the story of the doodle cove

Here at The Doodle Cove, all of our puppies are raised in our home, where they are loved on daily and played with by our children and our other dogs. My oldest daughter Makenna is my biggest help in all that we do here! My youngest daughter Emma, is the best puppy-snuggler! Finnley, my son, keeps the older girls warm at night as they are his favorite to snuggle. He also loves participating in new curriculum with puppies as they grow! All of our adult dogs live in our home or the home of a guardian family where they are loved members of the family.

Our program starts with our parent dogs and ensures that we are honoring them, their health, and their well-being first and foremost. Every puppy born into our hands is a miracle. They are born and raised in the middle of our home and are very much a part of our family and everyday life! We are responsible for teaching each one of them that the world is a good and safe place and matching them with a family where they will continue to thrive and change hearts!

The health and temperaments of our dogs and their puppies is our number one priority. Our dogs have been cleared of all genetic conditions via DNA testing with Embark and Animal Genetics. They also have been certified by Pennhip and OFA for optimal hip, elbow, heart, patella, and eye dispositions. Any prospects we consider for our program undergo temperament testing. These are extensive tests that ensure our dogs will pass the very best traits down to their offspring.

We are gold level members of the Goldendoodle Association of North America (GANA), which means that our health testing meets their strictest health testing standards as well as our program following their code of ethics! 

We are also in the process of becoming members of the Worldwide Australian Labradoodle Association (WALA) in order to show that we meet their strict health standards with our new australian labradoodle line!

Proud members of GANA & WALA*

*Membership with WALA is currently pending

Our recommendations

Training

Caring for our puppies is one of the most important things we do! There are certain ways we care for them that set them up for a lifetime of benefits! We feed our puppies a raw diet and take great care during weaning to establish a robust gut microbiome for them so that they are much less likely to have food sensitivities or GI issues throughout their life. Throughout their 8 weeks here with us, we regularly bath, blow dry, and groom them in order to keep them clean and expose them to the grooming process that is so important for doodles. In order to give our puppies the best protection against viruses, we vaccinate our puppies according to litter-specific nomograph tests. We understand the temperament of each puppy is extremely important in order to help each family better choose the right puppy for their lifestyle. Temperament testing gives each puppy a voice to better show each family truly what to expect from him/her and helps us match you to your perfect puppy on match day!

Care

Socialization is one of the most important factors when it comes to raising puppies. During the first 16 weeks of their life, puppies go through a socialization period that shapes their future temperament and personality. A puppy's temperament is greatly affected by the amount of human interaction, socialization, and exposure to new things that they have. Dogs that are socialized while they are young are less afraid of new people, other animals, and new situations. This decreases the likelihood of aggression and other unwanted social behaviors. We expose them to various different sounds, types of touch, and new activities, and we empower them while they tackle tasks that challenge their nerve strength in order to build confidence, thus resulting in them becoming a less fearful adult dog.

Socialization

We use the puppy culture curriculum to raise our puppies. Puppies raised following puppy culture protocols are overall more emotionally resilient, less fearful, less likely to have aggressive tendencies, and overall have better temperaments. Some of the things included within our curriculum are early neurological stimulation, startle recovery exercises, the communication trinity, barrier challenges, resource guarding prevention exercises, and SO MUCH socialization/exposure!


Emotional Resilience

Take a look at our puppy curriculum

The dream puppy that you have envisioned in your head will not be possible without LOTS of training. Training begins with us before they even go home and will need to continue with you for the rest of their lives! We begin early training by teaching our puppies fundamental concepts for potty training, crate training, and leash walking. While they do not 100% master these skills, we do give them a great head start! Our goal is to teach puppy enough foundational skills that their transition home is more peaceful and less stressful for everyone. Even with this solid foundation, you will need to continue this training after puppy comes home! 

