Learning how to raise a Labradoodle puppy is a major part of any new Labradoodle owner’s journey! And, it can seem overwhelming at first, when you stop to think about how much you need to do. Every puppy owner can feel this way – it’s only natural! After all, you want to raise your Labradoodle to be a polite, friendly dog. One that people are happy to spend time around, including yourself!
We’ve broken down how to raise a Labradoodle into small steps, to help you get started without missing any parts of your journey. From those early days with your Labradoodle to later training steps!
How to Raise a Labradoodle Puppy
There’s a lot to do when raising a Labradoodle puppy. It’s easy for people to miss things out, whether they simply forget, or whether they think it isn’t important to teach a Labradoodle. So, we’ve broken down everything you need to include as part of your puppy’s early life. Here’s everything you need to consider:
- Puppy proofing your house
- Potty training
- Crate training
- Obedience training
- A proper diet
- Getting started on the best health
- A proper exercise routine
- Mental stimulation and company
Towards the end of this guide, we will also take a look at how to raise a Labradoodle puppy with children, the importance of a good routine, and how to deal with some common problem behaviors. This includes biting, barking, and more. But, before any of that, let’s take a look at all the tools you may need to raise a Labradoodle puppy.
Toolkit for Raising a Labradoodle Puppy
Raising any puppy takes a lot of work. And, Labradoodles are no different. But, with the right equipment, and the right attitude, you’ll be able to raise a wonderful companion that is a pleasure to be around. The attitude is something you’ll have to provide. But, luckily, the rest of the tools you’ll need are easy to find in most pet stores! Here are some of the essentials most people need to raise a Labradoodle puppy:
- Food and drink bowls
- A good harness
- A leash
- Dog bed
- Proper-sized crate (usually with a divider)
- A collar
- Appropriate grooming tools
- A selection of toys
- Puppy food
- Baby gates
- Puppy pen
- A clicker
- Recall whistle
- Treat bag
- Dog seatbelt or car restraint
- Dental chews or doggy toothbrush and toothpaste
- Nail clippers or grinder
- Puppy pads or poo bags
This might seem like a lot. But, you can spread the cost out before bringing your puppy home. Plus, some of these tools won’t be necessary for all Labradoodle owners. For instance, not everyone likes to crate train their dog – so a crate may not be essential. But, make sure you have everything you need before your puppy comes home, to avoid that mad rush when they’re here and you’re missing something!
Puppy Proofing Your House
When raising your Labradoodle, one of the most important steps is to puppy proof your house. In fact, this is something that should be done before you even bring your Doodle home! You’ll need to go around and remove anything that could hurt your Labradoodle puppy – such as toxic plants or choking hazards. Puppies love to explore with their mouths, so this is vital. You should also remove anything that you don’t want your Labradoodle to destroy, like fluffy cushions or socks!
It’s a great idea to set up a zone in your house where your puppy can spend their time getting used to family life. Ideally, this should be in the center of the action – a room where you and the family spend a lot of time, like the kitchen. Washable floors are also important. To set this up, you could use a puppy pen which can have your crate, food and water bowls, and even puppy bed inside. Or, you can use baby gates to turn a whole room into a puppy zone. Just make sure everything within your puppy’s reach is safe, and not something you’d miss if it got eaten.
Socializing a Labradoodle Puppy
Once your puppy is home, the next most important step is to think about socialization. But wait – aren’t Labradoodles friendly? Many Labradoodles grow up to be extremely friendly, but socialization and training is important for any breed. There’s a small window before your puppy is 12 weeks old, where their experiences will make a lasting impression. This is also known as a fear period. Socialization should happen during this small window.
To socialize a Labradoodle, you need to introduce him to as many new things as possible. This includes different types of people, places, vehicles, animals, sounds, sights, and more! The more positive experiences your puppy has at this time, the happier and more confident they will be when they’re older. Some of this you’ll be able to do at home, but for a lot of things, you’ll need to take your Labradoodle puppy out and about.
Of course, most Labradoodles won’t be fully vaccinated until they’re older than 12 weeks. So, you’ll need to invest in a puppy sling, or just prepare to carry your Labradoodle. This will reduce their risk of catching any dangerous diseases whilst being socialized, such as parvovirus.
