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Labradoodles and my family - advice/opinions wanted!

6967 Views 16 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  M&Tdoodles
Hey everyone! I am so glad I found these forums...we are hoping to adopt a labradoodle and I'd love to hear some opinions and advice...

FIrst off ... we are a family of 5 - I have been a stay at home mom for the last 8 years - but will be returning to work this fall (teaching). I have three children, two rambunctious boys - ages 7 and 5 - and one sweet little girl who is 2.

We have not had any pets - other than an outside cat we adopted many years ago when he appeared on our doorstep... my boys have begged for a dog for years - but my husband and I didn't feel we were ready to have a dog... the kids were too young ... and with me staying home - money was tight... and it felt like a big responsibility.

But, when I started considering going back to work, I told the boys we would get a dog once we were a two income family again! We'll be better equipped to handle vet bills, boarding (if we ever get to go on vacation again - lol!) and other pet related costs - and the kids are getting older, and things seem to be leveling out for us ... the time is finally seeming to be right.

So - in preperation - I have been obsessively researching dogs. I want our family to have a dog to incorporate into our family - not just an outside pet in the backyard. I want an animal that my children can grow up with and love - an animal that lives in our house and is part of us.

Since I have small children, I initially considered a lab or a golden retriever. But, my middle son has asthma... and the shedding/dander thing concerned me. Then, I discovered labradoodles - and after reading everything I can find - and looking at about a million pictures - I'm completely in love with these dogs!! We can't get a dog until the fall - I was originally thinking December... but knowing everything I know now ... I hate to wait that long!!

Now for the parts I'm not so sure about. My husband believes we should get a rescue or shelter animal. He believes paying for a dog when there are so many dogs in shelters is borderline immoral. I want to agree with him in general theory... but...when I look at the lists for shelter or rescue labradoodles - they are almost always adult dogs and often times their background stories seem to be risky when considering bringing them into our home with small children. Not to say I wouldn't consider it - I most definitely would - but it does seem to me that a puppy from a reputable breeder would be the best route to go for us... ??? What do y'all think?

Then, I'm very confused by the wide variety of price ranges I've seen - I've read a lot on backyard breeders, puppy mills, hobby breeders etc etc... but it's very confusing - I know how to avoid pet shops and puppy mills - but a backyard breeder or a hobby breeder or....??? That's where I get sketchy on what to look for. I see ads for puppies ranging from 500 to 2000 for labradoodles. I'm not sure I can afford a 2000 dollar puppy by this coming holiday season - I will JUST be going back to work after all - lol - so it's hard to imagine right now how the money will all shake down...but I want to be really careful that I don't make a mistake that will cost us later. Honestly, I wouldn't mind to spend that much on a puppy - but I don't have my DH convinced of that. In the long run, it's me with the new job - so I will get what I want - but my life would be a lot easier if DH was on board - so I need to either change my thinking - or change his!

In my ideal world - we have a wavy coated fair haired puppy to bring into our family! I don't mind to drive a bit to get the right dog for us. (We're in the Houston area). My biggest concern is temperment - I want to be really sure that we get a dog that can adapt to our family. We are very active... we have a 3/4 acre lot in the outer suburbs of Houston - live in a great neighborhood and my husband works from home - my kids are active in sports and we are always doing something! But, I have really analyzed the types of things we do - and we can easily include a dog into our daily lifes - trips to the park, the ball park, playing in the yard, walks around the block, vacationing at state parks that are pet friendly - this is our life ... and I can see us fitting a labradoodle into that.

Ok - so please guys - hit me with some thoughts, opinions and advice - I would love to hear it!!

Oh - one more thing - what about a Goldendoodle?? Should I consider that as well?

Whew! I just previewed this post - it's long! If you are still reading this far - thank you!!!!

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there is no guarantee that a labradoodle will not cause allergy problems, you would need to test the puppy around your son before you made a decision. As far as a rescue, I would not only check to see if it bothers your son's asthma- but make absolutely sure that the dog is friendly toward children. There are a lot of rescue dogs that are being re-homed because they played too rough or were aggressive with little kids. I'm not trying to discourage you though- I have two labradoodles and they are amazing, smart, sweet dogs!
Welcome to the forum!

Wowie, you have done your research!

I think that many of your questions can be answered in the archives of this forum because they are asked quite a bit. If you don't find an answer and you want more info, we are happy to address the issues...but there are a lot of posts about children and dogs...of course puppies are more active and have sharp teeth and older dogs come with baggage.

There are several reasons to select a dog from a reputable breeder:

1. If all breeders acted responsibly there would be VERY few dogs in shelters. It is just as much the fault of irresponsible owners that so many dogs are there...good Doodle breeders require that their puppies be returned to the breeder if they can't be kept...that is a pretty good commitment to their puppies, I think.

