The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Miniature Goldendoodles" by David Anderson. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: David AndersonIf you have reached this point in the book, you are probably ready to dive into getting your own adorable bundle. This chapter will help you determine whether to choose a puppy or an older dog. If you are up for all of the work that comes with training a puppy, this chapter will help you find the right breeder.
The Miniature Goldendoodle is a breed that is great for playing with inside the house or out in nature, as well as being fantastic for cuddling with during the long, dark days of winter. They are one of the easiest dog breeds to incorporate into any family. This means that the kinds of adventures and memories that you will make together are nearly endless. For the best fit, you will want to pay attention to the basics and ask the right questions during the adoption process.
Every Miniature Goldendoodle is different, but this designer dog does have some predictable personality traits. Typically, they aren’t destructive despite being intelligent. They have a moderate amount of energy, so they aren’t likely to be too energetic once they outgrow the puppy phase. Mostly, they want to be with their people, getting your attention and making sure you are content.
However, you will need to be mindful of the fact that the Miniature Goldendoodle is a designer dog when you start the process. Puppy mills are all too common with designer breeds, and you need to be able to watch for the signs so that you can avoid them. You also need to understand that the breeder should not be a part of a puppy mill if you want to ensure that your puppy is healthy. Since this is not one of the older established breeds, your dog’s health will be less certain. The puppy could take on health problems from either of the parent breeds.
Adopting from a Breeder
If you want to adopt a Miniature Goldendoodle puppy, there are a number of considerations you need to work through prior to selecting your puppy. You want a happy, healthy puppy, and that is harder with designer puppies because puppy mills try to cash in on the popularity of a particular breed. They do not give any consideration to the health or needs of their puppies. You will need to find a reputable breeder, which is the first step in the process to adopting your newest family member.
Finding a Breeder
With a breed as popular as the Miniature Goldendoodle, you are going to have a lot of breeders to research. Finding a responsible breeder is the best thing you can do for your puppy since good breeders work with only healthy parents, reducing the odds that a puppy will have serious health issues. There aren’t too many certified breeders because of how new the breed is. Coupled with the booming popularity, puppy mills and less capable breeders are looking to make money quickly from that popularity. It is the reason you need to be particularly careful and plan to spend a lot of time researching before deciding on your puppy.
Start by looking for certified breeders. Find out the adoption timeline and decide if it is right for your family. Be prepared for it to be more than a year because certified breeders typically have lists and make sure to take care of the parents and puppies. This means giving the mothers adequate time between pregnancies to recover and live a life. If you find that the timeline is too long, you may turn to non-certified breeders, but you will also need to plan to spend more time asking questions to ensure the parents and puppies are treated well and that health issues are taken into account before breeding. The following is a list of questions you should ask to understand the parents’ history. Be prepared for each call to last at least an hour. If the breeder is unwilling to dedicate enough time to answer your questions, cross them off of your list of breeders—all good breeders are willing to make time to talk about the parents and the dogs.
- Can you visit the property to take a look at the parents? If the immediate answer is no, then do not bother to continue. Even if you do not intend to go to the location, the breeders should be willing to let potential puppy parents check out the parents of the puppy. The only exception is if the breeders keep regular blogs and camera footage that you can review. You need to be able to see the conditions and environment that the puppies live in, and you want to see the parents to make sure they are treated well.
- Ask about health tests and certifications for the parents. Breeders need to have all of the tests and certifications for the parents to ensure that you receive the healthiest puppy possible. Good breeders will often have guarantees against the worst genetic issues. If the breeder is not offering this guarantee, do not continue.
- Breeders should take care of all of the basics for the puppies, such as the initial vaccines and wormings. It is essential for puppies to have these medical procedures taken care of when they are six weeks old (too early for them to leave their mother), and you will be responsible for continuing them. After the shots and wormings are started, they need to be continued every three weeks afterward, which means they will be well into receiving their shots before the puppy comes to your home.
- Find out how the breeder takes care of the puppies during the earliest stage of their lives. This will help you know how much work you have to do as well. You will want to keep a consistent training program with the dog, and that will be much easier if you continue the training the breeder started. The breeder may also have begun different types of training, such as house and crate training. You will need to know that information before getting your puppy home.
- Ask for their advice on raising your puppy. A good breeder can make recommendations and will give you options on how to handle some of the less enjoyable phases, as well as the things that your puppy is likely to love. A great breeder will also be there to answer questions about your Miniature Goldendoodle long after your dog has reached maturity. They are interested in the dog’s well-being and are willing to answer questions over the canine’s entire life span.
