So you’re wondering if you should get a labradoodle? I’ve decided to write this guide about some things you should consider before getting a labradoodle.
Before You Get a Dog
Getting a dog should be planned accordingly if both you and the dog are going to end up satisfied.
There is a lot of joy and excitement in getting a dog, but there is also a considerable amount of work involved with it, grooming, training and so forth. So it’s important to be quite clear on what is actually required in owning a labradoodle.
You have to consider what you can give to the dog, and not just the other way around. What size you want it to be to best fit into your family. There is a lot of responsibility, and you have to consider that with hopefully a bit of luck, a labradoodle could live 10-15 years.
And they won’t be an adorable little puppy for all those years.
Far too many dogs pay the price of humans impulse purchasing them. The lucky ones end up at new families or shelters. The less fortunate end up spending the rest of their lives in homes where they are miserable, or even euthanized.
Therefore always ask yourself if you can truly give a labradoodle/dog a great life and if a labradoodle is the right type for you. If the answer is yes, then you have to think about what size and sex you want the dog to have.
So here is some general advice to consider before getting a labradoodle.
Know Your Limitations
Everybody is somewhat optimistic when it comes to judging their own abilities. Think about all the plans for saving money, going on a diet and so forth.
When assessing the amount of time and energy you plan on spending with the dog, subtract 20% for a more precise estimate.
If this is your first dog, try speaking personally with other labradoodle owners.
Consider these points:
Do You Have the Time?
No matter which type of race, every dog need attention to thrive. Dogs are descendants of wolves, which are pack animals, and by working together, they are capable of taking down prey many times their size.
The wolves in a pack depend on each other, and strong bonds are formed between them.
Dogs also have a tendency to bond with the members of the pack it is a part of – our family.
A dog shouldn’t be left alone for more than 5 hours a day. A Labradoodle also needs daily exercise and training to be really satisfied. This is very important for a labradoodle, and if you can’t do that, a labradoodle probably isn’t the right choice for you.
Other than that you also need to groom it daily.
A rule of thumb is to spend about 1-1½ hours daily doing these things with your labradoodle – besides the time you spend doing other things with it (regular playing/goofing around and so forth).
A labradoodle has to feel like a full member of the family to fully thrive. It’s not fit to spend an entire day in an enclosure.
Do You Have the Mental Energy?
A Labradoodle doesn’t what to expect from you, you’ll have to teach it! You have to be prepared to spend quite a bit of time educating it with positive reinforcement, and training the dog, perhaps together with other dogs.
You can start with puppy socialization, and later on perhaps obedience and agility training, or some other form of mental or physical exercise.
Even if you’re experienced with dogs, joining a dog training class could be a good idea, especially if it’s a puppy you decided to adopt.
At a puppy training class, both you and the dog will learn to cooperate on some fundamental basic obedience exercises. And the puppy will also learn to be around other dogs and unknown people.
Will a Dog Fit Into Your Daily Life?
A Labradoodle prefers to have a somewhat reliable daily life. Moving around a lot, long work hours, excessive traveling, are all things that could stress your dog. And if you have children, it’s important that you teach them to be around the dog and to let it have a time-out once in a while. And when the dog is in its bed, that is time for some peace and quiet for it.
Which takes us to this next part.
Kids and Labradoodles
One of the more common reasons why people decide to get a dog is because of the kids in the family. Kids will beg and beg to get a dog, with promises that they will always take care of it. But suddenly the puppy isn’t so new and interesting anymore, and all the work ends up with the parents.
Taking responsibility for a dog is something kids have to learn under adult supervision. Don’t expect a child to be held accountable for any animal, nor a dog. The decision to get a dog, how to groom and generally care for it is only the adult’s responsibility.
It can generally be very rewarding for children to grow up around dogs, as it teaches them to be around another living being, and how to treat them with love and respect.
If you let a Labradoodle into your life, it’s important to teach both the kids and dog that there are some ground rules they have to follow. If there is a good set of rules for how to be around the dog, there is a much higher possibility that the outcome is positive.
The set of rules has to be decided upon before bringing home a dog.
If you read most books about dogs, they will probably all say that a specific breed is “child-friendly”. Most types of dogs are “child-friendly” as long as they have good experiences with kids from they are puppies.
For a dog to feel happy and safe around kids and adults, its important to lead it in a good direction, and lots of socialization from a young age.
But do remember to never let small children and dogs be together without supervision.
How do You Live?
If you live in an apartment, it’s important to remember that the dog has to be walked several times a day, no matter the weather. Partly because it has to relieve itself, but also because it needs exercise and mental stimulation.
Or you might be living in a house, where you can just release it into the garden when it has to go. But even then it’s important to go for a walk 1-2 hours each day.
The amount of exercise a dog can get by walking around in a garden by itself is usually limited. Unless you have lots of space. Besides, it will quickly be familiar with all the sounds and smells in its own garden.
Dogs need new experiences. And it can only get that if it goes places it hasn’t been a hundred times before. For a dog, that’s like reading a newspaper.
All dogs respond to sensory input and sounds, but some races more so than others. If you live in a residential area, you should take this into consideration when choosing a breed, so the dog doesn’t become a nuisance to your neighbors.
You can teach a dog to be silent on command, but that is quite difficult, and it doesn’t make a difference if the dog just barks whenever it is alone.
Under no circumstance should you scream and shout if the dog starts barking, as this only makes it worse.
