Our Goldendoodle | Must Have Puppy Products

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Welcome back! Today, I am talking must-have puppy products. I am sharing five products that we’ve bought for Henry that we can’t live without. If you’re new here, you should also read about Henry’s first day home. Before getting Henry I started a puppy wishlist on Amazon. This helped me prepare and prioritize. It was a lot easier to get carried away with puppy purchases than I thought it would be. To no surprise, I blew my mini puppy budget – whoopsie! At least I now have a bit of an excuse when Amazon orders arrive; “Oh that box? It’s for Henry!”


Although we have not actually purchased a crate yet (we’ve borrowed two) I think it’s an absolute necessity. Henry loves his crate. Using a crate really helped us house train him. It’s also a safe and cozy area that is 100% his space. We even take the crate to my parent’s house when he stays there for the afternoon. As long as he has his crate, we know Henry will calmly settle into his new surroundings. I have a separate blog post all about our house training experience and tips {read it here}. He started in a 24 inch crate and is currently in a 30 inch crate. We think he will probably need a 36 inch crate for good, so that will probably be the size we purchase {update 12/3/19: We did purchase the 36in crate, but ultimately had to also buy Henry the 42in} . If our moms didn’t have extra crates lying around we probably would have went with a 36 inch crate with a divider from the start. The dividers adjust the puppy’s space as he grows and are a much more affordable option than buying multiple crates.

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Puzzle Toy

Henry currently can’t play outside because he doesn’t have all of his vaccines. Although I know it’s best to keep him inside for now, I totally feel bad for him! The poor guy is growing like a weed. I know he can’t wait to get outside and stretch his long legs. There are times that Henry has a ton of puppy energy. We knew we had to find a way to keep him entertained for his first few months indoors. I found this puzzle on Amazon about a week after brining him home. It’s a great way to keep him occupied even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes. I also feel like I am giving his little brain a good challenge {he’s actually a very fast leaner}. As the weeks pass by, he completes the puzzle more quickly. It was really cute to see him progress. In the beginning, he only used his snoot to push the covers. Eventually he realized he could use his paw to move them too.

Activity Ball

To keep his attention longer than the puzzle we bought him a ball that holds dry food. This ball is hands down Henry’s favorite toy. It’s pretty much our favorite toy too because it keeps him running around and occupied for a while. The ball comes apart in three pieces; top, middle disc and bottom. On the bottom you place dry food {we usually do about 5-10 pieces}. Next, you cover it with the disc, twisting it to adjust the size of the hole. Last, you put the top back on. The disc and the top piece have holes in them. As Henry pushes the ball around food slowly falls from the bottom, through the disc hole and eventually through the top hole. Henry loves food and loves chasing this ball around the house. It’s a great toy for indoor exercise.

Safari Comb

My cousins also have a goldendoodle and they recommended that we purchased the Safari comb from Amazon or Chewy. Goldendoodles don’t shed or shed very little, so their coats are prone to matting. I think Henry’s fluffy hair is the cutest and want to keep him that way. To help prevent a horrible trip to the groomer that results in a close shave, I bought this comb. It is really great for combing close to the skin where the hair mats. This comb has about 5 teeth with slightly jagged edges. These edges must be why the comb works so well. The Safari comb is great for de-tangling. I try to comb Henry at least 2x per week. It’s not his favorite, but he’s slowly getting use to it. I’m not sure how much his hair will change, but most of his body doesn’t seem to tangle. The area on his lower back by his tail tends to get the most knotty. Each time I comb him the comb picks up a good amount of hair. I usually try to comb him when he’s sleepy, so he doesn’t fight it. I also really like the Safari double sided brush.