- Ask if they breed F1 Miniature Goldendoodles, or the first generation of the breed. This means that the breeder only works with one parent who is a Golden Retriever and one parent who is a Miniature Poodle. They do not breed with Miniature Goldendoodles, only with the two original breeds.
- Get details about the parents, such as their age, weight, size, how many litters they have had, how many puppies they usually have in a litter, and their health. See if you can get current pictures of the parents and their previous puppies, to help you know generally what your puppy will look like.
Health Tests and Certifications
The best place to start is by reviewing the Goldendoodle Association of North America website. The site provides details on the minimum requirements that breeders must meet to gain membership status. Their site shows the different levels of membership and what tests are required for a breeder to qualify for that level. The higher the breeder’s membership level, the more tests they have conducted to ensure the puppies will be as healthy as possible. However, this is not a standard used by all associations.
You should check the heath tests and certifications of the parents.
- Golden Retrievers should be tested for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, eye disease, and heart disease.
- Miniature Poodles should be tested for hip dysplasia, eye disease, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and Patellar Luxation.
Contracts and Guarantees
Even though they are designer dogs, you want to find a breeder who offers a guarantee for the puppies. This demonstrates the breeder’s confidence that the parents are not passing hereditary conditions on to the puppies, providing greater odds that your puppy will have a better quality of life.
Contracts and guarantees come with information on the health of the puppy and recommendations for you, the new puppy parent, to follow on how best to raise the puppy. The breeder may strongly recommend that you visit a vet within a couple of days of the puppy coming home to get a baseline for the puppy’s health. During this visit, the vet will test the puppy for possible issues so that you can act on any early signs or symptoms, minimizing or eliminating those issues so that the puppy grows up to be healthy. In the event that a major issue or ailment is detected, a guarantee allows you to return the puppy to the breeder, and you will be able to select a new puppy. This ensures you receive a healthy puppy.
Puppy Genetics—the Parents
Designer breeds can be a challenge to own because of the unpredictable combination of potential ailments that puppies can inherit. Instead of being able to look at possible issues that Golden Retrievers may suffer, you have to be mindful of the genetic problems of both Golden Retrievers and Miniature Poodles. However, since the puppy is not a purebred dog, the mixed heritage could mean fewer health risks. If both parents are healthy and come from healthy lines, the puppies are less likely to have problems because of their genetics.
The temperament and personality of the parents also determine the same characteristics for the puppies. While the core of both of the breeds’ temperaments are the same, their personalities can be fairly different. A puppy that takes after a Golden Retriever is much more likely to be mellow and easy to train. A puppy that takes after the Miniature Poodle is likely to be more active and friskier. Socialization should be fairly easy, but training a mellow puppy and training an energetic puppy are very different.
Selecting Your Puppy
Selecting a puppy is the same, regardless of breed. You want to look for the puppy that displays a personality that you think will fit best with your family. Unlike many breeds, your Miniature Goldendoodle’s core traits will be fairly predictable, so you will be looking at traits like energy level and friskiness. You will need to see the puppies either in person or in a video.
Watch how the puppies interact with each other. The ones that interact more can indicate how well the puppy will interact with your current pets, as well as showing off their personalities.
Watch the overall interaction of all the puppies as well. If it seems like the majority of them are more hyperactive or aggressive, then you may want to wait for another litter. This is typically not a problem with this breed, but it is an example of the kind of group behavior to watch for. Similarly, you want to avoid litters where the puppies seem generally scared and skittish. You will want to make sure the puppies have healthy interactions to ensure that your puppy is not likely to exhibit behaviors that will make training more difficult or socializing a challenge.
Then pay attention to the individual puppies to determine which one you think will work best with your family. The puppies that are very outgoing may be more demanding of attention in the home, while the ones who hang back could be lower maintenance. If all of the puppies pile forward to meet you (which is nearly a guarantee with Miniature Goldendoodle litters), figure out which one you feel you could bond with the fastest.
When you are picking the puppy, look for the one that exhibits the desired personality traits you want. If you want a forward, friendly, excitable dog, the first one to greet you may be the one you seek. If you want a dog that will think things through and let others get more attention, this is a mellower dog that may be better for your home.
