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· Registered
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been planning on getting a mini poodle for quite a while. I will be moving in less than a month and am planning on adopting one after I get settled in. However, this will be my first time owning a poodle, and I was wondering if I could get some advice on the absolute basics I need to know? I'm trying to educate myself and prepare as much as possible before I adopt, so I'm not caught off guard. Any advice on feeding schedules, brands of food, grooming schedules, types of toys, bathroom training, the right tools/supplies, training tips, anything would be greatly appreciated!

Also any advice on the logistics of adopting one, such as how you prepared, found your breeders, licenses, etc. I'm open to any advice I can get, and I figure asking experienced poodle owners would be the best place to seek advice for this type of stuff!

· Premium Member
6,122 Posts
The forum is a wealth of information You might find searching and noodling around will provide you with some answers to your question. I also really like looking at the different forums. Use the bars/ listing icon in the upper right corner and it will take you to a listing for all of the different forums.Here is a link: Poodle Forum
Hope this helps.

· Registered
3,228 Posts
Hello! Welcome to the forum! I remember being in your place 2.5 years ago.

I was a little confused reading your post because I assumed you were going through a poodle rescue with the wording "adopt." Reputable breeders will refer to the transaction as buying or purchasing a puppy rather than adopting. Adopting is a term used for shelter pets. Here on the forum we are supportive of both adopting from rescues as well as buying from ethical preservation breeders. But we are also happy to welcome members with dogs from any source.

We have a great sticky thread on finding reputable breeders.

I would also look through the following site. It is a great resource.

My main piece of advice would be to not settle for less than the best. You want to find a breeder that health tests all breeding dogs to OFA CHIC standards. That breeds to the poodle standard. Preferably one that titles dogs in conformation or performance to prove they have sound structure and temperament. And also a breeder that socializes puppies to prepare them for their life with you.

This typically means a wait. Good breeders don't immediately have puppies available. It can be a 6-12 month wait but you may get lucky and find a breeder with a buyer that backed out. Contact breeders until you find one that seems a good fit for you. Ask questions. Go over their contract. And then the waiting begins!

· Premium Member
Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
5,756 Posts
Welcome to the forum! I'd suggest you read "Before and After Getting Your Puppy" by Ian Dunbar. This is a positive (reward based) training book that many of us here would recommend. It's a very informative and easy read

· Registered
731 Posts
I'd start learning all you can about grooming a poodle before you get your puppy. Even if you plan to use a groomer it's good to have the foundational knowledge so you know what's necessary and are ready to step in if needed. Often people decide how they want their poodles groomed before they know why most poodle owners do fft or why a short utilitarian cut is the norm. And then they are devastated when their beloved fluffball needs to be shaved all the way down due to matting.

Poodles need to be prepared for a life of grooming from day one. The earlier you start and the more consistent you are the easier your dog will be to do the basics on and then you can do the fun stuff if you want! Poms, and bracelets, and mustaches. Teddy cuts, and Asian fusion, and desis! Even one big fluffball if you've got the time and energy to do all that brushing!

· Super Moderator
6,185 Posts
After your move you should start getting recommendations for a vet, a groomer, a trainer, and a boarding facility. Then start reaching out as soon as you know your puppy has been born. The Covid situation has strained the schedules for all kinds of animal service providers. My vet isn't accepting new customers at all right now, and I've heard the same about vets in other regions. I had trouble finding a good standard poodle groomer even before Covid; some groomers prefer to deal with less difficult hair types.

· Premium Member
8,474 Posts
Hi and Welcome to you and future Poo!

Some tips on what to look for in selecting a quality, conscientious breeder. This expands on some of what members have posted above.

We often hear from folks that they just want a pet. What doesn't seem to be common knowledge is that the kind of quality, conscientious breeders many of us prefer to support are always breeding for the very best poodles they can. It isn't pet puppy vs show puppy, it's lucky us, the ones wanting a pet who get the pups that have some small "fault" that might reduce their chances of winning competitions, but are flawless to us :).

It's not unusual to think that there are possibly thousands of breeders to choose from. For quality, conscientious breeders, that number is more likely only in the hundreds in the US or Canada. A bottom line difference is between those who're breeding primarily for profit and those who're breeding because they feel not only love for poodles but an obligation to the entire breed.

