So you want a puppy? 

Things to consider


Puppies are cute. From watching Andrex commercials to seeing them on social media who could be blamed for wanting one. But did you also know that devastatingly, hundreds and thousands of animals are neglected and in need of rehoming every year in the UK.


In 2016, the Dog’s Trust took in 13,197 dogs which needed rehoming, 6913 which came directly from owners. These statistics don’t include dogs taken in and rehomed by other agencies so just imagine the number of dogs which are given up every year in the UK.  

We live in a society where instant gratification is possible. We want, we can get. Sadly when it comes to owning a puppy, the same can apply and we see them being discarded like an object too often as a result. This isn’t to say that everybody who rehomes their dog has merely discarded them when they’ve become too “difficult” or the reality of ownership has sunk in, however, we would be lying to ourselves if we said all dogs who enter shelters are rehomed for circumstances which couldn’t be prevented. 

So this article hopes to help you in making an informed decision about buying a puppy and give you some realities to ponder beforehand. It took me over a year to get Baxter from when I first started thinking about owning a puppy. I know others who have taken the plunge after a week or month and there is no time limit. But for me this was my first puppy, my first pet even and it was only through that time I took to research, talk to dog owners and really try to understand the reality that I felt I could truly commit to owning a dog of my own. 

Anyone can buy a puppy (sadly) but not everyone can commit to raising them throughout their entire lives. Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are currently wanting to get yourself a puppy and are wondering whether you can commit.

It is by no means a “tick list”. There are ways around most if they are a current road block through careful consideration. Hopefully these questions get you thinking about areas you may need to think about in more detail rather than end the dream of owning a puppy!

1. Can you afford it?

This is the biggy. From owning Baxter and being a part of many a dog orientated Facebook group, this is often a big issue when it comes to truly caring for a puppy. 

Puppies are not cheap. Monthly, they need food, pet insurance, toys, leads, poop bags, grooming products, worming and vet visits. Not to mention additional costs if you have a job and can’t be home or want to travel abroad without your little one. I spend around £75 on Baxter every month in essentials but this goes up and down dependent on what he needs. For example, if I’m working away from home two days a week one month and he needs boarding that’s usually an extra £120 a month. It’s not cheap, a puppy is a long term investment. For me it’s easily £200 a month I need to keep aside to be safe. It’s better to overestimate than underestimate! 

“Oh we can’t afford to put him in the boarders or get a dog walker every day” – this is something to consider BEFORE owning your puppy not after. It is not fair to leave a dog home let alone a puppy for 8 hours straight because you can’t afford the dog walker or meet their care needs. Cost is something to factor in before you get your puppy not afterwards to prevent these situations from occurring. If you work all day, do you know if there are local boarders and dog walkers you could use? Hearing complaints about the expense of dog walkers/ boarders AFTER the puppy is home and using it as excuses for leaving puppies home for long hours as a result is so frustrating and in my opinion irresponsible if you know you will be out of the house. A puppy needs more attention for its first few months and a whole work day out is not humane. So can you afford it?

2. Can you commit to walking your dog 2 x daily? 

Okay so you can buy different breeds dependent on the amount of exercise you can provide. However all dogs need walks. Can you commit to two walks (most days, if not every) through cold, wet damp weather? 

Baxter is supposed to be a lower energy doodle compared to a cockapoo but his energy levels definitely aren’t low and most puppies are likely to be the same. Walks provide mental stimulation, exercise and time out of the home for your pup. It also means when you do leave them, they can have a nice nap and aren’t full of energy to tear up your lovely pillows! I see a change in Baxter when he isn’t walked – he is expectant of the walk and so I commit to at least one walk and mostly two. He likes routine! 

I had to commit to 6am starts for this. I’m not a morning person so it was hard! Part of owning a puppy or dog is to adapt your routine and commit to those changes. 

3. Can you commit to never leave your puppy for more than 4 hours?

I work and it frustrated me that rehoming was highly unlikely due to my 9-5 working hours. I feel you can have a dog and work but you need to consider what you will do when you are at work. That’s the biggy.

Do you have a neighbour who would come in and give an hour of their time? Are you committed to paying for boarding or a dog walker? If so, it can work and it sure does for me!

Baxter has been left for 5 hours on occasion but this is rare (say once every few months). If it’s any longer he is boarded or a family member will check on him. Do you have people around you who could help? Do you have a busy social life which would make it hard? Can you come back at lunch if you work? These are things to consider early on as it can get expensive! However it is possible!

4. Can you commit a minimum of an hour a day to train, play and groom a puppy?

Similar to above, what commitments do you already have which take up your time? Do you have a busy social life? Are you committed to clubs, memberships etc that take up considerable time? Have you got family commitments?

Especially early on, a puppy needs your attention around the clock. Even as a grown adult dog, training, play and grooming are important. Baxter is a poodle mix so grooming is even more important but teaching a dog commands and just enjoying some good old fun are vital.

When I work all day, it’s even more important to give Baxter that 1:1 time, partly through an evening walk, by playing games and by training him. It was a hard adjustment at first as I had someone dependent on me even when work was stressful and all I want to do is collapse in front of the TV! (Yes I’m not a parent!). Are you ready for that commitment?

5. Can you take 2-3 weeks off to settle in your puppy? 

People going to work the day after getting their new puppy. How? What? Why? 

An 8 week old puppy cannot hold their bladder for more than 2-3 hours and at first, they don’t even know where their toilet is! The first few weeks are vital in their training if you want them to be house trained quickly.  

In addition, they have just been uprooted from their mother and home. The first few weeks are a time for you to bond with your puppy and get them used to your home! And don’t forget, you’ll be taking them out to toilet ALOT.

If you don’t feel you can take time off, what will you do? Is there someone who can?

6. Can you handle indoor accidents?

Like having a child, your puppy is likely to have an accident indoors at some point. I’m quite the clean freak but had to quickly accept Baxter was going to pee over the kitchen floor at times and yes even over our lovely living room carpet! It will happen. Can you handle that? 

Like a child, a puppy doesn’t know where to toilet until it is taught where and when. Are you going to be able to remain calm when an accident occurrs? I never punished Baxter for toileting indoors. Some people do but for me that wasn’t the way. Mostly, taking him out often and rewarding correct toileting worked but it took awhile! But shouting at him, would that be helpful?

There are things which can help such as allowing your puppy access to your kitchen first then adding rooms as his toileting improves. There are solutions to clean up messes. I went as far as getting a carpet cleaner for the cream carpet because it made me feel better! This is also good for those wet and muddy paw days. There are solutions for the clean freaks out there but accidents WILL happen. 

7. Can you commit to broken sleep for the first few nights/ weeks of your puppy’s arrival?

So the whining. Gosh the whining. A new home, new bed and in Baxter’s case sleeping in the kitchen away from us all led to whining! For the first few days he would whine when put to sleep.

In line with toileting too, when crate training (without training pads), puppies also need to be let out to toilet every few hours.

Can you deal with the whining and middle of the night trips outside so your puppy can toilet? Can you deal with the 15 -60 +minutes of whining when you put the puppy to sleep each time? 

I love my sleep and luckily Baxter settled within a week. However that’s not the norm. Many puppies whine for hours when put to sleep and need to toilet for weeks into their training in the night. Imagine the worst case scenario – a puppy who whines for you when you put him to sleep, whines to go to the toilet and again after you’ve let him out to toilet and put him back to bed. Can you manage that?

8. How will you socialise your puppy?

Puppies need to be socialised from when they arrive home. How will you socialise yours? 

Do you have friends with dogs? If not, how will you ensure this happens? I took Baxter to puppy classes and boarded him in a house full of dogs from early on (after injections) for him to get his dose! Parks also help. There are ways if you don’t have friends or family with dogs but can you commit to organising that for your puppy?

9. Can you commit the next 15 years to your puppy

Is your life stable? Have you got milestones ahead to consider? For example, getting married, starting a family, relocation plans. Will your future life have space for your puppy? Will you be able to keep him when you have children? Do you foresee any changes that might get in the way? 

Puppies grow up to be adult dogs and will continue to need the nurture, care and finances they have had as a puppy to be looked after. Can you commit to that? The saying “A dog is for life and not for Christmas” comes to mind.

