things to know about goldendoodles
W H A T A R E T H E Y ?
The goldendoodle is one of the best dog breeds out there (although we may be a little biased). This breed comes from breeding a golden retriever and a poodle together. We don't breed first generation goldendoodles (poodle x golden retriever cross). We only breed second generation and multigenerational generation goldendoodles, as these are the most predictable with coat types and structures. Goldendoodles are generally very loyal and playful like the golden retriever, but also smart, regal, and non-shedding like the poodle. However, as wonderful as this breed is, they do require extra work to keep them healthy, happy, and beautiful.
C O A T M A I N T E N A N C E A N D G R O O M I N G :
Since a goldendoodle generally does not shed, their fur grows and grows, until it is cut. This means that the hair needs to be brushed at least once a week if you'd like your goldendoodle's hair to stay long, and once every two weeks if you keep your goldendoodle's hair trimmed short. The best way to brush is to "line brush". There are many hair products out there that are great for keeping your goldendoodle's hair shiny and soft, and less likely to be tangled. Our favorite shampoo and conditioner for monthly baths is by Cowboy Magic, found on Amazon. It's a lot cheaper at Tractor Supply, but for convenience sake, I've linked it to Amazon. Cowboy magic also has a detangler & shine spray, but we've found the Biosilk brand to work better. Some people may think that brushing sounds like a lot of work and effort, but we personally love brushing our dogs. They love it too! It allows us to spend quality time with our fur babies, and they look forward to it. As long as you keep it up, it won't be work. As soon as you stop maintaining their coat, then the knots will come, and it will be harder to brush out your dog's coat. Brushing out knots can be painful for your dog, and they won't enjoy it anymore. If you use a slicker brush, steel comb, and a de-matter comb, brushing your goldendoodle will be a breeze. Click the buttons below to order these items from Amazon.
In between grooming sessions, we suggest keeping the hair around your goldendoodle's eyes trimmed so they can see clearly. We also trim the hair under the paw pads to help with traction, and keep sanitary areas trimmed to help them stay clean. Click the link below for an easy how to on how to trim around the eyes. The sheers are linked below as well.
Line brush once a week for a long coat.
Line brush once every 2 weeks for a shorter coat (less than 2 inches)
Bath and dry with a high velocity dryer once a month.
Trim around eyes, under paw pads, and sanitary areas once a month (we do this after our dogs' once a month bath).
Full coat trim or professional groom every 6 weeks. If you'd like to save money and learn how to do this yourself, there are great You Tube videos you can watch and also a Facebook page called DIY Doodle Grooming with loads of information.
F A D I N G C O L O R A N D C O A T C H A N G E :
Yes, all goldendoodle coat colors fade except for the rare ones that inherit a Rufus gene, in which case those will darken with age. Reds, chocolates, black, and apricot (just to name a few) will all be a nice vibrant color as a puppy but will usually fade as the dog ages. A red coat will usually fade a few shades lighter until two years old, and then stay somewhat the same color for the rest of their life. We think our goldendoodles are beautiful no matter what color their coat is, and you will too! The level of fading is different for each dog, so there is no guarantee what color your puppy could end up as an adult. Here is a picture of Murphy at 1 year (left) and 2 years old (right) to show just how much she's lightened.
Their coat texture and curl will also change. A wavy puppy coat will be straight and silky, but the adult wavy coat will bring loose curls and a thicker texture. The amount of curl in a wavy coat will depend on how weak or strong the curl gene is, which can't be determined until the adult coat comes in.
A puppy curly coat will have loose curls with a soft texture, but the adult curly coat brings in the kinky tighter curls and a more wooly texture. Most people who love the teddy bear look prefer the curly coats.
Below are examples of what a wavy and curly puppy coat looks like compared to their adult curly coats.