2. If you trust your breeder you can get lots of valuable information about the puppy, the breeding program and the parents...even to the other dogs in the pedigree. You will have good background info about the pup's health and temperament. You don't get that with a shelter dog. Good breeders want their puppies to have great lives and they will support you when you need them.

3. When a good breeder has older puppies, they will often discount them so that they can place them in good homes but they won't abandon them to shelters, or euthanize them.

4. You pay more up front, yes, but you get a dog that has been bred with good genetics and temperament in mind. They come with a significant health warranty so that if the unthinkable happens and you incur medical expenses, the breeder may reimburse you for those costs, up to the price of the puppy...on the other hand, if you get a shelter dog you pay around $250 or $300 adoption fee and have no health warranty. Likely the pup was not well bred and has an increased chance of genetic conditions that will cost you as much as a quality puppy you have to watch the puppy suffer and sometimes you have to make some really tough decisions.

You asked...and I wanted to be honest with you. I think that it is admirable to rescue dogs...and my heart breaks for those poor dogs in shelters.

There are no good answers when it comes to such tragic decisions, but it boils down to a similar problem you might face if you consider having human babies as opposed to adoption. You weigh the pros and cons and do what is right for your family.

I just wanted to educate you about the pros of finding a good breeder. :wink:

Please take a few minutes to read these two articles, I think that they will be enlightening:


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Great advice has already been given and if I repeat anything anyone else has said...well......then I guess it's super important! :mrgreen:

I understand that there are many dogs out there that need homes and should be adopted. I had considered this as well before I got Bogart. But, when I thought of what I needed Bogart for and how important it was to start him off with me as I puppy, it all changed my mind. Of course, we feel for the dogs that need homes and it's so sad....but your situation is the same, although different, then mine.
I have some illnesses and Bogart is Service Dog and therapy dog. I don't know that I could have trained a "rehome" to be what he is.
On your have a large family and small children. I think you need to raise a puppy to fit your lifestyle too.

Kirama/Jac is correct on the fact that there are never any definites on allergies. Through a breeder, correct me if I'm wrong, but if it didn't work out, they would take the pup back.
Next, since you have a 2 year old..and the 2 boys are young as well, you really do want to be sure the dog has no issues, so being raised around kids, the pup will adapt and not be aggressive in any way. Some rehomed dogs don't always do well with children.

The cost of all of this mentioned above is well worth the price.
I would suggest saving up so that you have a guarantee. Bogart was "cheaper" because he was black! :roll: That was fine with me as I wanted a black one we lucked out as the other colors of choclolate or blonde were in higher demand.
Research your breeders and go and visit! Try not to be captivated by the first litter you see. Ask questions and see what the mom and pop lines are. See if you can meet the mom & pop as we did! That was so cool! Rosie and Louie had the best dispositions! Ergo, Bogart does as well. "possible" future DIL lives in THE WOODLANDS............maybe not to far from you??
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Hey you guys - thanks so much for the replies! You guys are really backing up my thoughts - and helping alleviate some of the guilt I feel for not being as keen on a rehomed/rescue dog as my husband is.

I just read the first of the articles Jac sent me... that was exactly what I needed - all that information concentrated into one place. Thank you!! I'll share it with my DH.

I was aware about the allergies - and seems like I also read that my sons asthma might not react to a puppy regardless??? Is that true? His asthma is really well controlled - he's never even had an attack - but I don't want to tempt fate!!

Yes, the main reason I'd prefer a puppy is because of our children. If they were older - I'd definitely consider an older dog... but with them being so young - and us not having a dog before - I really don't want to take any chances. It just seems a puppy would be the best bet!! And, it goes without saying that I will find a responsible breeder - I've looked at some websites/blogs of some different breeders that are amazing - so I'm going to start narrowing it down and figuring out who is near me etc etc...

Color - I too have noticed the black ones sometimes cost a wee bit less! I would LOVE a fair colored puppy - but my kids - basically they are going to totally freak over the first puppy they see. I think I'm not going to set myself up for any one particular thing - I am more interested in making sure it's a good fit for the kids than the color in the long run.... and I'm NOT taking the kids to see any puppies until I've narrowed it down...

In a perfect world, I'd love to appear Christmas Eve with a squirmy bundle of puppyness tied up in a red bow - lol - wouldn't that make some good pictures?? But, realistically I will have trouble timing that just perfectly - or waiting that long!! We'll see - lol.

Lindamarie - I'm about 30 mins from The Woodlands - this is where I go for "fancy" shopping - lol!