10. What might get in the way of caring for your puppy?

Inevitably life happens and things do get in the way of us looking after puppies. I’m currently completing my clinical doctorate and that means I often have days when Im swamped with work and stressed. Even when I’m there physically, sometimes mentally I struggle to give Baxter his walks and training sessions if I have a deadline. It’s not about being a perfect dog owner to me, but about being a good one who is aware of their limitations and tries to prepare for that. For example, I boarded him once because I had so much work to do and I knew the boarder would be able to offer him the time during that day. That helps not only him but prevents me from feeling guilty about not providing him with what he needs. I also plan my time out and call family to see who is free to ensure he is cared for when I’m out.

So what could get in the way for you? List them down and consider ways to manage these. There are lots of possible solutions but the starting point is knowing what the issues are. 

Puppies can mentally exhaust you, do you have the headspace for that? It was far more overwhelming than I expected and I’d done a lot of reading around. It was strange that now after a busy day at work I had this puppy to completely throw my attention to, my routine went around his routine, I had to listen to him whine when I just went to get a shower. The mental side is far harder than cleaning up accidents so are you ready for that? 

So there you have it. My 10 questions to get you started on your path to getting a puppy.  Have you got any other ideas on what’s important to consider before you get a puppy? I’d love to hear your comments! 

Toilet training a puppy – the ins and outs 

Toilet training. The biggy for any new puppy joining your household! There are many ways to toilet train and this is just what I did with Baxter which was successful.

I didn’t use indoor puppy pads! I bought them originally but Baxter just tore them up rather than used them for toileting!

What you will need: 

  • A crate 
  • A training bell
  • Baby monitor (I live two floors above my kitchen where Baxter slept!) 
  • Cleaning solutions for accidents 
  • Treats
  • Patience!
  • A regular feeding schedule 

Crate set up

If you read my Crate Training post you will see how I initially set up Baxter’s crate. The key things are:

– using a divider to make it small enough to be just a bed not a bed and toilet area

– using the crate when you are out of the house/ sight and can’t monitor 

– using it all night 

I’d recommend placing it in your kitchen as accidents on a non carpeted floor are easier to manage and my kitchen is where my back door is! We kept Baxter in the kitchen until he was successfully toilet trained in this room. I think this was extremely important in his training but it’s your choice of course. We then adding room by room as his training improved.

Training bell 

Bell training involves teaching your dog to ring the bell when he goes out to toilet. A training bell is easy to find and should be placed on your back door (or whichever door you’ll be using). Simple and easy! 

Baby monitor 

Okay so this might sound daft but how else was I going to hear Baxter’s whining for his night time toileting? I live two floors above my kitchen so used this at night times.

Cleaning solution 

Just necessary! Get yourself one. I will be doing a puppy essential items list soon which will show everything I purchased. The important thing is it’s for doggy accidents.  


Make sure you buy treats and keep them at the back door ready to reward your puppy when he toilets! If on a kibble diet, you could use a different kibble to your usual food. If raw fed, I love beautiful joes liver treats and also treats2sit4. 


Toilet training won’t be 100% accident free but you will get there!

A regular feeding schedule 

Rules of thumb. Take up water an hour before it’s puppy’s bed time. Last feed should be around two hours before (this worked for us).

Feed at regular, set intervals during the day. This helps to regulate your puppy and helps you to figure out when he needs to go more routinely!

Step 1: When you bring puppy home

When you first bring your puppy home, he has no clue where his toilet is and you need to teach him. So the first thing we did with Baxter was take him to where we wanted him to toilet (our garden) and waited treat at the ready for him to go. Waited and waited…40 minutes of walking around…I told you patience is key…when finally he pooped! (It was cheers all around!).

Whilst he was doing his business I said “toilet”, he was praised immediately afterwards and given a treat. This is important. You want to begin building the association between: “toilet” > puppy going toilet > rewards and treats. Initially saying “toilet” and expecting pup to know what you mean doesn’t work so just say it as they begin initially.

All I can say is he associated from right there that the garden was his “toilet” for poop! I cannot stress enough how little he pooed inside after this! See common mistakes at the end for reasons he did end up having a few accidents! 

I would recommend you also hold out for a wee! We didn’t and it is probably why that took longer to teach! 