E A R C L E A N I N G :
This can be a big deal in the doodle world, but it doesn't have to be. Ear mites, yeasts, and ear infections love those furry ears when wet. The best way to avoid this is to clean your goldendoodle's ears every 2 weeks, especially after your dog's once a month bath. Click the links below to see how to keep your goldendoodle's ears clean and what products to use. The key is to keep the ears dry. Don't blow dry the inside of the ears because this can cause damage to their ear canal. If your goldendoodle still has ear issues even after cleaning twice a month, we suggest keeping the hair in his/her ears plucked. Sometimes their hair will hold moisture and it can be harder to keep the ear canal dry. We use a hemostat for this, not tweezers. If you put some Groomer's Ear Powder in your dog's ears, you can easily grip and pull the hair out with a hemostat or even your fingers and they will barely feel the pain. If you don't feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can have your groomer do this. There is a how-to video and the tools needed for this linked below. This may seem like a lot of work, but we promise it won't be, as long as you keep the ears clean. Keeping the inside of your dog's ears dry and plucked will be part of your dog's hygiene care. We do this for our puppies, so they are some what used to this when they go home to you. I can show you how we do this on puppy pickup day. Sometimes chronic ear yeasts can be a sign of a food allergy, so a change in dog food would be necessary. Fish oil also helps with chronic ear yeasts as well.
D E W C L A W S A N D N A I L S :
What are dew claws? They are the dog's thumbs, essentially. The are located on the front feet, on the inside of the legs. A lot of breeders will remove these thumbs because they could get injured if the dog gets them caught on something while playing or running, and they don't think they are aesthetically appealing for short hair breeds. We do not remove our puppies' dew claws. The chances of a dew claw being injured is very low if the dog is an inside dog and not running in woods, etc. If you keep your puppy's dew claws trimmed like their other nails, you won't have any issues. Dew claws are there for a specific reason and the practice of removing them is illegal in some countries. If you've ever watched a dog try to scratch their face with their front paws, you'll understand why they need those inside thumbs. Also, research shows that if you remove the dew claws, the dog has a higher risk of elbow dysplasia as well as joint and muscle issues. Read more of the importance of dew claws HERE. The picture to the right is taken from this article and shows how everything is connected.
Keeping your dog's nail trimmed every 2 weeks is essential for grooming maintenance, reduces the chances of your dog scratching someone by accident (ouch!), and actually affects the way your dog stands. If their nails are too long, they will stand in a way that will compensate for those long nails, and this could eventually cause joint issues and muscle soreness. If you make it a positive experience from the day you bring home your puppy, and continue to touch their paws when you hold them, they'll remain used to this and shouldn't fight you about it. Click the pictures below to order our favorite products from Amazon. We like to clip the tip of the nail and then file it down smooth so we don't accidentally clip the quick. If you clip the quick, your dog's nail will bleed and they may not be so quick to let you trim their nails again. If you do accidentally clip their nail quick, you can use the Kwik Stop below to stop the bleeding. You can use the nail grinder if you want, or a normal nail file. We will go over how to trim nails with you on Puppy Pick Up Day, so try not to stress about it!!
Dew claws are there for a specific reason and the practice of removing them is illegal in some countries. If you've ever watched a dog try to scratch their face with their front paws, you'll understand why they need those inside thumbs. Also, research shows that if you remove the dew claws, the dog has a higher risk of elbow dysplasia as well as joint and muscle issues. Read more of the importance of dew claws HERE. The picture to the right is taken from this article and shows how everything is connected.
D O G F O O D :
Goldendoodles are known for their teddy bear like coats. If you want your goldendoodle to have a beautiful coat, a good quality dog food is very important. We are big believers that dogs thrive best on a raw dog food diet. However, there is risk of bacteria transfer to humans (dogs aren't affected because they are equipped to fight off bacteria), so we understand that a raw dog food diet may not be for you. Read more about why we love raw diets HERE.
Our absolute favorite dog food that we've found keeps our dog's coats shiny and healthy, reduces allergies, keeps them going less, keeps their digestive system healthy, and lasts a long time is Life's Abundance. Our dogs don't need as much food with Life's Abundance like they do with other brands, so it tends to lasts longer. Life's Abundance has great sources of Omega 3 and Omega 6 in their food, and this is one of the best ingredients for a healthy, shiny coat and healthy skin. If you want to feed a different brand, we recommend supplementing with fish oil to avoid those dull coats and itchy skin. For more information on purchasing Life's Abundance dog food and fish oil supplements, click HERE. Fish oil supplements can also be purchased on Amazon.
