DescriptionLabradoodles or Labrapoodles are a long-coated, hybrid dog breed which comes in many sizes and varieties. They are in general very intelligent, extroverted and energetic companions who crave social interaction and pleasing their owners. Labradoodles were initially bred to be hypoallergenic, but there are significant variances between litters and individuals so it is important to conduct research before committing to one if this is a concern for you.
NeonatalDuring the first 4 weeks of your Labradoodle's life, they should spend most of their time with their mother and litter-mates. It is highly unusual for the puppy's owner to care for them during this time and is best left to a responsible, reputable breeder. Your puppy's body will double in weight as their muscles, organs and bones develop.
|Nutrition||During the neonatal stage, your Labradoodle puppy will get most of their nutrition from their mother's milk. At around 4 weeks you may wish to introduce a mush of minced protein such as beef, but always consult your vet first before changing your puppy's diet at this stage.|
|Health||During this time it is important to monitor your Labradoodle for any infections, diseases or birth defects. Puppies are unable to urinate or defecate by themselves initially, so their mother helps them but may additionally require your assistance.
Keep your vet's contact details close by and educate yourself thoroughly on this stage of puppy development. By the end of this period, your puppy will be mobile and will explore the world mouth first — be sure to keep choking hazards and toxic foods out of their reach.
|Behaviour||During most of this time your Labradoodle puppy will be asleep or inactive, but they will soon be playing with their brothers and sisters. After 3-4 weeks they will go through as much sensory development as a human baby does in a few months. It is important to avoid disturbing the puppies' mother as she will be likely be protective, but some interaction with the young pups is normal so they become used to human touch.|
When you take your Labradoodle home (usually at around 8 weeks) you should provide them with lots of stimulation and attention. This is a formative time for your puppy and will be when they learn to walk, play, bite, hold their bladder, and interact with others. Labradoodles are people-focused dogs and will have to spend most of their lives indoors, so get them accustomed to the rules of the house through positive reinforcement.
|Nutrition||During the weaning stage, you should slowly introduce into their diet a nutritionally complete dog food which is appropriate to your Labradoodle's particular size and young age. Labradoodles are particularly prone to tartar buildup on their teeth, so it is recommended to feed them dry foods. You should also familiarise yourself with lists of toxic foods and plants to avoid - since they will spend most of their time inside you must be extra careful.|
|Health||During this time you should provide your puppy with a small, shallow bowl of clean water and refresh the contents frequently. You should seek specific recommendations for pet care form your pet as there is so much variance between each Labradoodle puppy — they may have varying coats, ears, and body shapes which each have their own unique challenges.|
|Behaviour||Due to the changes in their environment, your Labradoodle will initially be under a significant amount of stress. It's important that you provide lots of attention and affection to nurture their gentle demeanour — however, a unique challenge to Labradoodle puppies is that they can rarely determine if a stranger is not their friend so assume everyone is friendly. Introducing them to a variety of strangers may help alleviate this.|
PuppyBy the time your Labradoodle reaches puppyhood their personality will be well developed and you will have a loyal companion. Your Labradoodle will be crave human attention and will get anxious without you unless their mind is unoccupied. You should at this time get your puppy familiar with children and other animals, who they are likely to encounter in a life inside and may not appreciate being played with roughly.
|Nutrition||Your Labradoodle puppy's diet should be based around a high quality, nutritionally complete puppy food. You may also wish to introduce them to fresh, lean raw meat — however, don't feed your puppy any meat you would not feed to a fellow human being. It is important that your puppy has a diet which can address the tartar buildup which this breed is susceptible to.|
|Health||Labradoodle puppies are generally high maintenance and require frequent grooming — especially if they spend any amount of time at the park, going for long walks, or swimming. Frequently touching your puppy all over and taking them to the groomers just to get treats will get them used to the experience which is essential for the rest of their life. After around 8 weeks your puppy will be due for some vaccinations, so they will need a checkup at the vet and to arrange for boosters after that.|
|Behaviour||Labradoodles are very intelligent, friendly and curious so they benefit greatly from puppy classes and training beyond that to do tricks — many of them can be taught a large vocabulary and a wide array of tricks. Using treats and positive reinforcement will assist greatly in training your Labradoodle puppy, but they do not respond well to shouting and will become anxious if you do so.|
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