Step 2: Throughout the day

At 8 weeks old your puppy is likely to hold his bladder only for around 2 hours. The rule is age in months + 1. However, initially your puppy won’t have a clue that he needs to hold his bladder at all so leaving him for 3 hours just didn’t make sense to us! 


Take your puppy to toilet after:

  • Play
  • Naps 
  • Meals
  • Every two hours

It is intense but it is worth it! Also keep an eye on his “toileting behaviour”. Does your puppy start sniffing at the carpet? Is he circling? If so take him out!

The routine for taking him:

  1. Touch his nose to the bell on your door
  2. Open the door and say “toilet”
  3. Lead puppy outside and wait 
  4. Treat after he goes toilet 

Though tempting, do not play with your puppy during his toilet training. You want him to learn that he needs to go toilet and no fun, games or play occur until then! Sometimes you may end up waiting for ages. But be patient. 

Some of our biggest mistakes were bringing Baxter in too soon at which point he peed on the kitchen floor! If you do bring them in, crate them to avoid an accident!

Step 3: Dealing with accidents 

Occasionally there might be an accident, if you catch it quick enough, say “no” and take your puppy outside following Step 2.

If you don’t see it and come back to a puddle or poo, don’t shout. Well I didn’t with Baxter anyway. Puppy doesn’t know he’s made a mistake so shouting at him might actually make him think that if he toilets in front of you, it’s bad. Consequently he might “hide” when he toilets and you’ll end up with wee and poo behind your sofas! 

Instead ignore the behaviour and thoroughly clean it. If you can’t watch your puppy crate him (see step 5) to help with toilet training. 

Step 4: night time training 

There are lots of ways to teach night time toileting but this is what I did with Baxter with 100% success! 

I crated him at 10pm after ensuring he had gone to the toilet. Don’t feed your puppy two hours before bed and withhold water an hour before to help.

His crate was just big enough for him and some toys (see my set up here). Any whining for the next 30-60 minutes I ignored as he had just been to the toilet and I associated this with him wanting to be out of his crate instead!

I set up the baby monitor and any time he whined AFTER he had fallen asleep (after 11.30pm) I came downstairs. Didn’t play with him but took him out (following step 2). Immediately after he was finished, I placed him back in his crate and went back upstairs. Luckily Baxter didn’t whine after he was put back to bed. If your puppy does, once again ignore for an hour or two as you know he can hold his bladder! If you do go down and take him out and he doesn’t go, immediately crate him again to avoid an accident.

Luckily Baxter whined twice a night for three nights and after that, he was able to go through all night. Amazing as we hadn’t expected it at all! He would only then whine from around 5am which moved to 7am as his bladder got better! Understandably he needed to toilet by then.

Step 5: training when you leave puppy at home Or can’t watch him 

This point is extremely important. We want puppy to have success and leaving him unattended to have accidents is not going to be helpful. At times you can’t watch your puppy in the house (for example if you are taking a shower or in another room), crate him. This will help him in holding his bladder and give him more success. Take him to toilet before and after you crate him. 

Make sure you leave him no longer than his age in months + 1! This is important as he won’t want to go in his “den” but if he has to because he’s been left too long, he’s going to feel pretty awful…

Ths will teach your puppy to hold his bladder effectively and help him have success. 

Step 6: Increasing his space in your home

Once toilet training is 100% (or mostly) successful in the kitchen, begin to give your puppy access to the next room perhaps your living room. At some stage, you will find that your puppy will begin to tell you he need to toilet by pressing the bell. This is usually a good sign that he gets it and you’ve done bell training correctly!

Still follow his schedule of course for toileting but widen his space. Always ensure he can get to the back door to ring the bell! Taking puppy upstairs is trickier so stay downstairs initially!

