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Puppy Care Tips, Tricks, Info, and Advice For Our New Parents 

Hi From Grace Wood Farm!


We are so excited about this new little ball of fur and love that is about to enter your family. Bringing a puppy into your home will open up a new source of fun, laughter, joy, and friendship in so many incredible ways. But these little guys are also a lot of work! It can be easy to get overwhelmed by your new little friend if you are ill-prepared.


We’ve put together some tips, tricks, info, and advice to help prepare you the best we can.


This guide may seem like a lot of info, but this is the culmination of hundreds of conversations we’ve had with clients over the years. These are the questions we get asked over and over again, so we went into detail to explain how to handle these aspects of puppy training. Reading through this guide will set you and your puppy up to have optimum success! 


Please note that your puppy will need training in order to have a chance at being a well-behaved pet. The info below is a starter but not a substitute for additional training. The effort you put into training your pet will be the reward you reap in their becoming a well-behaved companion. Be sure to get involved with puppy training classes, or ask us about our partnership with Baxter and Bella, an online dog training school you can get access to.



All Sheepadoodles and Poochons: All of our Sheepadoodles and Poochons will be eating Purina Pro Plan High Protein Dry Puppy Food, Chicken & Rice Formula - 34 lb. Bag (Packaging May Vary) - you can find it here on Amazon. It is also sold in smaller bags. It is one of the highest-rated and recommended brands of puppy food on the market. It has the best quality ingredients, gives them a healthy and shiny coat, and isn’t as expensive as some other brands. Our vet uses it, and her colleague who works at a veterinary research facility at a university says it’s the brand they recommend. You can find it on Amazon or at most pet-supply stores. It is not usually available at regular grocery stores or Wal-Mart. Be sure you are getting the Purina Pro Plan and not one of the cheaper options Purina offers.

  • Keep your puppy on puppy food until they are 1-2 years old, and then under the advice of your vet, switch to adult dog food. 

  • You can make your own decisions on what food to feed your puppy in the long run. Still, WE STRONGLY ADVISE that if you transition your puppy off Purina Pro Plan Puppy Food, you do it as a gradual, slow, incremental transition over several weeks. 

We can’t tell you how many times someone has brought their puppy home and called us saying, “My puppy has diarrhea, and I don’t know why!” Nearly every single time, the cause is they switched their puppy to different food and did a rapid transition. Quickly changing dog foods is almost always a guarantee your puppy will get an upset stomach. If you decide to switch to different food, please plan to transition them over several weeks gradually. You begin by slowly adding the new food to their current food and slowly adjusting the proportions over time. This is the only way to switch foods without upsetting your dog’s stomach.

We do not recommend you feed your puppy anything other than high-quality puppy food. Table scraps, human food, leftovers, etc., can upset their stomachs. 



Plan to feed your puppy 2-3 times per day. You can start them with a breakfast, lunch, and early dinner schedule. Some dogs tend to prefer only to eat twice a day. If you notice your dog eating very little at one of the meals when you feed 3x per day, you can try just feeding them breakfast and dinner and see how they do. You will just have to get a feel for your dog and what they respond best to. 

  1. For Standard Sheepadoodles, start with 1 cup of food per meal. Smaller breeds begin with smaller portions. If you find that there is food leftover at every meal, give them less until you give them an amount where they eat all of it. If they are eating all their food, then add a little more until you get a good feel for how much they need per meal. As they grow, you will gradually add more and more food per meal. 

  2. While they are in the process of house training, we recommend that you completely regulate their access to food. 

    • This means that you give them a meal, set them in front of their food bowl, and after 20 minutes, you take the food bowl away completely. This is done to regulate their potty training and so that you can teach them to go to the bathroom outside. 

    • If your puppy has a food bowl set out all the time, they will come and snack regularly. After snacking, they will have to poop within 10-30 minutes. If you aren’t paying attention, they will just end up pooping in the house. 

    • If you regulate when they have access to food, you can also keep tabs on the fact that they have to go to the bathroom. You can plan to take them out after they eat and make sure they go to the bathroom outside, so they don’t have accidents in the house. See “House Breaking and Crate Training” below for more advice. 