Bitterapple Spray

Overall, Henry is an awesome puppy. He’s been fairly easy to train, has had minimal accidents and picks up on new commands quickly. However, the worst and most difficult characteristic is play bitting. I am pretty sure he thinks everyone is part of his litter! Fortunately, he doesn’t have much interest in chewing our furniture. We are his preferred chew toys. I have watched a lot of training videos on YouTube {Zac George, Ceasar Milan} and with their tips I am slowly seeing some improvement. For the limited house hold objects that he does try to chew, we use the bitter apple spray to deter him. Growing up this stuff didn’t phase my family shih-tzu, but Henry HATES it. I think it’s definitely worth a try if your puppy is in a biting phase.

If you have any puppy product recommendations, please share them in the comments below!


Our Goldendoodle | House Training Tips

Welcome back! This is my second post since we’ve added Henry to our family. Today I want to share the tips that have helped us successfully train our little guy. I was definitely nervous about house training prior to getting a puppy. Growing-up my family had a shih-tzu who wasn’t the best with house training. My parents now have a havanese and he has been very difficult. When we met Henry’s breeder for the first time she told us not to use “potty pads.” She told us to take him right outside and he would learn. With consistency, patience and praise we have had a lot of success house training Henry.

#1 – Designated Potty Place

The day we brought Henry home we took him to his “potty place,” directly from the car. To our surprise he quickly went to the bathroom then we brought him inside. We have consistently taken him to the same area to go to the bathroom. Henry knows that area is for potty and generally goes pretty quickly. He is always on a leash. Early on, we only gave him a few minutes to do his business. If he laid down or started playing we took him inside and tried again in about 15/20 minutes. As soon as his goes, we give him lots of verbal praise {no treats – we don’t want him to start faking us out for snacks}. When he is finished we take him back inside. We want him to learn that at this point in is life, outside is for potty time only.

#2 – Crate Training

If you have done any research on crate training you probably already know that dogs naturally do not want to sleep and potty in the same place. Crate training your puppy will help him hold his bladder until he is able to go in the correct area. The crate should be a safe and cozy place for your pup. We were fortunate that Henry took a liking to his crate from the day he came home. He will go in and out on his own throughout the day to nap. Henry was about 9lbs when we brought him home and started him in a 24 inch wire crate. We borrowed this crate from someone. Otherwise, we would have bought a large crate with a divider. Around 14 weeks and 13-15 lbs, we switched him to a 30 inch wire crate that we borrowed as well. He is growing length-wise faster than he is in weight. We decided to switch him to a bigger crate because he was starting to seem cramped. Although he still had room turn, he always had to lay scrunched up. To this day he has not had a crate accident or cried through the night. Inside his crate we keep a machine washable crate bed, a thin towel and 1-2 toys. The crate is located in his room (aka the ‘puppy area’) right next to our bedroom. We have kept the crate in the same exact spot since day one {consistency}.

#3 – Puppy Area

As many resources state, it’s usually the owner’s fault a new puppy has an accident not the puppy’s. From experience, we could not agree more! We decided it was important to us that we confine Henry to limited area where he had easy access to his crate and his potty place. In our house, we have an room with a door into the backyard. Henry’s potty place is right outside that door. This room was the perfect option for our puppy area.

Henry’s crate is in that room and he has constant view of ‘his door.’ We only take him outside to the bathroom to through this door {consistency}. For about the first two weeks he was home he barely left this room {patience}. When we let him explore he had an accident even though we were watching him like a hawk. This made us realize how small he was in comparison to his new home. By taking him out of his puppy area we set him up for failure. He was too far from ‘his door’ and easily confused in what seemed like a giant house. Until we knew he was able to hold it longer, we kept him in ‘his room’ unless we were holding him.

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#4 – The Schedule

For the first two weeks, we wrote down every time Henry went potty, ate or drank. This was helpful for us and Henry. These notes helped us learn a lot about Henry and forced all of us on to a consistent schedule. Within a few days we were able to see a pattern between eating, drinking and potty. We compared day to day notes to see if he made progress and set expectations for the day. During the first two days home Henry peed 14 times before dinner! Henry generally had to pee 20 minutes after drinking water during his first two weeks. As the days when on he was able to stretch this time. We also realized he pooped around the same time 3-4x per day. This all sounds crazy as I type it, but the schedule gradually made the whole situation less stressful. We knew what to expect and when to expect it.