Beware of Puppy Mills
With all designer dogs, you have to be very wary of puppy mills. The dog parents in these mills are treated poorly and health issues (both current and genetic) are likely to be ignored by the breeders. This could cause significant problems for the puppies as potential health issues will be ignored in them as well. Puppy mills don’t tend to offer contracts or guarantees, and the puppies probably will not have had all of the necessary medical attention prior to leaving the parents.
Puppy mills have earned their bad reputation, and many of them are shut down for having poor living conditions for their dogs and puppies. They are only interested in breeding for a quick profit, and will do only the minimum to care for the puppies. When puppy mills are shut down, the dogs and puppies end up with rescue organizations. You can get your puppy from a rescuer, but there is a higher risk of genetic problems.
Adopting an Older Dog
With as much time and energy as you need to put into puppies, an older Miniature Goldendoodle is the right dog for some families. Since they are a newer breed, it is harder to find a rescue association, but that doesn’t mean that the rescue groups aren’t out there.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on basic training, you definitely do not want to bring a puppy into your home—not even a Miniature Goldendoodle. They are easier to train than many other dogs, but puppies can still cause a mess and require a lot more time than an adult dog. Puppies will cause you to lose sleep and to have to clean up accidents in the house, which means you will need a lot of patience. If you select an adult, you can skip right into the more enjoyable training and bonding. This is really the appeal of an adult Miniature Goldendoodle.
Already housebroken and able to quickly pick up on training, this breed is fantastic to bring into the home as an adult. They are likely to bond with your family relatively quickly because they adore being with people. Learning your habits and preferences will be something they can enjoy for a while, and then they will just enjoy staying close and doing things with you and your family. They have a great attention span and can pick up on human facial cues a lot faster than many other breeds. As they reach their golden years, they will become couch potatoes, as long as they get at least 30 minutes of walking.
Adult Miniature Goldendoodles are definitely a great fit for individuals who don’t want to train a dog or who have busy families (as long as there is going to be people or dogs around to keep them company so the Miniature Goldendoodle doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety). You will need to be prepared to monitor adult dogs if you already have pets, especially if you don’t know how or if they were socialized. You will need to be present to ensure there is no tension between your new family member and your existing furry companions.
Designer dogs, including Miniature Goldendoodles, don’t have many dedicated rescue operations available to set up an adoption. A large portion of the Miniature Goldendoodles currently in shelters and rescue systems are there because of the shutdown of puppy mills with poor breeding practices and unhealthy environmental conditions. This does not mean that there is definitely something wrong with the dog, but you will want to monitor your new dog more closely, and you should plan for additional testing in the first few months.
You can look around your area for local rescues that specialize in the breed. Make sure to set aside time to visit the rescue facility to check out the conditions the dogs are living in before you choose a dog. You should also ask about references or read reviews online to see what kinds of experiences you are likely to have with the rescue group. This is equally true if you go to a shelter.
Most shelters and rescue organizations will establish requirements for your dog because they want to find the right forever home for their dogs. Once a dog leaves, they want to make sure that the dog is treated well and does not end up back at the shelter needing a new home. You are not likely to have any information on the health and personality of the parents, which means vet visits are going to be critical for your Miniature Goldendoodle. Shelters and rescue groups do some of this, but typically cannot complete a full battery of tests that can help you identify any potential health issues. This means you are going to need to plan to spend a bit more money to ensure the health of your dog, but you aren’t going to need to keep returning to the vet like you would with a puppy.
Introduction to Children and Other Pets
Adult Miniature Goldendoodles are already trained to a certain point, and you can retrain them to stop behaviors you don’t like. However, if they were not socialized when they were young, they may not be as patient with children and other pets. You will want to know the adult Miniature Goldendoodle’s history with small animals and children before adopting them. If there is no certainty that the dog has been exposed to either children or other animals, you will need to be extra careful about the introductions once you get home.
Miniature Goldendoodle aren’t aggressive or territorial, but children and other pets can be a unique challenge for any dog that has never lived with them. Make sure your child understands that there will be no playing with the dog without adult supervision for the first week, at the very least. You probably will want to keep play supervised for the first month to make sure your dog is adjusting well to the new environment. Your Miniature Goldendoodle will be more accepting of the children and other pets once the dog feels safer. They are people pleasers, but you want to make sure there is no unnecessary stress on them while they are getting familiar with their new environment.
To read more from "The Complete Guide to Miniature Goldendoodles" by David Anderson, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below: