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New Puppy Owner Quick Start Guide

Puppy Blog

Welcome to Foxglove Farm, I love to write about our beautiful Cavachons. You may also find puppy training tips, product reviews, and a few good stories.

New Puppy Owner Quick Start Guide


Puppies grow up very quickly indeed, and the baby stage is gotten through very rapidly so take heart! Here are pointers that should keep you and the new baby on track.

My goal is that your little one will bring years of joy to all!

Blenhiem Cavachon Puppy

Not sure what you'll need?  Here's a list of my favorites to get you started!             from amazon (love them!)

What about feeding?

Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy   (sorry, what an ugly bag, but it's a great puppy food!)   

Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy (sorry, what an ugly bag, but it's a great puppy food!) 

First of all, before the puppy arrives, you’ll need to pick up a bag of Taste Of The Wild High Prairie Puppy (the puppies favorite flavor!).  You can find it at  pet stores but not at Petsmart by the way, do call before searching or you can order with free shipping via Amazon HERE:

We feed about 1/4 to 1/3 cup, two or three times a day. Leave her food down for about 15 minutes, then take away what she hasn’t eaten.  Next feeding offer a full feeding the next meal, always taking the food away after 15 minutes or so. The goal is for her to have a bit of extra food left over each meal.

If she eats every bite, don’t be afraid to increase the amount of food, some puppies simply have bigger appetites and growing babies need a generous portion of food to provide all nutrients for good health. I’ll send a separate email about the NuVet vitamins, they make a super training treat and are simply the very best dog vitamin on the market today. (You can find them here 


Usually a potty break is in order about 10 mins after she eats : )

Your water may taste a bit different from our Ohio spring water, so give her time to adjust to that as well.

They are real nibblers and some meals eat very little, some meals the whole bowl, this is perfectly normal. be too concerned if your puppy is rather uninterested in food & water upon arrival, it usually takes a day or so for them to really settle in, and begin to show their personality to the fullest, sometimes the distractions simply mean that she won’t be too hungry at first.  I like to use Agatha's Elixir as an incentive to eat, especially for new puppies.  Put a 1/2 dropper over each meal, stir in well.  It's loaded with prebiotics and digestive enzymes, milk thistle and other herbs to enhance appetite and support the immune system.  You can find it here on Amazon (I try to send along a sample size but your puppy loves the taste so much go ahead and order the 8 ounce size.

Usually a potty break is in order about 10 mins after she eats : )  


Potty Time

Upon arrival, your puppy will appreciate a potty break before you bring her inside, she’s very likely napped much of the way to her new home and remember, your puppy will almost always potty immediately after waking, whether it’s overnight, or a short daytime nap. So, carry her to a safe spot and allow her a potty break. I try to be very quiet while training to go potty outside, and just use a quiet “Go Potty, Hurry Up” as you wait. Immediately after she finishes, praise her quietly but happily, more on house training below!

At bedtime, (we go around 10:30), even if she’s asleep, (this is soooo important) wake her up and take her out one more time, then she should sleep through the night till around 7 am, maybe 8:00 am! Remember, when you take her outside for a potty break “be a tree” ie: stand still and don’t distract her from doing her business, if you walk around and talk to her the whole time she’s outside, she’ll come back inside and have an accident!

Click HERE for some more information on potty training.

Crate Training

If when you put her in her kennel, she fusses and cries, try using a stern voice and say “NO! Quiet!”, our babies are usually pretty well crate trained, but puppies bond super quick with their new owners and she may be distressed at having to part from you even for just overnight. She’s pretty good, but still a baby, and the puppy blues may make an appearance. You can also set her crate close to someone’s bed, that is a comfort as well, often, covering her with a light sheet works wonders, if she can’t see you she’ll be more likely to go to sleep without a fuss. If crying in the crate persists you’ll want to increase your correction level to not only distract your puppy but to let her know that you are committed to not taking her out just because she cries. I had a call from a puppy person the other day who said she uses a wooden spoon to tap the top of the crate when her little guy gets too fussy, whatever the method, your puppy after a few minutes of crying in the crate should settle and go to bed however reluctantly.