    • Food access regulation is only necessary until your puppy is fully house trained. Then you can adjust access as you are comfortable. Some people continue to only put food out at mealtimes, and others have a philosophy of letting the dog eat whenever they are hungry. You can make your own decision on what’s best for your dog. We also recommend that you monitor when they have access to water until they are six months old. 

    • Give your puppy water with each meal and regularly all throughout the day as needed, but don’t leave the water bowl out. After drinking water, they will have to go to the bathroom within 10-30 minutes. If they are drinking water and you don’t realize it, they are more likely to have an accident in the house. If you monitor when they have the water, you now know the timing so you can take them to the bathroom. 

    • Your puppy will need water after going for walks, playing, running, etc. They will need water far more often than your 2-3x feeding them daily. We just recommend you monitor when you give them the water so you can know to take them to the bathroom.

    • Make sure you give water regularly, or they will get dehydrated. 

    • Once your puppy is housebroken, you can leave their water bowl out all the time and keep their bowl full.​



1.)  A Dog Crate

  • Standard Sheepadoodles - we recommend that you purchase an XL dog crate with an adjustable divider panel,  like this one on Amazon. The adjustable panel will allow you to make the crate small enough for your dog while it’s still a puppy, and you can increase the size of the crate over time. Fully grown Standard Sheepadoodles are 50-90lbs, so an XL crate is needed. If you don’t want a huge crate in your house (or don’t have the space for it), you can buy a smaller crate to crate train the puppy, and once they are fully housebroken, let them sleep in the house without a crate.

  • Mini Sheepadoodles can range in size depending on their final adult growth. They will need either a 30” crate or a 36” crate. 

 2.)  Dog collar sizes around when they go home

  • Standard Sheepadoodles - at 8 weeks old, a Standard Sheepadoodle will be in the range of 8-14lbs. You can buy an adjustable collar for this size, and you will have to plan on buying bigger collars as they grow. 

  • Mini Sheepadoodles - 4-7lbs 

3.)  Dog leash

- pick whichever leash you like best. 

4.)  Food & water bowls

- pick whichever you like best. 

5.)  Treats

- Small, bite-sized treats are fantastic for training your puppy. You can use them to reinforce good behavior and begin training your puppy. You can ask your local pet store for recommendations on a brand. You also may have to experiment with some different treats because some dogs are picky and dislike one treat and gobble up another.

6.) At least 2 chew toys

- Your puppy will be teething, and just like a baby, they need to chew on something to help the teething process. They will like some harder dog chew toys to chew on. They also like other ropes or toys to chew on and keep them occupied. When a puppy has enough toys of its own, it will learn what its possessions are and what are no-nos to chew on. A puppy with enough chew toys will be far less likely to be naughty and chew on things they shouldn’t.

A free chew toy is easily made by taking an old pair of jeans, cutting strips out of the jeans, and tying them in a knot. This creates a durable little chew toy, and your puppy will enjoy it.

7. Some tough, natural raw-hide type chews 

So many options on the market are healthy for your dog - talk to your local pet store to learn more. We recommend this brand from AmazonYour puppy will love some raw-hide to chew. As some dogs get bigger, they can get over-enthusiastic about raw hides and swallow them whole. Watch your dog's behavior to ensure they don't do something like this, as it's dangerous and harmful to their digestion. Sometimes if a dog has regular access to a raw-hide to chew, they don't go overboard with it. Watch your dog to keep them safe. Read this article from the AKC to learn more and make your own best-informed decision on what products to buy. 


For their first few months, they need to go to the bathroom generally within 5-15 mins of eating. We recommend that you fully regulate when they have access to food and monitor water because they have to go right away. When you feed them or give them water, you will know that within 5-15 minutes, you need to take them out. This time frame will increase as they get older. 


Here's what we recommend when your puppy first comes home and you try to get them housebroken as quickly as possible. 

  1. Set timers for every 15-30 minutes to take them out throughout the entire day when they are awake. If they are napping, let them sleep, and as soon as they wake, take them to the bathroom. 

  2. It may seem like overkill to you at first, but what you are doing overwhelmingly reinforces to your puppy that the only place to go to the bathroom is outside. 

  3.  Keep it up with diligence at first, and your puppy will have a much better chance to get the concept of going to the bathroom outside quickly. 

  4. Don't stress over it. Just use this as a helpful timeframe and keep in mind that the more time that passes, the more likely the pup will pee in the house. 

