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Is our lifestyle appropriate for a golden doodle?
December 28, 2008 9:59 PM   Subscribe

Is our lifestyle appropriate for a golden doodle? We'd like to get a golden doodle puppy, but we need to make sure that we can give apuppy/young dog enough exercise.

We both work full-time, so our current plan is as follows: 3 x a week I will take the puppy to work with me (yes, I'm lucky enough to work at a place that allows you to bring a dog and many people do) the other 2 week days my wife will bring the puppy to doggy day care. The puppy will receive the following walks (15 mins in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch, 30 minutes in the evening, and 15 minutes at bed). My wife may take the puppy running with her when it's able. Is this sufficient exercise? I've seen different things on the internet claiming that a golden doodle will need up to 2 hours a day. We have a large house with a backyard so I'm pretty sure we have enough space. We will take the dog to obedience/agility class at least once a week and will be able to bring the dog to the park on the weekends. This seems like a question that could be answered with googling, but the information out there is inconsistent. Thanks for all your help.
posted by jewzilla to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Information is likely inconsistent because golden doodles are just mutts, not an actual breed of dog.
posted by chiababe at 10:13 PM on December 28, 2008


If you're going to do all you say you're going to do, that golden doodle will have a 'golden' life. Puppy on!
posted by matty at 10:13 PM on December 28, 2008


I take my dog to work. I'm not familiar with this breed, so I can't comment on your full plan here. However, I wanted to point out that taking a puppy to the office isn't something you can assume will work. I have my own office with a door that I can close and lock. Even so, it wouldn't be practical to have any old dog in the office. You need to have a dog whose temperament (not just the breed's temperament) is suited to hanging out more or less quietly and not overly-actively.

I have a friend who got a puppy with the intent of taking her to the office and now has her in doggy daycare 5 days a week (think $400 or so a month) because the dog is too active to allow her to get any work done (also in her own office with a close-able door.

If I were you I would rescue an older dog (say 2 or so). The advantage here is that the dog is past it's puppy activity stage and there is someone (the foster parent or shelter) who has a pretty good idea what the dogs are like and can match you with a dog who will fit into your life and your plan.

I adopted my dog via petfinder.org. When I contacted a rescue organization about a dog I told them specifically what my plan was and that I needed a dog that would meet certain criteria, including being suitable for the office and not barking because I live in an apartment building where barking would not be welcome. I told them I would love to have a beagle, but that I understood that beagles bark a lot and thus it probably wouldn't be right for me. Well, they had a beagle who doesn't bark. He's a mellow guy, likes to play when it's time to play and sleep under the desk when it's time to work. As a bonus, he's one of the three best dogs in the whole world.

That's the nice thing about rescuing and older dog. Explain to them what you need in a dog and it will already be clear which dog will fit your needs. With a puppy you can never be sure what kind of dog any individual puppy will grow into.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:15 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Your lifestyle seems fine, and your plans for appropriate and near constant company and supervision for your dog seem great. However, while your walking schedule is fine (perhaps long for a young pup and one you'll grow into), this is not an exercise schedule, nor is it a toileting schedule for a puppy.

Puppies have, like infants, an extremely poor sense of when they need to go. And, like infants, they sleep a lot. You need to take the dog out to toilet after every nap, when they get excited, after playing, and after every meal or drink. This is, realistically, about once an hour. The dog also needs to go out last thing before bed and immediately on waking - and by immediately, I mean in your PJs before you've brushed your teeth.

That's because house training is about forming a good habit. You need the dog to form the habit of peeing and pooping out doors, and never indoors. Therefore you need to place them there whenever they may need to go. This is frequently.

When your dog is older and needs more exercise, your schedule may not be active enough. There's an old adage that a tired dog is a good dog, and it's true.

Having said all of that, I would encourage you to look at penguin's post again and perhaps reconsider getting a slightly older dog who's temperament is known and who will fit into the plans you have. You can skip the 20 pee breaks a day, and a slightly older dog may require less exercise and be more content to sleep the work day away.

I am a dog lover, and I will never, ever raise a puppy again. (If I'm investing that kind of time into a small creature, it better be one who will grow up to support me in my old age.) Our four year old boxer rescue was a perfect match, a perfectly behaved office companion, and a big sleepy sop who really revs up when we get to the park. No dog is more loved or more loyal - you do not need to bond in puppyhood to have the perfect companion, I promise.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


It sounds wonderful! I would also think about playing ball with it in the mornings before work, so the dog will be a bit tired and much better behaved at work with you. A tired dog is a well behaved dog. Also, since it is a mix of two breeds, I imagine you could wind up with one with more poodle traits or more golden traits, so look up both breeds and make sure you are happy with both.