About reviews, a happy owner doesn't necessarily mean an informed owner. It's as likely they've just been lucky, so far. Review any negative comments carefully, if they're allowed to appear.

Getting a puppy from a quality, conscientious breeder is something like insurance. Their investment in the health, welfare, and soundness of all the dogs in their care including the puppies they offer to new homes is part of the reason you're not likely to find a less than $2000 USD puppy from them.

The saying is "pay the breeder or pay the vet". Price alone isn't the only thing to separate quality breeders from those less than. We've seen members quote as high, and even much higher pricing for pups from parents not health tested, not proven to meet breed standards, sold as purebred when only a DNA test could determine that since they may be sold without registration papers.

If I knew the risks and have dedicated poodle health savings of several thousand dollars or pet insurance, knew that basically that the breeder and I would part ways as soon as the pup was in my hands because they're very unlikely to stand behind their pup and me thru the pups life, I might proceed with a breeder that doesn't meet my criteria.


I also wouldn't pay quality breeder prices, and over, unless I'm getting all the quality breeder perks.

Health testing of the breeding parents is a good indicator of a quality, conscientious breeder. The Breeder List has info on what to look for in the testing for each variety. Mentioning health testing on a site is nice but isn't proof. For proof, look for health testing results spelled out on the breeder's site, then verify for yourself by going to the site the results are published on. If you don't find any evidence of testing or can't find the info but the breeder appeals to you, contact them and ask where you might see the testing they do. Reputable breeders put in a lot of effort to make sure they're breeding the healthiest poodles and will be happy to talk about it and provide the info.

Look for and verify OFA/CHIC level testing at a minimum. There are also poodle specific DNA panels for those testable conditions. Those are companion testing with the OFA/CHIC testing.
Look Up A Dog | Orthopedic Foundation for Animals | Columbia, MO (ofa.org)

A caution that a health "guarantee" on a puppy doesn't have much to back it if the sire and dam were not given the testing for breed and variety. "Guarantees" without the testing often favor the breeder, more than the buyer.

Read thru any contracts that may be listed. If they rule out coverage for conditions that the breeding pair should or could have been tested for, consider that a caution flag. Otherwise, are the terms clear to you and can you live with them?

Conscientious breeders have a waitlist at the best of times and with pandemic puppy seekers, that wait is stretched well into 2021-2022. There have been more than a few serendipitous contacts between seeker and breeder, so don't be put off by the thought of a waitlist. Also, don't be put off if online sites aren't particularly updated. As often as not, breeders may prefer communicating by phone as well as email or text, and are busy with their dogs rather than keep a website updated.

When you start making contacts, let them know if you're open to an older pup or young adult.

Color preferences are understandable but keep in mind that you're limiting your options even further in a very limited supply of puppies. That beautiful color you fell for may not look the same in a few weeks, or months, or years.

Temperament and personality are lifelong traits.

Be prepared to spend in the range of $2000 to $3500 USD. Conscientious breeders are not padding pricing due to Covid.

Be prepared to travel outside your preferred area.

As a very general rule, websites to be leery of are those that feature cutesy puppies with bows and such, little or no useful info on sires or dams, the word "Order" or "Ordering" (these are living beings, not appliances) and a PayPal or "pay here" button prominently featured "for your convenience".

One additional caution, be very wary of those very cute short legged poodles. That's a genetic mutation which may carry serious life-altering disease.

An excellent source for breeder referrals is your local or the regional or national Poodle Club. An online search for "Poodle Club of ___ (your city or state/province)" will find them. You can also go directly to the national club site.

Some Poodle Club links are in the Breeder List.

As a sort of checklist of things to look for or ask, this is my shortlist criteria.

My criteria need not be yours but I think it's important for a potential poodle owner to understand why these things matter in finding a conscientious breeder and to get a well bred puppy to share life with for many years to come.
Simply being advertised as "registered" or even "purebred" doesn't mean that a puppy is well bred.