Common toileting mistakes I made and how to avoid them 

  1. Coming in too soon and an accident occurring indoors : the more times this happens, the worse off your training will be! Wait outside for your puppy to go or crate him immediately when he doesn’t go. This will help you avoid the accident and give him more chance of success! Leave him for say 15 minutes then take him outside again. When you first bring your puppy home, wait for him to wee and poop outside in his toileting area. This will strongly build his association with garden = toilet!
  2. Leaving puppy unattended : crate your puppy if you can’t watch him! We want to build success.
  3. Not taking him out at regular intervals : the regular toilet breaks are key even if he hasn’t had an accident for awhile 
  4. Ensuring he can get to the bell: if he associates the bell with toileting and begins to ring it, ensure he can access it when in other rooms. This may involve walking the route from each room back to the back door so he learns! This took Baxter awhile and so the training schedule was so important!
  5. Go slow with new rooms: as you increase each room, ensure your puppy has gone to the toilet BEFORE going in and take him regularly to toilet so 1) he knows the route and 2) he doesn’t learn that he can toilet there! Follow step 2! 
  6. Don’t get too confident : so your puppy has had a good week. Don’t be fooled! When we laxed with Baxter accidents occurred. Stick to routine! Increase intervals between toileting as your puppy ages but don’t stop taking him out! Also don’t stop treating. Treats are great rewards for food behaviour.

Toilet training is hard but within 2-3 months Baxter was fully trained and it was great! 

So what do you think? What’s your toilet training method? 

Crate Training – what is it and will it be good for my new puppy? 

Baxter’s initial crate set up 

From my experiences with Baxter, crate training was great! It not only sped up the toilet training and limited night time accidents but it also provided him a safe place to sleep. This also helped me to know I wasn’t going to come back to a puppy who had been destructive to himself or his surroundings.

Crates mimic dog dens and since a dog will not want to soil his own den, this is great to begin the toilet training journey. The crate should be a safe place for your puppy not something used for punishment!

I really found Zak George’s videos helpful and this Crate training video can be a good one to watch and ease you into it. I decided on a crate and pen, but there are variations on how you use it.

So how did I use Baxter’s crate:

1. Night time sleeping

Since Baxter initially slept in the kitchen, I placed him in his crate from 10-6.30am. No water, just his bed, blanket and toys. I had to let him out to toilet during the night but this prevented him toileting indoors without my knowledge as in the crate, he whined to signal he needed to go.

2. When leaving him at home initially

Baxter had a pen, but initially when leaving him I didn’t know how he would manage and also didn’t want him to fall backwards in his toilet training as he was doing so well. So I began to leave him in his crate for the hours I was out. This was usually 2-3 hours initially as at 2 months, puppies can hold their bladder for up to 3 hours. I would come back to a clean puppy and no toileting accidents (yes!).

3. When doing housework or spending time upstairs 

Baxter was confined to the kitchen when we first brought him home. This was to help with his toilet training as he knew where the back door was and also to slowly build up his sense of the home being his ‘den’. When I was hoovering, cleaning, showering etc I would use his crate.

4. Travel

I had intended to pick Baxter up in his crate  but I couldn’t fit it into my car! Literally the crate wouldn’t easily go in (I have a three door) so this went out of the window! But crates can be used to travel with your dog and this was one of the ways I had wanted to use it!

Other uses of a crate:

  • You can use the crate to offer food too but as he had his pen, I didn’t do that with Baxter.
  • Some people leave the crate large and place a puppy pad for night time toileting on the other end. However, personally I didn’t want Baxter to become accustomed to toileting in his crate or indoors for that matter so I did his toilet training without pads and took him out during the night (see Night time toileting post). It’s personal preference as to whether you will get up during the night or not.

There are varieties in how you can use your crate effectively and part of the journey is using it the way that suits you best.

Which crate? 

I purchased an AmazonBasics Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate, 76 cm

Now the important thing here is that the divider allows you to make the puppy’s den smaller until he grows. The reason it’s important to make it smaller is because you don’t want it to be large enough that he’ll pee in the other corner! That gets rid of the reason toilet training works so well.

As you can see Baxter fit half of the crate at first and slowly the divider was moved back as he grew.

This crate is still the one we have now which has moved to the lounge without a pen (after toilet training) and now sits without any divider. It easily folds away if it’s not in use but Baxter will still use it for a snooze now and then (though he prefers under the table!) and it holds his toys.

It hasn’t been ruined at all and the double door makes it versatile depending on the layout of your room or space.

Some people do think crates are cruel but does Baxter look anything but peaceful here?

Deciding to crate train is not a necessity but I definitely found it helpful!

What are your thoughts on using a crate?