    • Always give them a little doggie treat every time they go potty outside. Always praise them and encourage them at the same time. They love positive reinforcement and will long for that affirmation and treat. 

    • As they get more and more trained, you can increase the time between how often you take them out.




The best way to housebreak your dog and teach them to go to the bathroom outside properly is the combination of four factors: 1. Crate training 2. Food/Water Regulation & Monitoring 3. Positive Reinforcement & Training Techniques 4. Taking them outside a lot

  1. We’ve already covered the concept of food & water regulation and monitoring and taking them outside a lot. Here we will cover the idea of crate training. 

  2. Crate training is using a dog crate to teach your puppy proper bathroom behavior and house rules. Dogs, by nature are den animals, meaning that they like to have a tight space of their own. It causes them to feel a sense of comfort, safety, and security.

  3. Crates help to reinforce housebreaking because, by nature dogs do not like to go to the bathroom in their den. 

  4. The crate should not be overused (such as leaving them in the crate all day). But when used correctly, it will help your puppy become house-trained. 

  5. Start by purchasing a crate and placing it in an area of the house where your family spends much time. Speak kindly to your puppy as you put them in the crate, and reinforce by giving them a treat when they enter the crate. 

  6. You can read many resources online regarding all that can be done with crate training. Here are some of the basics:

Overnight Crate Training

  • Plan to put your puppy in the crate overnight, right from the first night home. (If your puppy is left to wander free overnight, they will 100% go to the bathroom somewhere in the house, so you have to crate them)

  • Use the adjustable divider to make the crate large enough for your puppy to turn around and lie down. If their area is too large, your puppy will go to the bathroom in one corner and then lie down in another. They will not want to soil their “den” area if the space is small enough to start. Once they learn not to go to the bathroom in the crate, the space can be increased until you are sure they won’t soil their crate. Once you are confident (after several months of training), you can remove the adjustable divider. Some puppies learn very quickly, and others take some time. You will also need to adjust the divider as they grow. 

  • We recommend that you don’t put towels or blankets in their crate at first, as well as no doggie beds. A puppy will pee on their blankets or bedding, and they won’t be bothered by it because they won’t sit in the pee. Then you’ve got a mess to clean, and they are learning bad habits. Please don’t put any bedding in their crate until they are fully crate trained. 

    • Some websites say a puppy wants a blanket in their crate for comfort. Our experience says they will use that blanket as a toilet. Skip the blankets in the crate until they are crate trained. 

    • Some dogs never like blankets or bedding and prefer to lay on something hard and cold. If your already crate-trained dog is taking all their bedding and scraping it over to the edge of their crate, it means they don’t like the bedding, and you should just take it out.

    • Some crate-trained dogs just chew their bedding. If this is the case, don’t give them any. Instead, give them some safe chew toys in their crate.

  • You can put chew toys in their crate with them. Puppies in particular like this because then they start teething it feels good to chew. Some older dogs love a chew toy in their crate, while others could care less. It depends on your dog. 

  • It is common for a puppy to “cry” or whine during its first night or nights in the crate. At Grace Wood Farm, the puppies spend every night with their siblings together. Now they are alone for the first time, and that feeling of loneliness can cause them to cry. Some puppies don’t care to be alone (or even enjoy it), while others experience more loneliness and separation anxiety. It just depends on your puppy’s personality. If your puppy is crying at night, you can place the crate near your bed for the first few nights. When they cry, you can speak kindly to them to reassure them they are not alone. After some time, they will begin to enjoy the crate, as their nature encourages them to have a tight den space to sleep in. 

    • Most of the time, don’t take your puppy out of the crate when they cry. They are testing you to see what they can get. If you’ve regulated their food and given them many opportunities to go to the bathroom before you put them in their crate at night, and then when you put them in their crate at bedtime, they start whining - it is likely not because they have to go to the bathroom. It’s because they are still getting used to being alone. Speak kindly to them that they are alright, and then let them be. They will soon learn that they are safe in their crate, and the separation anxiety will fade. 

  • We recommend feeding your puppy dinner early, such as around 4:30-5 pm. This gives them plenty of time to go to the bathroom before bed and greatly reduces their likelihood of soiling their crate overnight. If you feed them dinner at 7:30 pm, you are setting them up for failure, as this late meal may cause them to have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. 