Every one of these is a talking point a conscientious breeder will welcome, just not all at the same time :)

My ideal breeder is someone who is doing this because they love the breed.
They want to see each new generation born at least as good as the previous, ideally better.
They provide for every dog in their care as if that dog is their own.
They will be there for the new family, and stand behind that pup for it's lifetime, rain or shine, with or without a contract.
They will know the standards and pedigrees of their chosen breed, health and genetic diversity of their lines, and breed to better them.
They will know of the latest studies in health standards for their chosen breed and variety and do the health testing of their breeding dogs.
They prove their dogs meet breed standards and are physically capable by breeding from sires and dams proven in competition or participating in other activities.
They do not cross breed.
They will have as many questions for me as I do for them.
They invest in their dogs. They don't expect the dogs to support them.

feeding schedules, brands of food, grooming schedules, types of toys, bathroom training, the right tools/supplies, training tips,
I'll hit a couple of points and add some links for more info.

Feeding schedule is generally three times daily until about 6m old.
Many informative posts in the Food Forum

Brand of food isn't the best way to look at food. There are many good quality foods and you'll get about as many recommendations as you get responses. What to look for is a nutritionally balanced food for your pups needs, small breed in the case of a mpoo. Most important is to keep your puppy on the same food that the breeder has them on for the first few weeks. You don't want to add GI distress to the stress of adjusting to a new home, new people, new life, without anything familiar, especially their mom and siblings.

The Grooming Forum has a lot of good info
Poodle Grooming
Grooming schedule...A quality breeder will have done several groomings before they send the pup home with you. This will be what's called Face, Feet, and Tail, or FFT. Puppies don't usually get clipped beyond this until a few months have passed but you want to have the puppy comfortable with the process before the first fear period starts in. Young pups are less fearful so new things are easier to introduce.

For the rest, to get you started, I'll add some links to Sticky Threads written and/or complied and collected by several members.

New puppy and breeder info
Pandemic Puppy Primer...Good for everybody and all times

Dr. Ian Dunbar Behaviorist and Trainer
Errorless Housetraining | Dog Star Daily
also see the Pandemic Puppy Primer

And one version of a supply list:

Crates, Carriers, Exercise Pens, Beds/Bedding, Travel
Harnesses, Collars, Leashes
Food, Water, Bowls
Enzyme Cleaner, Pee pads, Poo bags, Paper Towels
Health, Vet, Vaccinations Vs Socialization, Insurance, Care Credit, Emergency funds
Puppy proofing inside and out, including kitties

This is really more your basic startup info. It's taken from other threads and posts that many active members of PF has contributed to. I hope more Pfer's will add to this, comment or correct any mistakes.

Crates, Carriers, Exercise Pens, Beds/Bedding, Travel
Hard side plastic or wire is best for early days. If you choose wire, be sure there are no sharp bits, and be very sure that the door will stay fully latched with a bumptious puppy in it. It's not common but there have been some concerning reviews mentioning injuries.
No collars in the crate for safety.
Look for one with a divider in the size you expect them to grow into and use the divider to keep them comfortably cozy (stand up, turn around, sleep) til then.
Use a blanket as a crate cover.
Use a washable bath rug/towels or sherpa crate mat for bedding.
Put something leak proof on the floor of the crate or under it.
Depending on the layout of the house/apt, consider 2 crates, one for the sleeping space, one for the living space.

If you can manage it, have the pup sleep in your bedroom. They just think they're on an adventure until bedtime, especially the first night, rolls around. Suddenly they realize that NOTHING is familiar, no scent, warmth or comfort of mom or siblings. They are Alone.

Ask the breeder to do this or bring a towel or blanket to get mom and siblings scent on it, to comfort them.
Keeping them in the same room allows you to hear if they are unwell or need to go out.
Expect to have the young ones out several times during the night for a while.
Set a periodic alarm to beat them to it.

Don't count on a lot of sleep the first days or weeks. Taking a few days off from work or work from home, if you can, will really help set routines and gives some time to get to know each other. Find out if the breeder had them on a daily routine and try to follow that for a few days.
They're facing so many instant and incomprehensible changes. Keep what you can the same for a while.
Kidnapped From Planet Dog - Whole Dog Journal (whole-dog-journal.com)

Ex Pen
This expands their relaxation space but keeps them contained and out of mischief.
Food and water bowls as well as pee pads can be in that space.
Use a leak proof flooring here also.
These can be plastic or wire or even pop up soft side. (Same caution on wire construction.)