What is a cavapoo or cavoodle?

Cavapoos (or cavoodles for the aussies!) are a relatively new cross. They originally began to be bred in the 90s in Australia. Often coined “teddy bears”, there’s no wonder why they grab your attention! However, along with their adorable little faces comes lots of factors to consider before committing to having one. Like any breed their are pros and cons to getting yourself a cavapoo, so read on to find out a bit more about the cavapoo. 

I often get asked if Baxter is a cockapoo because cockapoos are generally more well known in the UK but the breed does seem to be increasing in popularity. 

So what is a cavapoo? 

A cavapoo is a cross between a poodle and a cavalier kings Charles spaniel. You may have heard of the cockapoo and the cavapoo is another popular poodle mix. Nowadays there are quite a few including labradoodles, goldendoodles, yorkipoos, maltipoos and even tri bred cavapoochons! Notorious for being good for allergy sufferers, poodle mixes are becoming more common. However, not all poodle mixes will be hypoallergenic as it depends on which coat they have inherited.
As my neighbour once said the cavapoo may be classed as a “designer breed”. A designer breed is “a crossbred animal that has purebred parents, usually registered with a breed registry, but from two different breeds. These animals are the result of a deliberate decision to create a specific crossbred animal.”
Just take a look at web browser image results for “cavapoo” and you’ll fall upon hundreds of photos of cavapoos. These are the first few that came up for me.

Variations between cavapoos 

Cavapoos come in different shapes, sizes and colours. Some of the most common are referred to as white, apricot, red, ruby, tricolour and black. Each go through different phases of popularity but it seems that the red cavapoo is the most wanted currently. 

The thing to note with ruby and red is that poodles have a fading gene. From my experience across cavapoo groups and from Baxter, they can tend to lighten in colour (or darken in some cases!) from a puppy to an adult. Baxter was originally a deeper red but has lightened over time. If you check out his instragram you can see the changes over the past 10 months.

The more popular variations can cost more so be sure you are aware that your little puppy may not be the same colour as an adult! Baxter is completely different in colour to even his siblings who are white/ apricot. 

In addition, some fade more than others and in drastic cases deep reds can become the lightest of apricots.

What’s a cavapoo’s personality like?

As a cross breed, you can never quite be sure of which characteristics your puppy will inherit from either breed but many sites do share their thoughts on “generic” traits for you to get an idea. 

Cavapoos are often described as affectionate, playful, loyal, friendly, sociable and good natured dogs. Their personalities are affected by both their genes and environment and so raising your cavapoo well is just as crucial. Cavapoos can adapt to their environment and have moderate activity levels. They do well on at at least one walk a day. 

Both poodles and cavaliers are friendly and outgoing dogs, and so your puppy is likely to be the same. They can also be easy to train if started early. Both breeds can find being left alone difficult and so separation anxiety may be more common. This may mean a cavapoo may not be suitable for those who are out of the house for long periods of time.

Be aware that your cavapoo may inherit any number of cavalier or poodle traits for better or worse. This is why it can be helpful to read up about the individual breeds.

For more information on the Cavalier Kings Charles Spaniel you can read here and here

For the poodle, you can read here and here. Most cavapoos are either bred with a toy poodle or a miniature (miniature being bigger). Both poodle breeds have slight variations and so it’s worth looking into both. For more information on the toy poodle, read here and here, for the miniature here. You will notice they share many characteristics but can differ in health conditions and size of course.

With a pure bred dog, it is generally easier to predict personality since they have been bred for years for just that. If you want to be able to better predict your dog’s personality it may be better to buy a pure bred puppy with a long line or buy an adult cavapoo. 

Baxter is one example but obviously can’t speak for all. However I thought it’s worth giving you an idea of his personality. Baxter is extremely friendly and says hello to everybody with his wagging tail! He is simply a delight to most people who meet him and we fell in love him with immediately! Charm is definitely something he doesn’t lack in. However this also means he isn’t aware that not everyone will like him and wants to say hi so in public I sometimes have to control this. As he has grown older, he has become more wary of strangers and will bark at unknown people in the house if I don’t approach them first. He also barks if someone approaches without being able to see them. However, he wouldn’t be the best guard dog as he loves people and I wouldn’t say he’s a yapper. His barking is appropriate and he doesn’t bark at other dogs or humans out in public. He seems to have become somewhat territorial and protective of his family within the home.