HERE is more information on crate training.

House Training 101

If there’s anything that strikes fear and trepidation into the heart of the new puppy owner, it’s the dreaded HOUSE TRAINING!!! : ) I promise you though, that the process with our puppies anyway, will be as simple as I can make it. Our pups have had a very structured start & if any puppy is “easy” to house train, our Cavachons are, I have lots of letters from happy puppy people telling me that “their puppy never had an accident” (amazing but not typical!) and most often they are house trained very quickly indeed. Our puppies typically will sleep through the night, even from the first night they arrive, thus eliminating the need for the 3 am Walkies! A good thing indeed!
That being said, the process is still one that involves time & diligence on your part, if you plan on a really concentrated effort for the first week, you’ll have your puppy house trained in no time!

Puppy Pointers

If your puppy has an accident, gently scold her, bringing her to the spot & saying “baaaad dog,,, go potty outside”,,,, (no rubbing her nose (!!!) in the spot), then take her outdoors to the proper place you’ve chosen and put her down and praise her saying “gooood dog,,, potty outside,,, goooood girl” (I love long vowel sounds and dog’s do too!) then simply clean it, forget it and go on. Your puppy really doesn’t understand why that is a bad thing at this point, if you must punish someone, just whack yourself with a folded newspaper & clean the spot with a good neutralizing cleaner & go on, (I like to use ECOS Earth Friendly Products Pet Stain Odor Remover is safe for you and puppy too) which will take away the scent and keep puppy from returning to it). IF as the days go by,,,, she seems to “get it” and then has an occasional accident,,, it’s then ok to bring little one back to the scene of the crime,,, point sternly and hold her rather close to the offence,,, and repeat with a bit more energy, “BAAAAD DOG! Go potty outside!!!” “Baaaaaaad!!!” Again, take her outside with some praise if she managed to potty for you in the proper spot. House training like all training with puppies is sometimes three steps forward and one back, but take heart it usually IF you are diligent and don’t allow puppy too much freedom too quickly you’ll get there quickly!

Be sure to PRAISE your puppy every time she goes potty in the right spot! I also think a tiny bit of treat is a super incentive to make your puppy try to earn another cookie reward by going potty quickly since it seems to make everyone so happy & brings a beloved bit of biscuit~! For a training treat I prefer a supplement by NuVet which is a wonderful broad spectrum vitamin/enzyme that tastes yummy and makes for a happy healthy quick to learn and motivated puppy student! I’ll send along a couple of days supply, but you’ll need to order it from the web site, (isn’t available in stores sorry!) worth the bother though, the very best supplement to prevent itchy skin, allergies, eye stains, hip problems, and a host of other problems, as well as helping produce gorgeous coat and a super healthy puppy & adult! I cut each tablet into 4 pieces and use 1/2 to 1 tablet daily. Use a large pair of kitchen shears, they are a bit chunky, it’s an acquired skill! I’ll send out a letter from their site with an order number which gets you a discount~!

Note: Please remember the old school of scolding and rubbing your puppy’s nose in her accident will NOT speed the house training process, but will indeed slow the process down, keep your discipline a bit mild, use your voice in a low disappointed tone. Remember if you don’t catch puppy in “the act” but find the spot after the fact, bring her to the spot, mildly fuss at her and take her outdoors for praise (even if she doesn’t go again) then clean it and forget it! At this stage a puppy’s memory is amazingly short term and you don’t want a puppy who becomes confused and fearful of her new owner. Praise is always the best option when house training.