  • When you are first crate training your puppy, we recommend giving them as much water as they want with dinner but then do not give them any water later in the evening. They may act thirsty, but giving them water later in the evening will make it harder not to have an overnight accident. We advise you not to give any water after dinner until they learn to hold their bladder for at least 7 hours at night. As they learn to do so, and as they get older, you can begin to offer some additional water in the evening, regulating until your puppy is fully housebroken. 

  • After feeding them around 4:30/5 pm, take them to the bathroom within 15-30 minutes of dinner. Then plan to take them to the bathroom every 30 minutes (increasing time as they get older) so that they have enough chances to empty their bowels before bedtime. 

  • Plan to take the puppy to the bathroom just before you go to bed one last time.

  • A puppy can be in a crate overnight for 7-8 hours if you feed them early dinner. If you go to bed at 11 pm, your puppy should make it to 6 or 7 am. 

  • Do not set a timer to get up in the middle of the night and take your puppy out to the bathroom. You will be training your puppy to get up and go to the bathroom at this time and teaching them that they don’t need to hold it until morning. We’ve had previous owners ignore us and do this, and they always call us asking for advice on how to stop their puppy from having nighttime accidents. Don’t start it, and they won’t either!

  • If your puppy is seriously whining in the middle of the night, they likely need to go out, especially if it is getting to be 6+ hours of being in the crate. You should get up and take them out in these situations, but don’t make it a habit. Try adjusting how late you fed them dinner and lastly gave them water to help them learn to hold it until the morning. If you are cutting off food early, you will help them not have to go at night. 

  • Plan on immediately taking them outside as soon as you wake up. They likely will hear you and wake up when you wake up. A young puppy probably will have a full bladder, and if you wait where you go to the bathroom and brush your teeth before getting to them, they may have an accident in those short minutes. Take them out first to save yourself from an accident.

  • Whenever your puppy goes to the bathroom outside, praise them verbally and reward them with a treat. This reinforced positive affirmation will train your dog to continue this behavior. 

  • If your young puppy has an accident in their crate, don’t scold them- just take them outside and reinforce the good behavior when they go to the bathroom outside. Most accidents result from feeding/watering too late in the day or being left in their crate too long and are really your fault, not theirs. Give them lots of positive affirmation for their good behavior, and they will learn to follow this behavior in time. 

  • Yelling at your puppy for accidents in the crate or whining in their crate is usually ineffective and can give you negative results. There’s a time and place for scolding - such as when they chew things they shouldn’t or if they go to the bathroom in the house somewhere. But don’t scold them in their crate or for crate problems - you could cause your puppy to feel the crate is an unsafe place, and it could cause more negative behavior..

Housetraining and crating your puppy when you can’t keep an eye on them

  • Puppies are like toddlers. They need an eye on them all the time, or else they will find trouble. A puppy needs constant supervision until they get older, learns appropriate behavior, and becomes housebroken. 

  • If you let your young puppy run around the house unsupervised, they will make mistakes. They are just too young to know better. If they are running around and you aren’t keeping an eye on them, they will probably go to the bathroom in the house. They also are far more likely to chew on things they shouldn’t or get into things they shouldn’t. This can be dangerous for them because they can and will chew and swallow random objects that could seriously injure them.

  • The best way to teach them the proper behavior is to constantly be teaching them, just like you do with a toddler. To continually teach them, you need to keep an eye on them. 

  • When a puppy is out of its crate, you must watch them. You can do so by yourself (or your children if you have any in the house) by giving them your attention. You can also block them off to stay just in the room you are in by shutting the doors. If you don’t have doors to close, you can get doggie gates or play yards to separate spaces so that they stay where you are. Click this link to see our favorite doggie play yard that is easy to set up, adjustable in size, tall enough they can’t jump out, and has a handy door to let them in and out through. 

  • By keeping an eye on them, you can tell when they need to go to the bathroom. They usually start sniffing around, and you can tell by their movements. Watching them helps you get them outside quickly and teaches them that the only place to go to the bathroom is outside.

  • If you are unable to keep an eye on your puppy, then go ahead and place them in their crate with positive reinforcement. Encourage them to enter their crate by their own will and give them a treat for going in. Soon enough, your puppy will find their crate to be a place of safety and security. 

