Ask 10 different people, get 10 different answers...but this is what works for me....this is a bit of reading but please go thru the info for your benefit...might save you time later!!
I encourage you to READ updated info online about each topic and ask your vet/trainer for their advice.
FOOD- I use NutriSource large breed puppy formula. It is a high quality brand but slightly less price point. It is comparable to Earthborn, Orijen/Acana, Zignature, Nulo, Wellness, Open Farm- there are others as well. A "large-breed" puppy formula has a lower calcium: phosphorus ratio, to prevent accelerated changes in the puppy's growth plates. Feed the large-breed puppy formula until 1 yr of age. An important point is using a food that has no "by-product", fillers, preservatives, or artificial ingredients. "By-product" means the leftover parts from a rendering plant: beaks, feathers, hooves, horns, scraps, etc. So...1st ingredient should be a meat source protein. 2nd- meat meal which is dehydrated meat that is highest in protein per ounce, because there is no moisture in it. Next should be a high quality carb like: oatmeal, sweet potato, quinoa, etc. Next will be fruits and veggies, pre/probiotics, and vitamin/minerals. If you chose to feed wheat and/or corn inclusive food, after 1 yr of age...please check your brand to see if its "whole" kernel, which is where the nutrition is. Corporate dog foods often use cobs and husks, ground up, and call it "corn". It is possible this practice is the reason so many dogs have allergies. Its how the company saves costs. Carbs can also lead to growth plates growing too fast which can cause joint/hip dysplasia. Raw/dehydrated/freeze dried foods are great for dogs over 1 year old. I feed my adult dogs raw food and Honest Kitchen dehydrated foods.
For 8 wk pups- I feed 3/4 cup dry kibble soaked in water or goats milk, fed 3 x's a day. After soaking, it expands in volume so the pup feels more full.
For 12 wk pups- I am usually feeding 1 cup dry kibble per feeding, 3 x's day. You will know when to increase amount by feeling of your pup's ribs and back bone. You should feel the bones but also a pad, other than their skin, between your fingers and their bones. If all you feel is basically skin...its time to increase amount fed. I go up 1/4 to 1/3 cup per feeding (so increase about a cup per day total). Should notice a difference in about a week. Growth spurts signal this as well. Pups will always act hungry and will over eat if allowed. This can cause bone/joint/hip dysplasia problems later on. No free feeding, as they will overeat. Overweight dogs will have bone/joint problems. Some vets recommend having the stomach stitched in place (gastroplexy) to prevent flipping, which can happen when a large breed dog eats too much, too fast. It helps to use a slow feeder bowl to prevent them from eating fast. Google this topic to help decide if you feel it is needed. Always keep out fresh water.
Treats- same as for food...READ LABELS! The most popular treats are the most unhealthy. If it has more than 4-5 ingredients, its probably junk food...or possibly dangerous. Cheap usually means junk...just like with human food. When training, I use their kibble because I'm giving lots of pieces at one setting. Then, I use special treats for special moments or actions. I found lots of healthy, easy-to-make treat recipes on Pinterest. The dogs get excited when they smell the treats being made! I throw together some combo (whatever is handy) of: banana, canned pumpkin/sweet potato, peanut butter, yogurt, berries, or leftover veggies like green beans, broccoli, carrots, peas, etc. Mash up in a bowl. Add 1-2 eggs and a healthy flour (organic whole wheat, coconut flour, quinoa flour, garbonzo, flax, almond or any healthy type flour) to make a dough ball. Then roll out and cut shapes or I just crumble dough into little pieces and bake 8-10 min on a cookie sheet. In one hour, I can make 3 months of treats for 3-4 dogs for about $6.00. Keep in freezer/fridge!! I do this rather than paying $7-10 per bag at the store but want them to have LOTS and it be healthy. Another good one is to cut up and bake in oven on low for 2-4 hours: sweet potato, apples, chicken meat, etc. Or buy already dried fruit pieces. Frozen green beans and fresh carrots are great and cheap!! Avoid chocolate, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions/garlic, pits of fruit, avocado, caffeine. Of course protect them from marijuana edibles, marijuana smoke and alcohol. Sheeepadoodles are food driven, they will do anything for a treat!!
Potty- Pups will be used to paper/potty pads. At 8 wks they have realized to "walk away" to potty. At 12 wks they start learning to go potty at a certain place. Some of my pups have learned in few days, most take a week or two. Depends on how much focus the person puts into the training. They will potty as soon as they wake up, after 15-20 min of playing, and after eating/drinking. Look for them sniffing ground as they walk away from you. Confining them helps by using a kennel or pen. If buying a large kennel, use 48 inch or 42 inch) with a divider, while potty training. Or, put a pen around kennel with the kennel door open. Bell training is good if you dont have a doggy door. Best training response is to act animated with praise when they do it correctly and ONLY a negative grunting when they do it wrong. Hitting them or "throwing them" outside while yelling confuses them. It wont help!! They WANT to please you...YAY! Large breed dogs dont want to use potty inside, so they train easy..
