Hi there and welcome back! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with lots of food and quality family time. :) It was so nice to have a short break and just be together... September-December is definitely my favorite time of year!
Today I am going to be talking all about my goldendoodle, Ollie. He is one of my most favorite topics, so hopefully this blog post doesn't get too long! ;) If you are thinking about getting a goldendoodle, a dog in general, or you already have a goldendoodle and you understand the obsession... this post is for you!
To start off, I should explain what a goldendoodle is. I think a lot of people know, but I have had quite a few instances where someone I was talking to had never heard of one before. Goldendoodles are part golden retriever and part poodle. They can be golden, brown, black, reddish brown, or white. Usually their faces all look the same though... you can usually tell if it's a doodle or not. :) Ours is golden, and I think he has quite a bit of poodle in him (at least in his hair), because he is SO curly. Some friends of ours have one of his brothers and he isn't nearly as curly, but you can tell they are siblings in the face!
We got Ollie in February of 2018, so we are coming up on one year of having him in our lives. He was 12 weeks old when we got him, and only 12 pounds. I miss being able to hold him, but he's just as snuggly as ever at 65 pounds now. I wanted to touch on training, because that's something a lot of people ask about.
We'll start with potty training: Ollie was fully potty trained within a few weeks. I would set alarms for every couple hours throughout the night (it's exhausting for a few weeks, but good practice for human babies in the future!). We live in an apartment on the second floor, so we had to carry him outside to the exact potty spot. It's important that you carry them (if it's far away... if it's literally just outside your door then it's not as important) because if you don't they will pee in the hallway and it will make everything more difficult (and frustrating). We also utilized puppy training potty pads, and taught him to use those if he needed to go before we took him out. We taught him to use those exactly how we taught him to go outside... we used lots of praise and said "potty" in the spots we wanted him to go potty. If he had an accident, we told him no (a simple and stern no will work, it doesn't need to be mean or anything). After telling him no, we took him to the spot he should be going potty and told him "this is where you potty." Goldendoodles are SO intelligent, so it didn't take long for him to figure this out. We later took away the puppy training pads because we just didn't want him going in the house at all (I cleaned everything super well, but still gross). Now, he is able to hold it for about 12 hours, although we rarely ever make him hold it that long (sometimes we're all extra sleepy LOL). At night, the most he will hold it is 9-10 hours and during the day he is let out every 5 hours at most.
Concerning other training, we enrolled Ollie into a puppy kindergarten class and I highly recommend this to anyone with a puppy. It was so great for socialization and beginning training steps. We chose not to continue on with classes after this one, but you certainly can. It depends on what you want for your dog and how you want to handle training. :) We wanted to take what we had learned and do the rest ourselves at home, however, this is totally a personal choice. Like I said, golden doodles are highly intelligent, and we have taught Ollie other tricks on our own at home and he learned them in 1-3 days. When teaching him a new trick, we'd probably have mini training sessions 1-3 times per day. All things considered, that is pretty quick for learning a brand new trick/skill!
I will say that doodles tend to have a lot of energy. This is something I've heard from other doodle owners as well. One owner told me that both of her doodles acted like puppies until they were about 5! If this freaks you out, perhaps it would be worth researching another breed. However, while these dogs may have a lot of energy, they are actually rather gentle. I know plenty of people with small children and a doodle under the age of 5. I think what it really comes down to is that they are always up for playing and they're darn good at it! The wonderful thing about Ollie is that he has such a sense of humor. My dad says it all the time: "You're such a funny guy!" and it's seriously my favorite. There's just something about him that is so human and so real. Sometimes I half expect him to make facial expressions and start talking!
I never had a pet other than fish growing up, and now having Ollie I just can't imagine life without a dog. I have learned so much from him and we haven't even had him for a full year yet. He has taught me to love as unconditionally as possible. I say it that way because as humans we are going to constantly fail at this most of the time. However, he loves me no matter what. He doesn't care what I look like or if I had to get after him for being a stinker. He loves me on good days and bad days. It's just so unconditional, and I have really tried to emulate that in my life (it's hard people, but it's amazing!). It's hard because it's what Jesus would do, and dogs seem to have that figured out already. Furthermore, Ollie has taught me that it's okay to sit back and just relax and snuggle sometimes (okay a lot of times). I am someone that is constantly go, go, go... and while I love being busy and quite frankly am used to it, it's not good for me mentally, emotionally, or spiritually to do that. He has taught me that taking 10 minutes in the morning to snuggle is perfectly acceptable and actually encouraged. It's the little things in life that actually mean the most, after all. I have always told myself that, but I never started living that way until we got Ollie. I truly think that Ollie was sent to me by the Lord to teach me these things and to teach me this type of love. Having an animal to care for is also a huge responsibility of course, and I think that is part of the lesson, too. I don't have any children of my own yet, but I have worked at a daycare since I was 16 (and volunteered at them even before then). With children, I usually have a pretty good idea of what to do if they're sick, crying, etc. However, with an animal, it has been a totally different world. It has taught me so much and I can't thank Ollie and God enough for continuing to shape my heart.
If you're considering getting a goldendoodle or any breed of dog, I would highly recommend it. The hard work and constant effort they require is so incredibly worth it. Who wouldn't want constant snuggles, play time, and love?!