    • By putting them in the crate when you or another household member cannot keep an eye on them, you keep them from having the opportunity to make mistakes like going to the bathroom in your house or chewing on things they shouldn’t.

    • It’s not healthy to have your puppy in crates for long hours every day, so don’t take it to an extreme with crate use.

    • Just know it’s alright to put the pup in their crate with a few chew toys when you can’t watch them.

  • In time your pup will learn the household rules, and with training and age, your puppy will learn to hold their bathroom needs until they go outside. This is called being “housebroken.”

    • Once you are comfortable with your pup being in the house unsupervised without worry that they might pee in a corner or chew something they shouldn’t, then, by all means, give them the freedom! This is usually around 6-8 months old (although some get there sooner). They long to please their people, and they will learn the rules with the proper training. If they have been a good doggie, then give them freedom.

    • If your older pup is still going to the bathroom in the house or chewing things, then keep following these tips, and seek other resources. Keep up with the training, and you will get a housebroken doggie soon.

Bell Training

  • Bell training is the practice of teaching your puppy to ring a bell whenever they have to go to the bathroom. This makes it so that your smart doggie will let you know when they need to go potty once they are housebroken, so you don’t have to think about it as much!

  • Start by buying a doggie bell like this one on Amazon. It’s essentially a rope with bells on it that hangs over your doorknob.

  • EVERY SINGLE TIME you take your puppy outside to go the bathroom, have them touch their nose or their paw to the bells to make a jingle sound. You must do this every time they are taken outside to create consistency in training.

  • Make sure you give your puppy treats every time they go to the bathroom.

  • By keeping up with this and consistently doing it, you are training your dog to ring the bell when they have to go to the bathroom.

  • A young puppy won’t get it at first, but keep it up! With time and age, it should click with your dog.

  • Once they get it, they will ring the bell when they have to go out. Now you’ve got a dog who is telling you when they need to go to the bathroom, and both you and your doggie will love that you can communicate this important thing to each other. 


We highly recommend that every puppy attend doggy obedience classes once they are four to six months old. Not before this, or they will not have the right amount of bonding time with you and the family. Dogs are pack animals and need to know who their alpha is, and it needs to be you. 

We advise you to find classes that you can attend with your dog or find a trainer who comes to the house so you can be involved. You may learn more than them in the classes! They are a great resource for learning the best way to train your pup.

When you learn the training techniques, you can keep up the training once they are out of class. 

We have a partnership with an online puppy training school called Baxter and Bella. They have incredible videos teaching you how to train your pup and even have trainers available to talk to when you have questions or specific issues. Baxter and Bella has provided us with a discount to give to all of our families. Shoot us an email, and we can send you more details!



Puppies are like little kids. They need to learn good behavior and need to understand what behavior isn’t acceptable. They may at times be wild and hyper - just like a kid. They need to learn good ways to get this energy out and be discouraged from doing things like jumping.

Some puppies tend to jump on people. It’s just puppy behavior. They do it because they are excited and want attention. But jumping is not good behavior and must be discouraged and trained out of them because they could accidentally hurt someone when they get bigger. 

We recommend that you immediately start training your puppy to not jump up towards you or guests/strangers. It may seem cute when they are 15lbs, but it won’t be cute if they are 65lbs and jump up on Grandma!

The key is discouragement. If your puppy jumps up on you, start by crossing your arms and turning your back on them. At the same time, you are doing this, say “no” in a stern but calm voice. Repeating this response over and over alone should train your puppy not to jump. Your puppy jumps because it wants positive attention. If you turn your back and scold, they aren’t getting what they want, and they will learn to quit this behavior. 

If they keep jumping even when you are following the last step, you may need to increase the negative reinforcement. You can gently but firmly push their nose to the ground and scold “no!” 

Teach your kids to do all this as well if you have them, so they can help you train your dog, and also so your dog doesn’t think it can keep jumping at children but not adults. 

 When your dog approaches you or a stranger and does not jump, be sure to praise them and give them a treat. This will reinforce this is the behavior you want in your dog. 

Often the combination of the training we listed here with your puppy getting older is all it takes to curb the jumping. Often it just goes away with age. But training will help it to go away much faster. 