Baxter loves human company, this can mean that he can become distressed if left alone and can follow you around when he knows you’re getting ready to leave! This has been something we’ve had to train him on and have had to learn to be boundaried with ourselves so he can tolerate some time alone. He was an anxious pup and so needed time to build confidence with support to go on walks and explore. The more boisterous pups in the litter may not experience this same anxiety.

Baxter works well with routine and is aware when it’s time for a walk or I’m going to leave. If it’s raining and I decide to walk him later than usual (ie. after his breakfast), he seems aware of the change and sometimes won’t eat. He cuddles on his own accord and sometimes enjoys moving himself off to the kitchen for a snooze if the living room is loud or at other times likes to sit right on your lap. But place him on your lap because you want a cuddle and he’s likely to move away and find his own spot! He plays well and loves you to play with him, he’ll bring you a toy and lean it on you to let you know!

Training has been relatively easy. From week 1 at home he had learnt sit and other commands and house training was relatively easy. In no time at all he learnt that he did the bell to go outside to toilet. In his puppy class he was one of the best trained and his recall is great (but that could be because he doesn’t like to be alone!). With new behaviours, Baxter has been easy to train and understands ‘NO’ well. However this may be more my influence as a psychologist as I taught him no very early on! He listens to commands and food works wonders to train. He is extremely intelligent but to the point where he could easily influence our behaviour if we weren’t careful to get what he wants! For example, he may not eat his food hoping he’ll get human food and then use his puppy dog eyes to make you feel bad. This works on most people so I’ve had to reinforce that boundaries are so important!! 

Baxter can be fussy with food and can go through phases of eating/ not eating. I’ve also noticed he doesn’t do well on turkey.  But with routine and boundaries he is aware of when he has access to food and when he’ll have to wait.

Baxter can lose all sense if chasing leaves or birds and this makes him quite a hazard to himself on main roads. He doesn’t listen to commands on walks if he is occupied as such and so as an owner I have to be mindful of this. 

He is prone to smelly ears and itchy skin and so I use gentle, natural shampoos and ear drops for him which helps.

However overall, he’s been an amazing dog and has such a loving personality that even family who aren’t keen on dogs have fallen in love with him. He has not ruined anything around the house, is so loving and gentle and has stayed relatively small. He was 1.8 kg at 8 weeks and now at 10 months is just under 5kgs. 

What are health conditions that the cavapoo may inherit? 

Many breeds come with genetic conditions the breeds are susceptible too (like the CKCS above, labradors and most others). Every breed has health conditions the dog may inherit and therefore, finding a suitable breeder and litter can be crucial (future post!) in assuring your puppy is healthy and comes from a good line.

Some would argue cross bred dogs have more health vigor as there may be less chance of the breed specific conditions being inherited. However, this doesn’t mean your little puppy will never inherit these diseases and that’s why it’s important to know more about each half of the cavapoo and what may occur.

Inherited conditions can include cataracts, epilepsy, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), heart problems, hip issues and ear problems. However, there is no certainty your cavapoo will suffer from any of them.

Longer, floppy ears can also make cavapoos  more prone to ear infections. Small dogs are also more prone to periodontal disease.

Like any dog, health conditions may occur. Don’t let the list put you off but also be aware when choosing a suitable breeder that the relevant health checks are completed on the parents to ensure the best health possible. 

You may hear people say “why on earth would you get a cavapoo when the cavalier is so susceptible to health conditions”, with many choosing cockapoos as a result. However, it’s your dog and your choice and many a dog owner like me chose a cavapoo or cavalier. 

Do cavapoos need lots of grooming?

Cavapoos can need a groom every 6-8 weeks due to their low shedding, Poodle coat as their fur will grow. Coats can vary greatly and so dependent on how thick the coat is, brushing and daily care can vary greatly in order to avoid matts.

Baxter does well on a few weekly brushes and a groom every 8 weeks. Grooming for me costs between £32-40 dependent on if there are any matts. 

What’s the life Expectancy of a cavapoo? 