On preview, I love If only...'s input and recommend it!
posted by Vaike at 10:22 PM on December 28, 2008


The answer you got from google was inconsistent because there is no defined breed standard for a "goldendoodle," and you won't find any standard breeding controls for this "breed" because the only ones turning them out by and large are puppy mills that won't produce any consistency whatsoever and will make other mistakes in your future family member's critical first eight to twelve weeks. There's other things you should look for from a breeder, including certifications that the mother and father have been screened for common defects, and these things can all be faked to a novice but are plain as day to an experienced dog owner.

Puppies are cute, but are you prepared to deal with one for it's first few weeks? They need constant attention in order to be housetrained (not houseBROKEN) properly, they need vaccines at puppyhood and then again typically at four months (and risk contracting deadly diseases like parvovirus if they're in an unsafe outdoors area before then) and ten months and one year of the initial rabies vaccination. If you haven't done any research into what having a young puppy in the house entails and exactly how a good breeder treats their puppies, you should probably go check some books out of the library and read up on canine puppies in general before you even think of picking a breed or size.

Frankly, and I say this as a single guy with two active 2-year-old dogs who is an active member of kennel clubs and rescue foundations, puppies are a royal freaking pain in the arse and I hope never to have to deal with another puppy under the age of a year again ever. The cute does not even BEGIN to make up for the "OMG IF THIS LITTLE RAT SIZED FURBALL CHEWS ON MY TOWELS ONE MORE TIME..."

For your first dog -- if you want a dog, get a dog. All of the things that you're looking for can be found in dogs (jogging partner, able to be taken to work, can get some but not require much exercise, etc.) in general. If you want a curly shaggy soft golden coat, there's rescues all over the place that can meet your desire. As a bonus, the dog's personality is usually already well-understood by a rescue (especially one that involves foster families) and you can get the look and size of dog you want along with the personality and needs that will fit your life.

This is kind of a rant, and I apologize for that, so if you have more questions you can feel free to mefi-mail, email, or post over at dogforums.com and I can help you in whichever way you need. Leaving "goldendoodle" out of it for a moment, a friend of mine made an excellent blog post three months ago about whether or not she was ready to bring a dog into her life, and ended up adopting a female beagle the week before Christmas.
posted by SpecialK at 10:32 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Seconding the rescue advice. At least then you know what kind of dog you're getting. Also, not all dogs are like this, but some are perfectly content to be left at home or in the backyard (weather permitting) while you work. No daycare needed.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:50 PM on December 28, 2008


I don't think that 15 minute walks are near enough. I walk our 3 year old dog for an hour before work every day and most of that hour is spent at the dog park, romping. Then she gets walked for 30-60 minutes in the evening, plus a few times a week she goes to the beach to run until she can't run anymore. And she's a fairly low energy dog as dogs go. A larger breed puppy, especially from 6 months to 2 years, does need hours of exercise every day. And a lot of that exercise needs to be running like a fool. It's also really important for them to spend a lot of time playing and generally socializing. If it can play with other dogs a lot great, otherwise you need to be prepared to interact a lot with your dog, not just a walk on the leash. This not only socializes the dog but it keeps it from coming up with ways to entertain itself that involve your furniture and shoes. A tired dog is a good dog!

An older dog would do a lot better with that schedule or a less active breed and might be a good intro to dog ownership. Also if you have an older dog and then get a puppy the older dog will do a lot of the training for you, which is handy.
posted by fshgrl at 11:03 PM on December 28, 2008


btw, a dog that would probably do really well with that level of exercise is a retired greyhound. They are amazingly low key, like big plush toys and do great with hanging out places like offices.
posted by fshgrl at 11:08 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, seconding fshgrl on the 15 minute duration being less than ideal for many dogs. If that is all my 3 year old dog gets (eg during a really rainy season), he will act out that energy in some other less appropriate manner. If your 15 minute slots go to 20 minutes and your 30 minute slot to 45, with some off-leash time in that mix, plus weekend romps, you'll probably all be happier.
posted by judith at 11:25 PM on December 28, 2008


My grandparents have a GoldenDoodle and while he is totally adorable, he is so hyper! He is about 18 months now and still jumps all over the place. I can't imagine him sitting in an office all day...every time someone walked by he would get too excited.
posted by radioamy at 11:47 PM on December 28, 2008


Really active dogs need off-leash time every day (in my opinion, all dogs need off-leash time). It's sort of the difference between walking and running for half an hour -- one is a lot more intense. So you might want to look into where these walks can take place where the dog can go a little nuts--or if it's in your backyard, throw the ball around or whatever. It takes a lot to wear them out. And, I'm sure you've thought hard about this, but the commitment that I had made when I got my dog became glaringly apparent my first winter with her. Take a little time to imagine the schedule you're describing every day for the next fifteen or so years.

