The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Goldendoodles" by Erin Hotovy. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: Erin HotovyOnce you find the right breeder, pick a pup, and get your home squared away, it’s finally time to bring your new Goldendoodle home! This is a very exciting time for your household, but it can also be somewhat stressful. New puppies require a lot of care and attention. There’s so much to do, but this chapter will guide you through a few tasks you’ll want to complete before your dog comes home, and within the first few weeks.
Planning for Your Goldendoodle
As mentioned in earlier chapters, ample preparation for your new Goldendoodle will make all the difference between a happy homecoming and a stressful start to your dog’s new life. It is much easier to organize your home without a ball of energy running around. Then, once you have your puppy, you can spend more time having fun and training, and not worrying about rounding up supplies or finding a veterinarian.
The Goldendoodle is a sensitive dog. This makes them a fantastic companion and therapy animal, because they are so in tune with people’s emotions. However, this also means that they can react according to your emotions. For example, if you’re calm in a tense situation, they’ll look to you and follow your lead. If you’re stressed out and wound up, they may also display signs of anxiety. So, for the good of your home, prepare a little in the early days so you and your dog will stay cool.
The First Night at Home
After a long day of smelling all of the new scents and playing with all of their new friends, your Goldendoodle will probably be pretty tired. However, the first night can be scary for a new puppy. Your Goldendoodle is used to sleeping beside his mother and siblings in a familiar house. Your home smells different from what they know and they might not be so sure about their new humans. At night, it’s dark and quiet and your puppy is bound to get lonely. Pair that with a tiny bladder that needs to be emptied every few hours, and you’ve got a whiny puppy on your hands. This is totally normal and your dog’s bedtime routine will get easier as time goes on. However, the first night (and the first few weeks) might be a bit of a struggle. To help comfort your dog, Dede Hard of Red Cedar Farms recommends you bring a small towel to rub on the littermates to pick up a familiar scent. Then, put the towel in the crate at night so your dog can feel like they’re with their littermates again.
To lessen your dog’s anxiety, make sure they are exhausted by the time you go to bed. Give them plenty of play and exercise in the hours leading up to bedtime. Hopefully, they’ll be so tired they’ll fall right asleep. Also, it’s important to take your dog out right before bed. That way, they won’t start crying twenty minutes later because they have to go.
Not all owners want to teach their dog to sleep in their bed. While a tiny puppy doesn’t take up a ton of space, a fully grown Goldendoodle does. When you instill these habits in a pup, it’s hard to change your policies when your dog is big. If you don’t want your dog on your bed, restrain from letting your puppy hop up on the bed. Besides, puppies are known to have accidents, and you don’t want to have to change your sheets every day!
Instead, place your dog’s bed or crate near your room. That way, they can see and smell you, without having to be in your personal space. The proximity will also allow you to know when your dog wakes up and needs to go outside. As your dog becomes more comfortable in your home, you can move the bed or crate back to a more suitable location. You don’t want your dog to learn that they can disrupt your sleep, so try to get them to sleep on their own as soon as possible.
Choosing a Veterinarian
If you don’t already have a vet, this is the time to find one. A good veterinarian is your go-to person for everything concerning the health and well-being of your Goldendoodle. If you live in a town where there are multiple vet clinics, you’ll have to choose the right one for you. This may be as simple as going to your nearest clinic, but not all veterinary offices are created equal. So, you may have to make some choices regarding your dog’s care.
A referral from a friend or breeder can be useful. Since you’ll be spending time with the person in charge of your dog’s healthcare, you’ll want to choose a person you like and trust. It’s also advantageous to see a vet that works with Goldendoodles, like your breeder’s vet, so they have Goldendoodle health concerns at the forefront of their mind.
Veterinarian clinics can differ from facility to facility. Some are just basic clinics with a vet who can diagnose issues and prescribe medication. Others have a laboratory where blood and stool samples can be analyzed to check for various conditions. Larger clinics have surgery units or emergency services. So, you need to decide what kinds of services you want your vet clinic to have. If you choose a vet without emergency services, it’s a good idea to have the contact information for an emergency vet readily available. You never know when you’ll need to rush your dog to the vet and you don’t want to be doing research for the first time when something happens.
