Products and reading
You've made the decision to get a Cockapoo puppy, how exciting!
Cockapoos are great family pets! They are active dogs who need daily excercise and intellectual stimulation but can live quite happily in homes of all sizes (to include apartments). Cockapoos are sensitive to emotions and with proper training can be a fantastic therapy animal. Cockapoos are quite intellegent and learn quickly. They are loyal, fun-loving and very affectionate. They are a low-shed, low-dander dog making them a fantastic pet for those who suffer from allergic reaction to other breeds of dogs.
But with all their amazingness they do have some characterisitcs and required care that you should be aware of and plan ahead for. Cockapoos are highly people-oriented and can suffer from separation anxiety if they are left alone for long periods of time and not trained and socialized appropriately. Because they are very smart dogs they do require adequate mental stimulation - think training, toys and games! The Cockapoo doesn't shed much but their hair does grow quickly and they will need to be groomed every 4-6 weeks (depending on your preference on their appearance). You'll want to brush your pup several times a week to keep their coats free of mats.
To be the most prepared puppy owner I'd like to share with you the items I use here in our home. Things like brushes, shampoo, kibble, treats, kennel(s), toys, etc. There are also lots of online training videos and trainers available, I'll share with you a couple I'm sure you'll find helpful. There are many great and informative books to read. I'll share with you the books I've found to be quite helpful.
I hope this information will help you feel confident and prepared!
Kibble and Treats
Providing my fur-babies with a high-quality natural pet food is important to me! I look for premium ingredients and a complete and balanced diet. I refuse to feed my dogs kibble or treats that include by-products, added hormones or fillers. Because of the current FDA investigation into the possible link between dogs eating certain diets (those that are grain-free, lacking in taurine and kibbles with potatoes, lentils and peas as main ingredients) and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM), I choose to feed a grain-inclusive diet. There are two kibbles that I use in rotation, depending on the momma and pups, for our fur-family. They are:
🐾It's a limited ingredient, single-source protein kibble. Many kibbles will use a main protein and add in others. This can be problematic in finding the cause if a dog develops or has a food / protein sensitivity.
🐾Lamb is the first ingredient!
🐾Lamb is one of the most easy digestible proteins for dogs. Protein digestibility refers to how well the body can use a particular source of dietary protein (be put to use by the body after the protein source is digested and absorbed).
🐾Contains DHA for healthy brain development and taurine for healthy heart.
🐾Kibble is smaller "Puppy Bites"made specifically for puppies smaller mouths and developing teeth. I find it an easy transition for the pups when learning to eat hard kibble.
🐾When using NB you can "Feed With Confidence". NB will make available product testing results on their food, by inputing UPC and Lot# of your bag of kibble, they will send you the test results of your pups food!!
* note: we have used NB in our home (off and on) for over 19 years (beginning with our first fur baby, Oliver, our rescue pug - who had lots of skin and coat issues). I extensively researched many brands and found this to work wonderfully - and even the pickiest of eaters enjoys it. It can be easily found online at Chewy, Petco and Petsmart.
🐾It’s a pea-free, lentil-free, potato-free & poultry free kibble. Some dogs can have sensitivity to chicken (and beef) products which can show as itching, scratching and frequent ear infections.
🐾It’s rich in omega fatty acids that are good for pups skin and coat, has added taurine that is good for heart health, and probiotics to aid in digestion.
🐾Salmon is the first ingredient! No matter what protein source you select, Stella & Chewy's animal proteins are cage-free, farm-raised, wild-caught, grass-fed and resposibly sourced.
🐾Each piece of kibble is freeze-dried raw coated. Benefits of raw foods include shinier coats, reduced allergic reactions, lower cases of dental disease and higher energy.
🐾It’s an all stages kibble good for puppy to senior, so there’s no need to switch as puppy grows.
🐾Contains high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin, both important for healthy joints.
* note: S&C is a wonderful kibble, though it can be challenging to find. To maintain the quality of their product, the company limits where their product is sold. It is not sold at Petco/Petsmart/Chewy so I would recommend starting looking for it now. For us, I can find it locally at Pet Supplies Plus or at K9 Kaos (a dog daycare / grooming facility). Online, I've had success finding it at: Only Natural Pet.
My girls also enjoy:
Meal Mixers - Dandy Lamb, Dinner Morsels - Salmon & Lamb, Dinner Patties - Simply Venison. I use these as kibble topper (and crumble on top of their bowls of kibble, rotating between the above options).