NEW PUPPY PARENTS: We feed our current puppies the All Life Stages formula from Life's Abundance three times a day, usually 9am, 2pm, and 9pm. We will send you home with an 8lb bag of their food. If you want to continue with this food, you can:
click on the button below to go to Life's Abundance's website,
click on Products at the top,
click Dog Food,
choose your dog food and size,
click the "Save Money On Autoship" box if you'd like to get a discount and schedule automatic delivery, then add to your cart. You'll be prompted to create an account when you check out. If you get a 40lb bag of dog food, you should be able to schedule delivery for every 6 weeks without running out.
If you choose to feed your puppy another brand of dog food, we suggest doing so gradually by mixing some of the food from the 8lb bag that we'll give you on Puppy Pick-Up day with the new dog food that you choose. Increasing the new food portion size and decreasing the old food portion size each day will help your puppy not get an upset stomach.
G O - H O M E S U P P L I E S & O P T I O N A L R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S :
Your puppy will go home with the kennel they are used to staying in, a small bag of their current dog food, microchip and information on how to register it online, your purchase paperwork, veterinarian exam records, and their comfy bed. The kennel they will go home with will last them a few weeks, so you can wait to purchase a large one after they've grown out the first one. You can either increase their kennel size gradually by purchasing a medium size, then large, or you can purchase a large with a divider until they are crate trained without potty accidents. If a puppy that isn't crate trained has too much room in their crate, chances are they will potty in their crate.
Besides the grooming supplies listed in the above sections, we also recommend getting a Slopper Stopper bowl (Click HERE or on the picture below) once their beard is beginning to grow in. When their beard grows longer and they drink water, the water will drip all over your floor. A Slopper Stopper bowl helps cut down on the water drips by creating a vacuum suction in the center of the bowl, holding the water down while holding the fur up away from the water.
Your new puppy will be litter box trained when you bring him home. They will also be used to going "potty" outside as well. Some people like to forego the litter and focus solely on bringing their puppy outside to potty, others like to keep a litter tray next to the backdoor in case they can't get to their puppy in time to let him/her outside to potty. You can also use the litter tray at night for a few weeks in a playpen with their kennel (door left open) until they are old enough to hold their bladder all night (usually around 12 weeks). To order the litter tray that we use, click HERE or on the picture below. The litter pellets that we use are rabbit litter, and we purchase from tractor supply. to order online, click HERE or on the picture below. If you want to use the play pen set up at night with the kennel and litterbox, click HERE or on the picture below.
H I P D Y S P L A S I A :
As a big dog and a golden retriever mix, goldendoodles can suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia. This can be caused by environmental factors, as well as genetics. Researched shows that the greatest risk for hip dysplasia comes within the first 18 months of your puppy's life. There are simple things you can do to avoid this. When it comes to exercise, studies show that daily low impact exercise in the third month of life is a great way to reduce the risks of hip dysplasia by keeping the hip joints moving and muscles strong and healthy. Daily walks on leash or letting your puppy run free is one of the best ways to reduce hip dysplasia. High impact exercise, such as forced runs on leash, stairs, jumping and agility, should be avoided until the dog is at least 12 months as this has been known to cause hip dysplasia. For more information about the benefits of low impact exercise, read more HERE. Other ways to avoid hip dysplasia include making sure they don't gain too much weight too fast, as this puts pressure on their hips, and letting them sleep on a comfortable bed at night instead of a hard surface. Research also shows that getting your dog spayed or neutered before they are full grown also can cause hip or elbow dysplasia and other joint issues. Dogs need those hormones to help them finish growing efficiently. Spaying or neutering before they are full grown could cause your dog to have poor structure, which in turn can cause arthritis and hip and/or elbow dysplasia. There is a very small risk of cancerous mammary tumors for females if spayed after their first heat cycle (between 10 and 12 months), but the risk of other cancers and joint issues increases with spay and neutering before your dog is full grown. It's best to do research, talk to your vet, and go with your gut. If you spay before her first heat, your chance of cancerous mammary tumors is .5%. If you spay her after her first heat cycle, that chance goes up to 4%. However, this 4% is a small risk compared to the increased chances of a worse cancer or joint disease. We believe that the benefits of waiting to spay a female and neuter a male until they are full grown outweigh the risk of cancer, and many veterinarians will agree. If your vet does not agree, feel free to share this article HERE with them as some veterinarians do not keep up with recent research. HERE is another good article that is easy to understand.