Also...when they are little, they potty as soon as urine is in the bladder. But as they are able to hold urine longer, they will let the bladder fill before going. About this time, you may notice they leak urine when they get excited or scared. Yet, they didnt do this before. Its because of having a fuller bladder, but not quite having complete control yet, that this leaking happens. Just be patient!! As the muscle that holds urine in gets stronger, the excited leaking will stop.
*** UNTIL pup has had 3rd set of vaccines...DONT let them potty in ANY AREA where other dogs, that arent yours, go potty !!!!! Dont use restaurant / convenience store potty areas, apartment building dog/common areas, etc. Think of it this way: if you would put a baby on this ground, its ok for your puppy. If its not clean enough for a baby, its not clean enough for a pup until ALL 3 puppy shots are done.
VACCINES- I give 1st set at 8 wks old (before they go to homes), 2nd set is due at 12 wks, and 3rd one is due at 16 wks along with rabies. According to manufacturer, vaccines give about 25% immunity after 1st one, about 50% immunity after 2nd one, and 99% after 3rd one. Vaccines do not work until after maternal antibodies clear their body. This happens typically between 8-16 wks of age...so all 3 shots are a must. UNTIL THEN..... DONT allow your pup on ground/floor where other dogs, that you dont know, potty. The parvo virus can live dormant on any surface or grass for years. Pup walks thru it and then licks feet and can activate the virus. Parvo is usually fatal even with treatment and HIGHLY contagious!!! Ask your family/friends if they have ever had a sick dog at their place BEFORE putting your pup on their floor or yard. Remember too, that vet clinics are where we take SICK animals. I ask each person at the vet clinic, before they handle my pups, if they have cared for any infectious animals that day. I ask them to clean their stethoscopes, scales, etc before using with my pups. Keep your pup in your arms while at vet clinic and put down a blanket on the exam table. Be fanatic about this until that 3RD SET OF VACCINES!!!!
I only give a 5-way vaccine. It is for the 5 most common issues. Your vet may recommend others if you take your pup to day care etc. There is new research that "maybe" we give too many vaccines, too often. Google the new info, then do what you feel best for your dog. But absolutely get all 3 of the puppy series done. It is BEST not to give several vaccines at same time...although many vets plan to give several during one visit...YOU can instruct them to space them out. Giving several actually stresses their immune system. Please google vaccine advice to learn about overvaccinating and checking titers instead of yearly revaccinating.
SPAY/NEUTER- Our contract states puppies are for pet homes only - NO breeding rights are allowed unless WRITTEN permission has been given by us. Some vets may recommend to spay/neuter as soon as possible. But, once again, new research is questioning this practice. Ultimately, having this done is important to prevent unwanted litters, and to prevent injury to roaming dogs looking for another animal in heat. But... research shows leaving them intact until close to 1 yr of age can be beneficial!! Hip dysplasia and some cancers occur less in intact dogs, and delaying the procedure until they are at least 7-10 months old makes these health problems less. I hear vets say spay/neutered dogs have LESS cancer...well yes, of some types, but they can have more risk of other cancers. So, how do we know? I decided that common sense says that allowing the development of a puppy WITH natural hormones has to be beneficial!! Hormones benefit every body system in animals and humans! So, delaying the procedure until it is possible for them to jump the fence or run off, would make the most health sense. But still...have it done at the point you feel is most important to prevent a breeding. Female dogs should not breed before 2 yrs old. They will have first heat cycle anywhere from 8-12 months of age. Males can be fertile by 7-8 months old.
KENNELS- I use them for their benefit. Not as a punishment. I encourage to teach your pup it is their safe place and let them learn to be happy there. Its great for travel, July 4th fireworks retreat, when company comes, etc. After they have become at home there, by all means...leave the door open and let them choose when to use it. Let them sleep with you if you want later on. If you need to restrain a dog for misbehavior, my trainer says to leash them to a chair for 3-5 minutes, dont lock them in the kennel as this might teach them it is a prison, not a safe den. Dogs are den animals by nature. While young, I recommend a tough made bed or pad that cant be chewed up or just use bath rugs- something you can easily and frequently wash. After potty training and chewing stage, then purchase a quality cushy bed pad.
TOYS/CHEWS- I dont recommend rawhide! Its not really rawhide anymore like it used to be. Rendering plants take the waste pieces of the dead animals and turn onto a powder. Then its bleached and cooked and bleached more. Next its reconstituted with water, made into a paste, dried, stretched into a tough material, cut and sold as rawhide!! No wonder it turns into a sticky, undigestible goo and clogs up intestines. Or causes choking, Some dog stores sell 100% natural real hide chews, but they are expensive. Fish skins are also becoming available. Greenies are another problem. They are so processed and full of strange ingredients! And they really dont help get tarter off teeth. Baking soda and other natural ideas are on Pinterest for cheap and effective teeth cleaning. I buy frozen raw bones and inexpensive hooves for dogs....they last a long time, dont break into pieces causing a choke hazard, and they clean teeth very well.
I have found that those pricey "tuff" toys are worth every penny! They last long enough to pay for themselves and you wont have to pick up stuffing or your pup wont be eating it.