If Puppy Has An Accident

FOLLOW RULE NUMBER ONE! If puppy has an accident, unless you catch her in the act, she’ll be confused by punishment and have no idea why she is being scolded, so keep your correction mild, but she has to know that she’s erred, you want her to be embarrassed about her mistake, it takes a bit for that concept to sink in!!!  With a puppy’s super short memory and short attention span, bringing her to the scene of the crime 20 minutes after the fact, will really confuse her, she won’t understand why you are angry and I repeat, harsh scolding and disciplining will not help, but hinder your efforts to train her, making her fearful and confused. IF you catch puppy in the midst of having an accident:

Don’t get angry, be calm & scoop her up with a stern but quiet “No!” “Potty Ouuuutsiiiiide!” and carry her immediately out to the proper spot, she will probably be distracted and playful, but “Be a tree” (be quiet and stand still) if she’ll go potty and finish her business, praise her and give a bit of biscuit. Timing is everything, DON’T SAY A WORD until she’s done, then “Gooooooood Giiiiiiiirl” “Go Potty Outside,,,, goooooooood” Puppies loves a looooooong vowel sound, so use that to your advantage. Quiet praise, in a low happy voice, not excited high pitched praise,,, works best.

NOTE: A super article on how to effectively clean old and new pet stains is at this address, even I was impressed, though be forewarned, the pop-ups are a bit annoying!
Praise & rewards are the tools that will make house training quick & easy. The other tool is diligence in monitoring her time when free.

Important Tips

Upon waking from a nap, coming out of her kennel in the morning, any time you think puppy might have to potty,,,,

CARRY HER, don’t let her follow you, but pick her up and carry her outside to “the spot” (don’t forget to take along a biscuit!). If she’s allowed to wander when she’s ready to potty, you’ll have only yourself to blame if she get’s “lost” on the way to the door and has an accident, picking her up and taking her to the proper spot is the key to avoiding accidents.
Don’t allow your puppy to wander loose through the house unless someone is watching her, AND she has first been taken out for a chance to potty. Putting a puppy down on the floor without taking her out first WILL result in an accident. I’m a fan of tethering a puppy to your wrist if you’re watching tv, or slipping the end of the lead over the knob of a desk drawer as you work at the computer, over a door knob while you cook dinner. This will keep the puppy close to hand and while relatively free, she is less likely to have an accident. NEVER leave her unattended while tethered, and it helps to put a small rug or blanket down for her to lie down on, as well as a couple of her favorite toys to occupy herself with. If she tries to chew on the leash, try misting it with a bit of Bitter Apple spray (available at Pet Smart) or even a bit of good old fashioned gold Listerine works wonders in discouraging chewing. That being said, Cavachons are not usually big chewers, what a relief!

WATCH FOR PRE-POTTY BEHAVIOR: If she drops her nose to the floor and begins to sniff & walk in a circle, you’ve got about 10 to 15 seconds to scoop her up, breath a sigh of relief if you were quick enough, and calmly carry her outside. Puppies almost always warn of their need to potty, if you are observant you’ll prevent most accidents. Remember, if you really are diligent during the first week, you’ll have her house trained quickly. A word to the wise, it’s really best to avoid all access to carpeted floors unless you KNOW she’s empty, wiser still to wait till she’s house trained to have the privilege of being allowed on the carpet!

It’s important that everyone handles the puppy with the same commands, the same rewards, etc. Print this out and post it where everyone can “do their homework” & be able to refer to it to keep puppy on track.

About “Puppy Pads and Paper Training”

I’m not a big fan of the Puppy Pad or Paper method of training, I think in the long run, it confuses the puppy, making her think it’s ok to go potty IN the house, when obviously that is NOT what we want. Another theory is that since the pads are scented with ammonia, they can scent the floor that they are used on,,, which tells the puppy this is a potty place,,,, NOT a good thing in my humble opinion. That being said there are times that you might be inclined to use them, keep in mind that the sleeping area should be a few feet AWAY from the pads or paper, so sleeping and potty areas are not confused in the puppy’s mind (if you are using paper I recommend brown craft paper from Walmart, buy it by the roll to keep newsprint ink off little paws).