Potty Training a Labradoodle Puppy
There are two main methods to potty train a Labradoodle. Either, you can use puppy pads, or you can teach your puppy to toilet outside from the start. There are pros and cons to each method, but one may be more suitable to you and your lifestyle.
If you’re using puppy pads, you can line the puppy zone with pads at first, and then reduce them over time, to show your Labradoodle that they need to go to the toilet in one space. Alternatively, if you’re teaching your puppy to go outside from the start, you will need to anticipate each pee or poop from the start. This can mean taking your puppy outside as frequently as every 20 minutes at first, and every couple of hours through the night! Over time, you’ll be able to reduce the frequency of these trips.
Only you can decide which of these methods is right for you. And, no matter which you choose, your puppy may still have accidents. It’s important to remember that they aren’t doing it on purpose! They are still young and learning. For more tips on potty training, you can take a look at the online puppy parenting course on our sister site!
Crate Training a Labradoodle Puppy
Of course, potty training can be made easier with other equipment – like a crate. Popping your puppy in their crate before their next potty break can help you to extend the gap between toilet trips. However, you will need to choose the correct sized crate – not too large and not too small. Choosing a large crate with a divider is a good way to do this. And, never leave your puppy in their crate for too long, just to extend their potty breaks!
Crate training can also provide a place for puppies to nap through the day. After all, your young Labradoodle will need a surprising amount of sleep! So, use positive reinforcement to show your Labradoodle that their crate is a great place to be.
Obedience training is another important part of raising a Labradoodle puppy. And, you can get started straight away thanks to positive reinforcement training! Many people will enjoy puppy training classes for help with this. But, you can also get started on obedience training at home, with online resources or training courses. With consistent obedience training, your Labradoodle puppy will grow up to be a well behaved, polite dog.
Labradoodles are a clever mix of dogs that come from working purebreds. So, many will take well to training. Positive reinforcement is a great way to build on the bond you have with your Labradoodle. And, thanks to the Labrador parentage, most Labradoodles will be keen to work hard for their treats!
Grooming your Labradoodle
If you have a first generation Labradoodle, you may not know what their fur is going to be like until they’re fully grown and have shed their puppy coat. They may have a hair coat, like a Labrador, a wool coat like a Poodle, or a fleece coat, which falls somewhere in between. The tools that you need to use to groom your dog will depend on which of the three coat types they inherit.
Although your Labradoodle won’t inherit their adult coat until their puppy coat sheds, you still need to ensure they’re comfortable with the grooming process. So, groom them from a young age, and show them how great the process is with rewards like treats. This won’t just involve brushing their fur, but also checking their ears, teeth, and paws. You may need to desensitize your Doodle to a toothbrush, and to nail clippers or grinders.
Feeding your Labradoodle Puppy
Labradoodle puppies need a balanced diet. This usually comes from a commercial puppy food. Puppy food has a slightly different nutritional balance to adult dog food in order to support your puppy’s growth and development. So, make sure that you choose a puppy food and continue feeding this until your puppy is fully grown. When you first bring your pup home, they’ll need to eat the same food that their breeder was giving them. If you want to change this, you can help them transition over the period of a week or so.
At first, your puppy will be eating several small meals a day – usually four. Over the course of the next year, you can reduce these meals to three and then two. However, you may also find that you use up all of your puppy’s kibble through the day during training! Don’t worry if this is the case, but make sure it is still spread out. Don’t just give your puppy their entire food allowance by training them all morning. Breaks are important, and your puppy’s tummy is only small when they first come home. Giving them meals that are too large can lead to digestive issues and upset stomachs.
Your veterinarian is a great resource when learning how to raise a Labradoodle puppy. In fact, in those first few months, you’ll be making a lot of trips to the vet’s office. This will include getting all the vaccinations and pet treatments that your puppy needs. Regular veterinary trips are important to stay on top of your dog’s health. And your vet should be the first port of call if anything ever goes wrong with your puppy. Including health concerns, eating something they shouldn’t, or even sudden unusual behavior.
