Puppy Preparation List


To get ready, the most immediate items you’ll need include:

  1. Puppy Kibble: Purina ProPlan Lamb and Rice Puppy Kibble Kibble”. Choose small or large breed depending on the full grown size your puppy will be. You can buy this online at Chewy.com and other online retailers. You can also find it at Tractor Supply Stores.  If you decide to switch your puppy, do so slowly over 10 days, expect some loose stools and be sure to choose a premium kibble that is *specifically for large (Moyan for mini’s and Small breed kibble for micros) breed puppies*. Don’t feed your puppy in his/her crate as s/he could develop food aggression. Feed your puppy by hand (fun task for kids!) and pet your puppy while s/he is eating. Any “high value” treats such as bones or bully sticks should be held at one end while the puppy chews on the other. This way s/he knows the human is in charge of whether or not s/he gets the yummy treat! Most importantly, GRAINS ARE GOOD for dogs. Grain free has been linked to heart problems in multiple clinical studies.

  2. An Adjustable Crate: Extra large, large, medium or small depending on the full grown size your puppy will grow to. You’ll want a crate that can be adjusted with a divider such that it gets bigger as your puppy grows. When the divider is incerted correctly, your pup should be able to stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably. Any bigger and they will pee/poop on one side and sleep on the other, which delays house training. 2 crates are recommended if you have a large house and spend a lot of time downstairs and have the puppy sleeping upstairs. If your puppy is attending Foundations training, for the smoothest transition, purchase a hard shell travel crate fitted snugly to your puppy (based on measurements). This is the type of crate they will have become accustomed to at Foundations Training. 

  3. A Puppy Sweater (in the winter months), XS/S Harness (vary by brand), a 10-16 inch Collar, ID Tag and Leash: Your puppy will need to learn how to walk on a leash (if they haven’t gone to Foundations Training ). The puppy harness will make learning to walk on a leash much easier on his/her neck. The collar will be for the puppy ID information. Front lead harnesses are best for teaching your puppy not to pull and for having kids walk the dog but only after they have learned how to walk on a leash with either a collar or back lead harness.

  4. Schedule a Vet Visit for their 10 week Distemper Shot: This should be given when the puppy is 10 weeks old along with the kennel cough vaccination. At 14 weeks old, the final distemper shot and at 16 weeks old, the rabies vaccination can be given. We will go over this in detail on gotcha day as well.

  5. Teething Toys: I recommend buying at least 10 different kinds and rotating them every day so they don’t get tired of them and start chewing on things they aren’t supposed to chew on. Puppy Kong’s are awesome if you stuff them with canned puppy food or treats. As they get older, freeze them and it’ll be hours of entertainment! Marshall’s/TJ Maxx/Home Goods has a great assortment of puppy things and for a lot less $$$ (avoid the toys with squeakers that are easily destroyed). 12 inch Bully sticks are great too but be sure to take it away once it’s down to 4 inches so s/he doesn’t choke.

  6. Puppy Bedding:  Bedding they can’t chew up & definitely a washable and/or a removable cover. I don’t recommend much bedding in the crate at all, if any, until s/he is crate and house trained. It makes it more pleasant if s/he does have an accident in the crate because it’s absorbed. A thin blanket or towel works well. Recently I discovered amazon sells machine washable area rugs in all sizes! These are great for covering an existing rug while your puppy is house training and/or for their crate!

  7. Water and food dish: Heavy enough that they can’t tip it over or with a raised/adjustable base. Limit water intake 2 hours before bed for a better nights’ sleep.

  8. Sign Up For GROUP Puppy Training Class: It is a requirement as part of the adoption contract to take your to *group* puppy training class starting at  8 weeks (10 weeks if going to Foundations) old and continuing until s/he is 16 weeks. This is a critical time for socialization as the window for introducing new people, places, things and animals closes at 16 weeks. The puppies will all leave here very well socialized with people, dogs and sounds as you’ll come to see via the 24/7 live puppy cam. However, as with any puppy, they will lose the socialization quickly if it’s not continued especially to to 16 weeks of age but also beyond as well. A good rule of thumb is 100 new faces per day so s/he is exposed to new people with beards, hats, glasses, bikes, crutches, umbrellas, etc. If you have kids, this makes for a fun scavenger hunt! Any neighborhood dogs? Schedule play dates! Supervise closely if there is a big difference in size and do make sure the other dogs are up to date on vaccinations. ***If you have any friends or family who have recently adopted a dog/puppy from the south, hold off on any play dates until after your puppy receives his/her 3rd distemper vaccination.***Parvo is a virus that’s often deadly to puppies and is common in the south!** Thinking about a private trainer or a board and train program? A word about trainers… By definition, trainers are controlling because, well, it’s their job to be! Some trainers are great (patient, understands puppy development, love their job vs. burnt out or want to retire but can’t afford to yet and some are just plain crazy (ie; use “special” collars on young puppies, use force when you aren’t looking, etc). It took me several months to find the trainers who run my Training program, The Massachusetts Bernedoodles Higher Education Program. Be selective! And, be present unless you have vetted your trainer very well and they have excellent, recent reviews. Private training sessions are great after your puppy is 4 months old and their brains are more developed/mature. Private sessions for basic obedience (if you prefer) should only be in addition to group puppy training, not instead of. Socialization & positive obedience training is the #1 priority between 8-16 weeks old.

