I am on the waiting list for a mini ALD in winter 2016.  (Yes, that's how long the waiting list is!)

I have essentially zero dog experience.  I tried volunteering at the city animal shelter, but that didn't work out.  I'm nearing retirement age, and they said I wasn't agile enough to exit the chihuahua kennel and not let the chihuahua out. It didn't help that my mentor was unrelated, and did not model a lot of the behavior she wanted me to do.

Linda, Charlie Brown and Beau wrote me wonderfully helpful comments (because I posted to a place few people could reply.) She was reminded of a friend who had severe arthritis, got a doodle puppy, but had to rehome the puppy because her arthritis in her hands were too severe to groom him.  She had a lot of trouble potty training the dog because she couldn't get the dog outside in time. Often her friend couldn't walk her dog. Eventually this friend got a 4 year old dog, and that situation worked out fine.

I can't crouch and get up again, but I don't have trouble standing, then bending at my hips to touch the floor. I can certainly get out of a chair, and can walk about 3 miles in an hour.  I'm pretty sure I couldn't lift a 30  or 40 pound dog, but wouldn't a mini ALD weigh less than 30 pounds by the time it was potty trained?  I type at a computer most of my workday.  I would have trouble lifting 5 or 10 pounds above my head, but no trouble lifting that weight from the floor to my waist or chest.

She suggested going to puppy training classes at places like petco, and books like The Puppy Listener, an trying to volunteer at a boarding facility.  Those sound like great ideas.

Thank you so much Linda for your comments.  I certainly don't want to get in a situation where I'd have to re-home a dog.  My therapist (who has a standard poodle and has lots of dog experience) is totally supportive of me getting a doodle.

I sure plan on following Linda's suggestions.  I was just wondering if anyone had anymore suggestions.  Thanks so much for reading this!

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  • Hi Nancy!   I have a mini Goldendoodle who weighs 30 pounds and I can tell you that it may not seem like 30 lbs is a lot..... but trust me,  when I have to lift her up or when she jumps into my lap it can sometimes feel like much more than 30 lbs!  Since there really is no guarantee on how much a mini will weigh....have you thought about getting a "toy" instead?  I do not know much about ALDs or if there even is a toy ALD... but I do know that there are toy Goldendoodles.  It seems that given your limitations, a toy would be much easier for you to handle.  I was also wondering if you have thought about a mini or toy poodle instead of a doodle?  The reason behind this would be that the size would be predictable with a poodle unlike the mixed genes of a doodle.  I know you have said you work at the computer most of the day and I can imagine a little toy poodle curled up on your lap while you work.  Whatever you decide I know you will be in love with the little puppy and I wish you lots of good luck!

    • Good points, Gail. We have many members here whose dogs ended up 10, 15, even 20 lbs larger than the breeder's estimate. With mixed breeds, even ALDs, size is never guaranteed. 

      Also, many, many medium sized adult dogs still have to be lifted frequently, especially in and out of the car. 

    • These are great points, Gail!

      Nancy, I'll add that you might also look into a maltipoo.  I had to put my maltipoo down a year ago and knew that I couldn't get another one because I'd just want it to be like my Ricky and I'd always compare the two.  However, I found ALDs and they looked JUST like Ricky but bigger. Maltipoos don't usually shed and are allergy-friendly.  While my guy was 20 pounds, they're usually around 10 (goes to show you that size estimates are just that-- estimates!).  I remember reading somewhere that they were bred specifically to be lap dogs/ companions. I think that's a great description.  I'm not trying to discourage you from getting an ALD by any means, just offering another idea.

      I know how it feels to wait so long for a pup.  I put a deposit down on my ALD puppy last October for a puppy that I'll get this October!

      As far as preparing, I have been reading stories from people here on DK as well as other places online. I read a lot of "things I wish I would have known" type stories and issues that have arisen as adolescent and adults and try and devise a plan for how I'll work to make sure I helping my dog create positive habits and that I'm not accidentally reinforcing anything negative. I've also found a puppy training class that uses positive reinforcement.  I knew which vet I wanted to pick, but that's something to think about.  Even though i have had dogs in the past, I have been reading a lot about puppy training.  I liked "The Power of Positive Dog Training." Just head to the library and check out what books are available. I found that reading and planning helped me pass the time while I wait.

      Puppies are definitely a lot of work and a long-term commitment. But having said that, every dog owner had a first dog at some point.  I think it's great that you're seeking out information and preparing and very much wanting to make the right choice. I know that whatever choice you make, doodle or otherwise, you'll love your pup and it'll love you.

    • Yup.  30# is about the 'average' 3 year old kid.  Not THAT light.

  • 3366875251?profile=originalHi Nancy ~ I am so glad you reposted in the general area of discussion and I see you are getting many responses.  Yeah for that!  I was thinking about you this a.m., my neighbor from about a block away was walking her 10 month old puppy and it looked like a mini doodle - but was actually a Havanese.  Have you considered this breed:  They are so darn cute and at maturity about 9-11 inches tall and 10-16 lbs which would be so much more manageable than the smallest doodle I would think and not require near the exercise.  They are also supposedly hypoallergenic and non-shedding.  Again good luck in your quest.

    • And unlike doodles, there is no guessing about size, coat type or texture, or shedding. And the color possibilities are endless. every solid color, every parti-color, even brindles. They are very affectionate dogs, too. And there are some excellent breeders out there. 

    • Oh my how adorable. I may have to look into those.

  • That is a great point, Karen!  I had forgotten about Havanese, I had a friend with 3 Havanese as well and they were great dogs!

  • Karen ~ I did not see your comment about the Havanese - I was too busy downloading a photo of one after my neighbor came over today.  Her little Havanese is so darn cute - someday that may be my next addition!

    • If I wanted a toy breed, a Havanese would be on the top of my list. 

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