If you are working or have to be away for more than 3 hours, you’ll need to set up a small puppy proof area such as a laundry room or even better, set up an Ex-Pen (fold-able puppy play yard found at Petsmart, 24″ size) and put down papers over most the floor (decreasing the amount covered as the days go by). At the other end of this area, away from the pads or papers, you would put the puppy’s open crate, toys, and water dish (use a heavy ceramic bowl to keep from spills) and perhaps a radio playing quietly up on the counter out of harm’s way. (I love Christian radio, it’s calming and restful for our babies). Again, paper training is NOT the best, but occasionally you will be in a situation that makes it necessary, your puppy will still learn to be house trained, but it will take more patience and training on your part.

NOTE: I simply prefer the crate training method, but that being said, little puppies must have ample opportunity to vent youthful energies,,, just like children, so balance crate time with LOTS of time for your puppy to play and exercise, I repeat yet again, “A tired puppy is a GOOOOOOD puppy”! An am & pm half hour romp is an excellent idea for keeping puppies exercised!

Puppy Play Biting

Here are some tips to help with the play biting, Cavachons are gentle souls, but when a puppy starts having a bit too much fun, probably getting tooooo excited & forgetting in her excitement how good puppies act,,, it’s time to step in and set some house rules! I usually prefer a stronger correction than just “Redirecting their attention” as some of the newer articles recommend. When she put’s her mouth on fingers or toes and starts to chomp down, it’s best to startle a puppy a bit with a rather strong correction, such as a sharp “NO!!! No Bite!!!” or a sharp clap of your hands,,, to let them know that they are NOT allowed to put puppy teeth on anyone’s fingers even in play, rather a clear firm command, than let them be confused as to what is bad and what is good behavior. To put an end to play nipping & chewing, two things are big, using a good strong NO!!! immediately when teeth touch inappropriate items, ie: hands, shoes, pant legs, rugs etc. Timing is HUGE,,, the moment she begins to playfully bite or chew something off limits, a sharp, quick, NO!!!! NO BITE!!!! NO!!! BAAAAAD DOG!!! Then a time out, put her in her crate & let her ponder the result of her being bad. The biggest problem I see is using too weak a correction, for example,,, “Noooooooooooo,,,,, noooooooo, baaaaad girl,,,noooooo, stop etc…!” Also, letting her get too wound up, running after the kids, everyone squealing and she thinks she’s supposed to run after & chase and nip, try to keep the excitement level lower, you can tell, when she begins to get tooooo wound up and excited, it’s time to settle everyone down a bit.

Again, the MOMENT she begins to run after, nipping and biting, or grabbing fingers,,, again,,, swoop her up & give her a stern talking to, a firm shake & even a bit of a swat on the bottom. It’s easy to spoil these cute little creatures, we give too much affection, but not enough leadership and correction. Remember, dogs LOVE LOVE LOVE strong leaders,,, they WANT us to be strong and show them who the leaders are, everyone in the house, then the puppy last! I’m a firm believer in a gently firm swat on the bottom, contrary to popular belief, it’s the best way to quickly establish who’s boss, a very important thing for any puppy to know immediately.
One other idea, take a spray bottle & fill it with the original formula gold colored Listerine,,, spray it on (washable) anything she is biting, for example, if she’s biting fingers,,, quickly spray some on your fingers, let her go for your fingers again, the MOMENT she get’s the bad taste in her mouth, “BAD!!! NO BITE!!!! BAD DOG!!!! Then swoop her up and into a time out in her crate…. Timing again is everything, the moment she get’s the bad taste in her mouth, tell “NO BITE” and put her up for ten minutes to ponder her bad behavior and mend her ways. she’s not a bad puppy, she just thinks fingers feel good for sore puppy gums, but nevertheless, it’s best we “nip this in the bud!”
For further reading visit my page of puppy training tips or follow my blog's training articles.

Another super source for puppy training videos you can watch online: Video Clips.