Awhile ago in a thread on how to help new members, I suggested a topic called "Considering a Doodle?" to point people to when they ask about certain Doodle characteristics. I don't think we intend for it to be an exhaustive piece, but rather a place for basic information and a jumping off point for further questions and consideration. I haven't seen a topic yet, perhaps someone is working on something, but I thought it would be fun if we take them on and edit. If you could reply in the comments, I can edit the original post as answers come in. I could write them all, but sometimes you all are quite eloquent.
So here are the main questions that I think we need to answer:
This community is built around people who love their Doodles-[Maybe post a link to our recent discussion of the favorite things about our Doodles, etc]. Many of us have chosen doodles as members our our families because of their intelligence, people-oriented and dog-loving personalities, the potential for a non-shedding/allergy friendly dog, and their high energy level. [Does anyone have any other reasons on why you chose a doodle? I can try to find some discussions for ideas. These are generalizations, I know, but we all have our reasons]
Breeder websites typically tout the positives without talking about the reality of owning a Doodle and a dog in general. Below is a sampling of the most frequently asked questions that prospective owners post on Doodlekisses, things that current members wish they had known before welcoming a Doodle into their lives, and things that members working in rescue frequently hear when Doodles are brought to them for re-homing. Our most basic advice is that you should be prepared for the worst in all aspects, and hopefully reality will be a piece of cake.
What is the personality/temperament of Doodles? Do Doodles have an excellent temperament?
It's hard to generalize because temperament a mixture of nature and nurture. First, you have to consider the temperament of both parents as well as the general breeds in the genes. Second, is nurture- early socialization and on-going training. [might need another sentence or two]
That doodle you met at the park -- he and his owners have worked very hard to get the calm dog you see before you. He has most likely been through several training programs and gets walked several miles per day along with some vigorous off leash exercise and obedience practice. Some other doodles have all this training, exercise and more, but still are not considered "sound."
Are Doodles good with children? Are they the "perfect" family pet?
Generally, doodles make good family pets, but like all dogs both the dog and the family need 'training' as to appropriate behavior. Because doodle puppies are often very high energy, they need to be taught how to behave around children and children need to learn how to respect a dog.
How much exercise does a Doodle need? What is their energy level?
Your mileage may vary. Some of our dogs don't need walking every day and are quite content with a low-exercise regimen. Others require hours of exercise daily. Be prepared for any activity level.
Are Doodles allergy friendly?
Some are, and some aren't-- no guarantees! Your best bet for mostly allergy friendly is to look at a poodle or other typical non-shedding breeds. Some breeders with multi-gen doodles may have the expertise to assist you as well. But before you commit to a dog in your home, please make sure every family member can tolerate the specific dog with their allergies. You also may not react to a puppy, but might react that dog when it's an adult.
What coat type will my Doodle have?
There are no guarantees, especially with first generation doodles. Shaggy? Straight? Curly? Fleecy? Wooly? Sorry, but your guess is as good as ours.
What are the grooming requirements?
If your dog tends toward the retriever side, be prepared for shedding and brushing. If your dog is more like a poodle (those with fleece or wool coats), regular grooming, including brushing several times weekly, is required to keep mats at bay. In addition, you may either have to have your dog groomed every 4-8 weeks at a groomer (price varies- $35 and up!), or learn to do it yourself.
Every dog, regardless of breed, will at least require minimal grooming- brushing, baths, nail trims, etc. Even basic grooming requires time and effort- you will either have to complete these tasks, or take your dog somewhere to have these done.
What about the concept of "hybrid vigor"?
Hokum! Bunk! [See below for now, might link to another discussion]
What are the typical health issues I should be aware of?
This is a loaded question. Please review the genetic disorders for Poodles as well as the other potential breeds in your dog- which might be Labs, Golden Retrievers, various Spaniels, and perhaps others.
Please note that this doesn't include predispositions to certain diseases. For instance, Golden Retrievers seem to be predisposed to cancer. Be aware of these before you adopt a dog.
Should I adopt a doodle from a rescue organization or purchase one from a breeder?
[going to enter a more here about the differences/challenges/positives of each ]
If you do choose to adopt from a rescue organization, we recommend:
And now that we've talked about doodles, a little about dogs in general that we wish we had known, or are typically seen as reasons for re-homing dogs.
Are you able to commit to a dog for his or her entire 10-15 years? What do you see happening in your life in the next 10-15 years? Are you planning a career change, looking to move cross country, or start a family? Of course there are the unexpected things in life that you can't plan for, but be prepared for the ones that you can. Be ready to dedicate the next 10-15 years to this doodle regardless of what changes you choose to make to your life. This dog will be 100% committed to you so be ready to be 100% committed to him.
How much should I budget for a dog, what are typical costs (food, vet, daycare, training, toys etc)?
- Food: You will want to buy a good quality food for your doodle. Initially, it may seem that high quality foods are more expensive. However, the feeding requirements are much less with a high quality food than a low quality food, so the price ends up being pretty here. Overall, budget between $30-$60 per month on dog food, based on the brand of food and size of your dog. Check out our Food Group if you would like more information: DK Food Group find a list of recommended foods look
- Vet: You will need to take your doodle for bi-annual or yearly exams, which will include vaccinations, and heart worm testing. You will also need to purchase flea/tick medication, and heart worm medication for your dog monthly. A routine vet visit will usually cost over $100 per visit (depending on your area), and that doesn't include those unexpected vet visits for things like ear infections, stomach upsets, or any other unexpected ailment. For those unexpected vet visits (which WILL happen) you are looking at at least $100 per visit, perhaps more. Overall, you can expect to spend at least $500 per year on vet care and medication, maybe more the first year with a puppy that requires multiple vaccinations and visits in a short period. This does not include pet insurance.
- Pet Insurance: Highly recommended. Insurance starts about $250 per year and goes up from there. You do not want any of your decisions about a beloved family member to be about money.
- Daycare: Many owners find that daycare is necessary when they have to work long hours, or simply when their dogs need good exercise and socialization. Daycare will vary based on the area, but is usually between $15-$30 per day. If you board your dog overnight, expect $30-$50 per night.
- Training: If you are getting a puppy, you will need to enroll in obedience classes, starting with puppy kindergarten. If you are adopting an older dog, obedience classes are still a good idea. Classes usually run between $75-$150 per class.
- Toys/Treats: Training treats, chew toys, collars, leashes, etc. will be additional expenses when you bring your dog home. Budget between $15-$30 per month for these things.
- Grooming: if you take your dog to a groomer, expect at least $400-$600 per year. If you do it yourself, take into account the value of your time.
Consider that you may end up spending much more than these costs if you live in high cost areas and/or your dog has special needs-- training, food, veterinary care, grooming. Dogs are not cheap!
Are you ready to commit time to your dog? [Will build out soon- things to consider- training, exercise, grooming, elimination schedule, general being "present", etc]
What are the training requirements?
Puppies do not come trained! You will need to invest time and effort into your dog.
We recommend reviewing the following discussions if you want to know what you're in for:
Bell Training Your dog can tell you without barking that he needs to go outside!
Barking (find link)
You can also search discussions on DoodleKisses.com though search engines- sometimes the results are more organized. Type, for instance: barking site:doodlekisses.com in the search bar on Google or Bing or your favorite general search engine if you wanting to see the results for barking only on DK!
.... and- what did I miss? I'm sure I missed some good ones.