Before your first visit to the vet, do your veterinarian a favor and prepare your dog for the examination. This can be done by getting your dog used to being touched on the snout, ears, and belly. A puppy might be confused as to why a stranger is touching them in a strange way, but if you practice with them, they will be more likely to stay still during an exam than if it’s totally foreign to them.
Supplies to Have Ready
Before your Goldendoodle comes home, you should have some supplies on hand so you don’t have to leave your dog at home alone to go shopping. It may seem like you’re spending a lot of money all at once, but some of these supplies will last you the entirety of your dog’s life.
First, you’ll need a sturdy collar and leash. A flat, buckled collar is good for everyday use. You’ll want something that fits snugly, but is comfortable for your dog to wear every day. On this collar, you’ll want to put an identification tag on the front loop, in case your dog gets lost and needs to be identified. These can be etched onto a tag of your choice at the pet store. You’ll also need a four- or six-foot leash. A four-foot leash might be more comfortable for you at the beginning because you’ll want to teach your dog to walk close to your side. Retractable leashes are popular, but they make it hard to control your dog. A strong nylon leash that can withstand your dog’s strength is perfect. A Goldendoodle is a big, strong dog, and you want a collar and leash that can withstand a little pulling if your dog suddenly lunges for a squirrel while on a walk.
Next, you’ll need dishes, food, and treats. A good puppy formula is important for giving your Goldendoodle the nutrients they need to grow into healthy adults. Then, you’ll switch to an adult formula as your dog reaches full size. Later chapters will cover food and nutrition in more detail. Treats are important to have at all times. If you want to train your dog to do anything, you’ll need to have some tasty treats.
Next, you’ll need grooming supplies. A Goldendoodle’s fur needs to be brushed regularly to keep from getting matted. Because they don’t shed a lot of fur and have a single coat, a basic pin brush should be enough to keep your dog tangle-free and shiny. It might also be a good idea to keep a bottle of dog shampoo on hand in case your pup gets into something dirty or stinky. If you plan on cutting your dog’s toenails, a good set of clippers will come in handy. Find a pair that cuts the nail instead of crushing it. Some clippers even come with a guard that prevents you from cutting too much of the nail off if your dog gets squirmy. A toothbrush and toothpaste are also necessary for your dog’s oral health. Pet stores sell brushes that are specially designed to fit a dog’s mouth and come with toothpastes with dog-friendly flavors like poultry or peanut butter.
Toys and chews are also important for Goldendoodles. Goldendoodles are extremely playful and active. A variety of sturdy toys can keep their interest for hours, preventing them from acting out from boredom. A good selection of toys will make your best friend very happy and keep them occupied. Choose a toy that’s fun to chase around the yard, like a ball or a Frisbee, something that is interactive, like a tug rope, something that works their mind, like a food puzzle, and something that gives into their animal instinct, like a squeaky toy. These basics will keep your dog from getting tired of the same old games every day. You can even keep these toys on rotation so their old toys feel fresh and new to them.
It’s also necessary for your dog to have something to chew. Otherwise, they will bite everything you own. It’s only natural for dogs, especially puppies, to chew. It calms them down and keeps their mind busy. Teething puppies need to chew because it helps them work their new teeth through their gums. Choose a size-appropriate chew toy that cannot break or splinter into small pieces that can be choked on. Pet stores sell different types of real and synthetic bones and animal materials to keep your dog busy.
Finally, you’ll need a crate, a bed, or both for your dog’s relaxation and security. A soft dog bed is a good place for your dog to chill out while she’s hanging out the family. Find one that’s the right size for your Goldendoodle, and make sure it has plenty of padding. Crates also make excellent sleeping spots. When it comes to picking the right size, choose one large enough for your dog to turn around in circles in, but not so big that they can roam around. It should be like a cozy den, not a small room.
How Much Will This Cost?
Pet supplies can add up very quickly. When you start to factor how much your dog is going to cost you, it seems like a budget-breaker. For this reason, it’s important to set aside a budget for your new pet. Barring any medical complications, the first year of their life will probably be the most expensive for you. You’ll have to buy all new supplies and make frequent visits to the vet for checkups and shots. Once you learn your Goldendoodle’s preferences, you’ll be able to buy foods and treats in bulk, and you won’t waste your time buying toys and chews your dog doesn’t play with.