Ok, I'm getting really worked up over this puppy business. I have so much to think about - gotta get the house ready - make sure the backyard fence is repaired (still a little Hurricane Ike damage) - get my husbands home office puppy friendly (when we are at work/school - he is going to be the puppies best friend - lol - so our new baby will not be alone during the day!!) ... figure out where to put the crate.... have to start researching a puppy class ... and finding some great breeders that are not too far away. But, if I don't stop looking at labradoodles and start working on my resume's - than I'm not going to get hired anywhere!!
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you can go with your husband idea..and adopt a doodle thru the IDOG resorce..the family gets their
doodle and your husband can take pride in rescuing a dog.. :D
About your son's will really just depend on the dog and the trigger for your son's allergies. For instance if he is allergic to fur or dander a Doodle might be a good choice, but if he is allergic to saliva, it won't make much of a difference for him.
Also, many people think that dogs cause allergies when in reality the problem is not the dog but what the dog carries in on his coat when he is outside playing. Dust, pollen and even dander from other animals can be brought in on thier furry coats. So, brushing regularly will probably help a lot.

My husband is severly allergic and has suffered from Asthma since boyhood (before they even knew what Asthma was!) And yet he has no negative reaction to our dogs...and we have a few. His sister, on the other hand, does have allergies around our dogs...but personally I think it is more the dust in my home, because of the dogs...since I work feverishly to clean before she comes, it stirs up the dust!

If you get a puppy through a breeder, they will work with you to have your son spend some time with the puppy in order for you to make a better determination.

You could see if you can find a retired breeding Doodle...they are usually raised in a home, sometimes around children, and are often well trained. It isn't easy to find them, you have to be in the right place, right time...

About getting a puppy for Christmas...that is a rough time to add a puppy...too much action and visitors and is best if you wrap puppy items and pictures and then pick the puppy up a few days after Christmas....better for the puppy, anyway.

Good luck in your job search!
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Jac - thanks for the allergy tips... Marshall's asthma - I really don't know what triggers it - he's never truly had an asthma attack - it's just coughing, coughing - and it used to be a LOT - but as he gets older - it happens less and less.... but I did notice a trigger once at my in-laws - we slept in the upstairs room - which smells like cat pee - and her cat stays up there a lot - and he definitely had a reaction to that when we stayed the night in that room. But, other than that - there hasn't been any obvious triggers - so I'm really hoping the dog doesn't cause an issue - I personally have allergies and I'm allergic to cats - but not dogs - so maybe it's hereditary - lol.

I would be interested in a retired breeding doodle that has been around children... but I doubt that would come my way!

I am definitely excited about the puppy to be! I put a link to a few breeders pages on my kids computer so they could look at the puppies. I just wish we could get it this summer instead of having to wait until the fall - so we could be home for training etc... but that isn't going to happen because I need to be working again to be able to afford it!! That was a really good tip about Christmas not being the greatest time - we have a lot of company over Christams - so maybe picking up the puppy a couple days after is a good idea - or maybe even earlier - like over Thanksgiving break?? Honestly - I can't wait to add this puppy to our lives - I know it will be a lot of work at first - training and all - but from everything I have read - it will be well worth it. :)

Ohhh - maybe I will get a sign on bonus at my new job - and we could use that to buy the puppy ....!! Oh wait - I am going to need that to buy a new wardrobe to go to work in. Crud. LOL! I got a major bite today on the job front - just need to follow up - so maybe I'll be hired soon. :)

Hey - if anyone has any breeder suggestions in the Houston area - within driving distance - I would love a PM with some info! :)
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You have ME all excited here for YOU!! :mrgreen:
I am looking forward to hearing about your search and ultimate new addition! :D
I agree with your choice for a puppy at this time in your life. When your kids are older you can consider adding a canine sibling from a rescue. I've volunteered for both major doodle rescue organizations, and while nothing is carved in stone, because rescue dogs all come with baggage, rescue groups are reluctant to adopt to first time dog owners as well as a home with children under the age of 5.
With that being said, unfortunately I've helped rehome about 20 doodles in the past year that are between the ages of 6 months and 14 months!!!!! That is usually because the family is really not prepared for all the work and daily consistent training you need to give to a puppy!!!
" They may look like beautiful stuffed animals but they actually grow up to be real dogs!!!"
Some families think the puppy will grow up and learn by himself how to act, while others think they can "send away" a doggie to a training course and he will come back fully trained!!! NOT SO.... The puppy NEEDS guidelines and consistant loving feedback all day and night from his own humans.... you absolutely need to attend at least one if not more obedience courses with the pup, these classes are really for the humans afterall.
Sorry I'm rambling but this is my favorite "soapbox" issue.
And if you can't afford a puppy from a very reputable breeder, wait until you have the funds. You really do get what you pay for!! You will be so much happier. And Jac is "right on" when she says that if all puppies came from reputable breeders we wouldn't need dog shelters!! That is SO TRUE!!