COMING HOME- Some pups may get loose poops from the change and a bit of anxiety. As long as it smells like normal poop and is same color as normal poop, dont worry. Should be ok after 24 hrs and as long as they still want to eat and drink and have energy. This happens from time to time with puppies. If the diarrhea is frothy, foul-smelling, bloody, or strange in color-go to the vet right away. If they wont eat/drink or act weak, put some sugar gel or Karo syrup in their mouth and call vet. My vet allows 1-2 mls of Pepto for young pups if have more than one loose poop. 1-2 TBS of canned pumpkin will also firm up loose poops. There is a dog stomach product called Kaolin, even better than using Pepto, that you can find at any pet store for a few dollars. Not a bad idea to keep some in the cabinet. Anytime they have tummy trouble, it helps to give them only rice/plain chicken/ broth til all is normal.
When pups chew and eat strange things, they can have a mucous and blood tinged spots in their poop mixed with normal poop. If you see mucous and blood but NO normal poop, call vet.
If you use Febreeze type products or carpet powders, your dog may have reactions to those chemicals and the powder gets in their lungs. Most things that we use to cover odors are unsafe. Baking soda and vinegar are safest.
Going thru your house and baby-proofing/puppy proofing is best. Electric cords, batteries, plants, cleaning products, etc should be put up. And one warning is for mice/rat blocks....that green stuff used to kill mice....its HIGHLY toxic. It tastes like candy and if swallowed, can kill animals or small children. There is no antidote and vet care can only possibly treat side effects. If you find your dog eating it, put a few tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide down their throat to cause vomiting and get to vet asap. So, if you have put it out in the past, remove and take out of the house (dont put it in the trash can).
Pups can sometimes feel scared at first when coming to a new home. Doesnt mean they wont bond and love their new family! Just give them time to adjust. Delay things like a full bath or trip in the car, until they have settled in. Dont have them meet too many people and their various pets or having to be passed around thru ALL the neighborhood kiddos...just take it slow, and avoid overwhelming them at first. Sheepadoodles are very versatile and love people and other pets, just not all at once when they are only weeks old. Take them with you when you can but remember to hold them until after that 3rd set of vaccines. If they get car sick, they will sometimes re-eat it. Its ok for dogs to do so.
Do not physically punish a dog. Research training tips and sign up for basic training class. Never tie up/tether/chain a puppy. Remove collar when puppy is in a kennel as collar can become snagged on kennel and twist, causing a choking hazard. Never leave a dog in a vehicle if outside temp is above 70 degrees. Supervise your puppy when it is outside due to predators: owls, hawks, coyotes, thieves. Microchipping is essential. Don't forget to update your online microchip account if you have a change of address or new phone number. Supervise your puppy with children and dont allow children to taunt/tease, as this can lead to aggressive behaviors in the dog as it grows.
Exercise- Sheepadoodles love playtime. They are athletic and can enjoy hiking/jogging but keep it age appropriate. Walks can be a block or two at first, then increase as they grow. Work up to jogging a mile or more after they are a year old. Overactivity before one yr old can cause damage to the growth plates and cause hip issues later in life. They have to take 2-4 steps for each of ours. Once they are adults, they can handle hiking mountains, daily jogs and sports. Dont allow excessive jumping on hard floors during the growth stage. The Standard poodle is a water/duck retrieval dog with webbed feet and strong hind legs, so sheepadoodles usually love water and snow, as well as fetch-type play.
HAIR CARE- 3-4 times/weekly brushing is needed to prevent tangles/mats. Hair is dry so frequent baths arent needed. I usually wash feet-face-bottoms as needed and do full baths only about once every 6 wks or when thy get dirty. They dont have the protein in their skin that causes fur to shed, causes allergies in people, and causes the doggy smell. So you should only see loose hair when brushing or bathing....just like people do. There is a time all dogs "shed" called puppy blow-out....its when the puppy hair falls out and the normal hair grows in. This happens about 4 months of age and lasts for a few weeks. After this is completed, you shouldnt notice loose hair on your home and clothes unless brushing them. If you see little tufts of loose hair (called tumbleweeds), just brush them a little more often. I use hair oil sprays on my dogs just like I do for myself. Adding salmon oil or omega 3 to their diet helps grow healthy shiny hair. Some people choose to keep their sheepadoodles in a short puppy cut, especially in summer. Whitening shampoo for dogs keeps the white hair from yellowing. Use a mild dog shampoo normally since they have dry hair coats. They love playing in the snow but just be sure to brush them after they start to dry and after a bath or hair will mat, just as ours can. The new de-shedding brushes/rakes dont work well for dogs with real hair. Those kind "cut" thru fur and mats which will cause frizz and breakage to the hair coat. A regular brush or poodle comb works best.
Most important is that your sheepadoodle thrives on attention and physical contact. They do not do well left alone day after day. They dont excel at "entertaining themselves." Their brain and heart is wired to interact with their family. They can notice our stress levels and try to give/get attention if we act upset or pre-occupied. They are people -pleasers and thus highly trainable! They will bark at unusual things or someone approaching the home, but are more likely to lick someone than bite. This is described as protective but non-aggressive. They like to walk a step ahead of you to make sure all is safe and will follow you from room to room....you will be their world!!!