The Cavapoo has an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. However this can vary greatly. 

How much does a cavapoo cost? 

It would be great if this was simple. Over the years, the cost had risen and when searching for Baxter in 2016 the average cost of a health tested cavapoo is £1250 in the UK. Yes it can seem like a lot but this can vary greatly with some starting as low as 3-400 and rising to £1500 dependent on breeder and health testing. It can be a minefield and so this is why I have a seperate post dedicated to finding a breeder.

So there you have it my version of “what is a cavapoo?”.

What are your thoughts? Are you more or less interested in a cavapoo now? Am I missing anything you want to know? 

And if you are the owner of a cavapoo, why not comment below with your cavapoo’s personality, colour and details! It may help future owners get a more overarching idea of the wonderful mix of cavapoos.

Six ways to help you in Choosing your breed of puppy

If you’re like me, the world of dogs is new territory. You’ve seen them on TV, on social media and in the streets but you have limited knowledge of breeds or where to start. You want a puppy but which one would be best?

For you lucky few who have grown up with dogs, you may already know which breed you want. But some of the points below may still help you in determining whether it really is the right dog for you. 

1) Narrow your search – what’s important in your companion? 

So first off, we all live different life styles and have different wants for a dog. We may not even know all of the things we need to consider and I definitely didn’t. From grooming, to exercise and personality, digs different in their care needs and ability to suit our lifestyles there is so much to think about that it can be overwhelming. 

I searched the Internet for hours and this Which breed of Dog Quiz was really helpful in beginning to narrow down my search and ask the important questions. 

After completing the quiz, I noticed what I wanted in a dog (loyal, trainable) and what I didn’t want (large, drooling, in need of lots of exercise) and this helped to give me an idea of which breeds would suit me best. 

My breeds were:

  • Yorkipoo
  • Three different types of terrier 
  • Basenji 

By doing this quiz, I began to then use the internet to search for each breed and read more. I already knew I didn’t want a terrier (having being chased by one as a child and having a neighbour’s terrier pee on me far too often in excitement I hope you can understand why) and I became extremely interested in the yorkipoo. So as you know I went for a cavapoo so it doesn’t mean it’ll give you the answer completing the quiz but it does help to direct searches so give it a try.

2) Read around each breed 

The internet is full of resources about dog breeds. You can find information about lots of breeds herehere and here. There is no lack of resources online. After narrowing down your search, read up on the breed. Anything that draws you in or pushes you away?

3) Join Facebook groups and ask questions 

Websites can sometimes be very generic and sometimes asking real people can give you more confidence. I joined multiple Facebook groups for breeds I was interested in and posted my questions. For example, for the cavapoo I asked about how individuals manage around working and what exactly will grooming involve. I asked for people to describe their experiences (good and bad) to get a feel of breeds. This put me slightly off the yorkipoo due to the stubborn nature it could inherit and I wondered whether as first time owner that would be difficult. However I would never have known if I hadn’t asked, so ask away! 

4) Talk to friends and family with dogs

Maybe someone close to you has the breed you want, great go and ask questions. Get the information you feel you need. Even if they don’t have the breed you want, you can always ask about what their favourite/ least favourite characteristics are to help you think about which are important for you. What do they wish they had known before getting their dog? If you know no one with dogs, why not try the local park? I’ve found most dog owners really are friendly and open to having a conversation.

5) Join borrow my doggy 

This is a site in which you can “borrow” someone else’s dog. This is a great way for you to try and find people with the breeds you’re interested in and see what it’s like to have one in your home! A great, hands on way to find out more. Be aware that poor training can also play a role in raising a dog  and may influence how a dog behaves.

Sign yourself up here

6) Go to shelters and homes 

You may not want to rehome (or maybe it’s an option) but going to a shelter and volunteering may help you in getting to know about all sorts of breeds. Staff are also likely to be knowledgable about breeds through their experiences so why not ask them questions. 

So these are some ways which can help you begin to choose your breed of puppy. You want to go into buying a puppy with a realistic idea of what you are getting yourself into (I hope!). Each breed can differ and so these options can help you to make a more informed decision. 

And if you are already a dog owner, did you use other methods of finding the breed for you than listed above? It would be great to hear your thoughts below!