Make sure that you are 100% consistent and never allow your puppy to jump up. If you discourage them 70% of the time and ignore it 30% of the time, you are setting them up for failure. You must have a zero-tolerance policy to train it out of them.



Because Old English Sheepdogs are bred to herd sheep, they can be a breed that can nip at children and adults or other dogs. Some Sheepadoodles can pick up this tendency. This is most common while they are still a puppy (under age 2) and is a trait that can be removed through proper training and reinforcement. 

Parents with young children should understand this propensity so they and their children can know what the puppy is doing and respond in a way to discourage the behavior. 

To better understand what a “nip” is, know that they aren’t biting hard or to be aggressive or mean. Often it is just a herding tendency, and all puppies do this as play just like they did with their siblings, and most often would happen when a child is running away from a group or think it’s playtime. The dog will gently nip at the child’s clothes, hands, or hips like a herding dog would do to encourage a sheep to return to the fold. 

Because Sheepadoodles have such a strong desire to please their people and receive positive affirmation, they should quickly learn that this behavior is discouraged if they have this tendency. With training, they should quit the behavior out of their desire to make you happy.

If your puppy is nipping, follow the exact instructions we gave for jumping. 

  • Start by crossing your arms and turning your back on them. While doing this, say “no” in a stern but calm voice. Repeating this response over and over alone should train your puppy not to nip. Your puppy is again doing this because it wants positive attention. If you turn your back and scold, they aren’t getting what they want, and they will learn to quit this behavior. 

  • If they keep nipping even when you are following the last step, you may need to increase the negative reinforcement. You can gently but firmly push their nose to the ground and scold “no!” 

  • If you have kids or grandkids, make sure you teach them how to react to nipping. They shouldn’t be scared, and the puppy isn’t biting or attacking them. They, as a child, can be masters over the puppy and can teach the puppy to stop this behavior. If you train your kids or grandkids how to react, they will end up doing most of the training because they are likely to be the only ones who experience nipping. 

  • Make sure that you are 100% consistent and never allow your puppy to place their teeth on human skin. If you discourage them 70% of the time and ignore it 30% of the time, you are setting them up for failure. You must have a zero-tolerance policy to train it out of them.

Dematting Brush
Hair Brush



Since Sheepadoodles and Poochons are mostly non-shedding dogs, you are saving yourself a TON of time in not having to clean up massive amounts of dog hair around the house. The trade-off for this luxury is that the doodle coat will require more maintenance than some other dog breeds. Sheepadoodles and Poochons will need to be brushed at least once a week to prevent and remove any matting in their fur.

To keep an optimum coat, you should plan on brushing 2-3 times a week, or even daily, if you can manage the time. We recommend using a combination of a de-matting brush (like this one on Amazon) and a regular hair brush to work through their entire coat. Be sure to brush all the way down to their skin, fully getting through their undercoat. 

 Ear Cleaner Amazon
Dog Ear Powder
Pet Hemostatic Forceps

Sheepadoodles and Poochons will also need to be routinely groomed to keep their hair trimmed, neat, free from matting, keep their ears clean, and their nails trimmed. You can either learn to do this yourself or, as most people do, you can take them into the groomer. Often folks take their dog in for grooming every 6-8 weeks. If you want your dog to look “perfect” all the time, grooming will need to be more regular. 


Their ears also can get built up with excess hair, dirt, moisture, and earwax, so they need to be regularly cleaned to prevent problems and discomfort to the doggie. We’ve posted some videos to our Facebook page with tips on cleaning your dog’s ears. (In the video, Brittney uses this Ear Cleaner, this Ear Powder, these Stainless Steel Hemostat Forceps)


Your puppy will need a schedule for ongoing preventative medical care, including de-wormer, flea & tick medication, heartworm medication, and a schedule for upcoming shots. Please discuss your options with your vet of choice and follow their recommendations for a schedule and plan. We use Nexguard and Heartgard.

Your puppy can become seriously ill if you ignore your vet’s plan, and in the end, it could cost you thousands in vet bills. Be smart and keep up with preventative maintenance. 

We hope these tips and tricks have you better prepared for your new furry friend! 


With love,


The Grace Wood Farm Family


*Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means that Grace Wood Farm could earn an affiliate commission if purchases are made through the links on this page.

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