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Early Neurological Stimulation

Early neurological stimulation consists of a series of exercises conducted between day 3 and 16 days after birth. This period is a time of rapid neurological development for the puppies. By exposing the puppies to certain stimulations during this time it can have life-long benefits. Studies have shown that puppies exposed to ENS had improved cardiovascular performance (stronger heart rate), stronger heartbeats, stronger adrenal glands, more tolerance to stress, and greater resistance to disease. This method was designed by the US military in order to improve the performance of working dogs.

Startle Recovery Exercises

During the week before the puppies’ first developmental fear period, we focus on exposing them to loud noises. During this time they are developing their startle/recover response. If they are exposed to lots of brief loud noises and are given ample opportunities to “startle” and then recover during this stage of development, then they usually develop into “bomb-proof” dogs with great recovery responses when it comes to loud noises like thunder and fireworks.

Resource Guarding Prevention

While resource guarding can be a normal dog behavior, it’s not a desirable one. Puppies coming from the most compliant even-tempered parents can display resource guarding due to natural animal survival instincts. Resource guarding becomes a dangerous problem though if a dog is willing to bite or fight to keep an item. This is why we make sure to create a conditioned emotion response to humans taking high value things. By trading them one high value item for another high value item, we can condition them to view something being taken from them as a positive thing and prevent resource guarding before it ever even happens!

The Communication Trinity

The communication trinity consists of three different types of training sessions that give your puppy a voice by teaching them how to ask for things that they want! The first step is to teach them a marker that you can use to communicate to them that they are doing something correctly. We usually use the marker word “yes” since this is what we have found most families to continue using once puppies go home. 

The second thing we do is to teach them the concept of free shaping. This is a gradual method of training in order to get them to offer up wanted behaviors in exchange for something they want and encouraging thinking. For example going to a place bed to ask for a treat!

The third thing is teaching them how to ask for attention in a way that we find acceptable (sitting politely). If you watch puppies play with older dogs, their natural way of asking for attention or play is to jump up on them. Older dogs are generally really tolerant of this behavior since it is natural puppy behavior. Humans however, don’t find it as cute. By teaching them “manding” (sitting and waiting politely), they are able to learn an alternative way to ask for attention or play from you. It is important to note though that manding is a concept that we teach them and not a rule for them to always follow! Manding doesn’t mean that they will never jump up for attention, it just gives them another way to tell you what they want!

This communication trinity sets them up for a future of success as they avoid the frustration that comes with wanting something and not being able to tell you. This frustration often ends in them finding ways to get your attention through unwanted behaviors.

Sound Desensitization

Sound desensitization is one of the ways we socialize our puppies when it comes to new sounds. By exposing the puppies to many different sounds at a young age, they are less likely to fear them (or start barking) as adults. We expose our puppies to a wide variety of sounds to prepare them for a lovely future without fear such as fireworks, doorbells, kids playing, animal noises, doors shutting, items dropping, different voices (deep, high pitched, children), different genres of music, etc. This desensitization allows for more opportunities to explore and learn about new things while they are young instead of developing bad habits caused by fear.

Handling Exercises

Starting at 3 weeks old, we begin doing doing 10-step handling exercises in which we get the puppies used to various types of handling including touching and gently tugging on their ears, covering their eyes, touching their noses and the inside of their mouths, tugging on their tails, handling their feet and nails, cradling them on their back while rubbing their belly, messing with their collars, and rough petting. We begin very gently and  increase the intensity every week while making sure they feel safe and secure while doing it. This is especially important for dogs that go to homes with young children. While it is important that kids are taught proper manners with dogs, we also want puppies who will tolerate anything (to an extent of course). It also helps teach them to be compliant during things like vet exams and grooming. We do these handling exercises every day until they go home, and we suggest this is continued once puppies go home.