Lots of apartments don’t allow dogs or any pet for that matter, so make sure that you’ve cleared that with the landlord before getting a dog.
Can You Afford It?
Having a dog ain’t cheap. And this is not just only regarding the actual purchase of the dog.
The cost to acquire a dog is surprisingly small compared to what it will cost you the next 10-15 years.
You have to take into consideration the expenses used on food, equipment, vaccinations, training, flea and bug prevention, unexpected visits to the vet, grooming, insurances and so forth.
So if you think that the price for the puppy is a deterrent, you need to really consider if getting a dog is something you can afford.
Always get insurance for canine distemper.
One or two dogs
It’s a common misconception that getting two dogs will help both of them adjust by being each other’s company.
The home-alone issues a dog might face is usually because of the dogs’ dependency on the persons in a family, so getting another dog won’t help.
The dog, or dogs, need to gradually be introduced to being alone, or you will end up with one or both of the dogs causing problems when left alone.
Choosing the Right Dog
If you’ve decided to get a Labradoodle, the next things to consider are what sex and what size to get.
A Big or a Small Dog?
More and more people chose a small dog instead of a big one. Small dogs don’t necessarily mean fewer problems with their behavior than a large dog. And you should be aware that a small dog has just as much need for education as a large one.
By nature of its size alone, a large dog might be harder to handle than a small. And the expenses regarding food of course also follow the size of the dog.
The size of the dog should also be somewhat reliant on your living situation.
If you live in an apartment and have to walk up and down the stairs several times a day, choosing a large labradoodle won’t be optimal.
It’s quite taxing on a large dog’s muscles and bones to walk on stairs before it’s fully developed. And you have to carry it up and down, isn’t exactly an ideal situation.
And if your mode of transportation is mostly by bus, bike or train, choosing a small labradoodle would probably be better, as they are usually more like to be allowed on public transport.
Male or Female?
In most breeds, there’s a visual difference between the sexes. The male dog is usually larger and stronger than the female. Generally speaking, the male dog can act more aggressively than its female counterpart, and they have a larger tendency to want to “dominate” its owner if it is possible.
The female dog is also capable of displaying aggressiveness. Especially towards other female dogs. Females also tend to display more nervousness than males.
Both aggression and nervousness can usually be sorted out if taken proper care of. Also, be aware that females will be in heat twice a year. Each time it will usually last around 3 weeks.
Male and female dogs can all achieve pretty much the same results from training.
If your number 1 desire is to get a real snuggle bug, choosing a male dog and have it neutered when it reaches the age of around 8 months.
Dogs From a Kennel
There is a world of difference between the size and type of kennels from which you can get a dog.
Some have 20 or 30 puppies which should be illegal. These are referred to as puppy factories.
Other are small family kennels with perhaps 1-3 dogs, where the dogs are usually raised with love and affection from the beginning.
Some dogs also come with a pedigree. If a seller tries to tell you that you can’t get a pedigree labradoodle because they are a crossbreed, they are lying or just don’t know what they are talking about.
If a Labrador is bred with a Poodle stud, first-generation Labradoodles are born. And if the labrador and poodle are purebred, the Labradoodles pedigree will be produced by combining the mother and fathers pedigree.
Having a pedigree isn’t proof of warranty, but it will give some insight into the background of the dog. It might show if they have been tested for certain inherited diseases or other general health issues.
Even though most breeders are serious and try to breed healthy and perfect puppies, there is a big difference in the quality of breeders. Getting a puppy from a kennel, therefore, isn’t a warranty that the puppy actually is healthy and perfect.
Always try to visit several different breeders when buying a puppy.
Also only buy a puppy from a breeder where the puppies are actually living with the family, and not stuck outside or in a barn somewhere.
Labradoodles are also excellent hunting dogs, as it in some way is an ancestor of a Labrador that was bred as a retriever dog.
Actually, the poodle was originally also a retriever, mainly for duck hunting.
Hunting Dogs and Retrievers
Labradors and golden retrievers, Cocker and English springer spaniels, the poodle, and so on, are all robust dogs, bred to localize downed prey, usually birds, and then bring it back to the owner.
Besides being popular hunting dogs, both the poodle and a retriever are also popular family dogs.
They are well-adapted to this role, as they are usually friendly, sociable and easy to train dogs. But remember to respect the dogs’ needs for daily use of their noses, and challenge them by having them find and carry items.
If you mainly want to use the labradoodle as a family pet, consider perhaps joining classes where you can train retrieving and tracking with it.
Now You’re Ready For a Puppy
If you’ve decided to get a puppy, you should, as mentioned earlier, visit several different breeders, partly to see what conditions the dogs are living under. And partly to make sure that the labradoodle is up to your expectations.
If this is your first dog, also consider bringing somebody who’s used to being around dogs. They might have some experience in how a well-socialized dog is supposed to behave.
The puppy should have daily contact with
A dog has to socialize with both women and men, kids big and small. The more people they have been in contact with, the better. Different types of dogs, and even other animals also.
The first few weeks and months of a puppy’s life, as equally as important as the first few years of your own child’s life.
When first visiting a breeder, ask to see the mother of the puppy you are interested in. If they won’t allow that or let you see under which conditions the puppy is usually living under, leave and find another breeder.
If the puppy isn’t the last of the litter, try to see if you can watch the puppies together, how they react to each other.
In general, follow your gut. If something feels off, find another breeder until you meet one where you are sure the dogs have been treated with love and respect
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