🐾 Raw goat milk - Open Farm Goat Milk, Digestion Blend and/or Primal Goat Milk, Original. Raw goat milk helps support gut and digestive health, promotes a strong immune system and is a great source of protein - healthy fats - and protein.
* please note: the above meal add-ons are what I feed to my mommas. The pups only get Instinct Rawboost Mixers crumbled on top of each meal of kibble.
Treats can be a great help in training your pup. However, when introducing treats you’ll want to go slow – remember, they’ve had limited treats in their first 8 weeks and if introduced too quickly and too frequently can cause some stomach upset. Also, puppies love PRAISE – they want to do well and please their owner and will appreciate praise (verbal and physical) just as much. When looking for a quality treat, be sure to review the ingredients listed on the packaging and avoid those that contain by-products. Here are some examples:
Kibble and Toppers
Note: Puppies are eating kibble & Instinct Rawboost Mixers only.
Toys and bones
There are SO many great toys out there to get for playing with your puppy. Below are some favorites we’ve found over the years. It's important to have many on hand and to introduce a new one each week. Playtime is important! It is a great way for them to burn energy and a great way of bonding with you pup. All dogs like to chew, so having plenty of chew toys availbale will fulfill their natural desire to chew and keep them from finding items you may not like them to use.
Spoiler: We send each of our pups home with one of these! 🐾❤️
As I mentioned above, though Cockapoos are a low-shed, low-dander dog they do require regular grooming (hair and nail trims) and brushing. Their coats grow quickly, and between their grooming appointments (approx. every 6 weeks depending on your preference), you'll want to brush them several times a week to help prevent mats. There are three brush styles that you can use; bristle (works well with all coats from long to short and work to remove dirt and debris and distribute natural oils throughout their coat), wire-pin (for medium to long, curly coats) and slicker (great for smoothing and detangling). You'll also want to keep their nails trimmed. We begin trimming the puppies nails at around 2 weeks of age, and do so weekly while in our care. This keeps them from getting snagged on clothing, their bedding, and from scratching their momma while nursing. Continuing regular trimming of your pups nails will ensure they remain comfortable with their feet being touched and help you and your groomer in keeping puppy cared for with little to minimal stress.
For bathing, I look for shampoos that are gentle and hypo-allergenic and those that provide moisturizing care for the skin and coat. It is very important that you avoid getting water in your pups ears and eyes. If you get water in the ears, dry them carefully with a cotton ball to prevent infection.
Below are some great options that I use. The grooming set has a nail trimmer and the three brushes you'll need.
Good starter kit
Wire Pin Brush
(Removes mats and combs to the undercoat).
(I prefer one with guard/guide).
(a must have for at home nail trims).
When bathing your Cockapoo, be sure to towl dry before applying conditioner and then comb through (I use my fingers first and then a comb). I then finish by drying our dogs and pups (with my hairdryer, set to low speed and medium heat).
Leaving a Cockapoo wet can cause matting!
Helpful tip: If your pup gets a mat, you can apply a small bit of conditioner to the mat, working in with your fingers and then using a comb. Staying ahead of mats will prevent pain for your pup as well as a VERY short cut at the groomers.
Harnesses and leashes
Over the years I have used several types of harness and leashes for my dogs. Which kind you select can vary on fashion, age of your pup/dog and level of training. Here are just a few of the MANY I use and recommend.
Coastal Comfort Soft Mesh Harness
(pup 8 weeks+)
Coastal Comfort Soft Mesh Harness
(pup 12+ weeks)
LupinePet Roman Style Harness
Size: 3/4", 14-24"
Size: 3/4", 9-14"
flexi Retractable Leash
Size: M, 16'
Size: 3/4", 6'
Traveling and Car Safety
Of course, when traveling we want to make sure it's not only fun and enjoyable for us and our beloved fur-companions, we want to make sure we are keeping them (and us) safe. Below are some great options (click on pictures for product link).
Dog Car Seat
(modeled by: Sunny & Mia)
Dog Car Leash
(modeled by: Sunny)
Dog Car Leash
(modeled by: Charlotte Ann)
Many pup families have asked us what pet health insurance we could recommend. While we do not have our mommas insured, we have researched the top rated plans and have received feedback from our vet office and friends who have insurance for their pets. Based on that we would suggest looking into Healthy Paws. Healthy Paws has great ratings and reivews: Forbes, and Pet Insurance Review.
