Never allow your dog to take up superior positions, such as putting his paws on your shoulders. Walk oﬀ and ignore this behaviour if it occurs.
- Always be consistent over time in your approach to any of the above. Dogs will notice and may exploit changes that it considers weaknesses.
- Always be consistent in all locations, be they in the house or outside, at home or away from home.
- Finally, and most importantly, every member of your family must stick to the agreed measures to ensure your dog understands that everyone in the family is more important than he is.
There will be cases when your dog challenges your authority. Remember, there is no need to physically punish your dog to suppress these challenges. Your body language, facial expressions and voice inflexion are extremely powerful tools.