P U P P Y D A Y S & T R A I N I N G T I P S :
Puppies are a lot of work. We do our best to prepare them for their new home with training and socialization, but at the end of the day they are still puppies, and how they end up will ultimately depend on YOU. Our parent dogs could be the most well behaved and easily trained dogs you've ever met, but they had to go through training to get there. On Puppy Pick-UP day, you may have chosen a calm puppy that is sitting on command already, but you bring him home to find out that his excitement took a little while to show through and he is no longer shy or calm, or that he forgets to sit in the presence of new people. Good temperament is important, and most people think that temperament at 8 weeks is the true temperament of a dog. In our experience, this is far from true. There is a study here that talks about temperament being an unreliable prediction at 8 weeks old in comparison to a full grown dog. Some dogs are naturally calm, and some dogs need to be shaped and trained to be calm (yes, being calm can ABSOLUTELY be taught as a behavior). Both are completely OK. Puppies are unpredictable, so if you are afraid of the normal puppy development stages and don't think you can get through them, we recommend looking for an older dog instead.
From birth to 12 weeks old, a puppy's brain is like a sponge. They learn quickly during this age. We HIGHLY RECOMMEND each person to take advantage of weeks 8 through 12 and continue the training and advice from Puppy Culture. This time is critical because bad habits can stick for life, or at least be hard to reverse later on. Since we teach them manding before they go home with you, they sit down to ask permission to be held or pet, or they will sit if they want a snack. However, we've seen the difference in our puppies once they go home and know which puppies continued with Puppy Culture and which ones did not. We work with them as much as we can while they are with us, but what they learn can be reversed if their new owners aren't careful with training (or lack of). We use a clicker (purchase HERE or click on the picture below) for training each puppy, and we'll show you how to use this before you bring your puppy home. They learn from us that when they hear the "click", they just did something good. Watching Puppy Culture's "The Powerful First 12 Weeks" and reading Jane Killion's book, "When Pigs Fly" will help each new owner prepare in the BEST way possible for their new puppy. Knowledge is power, and you'll learn how your dog sees things and how they learn, making training 100x easier. To purchase "The Powerful First 12 Weeks" and "When Pigs Fly", click on the icon below. McCann Dog Training videos on You Tube are also really great when you need to find solutions for specific problems. We also like ZenDog in Lafayette, Louisiana, for puppy training courses in person.
Here are some things to expect from your new puppy:
They will potty in your house. Puppies have very small bladders, and potty training takes time. Even when you think your puppy is finally trained, they will regress and seem to forget their training. Stay consistent, and know that you WILL have a puppy that is potty trained in time. We work with our puppies before they go home, but they are not able to fully be house trained until around 12 weeks. We bring our puppies outside often and use the word "potty" when going outside, and we use lots of praise. Usually, we have a few puppies going to the back door on their own to let me know they have to go outside before they go home with their new owners. We also litter box train them before they go home, so they have a place to go if I can't get to them in time. However, even with working on potty training before our puppies go home, they will still have accidents in their new homes. Our training gives them a foundation of learning, and it's up to you to continue their potty training. OUR TIPS: When you're home and awake with your new puppy, keep a litter box (supplies listed above) by the back door where you'll be letting your puppy outside to potty. This way, if you see the puppy walking to the litterbox, you know he has to go and you can easily open the back door and let him outside instead. Having a litterbox also helps them transition to a new environment with something familiar. It gives them a safe place to potty if you can't get to them in time, instead of having to clean pee from your rug. Let your puppy out every 20 to 30 minutes. If your puppy is taking a nap, no need to wake him, but make sure you bring him outside as soon as they wake up. Bringing them outside to potty AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE and praising them when they do is key to potty training. If you leave the house for work or to run errands, put the puppy in their kennel. They will hardly ever potty in their kennel, since its a natural instinct for dogs to keep their sleeping area clean. This will help them learn to hold their bladder longer. Please keep in mind that a puppy can only go about 4 hours without relieving himself until they are about 12 weeks old when they are able to hold it up to 8 hours. At night, we suggest keeping a set up similar to what they have when they're with us. a playpen with their kennel (door open), comfy bed in their kennel, and their litterbox. This will help them sleep comfortably through the night while also giving them a place to potty during the night if they have to. Once they are waking up with a dry litter box around 12 weeks, you'll know its time to upgrade to a larger kennel and close it's door at not, foregoing the litterbox. Some people choose to forego the litterbox altogether and strictly bring outside during the day and throughout the night, and this is OK too. The key is to be patient and understand that potty training can be difficult. If you prepare yourself beforehand and avoid setting your expectations too high, you'll get through it just fine!