One of our friends has used this insurance for years (has a Lab and Cocker) and has glowing things to say:
"I loooove it. So good about covering everything they say they'll cover, and reimbursing promptly (usually less than 10 days from invoices being uploaded). Unlike some, it covers many genetic conditions (like hip-dysplasia) as long as they're not pre-existing, as well as many alternative treatments like laser and chiropractic care."
~ Deborah G.
Kennels-crates-bowls and cleaning
The use of a crate or kennel is a wonderful tool for housetraining puppy and it can provide a pup with a safe and comfortable space for them to retreat to when they feel the need. Below are two of the most common kinds of crates. I use the plastic type for our pups and when traveling. The wire style is what I use for my moms. Do remember, that when choosing a kennel you'll want to get one for your pup that is appropriately sized. If you get a kennel too large, the pup will see the space as "bedroom, bathroom". When our pups head home they can range from 3.5 - 6.5 lbs. At full size, they'll need a crate or kennel that can accommodate a dog approximately 20-25 lbs.
MidWest Mocha Swirl
MidWest Reversible Paw Print
Petmate Puppy Kennel
Frisco Mocha Swirl
MidWest Bolster Bed
Bio-enzymatic cleaners are the best cleaners for all sorts of dog messes.
Note: It's important to use only
pet-friendly, non-toxic cleaners.
Once the pups are eating hard kiblle, they use these bowls.
Litterbox supplies, Playpen and Play Mat
At CHC we litter box train our puppies (in conjunction with outdoor potty sessions).
Once the puppies can toddle a few steps to eliminate, we place a tray filled with Alfalfa (grass) pellets in their weaning pen. This method nurtures a puppy's natural instinct to stay clean, helps them keep sleep and potty spaces separate, and creates an easy strategy for outdoor potty training in their new homes.
We send a small bag of alfalfa pellets home in our puppy go home bag, for the family to sprinkle in their designated outdoor potty spot, helping the puppy transition quickly and easily to outdoor potty training.
Puppies who live in apartments or large cities can continue using a liter box in their apartment or on a balcony.
Books & Training
Ok, so you've got 8 weeks to prepare! Read up, study, and puppy proof your home. Below are some books I've found to be quite helpful and informative - also, they are easy reads (which I appreciate). Remember, the more prepared you are the easier training your pup will be! While reading books is helpful in preparing for puppy, training classes (puppy, obedience, agility, etc.) are invaluable to ensure a happy, well-behaved and well-adjusted dog.
There are some great online trainers I've found, who have helpful and informative videos, books, blogs and online classes on things like crate training, puppy biting, socialization and dog behavior. I highly recommend checking them out!!
🐾Dog Training by Kikopup. The trainer, Emily Larlham has several wonderful and informative training videos on her YouTube channel that cover a wide range of helpful topics - to include: Stop puppy biting with handling games, What to train your puppy first, Puppy Socialization Guide - the BEST and SAFEST way!.
🐾Simpawtico Dog Training. The trainer, Ian Stone has wonderful tips on his YouTube videos to include: Crate Training Definitive Guide - Why and How to do it, Puppy Biting? Learn Bite Inhibition Training!
🐾Karen Pryor Clicker Training. Karen is an author and trainer who specializes in force-free training methods based on operant conditioning (behavior modified by reinforcement) and the conditioned reinforcer (praise and treats). You can learn more by going to Karen Pryor Academy and Karen Pryor Clicker Training.
🐾Positively Victoria Stilwell. Victoria is world-famous dog trainer and advocate for positive reinforcement dog training methods. Her Positively - Victoria Stilwell site has podcasts, books, blog and loads of helpful information. If learning more about dog behavior and training practices intrigues you, you can also check out Victoria Stilwell Academy: School For Dog Training and Behavior.
🐾One great online training program (if you haven't already heard of them) is Baxter & Bella. Their program provides online training starting from before you take puppy home and continues to educate and support you throughout the years. Lifetime membership includes 100’s of videos, live-classes and even one-on-one’s with a real trainer. If you join, be sure to use code: CHESLEYHILL for 25% OFF.
Making sure you've socialized your pup is key to make sure you're helping equip and prepare your little one to be a confident happy dog. But socialization does not just mean playing with other dogs - good to know especially during our current social-distancing culture. It's key that your pup is exposed to new situations which can be places, surfaces, people (get ready to play dress up) and of course, other safe dogs. Here are a few great articles from the AKC and DogNostics on how to socialize your pup and other tips.