I love my dog, and I love having her and I never regret the commitment, but when you're walking around in the woods in the rain, soaked, cold, and late for work, you get a deep sense of what 'commitment' means.

That said, it sounds like your dog is going to have a really good deal and it says good things that you've thought this through so well. I'm really just putting this out there.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:02 AM on December 29, 2008


Like A Terrible Llama, I appreciate that you've put thought into this before rushing out to buy the puppy.

But why not find a breed that suits your lifestyle or just adopt a dog that needs a happy home, rather than stressing about if your lifestyle will suit the breed that you've decided you want?

Adopt a mongrel, see how that goes for a year or two, and then you can spend a fortune on a golden doodle when you are sure it will fit in with your life or you can cope with the upheaval of an unpredictable pup.

(Is this the part where I say 'don't buy it from a pet shop'? No, I'm not a PETA nut, but having been on the wrong end of a 'gift' that was not the intended Labrador at all, it grew into a Great Dane very quickly, I think I'm qualified to say 'ensure you get the right dog, from the right source'.)
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:37 AM on December 29, 2008


I spent Christmas with a golden doodle. He is adorable, loving, loyal, and very, very hyper.

They are not mutts, BTW, they are cross-breeds.
posted by jgirl at 5:15 AM on December 29, 2008


If you are absolutely dead-set on getting a dog that will be able to go to the office with you immediately, I would get a (specifically selected) adult dog. HOWEVER, if you want a puppy, get a puppy with the knowledge that everything might not go exactly as planned...and make sure you are ok with that.

Now for advice on golden doodles. Go find some to interact with. I always was intrigued by this particular mixed breed, but after meeting a few in obedience classes or at the dog park, I am less enthused. Most that I have met are unmanageably energetic...nice, but hyper. I imagine like every type of dog, some are not this way, but the 30 or so that I have met were pretty high-strung. Go find some, interact with them and see what you think.

You will be great dog owners, and I think you have a more realistic vision of the commitment required than most. Good luck finding the perfect pet!
posted by mjcon at 7:27 AM on December 29, 2008


We have a large house with a backyard so I'm pretty sure we have enough space.

Is the backyard securely fenced? I think this makes a huge difference, though it depends on the dog, too. We've had dogs who were incredibly happy to hang out out back alone doing doggie things (my mother's Jack Russell runs in circles alone and any attempts to "play" with him generally fail) and some who just want to be at your heels constantly. I am not advocating, of course, leaving your dog alone in your yard for hours.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:36 AM on December 29, 2008


This seems like a question that could be answered with googling, but the information out there is inconsistent.

Also, there's no hard and fast information because dogs are individuals, and vary widely as individuals, much less between "breeds." Look for a dog with less exercise requirements, and you'll likely be happier.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:37 AM on December 29, 2008


In my experience, standard poodles are smart, relatively high energy, and people aren't allergic to them. Golden retrievers are loyal, like/need to retrieve(duh), and sweet tempered. Any puppy needs more care than you listed, but that won't last forever. Your schedule sounds great for a dog that's at least 1 year old. If you build in the time to take care of a puppy, I think you'll be fine.

Best dogs I've ever had were half-breeds.
posted by theora55 at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2008


Cross-breeds are a cross of two breeds.

Mutts, aka mongrels, are many breeds.

All can be wonderful.

My Doodle nephew (so to speak) is about two. He loves to retrieve, and to bring you "presents," like his blankie or some socks.

We always say "thank you!"
posted by jgirl at 7:54 AM on December 29, 2008


No, when a dog of one breed produces offspring from another, that puppy is a mutt. Not a cross-breed. Not a designer dog. A mutt.

A "cross breed" would be something like what the Australian labradoodle people are doing -- working from some set of initial stock towards a breed with clearly defined characteristics that breed true. When they get there eventually, they'll have a breed of dog that might be reasonably regarded as a cross breed. AFAIK, nobody is doing that with "goldendoodles." They're just letting goldens and poodles fuck. When that happens, the offspring are mutts.

There's no way of knowing what your goldendoodle will be like. You might get a dog that's essentially a funny-looking golden, which might well have exercise needs that are through the roof. You might get a poodle with a golden's coat. Who knows? Certainly not the person who watched the golden and poodle fuck.

The plan you describe would be adequate to great for many breeds of dog, or an adult mutt whose characteristics are known. They might not be adequate for the stamina of a working golden, which is what you might get.