Prices for supplies and services varies from place to place, so it’s difficult to come up with an accurate prediction for every owner. Also, it makes a huge difference in budget if you buy a super expensive dog food compared to a bargain brand one. This estimation of how much your Goldendoodle will cost in the first year of his life should be used as a guide to give you an idea of how much you may need to spend. Of course, location and choices make a big difference in cost, but hopefully, you’ll start to figure out how to budget for your pup.
First of all, to buy a Goldendoodle from a good breeder, you will likely spend anywhere from $600 to $1,600. If you choose to adopt, that’s somewhere around $100 to $200, which includes spay/neuter surgery, shots, and microchipping. If you buy your dog, a spay/neuter surgery is on average around $75. If you want a Goldendoodle but can’t afford to spend thousands on the dog, adoption is the way to go.
Yearly veterinary costs will be around $200 to $500 for basic services. Not all vaccines are required on a yearly basis, so some visits will cost more than others. You’ll also need to budget at least a hundred dollars on heartworm medication and flea and tick preventative. Basic veterinary care is non-negotiable when it comes to the well-being of your dog. Even a perfectly healthy dog needs preventative care.
Next, you’ll have to buy a lot of dog food during the course of a year. The average dog eats about $400 worth of dog food per year. Depending on which size of Goldendoodle you get, you may get away with spending less than average. So, if you’re purchasing a Miniature Goldendoodle, you’ll save a little on dog food. You’ll also need lots of treats for training purposes, which will cost you about a hundred dollars a year. You don’t necessarily need to buy expensive treats, but you’ll need something that your dog likes enough to perform commands for.
Then, there are all of the supplies you’ll buy right away. Leashes, grooming equipment, and dishes will add up. You’ll also need some fun toys and chews for your dog. In total, you’re looking at spending around two hundred dollars around the time you bring your dog home. Hopefully, some of these are one-time costs. You may want to even buy higher-quality items so you won’t have to replace them later on.
It’s hard to estimate how much your dog will cost you, but you could spend around a thousand dollars the first year, not including the dog. Over a dog’s lifetime, it’s said that the average person spends around $10,000 on their pup. This seems like a lot of money now, but once you get your dog adjusted into their new home, you’d spend all of your money to make your dog happy. If you feel as though you can’t possibly come up with the funds to raise a dog, maybe wait a while until your finances are more secure. Or, you can even foster a Goldendoodle for a little while. In the end, owning a Goldendoodle is absolutely worth the cost, even though it can seem overwhelmingly expensive when it’s all put down on paper.
During the first few months, it’s good to get your Goldendoodle puppy enrolled in a puppy training class. Not only is this a good way to teach the basics of obedience to your little pup, but it’s great for socializing your dog with other pups and their owners. They may not accomplish much more than the sit and down command during these classes, but they will teach your dog how to respond and work with you.
This may be the first time your dog has interacted with others. Socialization is so important at this age. Give your dog plenty of opportunities to sniff out the other dogs and accept pets from people. Classes are generally pretty small, so it shouldn’t be too overwhelming for your puppy.
Also, training classes are a great way to interact with dog trainers. Dog trainers are another resource that you’ll want to keep in contact with through the life of your dog. Whenever you’re faced with a behavioral problem, you can go to your trainer for advice, because they know your dog and have worked with them before. Training classes are less about training your dog and perhaps more about training the owner. In these classes, you’ll learn the basics of dog training, which will provide you with the skills you need to train your dog at home.
The first few weeks of owning a dog can be overwhelming with all of the things to buy and all of the things to do, but remember to take time to enjoy the early days. It’s so much fun to have a tiny puppy, so don’t get so stressed out that you forget to have fun. There are a lot of expenses associated with raising a dog, but if you stick to your budget, it shouldn’t be a problem. Again, if you prepare as much as possible for your new dog, you won’t feel stressed about all of the new, exciting changes.
To read more from "The Complete Guide to Goldendoodles" by Erin Hotovy, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below: