Hopefully you’ve browsed our site and gotten to know us a bit. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we have lots of beautiful Doodles who are beloved pets, and we raise many litters of gorgeous mini Golden Mountain Doodles. Perhaps you’ve seen the Bible verse referenced on our Web site: “A righteous person has regard for the life of his animal” (Proverbs 12:10); we strive to give all of our dogs their very best possible lives in terms of health and exercise as well as affection and socialization. We are constantly evaluating our dogs’ food, the supplements they receive, how we perform routine care and grooming, and even what toys our dogs most benefit from. Here we offer suggestions for things that have worked for us in keeping our dogs healthy and happy. These are affiliate links and we do receive a small percentage of the sale if you shop through our links. We appreciate you choosing to do so!
FOOD & SnACKS
After using Black Gold Explorer for quite some time (because we had a local retailer with a good price), we recently switched to Purina Puppy Chow for our puppies. (Note that the Amazon link is NOT the cheapest place to purchase this food; however, that is the only Amazon link that shows the exact variation we use–beef rather than chicken.)
Nothing beats basic Milk Bone dog treats for training rewards and an occasional treat.
After trying several brands of dog food and not really being pleased with any of them, we decided to try Black Gold Explorer because we had a retailer who sold it at a good price. We love it for our adult dogs and still use it for them, but we use the Purina Puppy Chow for our puppies.
Tip: if your puppy doesn’t have well-formed poop and does NOT have giardia or coccidia (see your vet to confirm), try a puppy food with a lower percentage of protein than what you are currently using. Also, we often hear that Doodles are sensitive to chicken, so a change to something else could be beneficial. We have found a regular puppy probiotic helpful as well. A tablespoon of pure pumpkin puree per cup of dry kibble can also firm things up in the short-term.
We mix our dog food with several quality supplements for overall health, including Red Cell.
Wheat germ oil is also mixed into our dogs’ daily food, mostly for coat maintenance.
This is our probiotic supplement, which also gets mixed into the dogs’ daily food.
The above three supplements (Red Cell, Wheat Germ, and Fastrack probiotic) are mixed in with dry kibble at 1/8 cup of each supplement per 5 lbs of dog food. Depending on the quantity of food your dog eats, it is probably best to mix a small quantity and keep it in a covered container to use as-needed.
GROOMING TOOLS & PRODUCTS
We had many different kinds of brushes and combs before we bit the bullet and spent about $75 on this one. It cut Bekah’s grooming time about in half (which is a lot when you consider the number of dogs we have)! It does an amazing brushing and removing tangles/light mats, all in one sweep.
This is the shampoo we use for our dogs. Available in many sizes. We do not use the conditioner but there is one available in this brand.
While our puppies are in our care, they do not receive the same monthly flea and tick prevention as our adult dogs. They get a weekly bath with basic flea & tick shampoo. The Amazon link will show what we buy, but it’s probably cheaper at Wal-Mart.
This is a basic set of scissors for grooming. Ideal for sanitary grooming (face, feet, backside).
Regular nail clipping is a must! These do the job well.
This works for a freshening up between baths. We can’t say enough about Nature’s Miracle products in general–they just work.
Nature’s Miracle takes care of carpet messes and odors like nothing else. We’ve also used it on our kids’ mattresses, for the “doggy smell” that inevitably comes from having a canine companion staying overnight.
OdoBan is a close second to Nature’s Miracle. We use this for hard surfaces like counters and linoleum floors, as well as freshening up dog beds and sanitizing toys. The link is for a spray bottle, but we buy it by the 4-gallon, concentrated pack.
After trying many “air freshening” options, we finally realized that we could go the route of air purification and, wow! What a difference it made in areas where our dogs sleep and spend a lot of time! Because, like it or not, dogs just smell “doggy.”
The classic Kong is a must to keep active dogs occupied and out of trouble. Doodles are notorious for chewing, especially on paper, socks, and even wooden chair or table legs.
We haven’t used these mats, but they have been widely and enthusiastically recommended in Doodle groups that we’re members of. They provide the mental stimulation and activity often needed by higher-energy dogs.
The Snuggle Puppy is a “new puppy” must, according to a majority of our new puppy owners! Our puppies go from being in a “puppy pile” with siblings at night to typically being crated alone. That’s quite a transition! The Snuggle Puppy helps reduce anxiety and makes for a better night’s sleep for everyone.
The slow-feeder is perfect for a dog that eats too quickly to feel full and may be gaining too much weight too quickly. It doubles as a mental-stimulation tool that can help settle a dog with higher energy and bring a little more calm.
The Yak Chew is the most-recommended chew for “aggressive chewers,” and should take the edge off your dog if they don’t get quite enough exercise or mental stimulation through interaction or training exercises.
This toy is a combination feeder and mental stimulation toy, which can add to your puppy’s daily regimen for exercise and engagement and bring some calm to over-excitement, particularly when your puppy is in a gated area for a time or when you can’t give him the attention he seems to need in the moment.
ASTROTURF POTTY SYSTEM, PADS, and MORE
Astro turf is our preferred “first surface” for puppy elimination. Many who have bought our puppies get an astroturf system for convenience while traveling or simply as an indoor “fail safe,” since our puppies are pretty well-trained to it by 8 weeks.
Having tried many brands of astroturf, this is our hands-down favorite! It is thick and durable (more like real grass). You can even put it in the washing machine (cold water, but definitely NOT the dryer!). Get one to wash and one to use. Just put a large waterproof mat under it.
We generally don’t recommend puppy pads. However, if you use the astroturf potty system, these are a good choice for the absorbent layer if you don’t like the washable and re-usable variety.
It was hard to find the right sized waterproof mat to go under our preferred astro-turf, but this is the best fit we’ve found.
This crate will fit a dog up to 25 lbs, which is the average for our minis. One size up is best if you’re looking at a puppy sired by Buster or with a larger Mom (Mvua).
Who doesn’t love the convenience of a dog door? We used this model in our sliding glass door and appreciated the ease of installation.
Nobody really “enjoys” poop-scooping, but if you have to do it (and you do!), this is the heavy-duty poop-scooper that you want. We bought three or four before this one, and every one of them broke in pretty short order. This one is still going strong.
This is our preferred gate to keep dogs in or out of certain rooms as needed. It is durable and opens in either direction with an easy latch. Pressure mount or wall-mount options.
A nice, portable indoor or outdoor play area if your dog needs some restrictions. We also have used these to block off areas in our home where baby gates were not practical.
Bark Collars and wireless fence alternative
Bark collars and other corrective measures are always difficult to recommend. We understand that not everyone appreciates the “shock” option, but most models these days offer “warning beeps” which are just as effective. They also typically offer a range for shock options, and the lowest levels are usually not terrible. However, please be sure to read the owner’s manual for any item that you purchase and use it as an aid to training, not a stand-alone corrective tool. Improper use can create fear and cause adverse reactions, rather than help train in the area of concern.
Most of our dogs enjoy our large, fenced yard, but our sires, Buster and Jackpot, need to be separated due to aggression issues. We didn’t want to keep Buster fenced alone, since he is so sociable and active. This wireless fence ended up being the PERFECT solution, and much cheaper and easier to install than an underground option. It’s some work to set up, but totally worth it. You can also purchase additional collars if needed.
Our dogs only need bark collars on occasion, but this is our collar of choice. It operates in response to the vibration from the dogs’ voice box rather than in response to external sound, so it will only correct the dog who is wearing it and not give random corrections for other dogs’ barking. This is a big deal when you have more than one dog! It has many corrective options and levels.
One of our “pet peeve” behaviors is jumping dogs, and when you have lots of dogs like us, even a calm dog will jump up to get your attention when all the dogs are crowded around! This handheld correction tool is not an individual shocker; it emits a high-pitched tone that only dogs can hear, and it causes them to pause and re-adjust. It works for barking, counter-surfing, and other behaviors as well, but you do need to be near your dog to have them respond.
Of course, obedience training is important, and best done during the puppy stage! There is an abundance of resources out there, both written and online, as well as local “boot camps” that board and train, or perhaps classes you can take locally. Local classes with an experienced trainer afford an ideal opportunity for you to learn how to train your puppy, and for the trainer to pick up on things you may be doing “wrong” in training that can keep you from achieving your desired outcome.
However, many people do not have the money to invest in either “board and train” or local classes. Look for a training book that covers the basics and invest a set amount of time each day to training (and to re-enforcing what your puppy already knows, so that they don’t “forget”). Alternatively, there are some great YouTube channels out there that can be of help. Our “Doodle Breeders Resource Group” particularly recommended McCann dog training (https://www.youtube.com/c/McCannDogs/videos) and Zak George (https://www.youtube.com/c/zakgeorge/videos).
Here are Amazon links to Zak George’s books, if you’re not a video-watching person or want to have a go-to resource on your shelf:
If you would like the ease of online training coupled with a more individualized approach, Baxter & Bella is a recommended Membership site. We use Baxter & Bella with some of our dogs and recently became partners with them to offer our new puppy customers a 25% discount code for a lifetime membership, which with the code “CARRIERFAMILY” is only $178.
Visit www.baxterandbella.com/learn-more for details.