Acquired: Other (stray, given dog by friend etc.)
Missouri, United States
Posted October 5, 2015
Scooby, my Phantom Goodlendoodle, was given to me by my sister, who is a dog groomer, when she was 4 months old. Her previous owner was a rich women who was a client of my sister's. The women apparently bought her from a breeder, expecting her to only get as large as her late Maltese. At 4 months, Scooby was already 2 1/2', and weighing over 45 lbs!
At the time, I had recently moved into my grandparents house. They were both hitting age 90, and needed lots of assistance with day to day life. I wanted to get a dog that I new would train well, and be empathetic to the elderly (shaking hands petting in awkward places, such as the face, adaptable to wheel chairs, not being spooked by other medical transportation equipment ect.).
Shortly after bringing her home, I noticed she responded incredibly well to my body language, and quickly learned commands via positive reinforcement. This realization was very impressive, as she was still very young. She instantly took to crate training, and was responsive to all training methods. She was great with the elderly, and respectful to my new kitten. To be completely honest, after 3 months, I ran out of things to teach her. She learned the basic commands by heart in around 1 week. And after that I started teaching her the fancier tricks, like ringing bells, jumping through hoops, and playing dead when I held up a fake gun and said "Bang!". After that, I noticed she almost seemed bored during our training sessions. I had to start getting really creative, setting up make-shift agility courses in the backyard for her. She took to them after only simple instruction, and absolutely loved them.
The woman who didn't want her complained that she absolutely could not be house broken. I was very surprised when I heard this quoted back to me from my sister, as Scooby never went inside the house. I would take her outside twice a day, and she quickly became accustomed to that schedule.
From what I personally gather from my experience with my Goldendoodle (And from some experience with a relative's Goldendoodle), I've come to the consensus that this breed is perfect for dog beginners, who want a child-like companion who is always eager to please. Just like with all dogs, consistency is a must. The entire family needs to understand how to communicate with the dog, especially when there's very young children or elderly in the home, as this breed does like to "rear up" when excited, and this breed is very excitable. I would personally not recommend attempting to train this behavior out of your Goldendoodle, as that gesture is a natural tendency for the breed's mix. Instead, give your Goldendoodle a command for rearing up, and then a command for coming back down. Once that's been established, communicate with the entire family, and make sure everyone knows exactly how to tell the dog to stop from potentially knocking them over.
This breed is very clean. I only need to bathe mine around every 2 weeks or so. Professional grooming will depend on your individual Goldendoodle, as they are a Designer Breed, meaning coats are always inconsistent in texture. You may adopt one that turns out to have a coat that gets dirty or matted or easily than normal, so that would result in needing more trips to a professional groomer. I only take mine to the groomer around every 6 months, and I hear that's fairly normal for this breed. Frequent brushing is a must however, just how frequent depends again on your individual dog's coat texture.
The Goldendoodle is a Designer Breed, meaning it's an intended mix of two purebred dogs. Assuming you get a 1st generation Goldendoodle, you'll have a very healthy dog on your hands! They rarely get sick, however Hip Dysplasia is a common problem for all large breeds. One way you can prevent this, is lots of exercise and training that takes advantage of the Goldendoodle's natural love of jumping.
Which brings me to the subject of children. The Goldendoodle was originally bred to be a service dog for children with disabilities. This breed is extremely empathetic, especially to children! The Goldendoodle is the perfect dog for older children, as it's temperament mimics that of a happy child. However, as with every dog, with proper training is a must. I would not recommend adopting a Goldendoodle if you have very young children, as this dog can get up to 80lbs and when excited can potentially knock an infant over. Also, always keep your Goldendoodle on a leash if you suspect they may knock over an elderly person.
The Goldendoodle does fantastic in all situations. They are very adaptable, intelligent, and patent dogs. They very quickly! In fact, and you may find yourself starting to spell out words like "Walk" or "Treat" because your dog has learned what the words mean. They are extremely flexible, and accompanied by a good owner, will understand how to behave in any situation. However I would not recommend letting them walk with you off leash! Goldendoodles are a mix between a Standard Poodle, and a Golden Retriever: The Retriever genes give the Goldendoodle the potential to run off after wild life, regardless of how much training you put into them. A side note about this behavior: This behavior does not necessarily mean your Goldendoodle is misbehaving, as Retrievers were bred to hunt prey. Your dog may click into this behavior thinking it's doing something nice for you.
Exercise will greatly benefit this breed. However, they only need a moderate amount, 1 walk a day around the block and back, plus a 15 minute training or play session at least 3 times a week, will be fine for a Goldendoodle. However be careful on hot days, especially if you have a Goldendoodle with a Phantom coloration. If it's to hot for you, maybe just do a nice 15-30 minute training session in doors that day.
This breed will do fine in an apartment or small space, as long as they get at least as much exercise as mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Walking with a Goldendoodle is a delight, however start walking with them early. This breed loves to bolt forward, pulling at the leash. I strongly recommend a Front-Leader Martingale Harness. A medium size will be fine for most Goldendoodles. You can buy them at most pet stores for around $25-$30, and they make a world of difference in training walking manors into your Goldendoodle.
The most common, and probably one of the only medical problems Goldendoodles face, are ear infections. Keep those floppy ears clean! Be sure to always clean their ears after baths, or any time they get wet, and you should be yeast free!
As mentioned, Goldendoodles are very flexible. They do great with other animals, however always introduce new cats to the family slowly. I would also not recommend keeping Goldendoodles in the same room with a cage full of small rodents.
Goldendoodles get big, so crate training really benefits a house full of breakable objects. They take to crate training very well, just always be consistent, and don't use the crate as a punishment.
Goldendoodles do not make good guard dogs. They will bark if they see a stranger in the house, but once they get up close to the stranger, that stranger will be mauled by a happy, licking, jumping ball of fur.
Last thing! Goldendoodles absolutely adore slow chews. Every Goldendoodle I've seen loves to chew. Give these happy, strong chewers a thick Deer Antler, a frozen Kong, a Bully Stick, A Himalayan Yak-Chew, a daily C.E.T or Whimzee, or even an occasional cardboard box (watch to make sure the dog is only chewing the bits, not eating the cardboard), and they will reward you with wonderful behavior and temperament! Also, lots of durable toys will benefit their curious, intelligent nature.
Ultimately, in my opinion, Goldendoodles are perfect dogs with wonderful personalities. Treat them well, train consistent and early, and be a responsible owner, and they will reward you with years of wonderful companionship, good behavior, and hilarious antics!