  9. Puppy Daycare: (ideal between 8/10 weeks-16 weeks) or a dog walker if you’ll be leaving your puppy for more than 2-3 hr stretches in the beginning.  Half days are also great! Puppies can hold their bladders for as many hours as they are old plus 1 (2 months old = 3 hours). As with any puppy, if you leave your puppy in the crate for longer than the recommended period (based on age but no more than 6-7 hours at any age), s/he will develop anxiety. Puppies/dogs need their humans and they need to trust their humans. Leaving a puppy or dog in a crate for too many hours during the day or at night isn’t good for them physically or mentally.

  10. . Dog Walkers: There are two kids of dog walker; A. The best kind are the ones who pick up several dogs in the morning, bring them on a group walk/hike, then drop them all off at the end of the day. This gets your dog out for almost the entire day, gets his/her energy out, socializes him/her with new people/places/things frequently and is very healthy for him/her. However, your puppy won’t be old enough to keep up with this kind of dog walker until they are about 4 months old. B. Dog walkers that just come to your house to walk your puppy/dog for 10-15 mins and then your puppy goes back in the crate. This is a less expensive option when compared to doggie daycare but isn’t as ideal as daycare or or the “type A” dog walker. A great app used to find dog walkers, dog parks, groomers and dog sitters is called “Rover”. Another great app for finding dog friendly places or accommodations is called “Bring Fido”.

  11. . Baby Monitor: If you plan to have your puppy sleep in another room, you’ll need a way to hear them when they signal for a bathroom break. A baby monitor allows you to hear when s/he needs to go outside during the overnight hours. I recommend having the puppy sleep in your room for at least 2-4 weeks until they have adjusted to life as an independent puppy, without their siblings around them. However, if this isn’t possible then a baby monitor is a must have.

  12. . A Wyze Cam (amazon sells them for $25 each) and a memory card (amazon sells them for $10): This way, when you aren’t home, you can keep an eye on your puppy and anyone else who is watching him/her. You can also view the playback to see if s/he had any difficulty while you were away, if you buy the memory card.

  13. . Grooming appointment: Your puppy should go to the groomer-for the first time when s/he is 10-15 weeks old. This visit should be short and full of praise and rewards for being good. It should consist of only the following so you don’t overwhelm your puppy: A. a bath B. Blow dry C. Hygiene shave (so poop doesn’t get stuck on their bum) D. Ears cleaned E. Nails trimmed. Establish with the groomer (before you leave your puppy) and agree that your puppy is not matted. Groomers shave doodles down for 4 reasons: 1. They’re behind schedule 2. They’re lazy 3. The boss requires X number of dogs to be groomed per day 4. Your pup is actually matted. It’s usually one of the first 3 reasons if you’ve been diligent about brushing your pup daily. Once you’ve established with the groomer (not the front desk) that your puppy is not matted, then hand them the sheet on Bernedoodle grooming which you’ll receive in your puppy folder on gotcha day or bring pictures to show what you do like and don’t like. If you like the puppy look, ask for “the puppy cut”. If you love certain features (ie; brown eyebrows or long eye lashes) tell them to keep them! Otherwise, generally speaking, they don’t. Some groomers do wacky things when they hear the word “doodle” -like poodle paws ..yikes!

  14. . A “slicker” brush (slicker is a type of brush, not a brand), dry shampoo & puppy shampoo. You’ll need to brush your puppy at least once/day and every time after they get wet (rain, snow, pond, River, ocean, etc). If your puppy is squealing when you brush them, double check that you bought the correct type of brush (slicker). They have hair like humans so “rake” brushes and furminator brushes will hurt them!

  15. . Rounded end scissors for trimming around the eyes in between grooming appointments, Nail Trimmers and Kwik Stop: (Incase you cut the nail too short by accident and it bleeds). If you don’t feel comfortable trimming nails, you’ll want to find a groomer who does “walk in” nails (usually $10) and take your puppy/dog every 2 weeks while they’re growing and every 2-3 weeks once they are done growing. The quick will grow into their nails as their nails get longer. Therefore, to keep your dogs nails short (the way they should be), you’ll need to keep up with their nails being trimmed.

  16. . Flea and Tick Preventative: Ticks (those nasty little buggers) are active anytime the ground thaws, even if there is a one day thaw in February. I recommend the Seresto collar ($57 on amazon) for a couple of reasons: A. It acts as a shield so ticks won’t even jump on your puppy and then decide they don’t like him/her and jump off in your house! I haven’t found one tick in my house or on my dogs since I began using them. B. They work for 7-8 months! This is a cost savings when compared to treating Lyme Disease, monthly topical treatments or ingestible tablets ($30+/mo) and, with the monthly treatments, you WILL find them in your house (eeek!) after the tick realizes Fido doesn’t taste good. The only exception to this recommendation is if you have children who have hands in their mouth a lot. Tip: leave the collar long enough to allow 7 months of growth!

17. Heartguard!! This is a prescription only and you can get it through your vet. Many people don’t see the importance of heart worm preventative and see it as “optional”. Heartguard is not optional! The treatment for heart worms is a series of injections directly into the spine- very painful. Never mind the consequences of having heart worms…which can include death.

18. Foundations Training.. Please see the video below and click this here for more information.

19. This one is magical .. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SXD5KKG?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share