Liz Syring
VP Doodle Rescue Collective
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Liz, thanks for your input. I could not agree with you more!
In my contract I have a "no euthanasia" clause (except to releive immediate suffering) because we have a return policy...and I actually had an applicant ask to remove that clause..."because if she doesn't get trained and bites someone, we might need to put her down." ACK!! I told them that they needed to find a breeder who's moral code was more in line with theirs.
Training is a lifetime event. So often people take a class and think that is all they need. Wrong! I speak from experience because we did not continue to work with our first two dogs and, while they ended up being fantastic dogs, we had our share of destruction and bad behavior...and the dogs were NOT to blame...we were!
Training is so easy and fun, and it only takes 15 minutes a day and continual awareness, but many new families don't want to do it. Then they blame the dog. :(
I am so grateful to you for rescuing these poor misplaced animals...they were victims of their breeding and placement circumstances but they have so much love to give to the right families.
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Hey y'all - Liz - thank you SO much for the reassurance that we are doing the right thing by getting a puppy. With everything I've read - and you are right - we could maybe consider a rescue when the kids are a bit older... I do feel some guilt from that - but even my husband - after all the reading and such that we have done lately - I think he's coming around to see that this is the best choice for us. He just gets kind of green about the cost - but - lol - see - this is the one of the perks of me going back to work right?? Ha ha!

I am with you guys on the training thing - I have ZERO experience in training a puppy. This is exactly why we have not even considered it until now. We've been really thinking about getting a dog for well over a year - I've given it a LOT of thought as to how everything will work and if we are ready ... I wouldn't even consider it if I wasn't sure we were ready! I have fielded the children's pleas for a dog for years - "everyone has a dog but us mom!" - yes yes yes - but not us. Sometimes it wasn't easy to say no when there is a little cage full of adorable puppies at the feed store - lol - but I have dragged children out the door in tears a couple of times because I knew we couldn't handle it! I'm just now feeling like it's something we are ready for. We SO badly want a dog - even me - although the kids have thought I was a heartless mean mommy for years - but the truth is - I want one too - but I want to do it right. :)

SO rest assured y'all - we will be on top of the puppy training thing!! And as far as the money and a reputable breeder - I have a tendency to get what I want one way or the other - lol - even my husband sighed the other day and said "We are going to get one of those expensive dogs aren't we?" We will be able to afford it - we have a long list of things we want to do when I go back to work ... it's just a matter of putting them in order of what comes first, second, third and right now the puppy is pretty high up there!!

Ok - so now what about breeders???!! Should I go post in the other forum about finding a breeder?? Do most reputable breeders have websites??? Can you guys suggest someone for me in Texas/Houston area? The ones I know about in my area all have websites that I've found through searching online... my plan is to just start watching for when they start posting about litters due in the fall - and then put a deposit down when I find the right match ... I want a standard size labradoodle... what price range do you guys think I should expect to be in? 1500 - or 2000++ ?? I know it depends on a lot of things.
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Well, you want to be very careful. Large states often have puppy mills so you do want to research your breeder.

By all means do not give in to puppies at the feed store... As tempting as it is, and as cute as they are...they are likely not going to be good, healthy dogs. I would bet my last dollar that they are puppy mill dogs. You don't want to support an operation like that, believe me.

I will send you a PM to help you learn how to find reputable breeders in your area...but you might want to read this: ... reeder.pdf If I have already given it to you...sorry! :oops: But it does answer some of the questions in your post...

Just saw your post, though it is from a while back, I was going to ask if you'd gotten your Labradoodle? It's great to see a family doing their research to get the type of dog they're looking for. And it's great to hear that you want your dog as a companion, not a backyard ornament. A lot of care and love goes into raising our puppies, and home placement is something we try to be careful about. We recently had a litter of Labradoodle puppies. If you're interested, our website is Thank you, and good luck!!
I realize this is an old post, but if anyone out there is reading it for thoughts and ideas as sometimes I do with old posts, I wanted to add something....

Please, please, please note that doodles are energetic dogs. They require exercise. If you are not an outdoors person, do not like to walk (3 x a day, 365 days a year....think about it!), do not have time to walk, do not like the cold/rain/snow (name the weather element in your town), are too busy with family/work obligations, do not get a doodle. Actually think twice about getting any dog, but seriously if you think your young kids are going to take this on, it worries me.

Just had to add this to this thread as my neighbor thought standing at her back door and letting her dog out on a six foot lead constituted an actual walk. It was heartbreaking to see. The dog, obviously frustrated, became a problem and of course eventually was given away. Nice dog too. Gotten for the kids of course, who never walked him......
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Very well said ...much thought should go into this endeavor, as the pup will be a big part of the family for many years...
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