Beds and bedding
This may depend on the pups age and what they're used to. A young pup probably doesn't need one just yet. An older pup or dog may already be using one.

These are generally only good up to about 15lbs but have their place.
A smaller crate with handles can double as a carrier.

Keeping your pup comfortable and safe in the car is important.
Depending on size and age, you might use a carrier, a crate, or a harness with seat belts.

Sleepypod brand is a highest safety rated product. Testing was done by the independent Center for Pet Safety, with some testing sponsored by Subaru.
There are a number of threads covering other brand suggestions. You can use the Search function to find them.

Harnesses, Collars and Leashes
Harnesses are usually a better safety choice for smaller pups due to potential trachea injury from collars, but it may not be the best choice for a pup who wants to pull.
Collars will carry tags and ID but don't have to be worn inside the home due to potential choking hazards.

Food, Water, Bowls
It's best to keep them on the same food as the breeder had for a while. They're already under stress from the abrupt change in their lives and this is one thing that doesn't usually need to change immediately.
They may go off their feed as it is, so keep an eye on that.
Toys are especially subject to hypoglycemia. This can very quickly become fatal. Look for the sticky on it.
If/when you want to change foods, look for foods which follow the AAFCO guidelines and companies which have a veterinary nutritionist formulating the foods.
Stainless steel or ceramic is best for their food and water bowls.
You might consider filling a bottle with the water they've been drinking at the breeders and mix it with the water at their new home, to acclimate.

Enzyme Cleaner, Pee pads, Poo bags, Paper Towels, Bitter Apple Spray
Pretty much all self explanatory.
Natures Miracle is usually recommended for enzyme cleaner.
Bitter Apple Spray is to keep them from mouthing and biting on what you don't want them to.

Have a selection of several different types on hand.
Check with your vet for safe chewing toys. They also work as trade to get your fingers back
Puzzle toys are good, and Kongs to hide kibble and treats are helpful.
Not exactly a toy, but something to consider is the Smart Pet Love Snuggle Puppy toy. This can help soothe a pup.

I hope others will have brand specific suggestions for combs, brushes, shampoos…
Generally, a puppy shampoo with or w/o conditioner added
Greyhound comb
Pin brush with rounded tips
Slicker brush
Grooming table or designated area
Nail trimmer or Dremel tool
It is important to get them used to the grooming process asap.
The longer you wait, the harder it is on the pup and whoever's doing the grooming.
It does not hurt their coat to get a puppy trimmed

Health, Vet, Vaccinations Vs Socialization, Insurance, Care Credit, Emergency funds
Ask if any other dog on the premises has been ill in the last week or so. Choose a vet if you don't have one and know where the ER clinic is.
Have the pup checked out by a vet within a day or two of homecoming whether the breeder requires it or not.
Puppies can socialize with vaccinated adult dogs, and probably known puppies who aren't fully vaccinated yet.
Best to stay away from paws on the ground at places a lot of dogs might be til yours is fully vaccinated.
People are not usually any risk or at risk.
Consider pet insurance, at least for the first year or two, or sign up for Care Credit if there is a health emergency.
If you can, a healthy four figure separate savings account dedicated to emergencies can be a life saver, literally.
Keep a first aid kit and learn some first aid procedures.

Puppy proofing inside and out, including kitties, bunnies, older pets
Check your fencing if there is any. You want to keep things out as well as puppy in.
Check your plant life for possible toxic plants.
Inside keep cords and cables covered or out of reach.
Be sure that kitties or other free roaming animals in the home have a safe retreat from Puppy.
Anything puppy level is at risk.

Besides pet stores, there is Amazon, Chewy.com, and eBay and Etsy for supplies. Other brick and mortar stores if they're nearby are Tuesday Morning, Marshall's, HomeGoods, Sierra Trading Post and TJ Maxx. The last two are also online.
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