Goldendoodles are a crossbreed between golden retrievers and either standard or miniature poodles, and their curly fur, cuddly demeanor and cleverness make them a popular pet. If you’d like to welcome one of these adorable dogs into your own family, you’ll need to understand the specialized needs of golden retrievers and poodles alike. Here, we’ll cover the fundamentals of how to take care of a goldendoodle.
The Basics of Goldendoodles
Goldendoodles are a designer dog breed dating back to the 60s, originally meant to be guide dogs. They stand around one to two feet tall and can weigh anywhere from 45 to 100 pounds as adults. They have shaggy, usually curly coats that don’t shed much or produce a lot of dander — a hypoallergenic quality for which you can thank their poodle ancestry.
The Story of Goldendoodles
The hybrid goldendoodle dates to 1969 and became more popular among breeders in the 90s. They were conceived after the first success with crossing poodles with Labrador retrievers to create labradoodles. The popularity of golden retrievers made them the next logical choice for founding a major hybrid breed.
Separately, the qualities that both halves of the goldendoodle pedigree bring to the table are clear. Poodles are recognized as among the top five most intelligent breeds, and golden retrievers were the first three dogs to win Obedience Champion titles from the American Kennel Club. It’s no surprise they’ve established a reputation for being smart, sociable and easy to train.
The Goldendoodle Personality
Generally, goldendoodles are known as smart, friendly pets that are adventurous, outgoing and great with children. Their personalities are less predictable than non-hybrid breeds, but overall they’re known for being social. They enjoy meeting and playing with people and other dogs.
They tend to have a keen and observant side to their personality, mixed with a bit of playful mischief. The right training can make a goldendoodle into a loyal and obedient family dog. They can also be excellent working dogs and have the potential for training as therapy, guide, search and rescue and diabetic alert dogs.
Goldendoodles’ agility and energy make them best suited for an active lifestyle with regular exercise, and they thrive when they’re given tasks that engage their minds. It’s good to note that if you’re on the lookout for a guard dog or watchdog, they’re likely to be bored by these tasks. On the other hand, not being bred for guard duty also means their barking generally doesn’t get out of hand.
How Your Goldendoodle Becomes a Happy Family Member
When thinking about how to take care of a goldendoodle, the keys lie in engaging their minds, socializing them, keeping them groomed and making sure they get professional obedience training. With these bases covered and a healthy environment, diet and lifestyle, your goldendoodle can become an ideal companion dog for your family.
Training Your Goldendoodle
It’s always a good idea to invest in professional training for your goldendoodle, and you can get pretrained puppies that understand basic commands, have been housebroken and are socialized to be comfortable around people and animals. Goldendoodles are generally affable and easy to train, but it’s important to reinforce their training from early on.
When you’re working with them at home, remember they’re a fun-loving breed that responds well to a positive reinforcement approach. They blossom when training is fun and rewarding and involves praise, toys and treats. Keep the rules and schedule consistent and they’ll learn quickly.
Give them lots of opportunities to learn and explore. They’re social by nature, but practice and experience go a long way toward bringing out their best qualities. They also need to be engaged and challenged mentally, with daily walks, plenty of chances to run around and play and lots of interaction and attention. A bored goldendoodle can get tempted to misbehave.
Goldendoodles are known for being patient and affectionate with children. That said, your kids should be taught the right way to interact with them to avoid things like ear-pulling and not to surprise them when they’re eating or asleep, which is when incidents are likeliest to happen.
If you have an untrained pup, enroll it in a training course. Professional training will limit housebreaking accidents, ensure it’s able to hold for hours between potty breaks, prevent biting and jumping up on people and make it easy to walk or drive with it without worries.
Feeding Your Goldendoodle
The benefits of a structured schedule for goldendoodles extend to feeding. When they have meals on a set schedule, you’ll avoid any digestive issues and be able to monitor how much they eat and whether they’re at a healthy weight. They should have a visible waist when you look at them from above and you should be able to feel their ribs but not see them.
Doodle puppies should generally eat three or four times a day. At six months you can put them on an adult feeding schedule of two times a day, about 15 to 20 minutes at a time. It’s important to make sure you give them enough food to satisfy them but don’t overfeed them; adult dogs should have one to four cups of food a day, depending on their size.
It’s good to feed them raw, natural food, but if you need to go with bagged kibble, make sure their dog food features healthy meat as the main ingredient. Food with too much processing or that involves grains, chemical additives or artificial flavoring is best avoided. Between-meal treats should be kept to a minimum, since they can cause stomach upset.
Grooming Your Goldendoodle
Another routine you should reinforce with them from an early age is grooming. Grooming should be a fun and satisfying experience, not something they’re nervous about. You should get them used to contact with their ears, paws, tail and mouth from early on so they don’t become sensitive.
Goldendoodle coats can vary from straight to wavy or outright curly, and the grooming needs of each are different. Straight or wavy coats can be brushed once or twice a week, but if your dog’s coat is curly, it’ll need daily brushing. You can opt to keep their fur short, but even then you should still brush them once every couple of weeks.
Goldendoodles produce natural oils that keep their coats healthy and shiny, but they’ll still need bathing every three to four weeks. During bath time, you can clean the inside of their ears with cotton balls or baby wipes; use a different wipe for each ear, and make sure you don’t stick anything into their ear canals.
Dental care is also important. They should get their teeth brushed once or twice a week to prevent tartar buildup and cavities. With pups, you can introduce the toothbrush as a game at first and get toothpaste involved once they’re used to it.
Finally, it’s best to trim their nails a couple of times a month — their nails shouldn’t be long enough that you can hear them clicking against hard surfaces. Be careful not to trim them too short, which can accidentally aggravate them or even cause bleeding. If you’re not confident about this part of grooming, contact a professional groomer or get your dog’s professional trainer to recommend one.
Goldendoodle Health Problems
Healthy dogs are happy dogs, and keeping an eye out for health problems is important. Grooming is a good time to check your dog for rashes or signs of infection. Keep up with their vaccinations and consult with a vet regularly to check on their health.
Common health problems for goldendoodles include:
- Ear infections
- Joint and hip problems such as hip dysplasia
- Eye deterioration
More serious medical conditions can include Von Willebrand’s disease (which affects the ability of blood to clot) and thyroid gland disorders. Larger goldendoodles can also be at risk of “bloat” — also called gastric dilatation-volvulus — a life-threatening gastric disorder that needs medical attention right away, so it’s important to be alert for symptoms.
Living With Your Goldendoodle
Goldendoodles will generally enjoy playing in a fenced yard or park setting and should get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. Don’t keep them outside all day, however. They’re a social breed and will want to spend time indoors with the family.
They’ll want to be close to you at night, and you can crate them in your bedroom with a blanket or towel to cuddle. It’s great for puppies if this is something that has their mother and littermates’ scents on it.
One useful trick is to train your goldendoodle to ring a bell when it needs to go outside. Early in its training, you can string a bell to the door at nose level and help the pup ring it before taking it for a potty break. It’ll learn to ring it on its own to signal you.
Find Your Next Family Companion at Pride and Prejudoodles
Bright and friendly, energetic and eager to please, goldendoodles are a much-beloved crossbreed that can be a welcome addition to many homes. At Pride and Prejudoodles, we believe even a household that’s too busy to cope with training a newborn pup should still have a chance to join the community of goldendoodle owners and get to know one of these wonderful dogs.
That’s why we offer trained goldendoodle puppies to take the heavy lifting off your plate and make it easy to bring your new dog into the family fold. It could be we have the perfect pup for your family right now. Contact us today and learn more about our goldendoodles and our training programs.