When we took Henry home, the breeder strongly recommend we limited his water the first few days home. She said he had never had is own water bowl and would likely over drink and make a huge mess. It only took one little bowl of water for us to realize that he was OBSESSED with water. Over the first few days we gradually increased the amount of water he drank. We have continued to increase the amount of water he gets each day while still monitoring his bathroom habits. Too much water at once or too frequently almost always results in an accident. Our vet and some sources I read suggest about 1oz of water per pound of puppy. We started using a mason jar that measures out 10 oz . This helps us ensure he is getting enough water each day. Henry is about 14 weeks old and we still do not leave a water bowl down. He would drink an entire bathtub if we let him!

During the night we took total control of Henry’s schedule. We were very consistent. For his first five nights home we set alarms every 2 hours to wake up and take him outside to potty. Almost every time Henry was asleep, but we wanted to make sure we got to him before he could get upset an have an accident. Sleepily we took turns taking him outside with a flashlight. No chit-chat, no play time. Just potty. After about five days, he was always sound asleep when our alarms went off, so we were confident that he could hold it a solid two hours. We were ready to increase our trips to three hours for about another five days. Then we increase to four hours. Within 2.5-3 weeks, Henry was sleeping through the night from about 9pm to 5am. As I write this blog, Henry is about 14 weeks old. He is very sleepy by 7:30/8pm and relaxes in his room. We take him out for the last time before we go to bed between 9pm and 10pm and I am happy to report that he can sleep until at least 6am these days.

# 5- Door Bells

The day after we brought Henry home we put bells on ‘his door.’ In the theory, the puppy will ring the bells to let you know he has to go out. I knew of some friends who had a lot of success with this method. Each time we took Henry out {we still carry him out} we touched his paw to the bells and said, “potty.” He caught on to this within two or three days! Even though he wasn’t doing it consistently, we were impressed he was doing it all all. About two weeks after having him we removed the bells for two or three days. He started playing with the bells constantly. Henry is a pretty quiet pup {unless he knows food or water is coming} so we were having a hard timing knowing when he needed to go out. He occasionally barks or stares at us, but felt bad that we didn’t really know. When we put the bells up for the second time he played with them a lot less. Now he can run from one side of the house to the other to ring the bells on ‘his door,’ when we needs to go out. If he rings the bells shortly after coming back inside we know he just wants to play.

There you have it. My top of tips for successfully house training your pup!


Related posts:

Our Goldendoodle| Puppy’s First Day Home

Disclaimer: I am participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All opinions/recommendations are my own.

Welcome to my first puppy blog! Five weeks ago today we brought home our 8 week old ‘medium’ goldendoodle, Henry. His expected weight as an adult is between 40 and 50 pounds. Before bringing Henry home I did months of research on puppies. I wanted to make sure I knew as much as possible. I grew-up with a shih-tzu and now my parents have a havenese. My parents used potty pads with both dogs and they were difficult to house train.

I researched different breeds, breeders and also considered adoption. However, most of my research was focused on crate and house training. I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle long-term puppy accidents, so I was determined to train him well! I am not a dog expert and have no education as a dog trainer, but I thought it would be helpful to share what has worked well for us. Here are a few tips that made Henry’s first night home a successful one.

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Tip #1

Setup your puppy’s area and puppy-proof your home before you pup comes home.

In our home we created a designated puppy room. It’s a room that is fairly easy to puppy-proof and has a door to outside that would always be in his sight to help with house training. We setup Henry’s crate in this room with his toys and added baby gate to keep that room closed off from the rest of the house. For about his first two weeks home he rarely left this room. Remember, giving your puppy too much space puts him further away from his “potty place,” which increases the likelihood he has an accident where he’s not supposed to. He has a tiny, weak bladder and is easily confused in his new home. You can create a puppy room or space anywhere in your home, I think it just helps to do-so close by to an exterior door.