Exposure Activities

We use exposure activities to introduce the puppies to new things and surfaces. By exposing the puppies to a variety of items and challenges at a young age they are able to build confidence and nerve strength resulting in them becoming a less fearful adult dog. We expose our puppies to a huge variety of tactile, balance, and surface activities to set them up for a successful future without fears of walking on reflective surfaces, uneven surfaces, raised surfaces, textured surfaces, steps/ramps, or wet surfaces. This exposure, like sound desensitization, allows for more opportunities to explore and learn about new things in their new environment while they are young and impressionable. 

Raw Weaning

Our puppies are weaned using a raw weaning process. We do this by first introducing them to goats milk and then adding probiotic foods, prebiotic foods/resistant starches, and raw meats. We add one new food every day in order to introduce a diverse collection of microorganisms (probiotics and good bacteria) to their gut microbiota. We do this when they are weaning because the window for building the profile of the gut biome closes quite young, and it’s difficult to modify after that. By establishing a robust gut microbiome for them during the weaning process, they are much less likely to have food sensitivities or GI issues throughout their life. As they become less dependent on mama’s milk, we also introduce a complete and balanced commercial raw mix. While we recommend continuing with a raw diet after you bring your puppy home, by that time, their diverse gut microbiome will already be established and they will be able to get more out of any food/kibble that you feed them!

Grooming

We begin early grooming exposure with our puppies to start acclimating them to the grooming process starting at 4 weeks old. Grooming is a very basic need for doodles and it is important for their health for them to be compliant during grooming. Our puppy grooming consists of regular baths (at least once a week, but sometimes every day or two with more messy litters), blow drys with a high-velocity blow dryer, nails trimmed and dremeled every 3-4 days, hair around the eyes trimmed, and sanitary trims. We also expose them to the grooming table and the vibrations and sounds of hair clippers. Exposing them to these grooming tools while they are young will decrease the stress of grooming appointments throughout their life.

Temperament Testing

Temperament evaluations will help you choose the right puppy for you! This test allows the puppy to show us his/her strengths and weaknesses. Some puppies may be more reserved and calm whereas others may be more confident and energetic. Some puppies will show us they may need more reassurance, while others show us their independence. We will observe how they interact with each other, other people, new things, and new challenges. We do this testing once the puppy is at least 7 weeks old. We will score each puppy in a number of categories that will help us work with each family to determine if they would be best suited in their lifestyle. For example, a very active person may need a confident puppy that is high energy to keep up with them whereas a family with young children may need a puppy that has extremely low sight and sound sensitivity so that they are not as easily startled and frightened by the unpredictability of young children. This will help make sure that you have the best forever companion for you or your family.

Match Day

Temperament testing will occur when the puppies are around 7 weeks old. Puppy match day will occur after temperament testing has been completed. This will help ensure that your puppy’s temperament fits into your lifestyle. It is also extremely helpful for people looking for specific traits for an ESA, facility dog, or service dog. 

Once puppy match day has been set, you will be given a 30-minute time slot to video conference with us and the puppies in order to make your selection. Puppies will be chosen in the order that reservation fees are received. If you are unavailable during your time slot, you can give us a ranked list before match day of your top choices and we will select your first available choice from the puppies remaining during your pick time. 

Leash Walking

We start on very basic leash training with the puppies. It is important to understand that they will NOT come home heeling perfectly on the leash beside you. The purpose of starting it with them early is to create a foundation upon which you can build your puppy’s skills. Familiarizing them with the collar and leash and practicing loose leash walking allows you to easily transition into walking on a leash. By starting on their training when they are younger, they are easier to train how to not pull on the leash. This early training helps aid your efforts in training your new puppy.