Frankly, I don't see why anyone would pay the frankly ridiculous charges that designer-mutt producers charge to get some random draw out of the joint distribution of two breeds. If you want a mutt, there are many available at any age for minimal cost. If you want predictable characteristics, there are also many good breeders of most breeds out there.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:46 AM on December 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


Seconding everything everyone has said, really. It will probably be difficult to take a brand new puppy to work and get anything done. You'll need to take the dog out every single time it eats, drinks, or wakes up, plus any time you think it might need to go to the bathroom. You do not want to mess around with housetraining, do it right the first time! If your workplace has other dogs, you need to be conscious of saftely before your dog has been fully immunized. Opinions vary on the best course of action, but ask your vet before you bring your dog to work.

Your walking schedule will probably be too much for a tiny puppy and not enough for an older one. A goldendoodle will be HYPER, REALLY HYPER. Which is fine, I have a high energy dog myself, but (once your dog is a little older) be prepared to walk him/her about an hour twice a day, in addition to regular bathroom breaks. Ideally one of those walks will include some off-leash time. This might sound like a lot if you don't have a high energy dog, but trust me when I tell you that your dog will be VERY BAD if it is not adequately exercised, and will probably be very good with appropriate exercise and training.

I love puppies, and you should absolutely get one if you want, but just be aware that it's harder than it seems. I remember my husband and I fought much more than usual the first couple of months after we got the dog because it was just so inconvenient so much of the time to have her. After the first year, she got a lot easier, but she really only settled down after two years, and she still needs so much exercise. I don't want to discourage you at all, but I know that I personally was not prepared for how much effort it takes to raise a good dog from a puppy.
posted by robinpME at 8:58 AM on December 29, 2008


[few comments removed - please take mutt discussion elsewhere, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 9:23 AM on December 29, 2008


I have raised two puppies (sequentially, not simultaneously) while bringing them to work with me.

The only reason it worked is that I work with my husband and we were able to switch off caring for them when the other was on the phone, in the bathroom, etc. Because when a puppy has to go, there's no time to wrap up your conversation--the puppy has to go now. When they're not peeing, they're hungry. Or they're wide awake and wanting to play. I felt very frenzied and harassed for the first six months with each of them, and made way less money during that period, but it was a wonderful, happy time for all of us.

It took about 6 to 8 months before they were really in the groove of "here we are at the office, it's time to chill out next to the desk." Before that, it was necessary to take breaks for them to play fetch in the hallway, play tug, run around the office, etc. And my dogs are much, much smaller than a Goldendoodle, and a much, much less hyper breed. So consider whether that's going to fly at your workplace.

I think the posters saying you should consider an older dog have a very good point, but if you really want a puppy, I think you might consider a different breed. And you absolutely must crate train, that's the only way you're going to get any work done. But seriously look into the retired greyhound suggestion--from everything I have ever heard, they sound like the perfect office dogs, very snuggly and low-key, and don't have huge exercise requirements.
posted by HotToddy at 9:31 AM on December 29, 2008


Is this a first dog for either of you? As robinpME points out, the workload for a puppy is huge and it's a years, possibly 3, before you have a mature critter. Whatever your lifestyle is, it will change when you have a dog. (In my opinion, for the better, but will you mind having to vacuum more than once a week and keeping a pile of dog-feet ShamWows by the door for muddy paws?)

If you want to go with the doodle, fine, but be aware that they are often badly bred. If the breeder doesn't want to talk to you about certifying for all the standard health problems of Labs and Poodles, then you really should look elsewhere. I know of a group that was trying to rehome almost 200 of these dogs from one breeder - and I assure you that no decent breeder of any kind of dog would have 200 on the property.

If you go with adoption through a rescue group, it might be helpful to find out what the people in charge of that rescue do with their dogs - there are a lot of reasons why people who have performance dogs are cannier about health and temperament than people who do breed ring or nothing. Your local shelter is doing the best they can but may not have the time for thorough evaluations. Any reputable group will work with you if the first dog you take home doesn't work out.

Is your profile up to date? If so, you want to hang with some of these folks and talk dog. They all have dogs, and lifestyles.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 12:13 PM on December 29, 2008


It sounds as if your dog will have more than enough exercise. DarlingBri and others are right about the need for a regular housetraining schedule, though - you will need to work on this. Look on Petfinder.com for a Goldendoodle pup or young dog. Right after Christmas is peak puppy throwout season, as people get tired of their new "present." You will doubtless find any breed that you could desire within a few weeks - with the added advantage of being housebroken already if you select the typical shelter dog (which is thrown out at two years old when it is no longer puppyish and cute -- but is also typically housebroken).
posted by Susurration at 5:40 PM on December 29, 2008


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