They will cry at night. Puppies do great sleeping next to their littermates, but sleeping alone is an adjustment. Some puppies take WEEKS to finally be OK without their littermates. We recommend getting a snuggle puppy (linked above) to help them transition. Some puppies will transition to their new home with ease and hardly cry at night. Others will cry until your heart strings give out and you have to intervene. This is normal when raising a puppy, and its a necessary battle. Since puppies aren't full potty trained for a few weeks, they need a safe place to sleep to avoid sleeping in the bed with you. OUR TIPS: Put the puppy in a room across your house with a good noise machine. You can set him up in a playpen with his kennel (door open), comfy bed inside his kennel, and litterbox for middle of the night potty breaks. OR, you can put him straight in his kennel with the door closed and a good noise machine. You will most likely have to let him out to potty outside in the middle of the night if you don't use a litterbox. If you take the chance of hoping he will hold his bladder through the whole night, you are risking the puppy pottying in his kennel and getting used to doing so, which can be an uphill battle trying to fix. A lot of people will choose to let their puppy cry it out so they can get used to sleeping alone quickly. However, some people can't do this, and that's OK. Some of our owners have success with putting the puppy in a kennel or playpen next to their bed. If the puppy can see you, they sometimes sleep better. This way also lets you "shhhhh" your puppy and calm him down if his wakes up crying. On the other hand, some puppies can't sleep if they see their owners because they think that if they cry loudly enough, you'll acknowledge them. Our advice is to be patient, prepare yourself that it will be challenging, and just see how things go. Try one way, and if it doesn't work, try another. Once your puppy is potty trained, there is no harm in letting him sleep with you at night. We love having our big teddy bears sleep in the bed with us at night!
They will bite. Puppy teeth are SHARP! This part of puppyhood is completely inevitable. They will teeth, and biting will give them relief. Sometimes, even if they have plenty of chew toys and bones, they'll still bite you. This isn't out of anger or aggression, but more so done during play, petting, and even when they're tired. Since puppies don't have thumbs, sometimes biting is a way for them to feel close to you. Think of it as if they're holding your hand. They have to learn that its not an acceptable behavior, or else it could cause a lot of pain and resentment on your part. OUR TIPS: A lot of trainers will tell you to “re-direct”. When the puppy starts biting you, you’d just re-direct them to a treat or a toy. This is a great way to reward bad behavior, and you’d have to have a treat in hand or a toy at all times, so it’s not ideal. It does work well for some puppies, but I do find that this takes longer to train them. If your puppy is naturally really submissive and shy, re-directing works really well. However, puppies NEED structure and discipline in the beginning. If you watch them with their mom when they’re young, their mom will growl and sometimes put the puppy on it's back in a dominant way if the puppy bites her too hard. She teaches them that it's not acceptable behavior with her. If she were to start playing or do something that her puppies would see as a reward, they would never learn that it's an unacceptable behavior and continue to bite their mother hard. Also, a dog’s natural response is to please you. If you are giving them a treat when they bite you, they think they are pleasing you. But if you show them that an action didn’t please you, they want to stop that action. When they stop, show them that they pleased you then. This VIDEO shows a great way to teach a dog that biting you is unacceptable by teaching the dog the "settle" command to calm him, then rewarding when he's calm and not biting anymore. Using tone of voice is another one of our favorites. If the puppy is biting you, say "no!" with a slight growl in your voice until he stops biting. When he stops, praise him. This will teach him that he's being praised for responding appropriately to tone of voice (a necessary tool when raising a dog), and not being praised for biting. Let nature be your teacher here and follow their mama’s way. It’s not abuse in ANY way to teach your dog tone of voice, as they need discipline and consequences, just like a child needs discipline and consequences. However, if you go over board and begin hitting and yelling, you can create an overly submissive dog that will urinate anytime you talk to them and they’ll become a shy and fearful dog.