Potty Training

We begin potty training with the puppy as soon as they begin getting up and playing. We do this by creating a separate potty area starting in the whelping box for them to go to. Puppies have a natural behavior of moving away from their sleeping area to use the bathroom. By giving them this space they are better able to differentiate between sleep, play, and potty areas as they grow, thus learning the importance of going potty in a designated area. Once they are older, we begin taking them outside (weather permitting) to allow them to learn going potty on the grass outside as their designated space. This helps tremendously with the transition from our home to yours. A puppy that is difficult to potty train causes a lot of emotional stress on your family as you explore your new family dynamic of raising a puppy. We want to make that process easier and less stressful for you by beginning it while they are young. It is important, however, to understand that they are still puppies and are NOT going to go home fully potty trained. They will still have accidents in the house without constant training and positive reinforcement with potty training.

Crate Training

We begin crate training with our puppies as we believe that it is important for their transition home, as well as their safety and potty training. By getting them used to sleeping in their crates alone at night before they go home, it makes the first few nights away from their littermates easier and less stressful for them as they are already used to it. By creating a safe comfortable space for them in their crate, your family will be able to keep them safe from anything that they could get into when you cannot watch them. Crate training is also extremely important in aiding with potty training. By crate training them, it is easier to prevent nighttime accidents since they cannot wander throughout the house to find a place to potty. We begin crate training by using a snuggle puppy for them to sleep with, covering their crates with a lightweight/breathable blanket, and playing classical music (which is good for their mental development and stress management). We send this snuggle puppy home with them in order to help them with their first nights home. Although we start with crate training, it is important to understand that the first few nights away from their littermates can still be a bit difficult for them as they adjust. They may “cry” a bit at first, but our hope is that you and your puppy will have a peaceful transition. 

Vaccinations

We vaccinate our puppies according to a litter-specific nomograph test. This is a titer test done on the mother in order to determine the age at which the maternal antibodies that pass from mother to her puppies through her colostrum in the few hours after birth will be dissipated and no longer capable of interfering with pup immunization. This allows us to pinpoint the best times to vaccinate the puppies with the least number of vaccines possible. This may mean being vaccinated at 7 weeks old by our licensed veterinarian and then a final core vaccine at 10 weeks, or it may be waiting for their first vaccine until 12 weeks! We will send a copy of the nomograph report home with your puppy for you to share with your vet!

A traditional vaccine schedule without a nomograph test just vaccinates puppies every 3-4 weeks from the time they are 6-8 weeks until they are 16 weeks in the hope that one of the vaccines will build an effective response. Unfourtantly this method over vaccinates them which can cause diminished immune responses to the vaccines as well as autoimmune issues and vaccine-related side effects. Since the maternal antibodies interfere with their ability to build a response to the vaccine, any vaccines given prior the maternal antibodies wearing off provide no additional protection for your pup. In the case of high maternal antibodies that don’t wear off until after 16 weeks, your pup would not be protected if vaccinated according to a typical schedule.

Training after go-home

At the end of the day, no matter how much socialization, training, and exposure we do with your puppy while they are with us, it is SO important that you continue with these things once you bring your puppy home! The first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life are the most critical in terms of socialization and development. I have 8 weeks. You have 8 weeks. It takes both of us to ensure a stable happy puppy follows! Because we are committed to providing you the resources needed to continue shaping your puppy into the fantastic adult dog that we all dream of, we have partnered with Dre from My Loyal Hound to offer access to her 4 week Puppy System course! Quality training is critical to raising a well behaved, CALM puppy! Dre’s Puppy System is not only a great continuation of all of the curriculum that we do here, but she also helps you create a sustainable routine with your puppy and teaches you useful skills and resources that you will use with your puppy far beyond the first 4 weeks. This is available for purchase with our exclusive discount code DOODLECOVE30 (for $30 off) from myloyalhound.com 

Also, Baxter & Bella is offering our families a 25% discount on their Lifetime Unlimited Membership, which includes more than 75 lessons, over 100 how-to videos, printable charts and checklists, unlimited one-on-one professional help, online classes and courses, training games and activities, training podcasts, and so much more. They will help walk you through correcting any unwanted puppy behaviors and give you tons of training tips to help you raise your new puppy! Use code THEDOODLECOVE at BaxterandBela.com for 25% off.