Tip #2

When you arrive home, take your puppy directly to his “potty place,” before brining him inside.

Henry’s “potty place” is right outside the puppy room, so he hasn’t been more than 5 feet outside of our home. It is key that this area is very close to the puppy room. From day one, we’ve taken him outside on a leash to do his business. Fortunately, he went potty right away on that first day. We gave him lots of verbal praise then took him inside. I believe his first memory {do dogs have memories like this?} of his new home is where he goes potty.

At the guidance of his breeder, we chose to not use “potty pads” to house train Henry. Each time he comes inside we wipe his paws with a wipe because he does not have all of his vaccine boosters. We’ve gone through a lot of wipes! I know there are some risks taking a new puppy outside before he’s fully vaccinated. I have spoke with a few veterinarians on this topic and suggest everyone do the same. Taking Henry outside to go potty was the right choice for us. We are very lucky that Henry picked up on house training pretty easily and didn’t have many accidents {more that in this blog}.

Tip #3

Make his crate inviting and don’t force him in.

When Henry entered his room his crate was setup with the door open. Inside we had a crate pad and the towel he sat on in the car during his ride home. I was a bit nervous about the crate situation because neither of my family dogs took a liking to their crate. We let him explore his new room for a bit and before we knew it, he walked into his crate on his own to lay down. From that moment on, he loved his crate! I originally planned to move his crate into our bedroom next to my side of the bed. I read that this closeness helps the puppy to adjust during their scary first days/weeks in their new home. Since Henry easily went in and out of his crate on his first day home we decided not to move his crate.

A puppy’s crate is supposed to be his safe place and his natural instincts should prevent them from having accidents in it. I totally understand that this is not the case for every pup! When we took Henry home he was about 9lbs and he started with a 24 inch crate. As most sites suggest, he had enough room to turn around, but not enough room to play. Too much extra space in the crate may cause puppies to go potty on one side and sleep on the other. The crate should only be big enough for relaxing – not relaxing AND potty.

Tip #4

Stick to a schedule. Day and night.

We brought Henry home on a Sunday afternoon and I was able to stay home the following two days. Starting on the first night we set alarms to wake up every two hours to take Henry outside. I know that some sites suggest not waking your puppy up, but this is the method that we chose and it worked very well for Henry. We chose this method because we wanted him to understand that night time is for sleeping and going potty – not playing. By waking him up we felt were inconveniencing him, not the other way around. For the most part, he was always sleeping when we took him out until he woke up for good around 5am.

We followed the 2 hour approach for about five days then increased to 3 hours. After about another five days we increased to 4 hours. Within three weeks, Henry was sleeping through the night {and so were we} with no accidents. He has never had an accident in his crate and can hold it for 8-9 hours at night. Henry eventually started sleeping later util about 6 and 6:45am.

For the first two weeks, we also wrote down every time Henry ate, drank and went potty. This sounds crazy {and like we had a human baby} but it really helped us understand how long he could hold it. During the first two days, we peed 14 times before dinner. We constantly took him outside – whether we thought he had to go or not – to reinforce his “potty place.”

Tip #5

Be patient.

Patience is not my strongest venture. My husband on the other hand, has the patience of a saint. Brining home a puppy is without a doubt stressful and exhausting. The first few weeks are especially tough, but hang in there! I promise it gets better. Your little guy was taken from his mama and siblings then placed in whole new world. It is going to take some time for him to learn, but he will learn. During the first two weeks Henry went nuts for food and water. I couldn’t imagine that he’d ever sit still or not jump for the food. Here we are 5 weeks out and he plops his little butt down when we bring his food over. Don’t lose hope! The calmer you are, the calmer he will be too. Our next goal is to tackle puppy biting – check back soon!