They will chew on everything. This is our least favorite thing about puppyhood. Chewing is completely natural and necessary for puppies while they are teething. Even when they are full grown, they love to chew on things as it's a great mental stimulation. OUR TIPS: Teach your dog tone of voice. If they chew on something they aren't supposed to, say "no!" with a firm tone. They will recognize that tone as negative and respond. When they do, praise them for responding with their actual dog toy or bone to chew instead. Sometimes you'll have to physically take things from their mouth while saying "no!", and sometimes they will drop the item on their own. If you choose the re-directing route, be prepared that this may backfire. Some people will give their puppy a bone or treat when they are chewing on something else to "re-direct" their attention. We've personally seen this create bad behavior. In our experience, the dog would grab something to chew up (in this case it was a dirty diaper), and refused to let it go until I gave her a bone or treat because her owner went with the redirecting route to train her. It became a game. When she wanted a treat, she'd grab a shoe, sock, or diaper and begin chewing. If I tried to get it from her, her grip would be firm. We also suggest investing in a handful of good quality indestructible toys when you bring home your puppy. If he has too many toys, it may confuse him while he's learning right from wrong. If he only has a few, and he happens to be chewing on things he's not supposed to, use tone of voice, take it away, and give him one of his few toys instead. This will help him learn quickly what is acceptable to chew on and what's not. As your puppy grows, he'll learn what dog toys look like and know that other items are off limits. Then, buying new toys is OK.
They will get excited. This seems obvious, I know. Puppies have lots of energy, so its expected. However, what some new owners don't expect is that sometimes puppies will pee if they get too excited, which makes the excitement even worse to handle. They have small, weak, bladders as puppies and it's hard for them to control it if they are too excited. Don't worry, they will outgrow this. We work on manding (sitting calmly if they want attention) before your puppy goes home, but sometimes they will forget to mand if they're too excited. Some of our puppies will greet their new owners at the door when they come on Puppy Pick-Up Day by manding, but when they go home and a few days pass, they have a visitor and lose their mind with excitement. This is normal, as they are constantly learning and developing. Try to remember that the foundation is already laid out for you, you just have to build upon it. OUR TIPS: If you know you're about to have visitors, bring your puppy potty before they arrive. Continue training with manding EVERYDAY. When you're home, walk out of the house for a few minutes, come back in, and completely ignore your puppy until he mands. If he won't mand because he's too excited, use the "sit" command to center him (we teach them this too before they go home with you). He'll remember his old ways. Continue manding training often with everything if your puppy tends to get too excited. Wait for him to mand before feeding, letting him outside to potty, and with treats. You will have to tell your guest to ignore the puppy if the puppy is jumping all over them out of excitement for this to work. Most people melt into a puddle from the cuteness so this can be difficult, but try to stay strong!!
S H O W S O M E L O V E :
Goldendoodles are very relational and eager to please. They are not a breed that should be left alone for long periods of time. If you aren't home often and work full time, a goldendoodle wouldn't be the best fit for you. They need to socialize and spend time with people and other dogs. Plus, with a dog that beautiful and wonderful, you'll want to show him/her off to everyone you know and spend as much time with them as possible!