Exercising a Labradoodle Puppy
When your puppy first comes home, they won’t need too much formal exercise. In fact, they’ll get everything they need through playing with you, training, and general daily socializing. And, they won’t be able to go on formal walks until they’re fully vaccinated anyway.
Another concern to bear in mind is potential joint problems. Some studies suggest that puppies should avoid stairs until three months old to lower their risk of hip dysplasia. Your veterinarian is a great person to speak to if you’re concerned about how much exercise your Doodle is getting, or about their joints.
Mental Stimulation and Company
Labradoodles are intelligent dogs. But, with this intelligence comes a need for plenty of mental stimulation. So, make sure you’re keeping your puppy busy when they’re awake through the day. This can be through training, games, or even socialization. So, stock up on interactive toys, and plan a training routine to keep your puppy entertained.
Labradoodles are very social, people-oriented dogs. So, they’ll love this time through the day with you. In fact, without enough company, Labradoodles can become depressed, stressed, and destructive. So, it’s a good idea to keep your Doodle busy and spend plenty of time with them.
How to Raise a Labradoodle with Children
Labradoodles are popular dogs with families, since they’re known for being so friendly and affectionate. But, full grown Labradoodles can be large dogs, so it’s important to train them well for a young age. And, to teach your children how to interact with a dog properly! This includes recognizing signs that your puppy wants to be alone, and signs that they’re getting over-excited.
To avoid any misunderstandings, it’s a great idea to show your children how to play safely with a puppy. Avoid rough play, and make sure that you give both your puppy and your children regular breaks from one another to stop anyone getting upset. Supervise play sessions to ensure that things stay friendly and calm!
The Importance of Routine
Keeping your Labradoodle puppy to a routine is important to help your puppy settle into your home. It will also help to keep a record of your routine, including training progress, feeding times, and toilet breaks. Not only will this help you and other family members stick to the same methods, but it can also be a huge relief to look back and see how far you’ve come on a day where your puppy might be acting out and testing your limits!
Dealing with Problem Behaviors
Dealing with problem behaviors is perhaps the hardest part of raising a Labradoodle puppy. And, it’s something that all puppy owners experience – not just Doodle owners. When your puppy is biting, teething, barking, having potty training accidents, or even waking up earlier than normal, it’s easy to despair. But, it’s not always a sign that you aren’t doing things right, or that your puppy is trying to test your limits.
If you’re struggling with problem behaviors, you may want to take a look at our online dog training courses. Not only does the Puppy Parenting course look at the most common puppy training problems, but you can also join the support forum to receive personalized help from the training team, and other puppy parents!
How to Raise a Labradoodle Puppy – A Summary
Learning how to raise a Labradoodle puppy is a long, and sometimes complicated process! But, with consistency, a proper routine, and plenty of patience, you’ll raise your Labradoodle puppy into a well behaved, lovable adult. Socialization and training are both hugely important, but so is setting up the right routine for daily care to meet your puppy’s needs. If you’re ever struggling, you can turn to your veterinarian for help. Or, take part in a training course or class to see that you aren’t going through these struggles alone!
References and Resources
- Kutsumi, A. (et al), ‘Importance of Puppy Training for Future Behavior of the Dog’, Journal of Veterinary Medical Science (2013)
- Vaterlaws-Whiteside, H. & Hartmann, A. ‘Improving Puppy Behavior Using a New Standardized Socialization Program’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2017)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: The Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Hiby, E. (et al), ‘Dog Training Methods: Their Use, Effectiveness, and Interaction with Behaviour and Welfare’, Animal Welfare (2004)
- China, L. (et al), ‘Efficacy of Dog Training With and Without Remote Electronic Collars vs. a Focus on Positive Reinforcement’, Frontiers in Veterinary Science (2020)
- Krontveit, R. (et al), ‘Housing- and Exercise-Related Risk Factors Associated with the Development of Hip Dysplasia as Determined by Radiographic Evaluation in a Prospective Cohort of Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers, Leonbergers, and Irish Wolfhounds in Norway‘, American Journal of Veterinary Research (2012)