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After losing our beloved border collie over Thanksgiving, we didn't think we'd be ready for another dog for quite a while. But the house just had no rhythm without Cici -- and my waist size started to balloon up without my workout buddy to motivate me to get out there and do the Nordic walking that helps my pants stay loose.

So we started researching dogs and were intrigued by the poodle mixes, in part due to reduced shedding and in part because they are a hybrid of two of the most family-friendly dogs around. After having a border collie, one of the most intense working dogs ever, we are looking forward to a dog without some of the more determined instincts that a BC imposes upon a family.

We scoured resuces and humane societies, but also located a very reputable breeder within a couple of hours' drive from us that has an adolescent labradoodle they are rehoming for its original family. They are holding her for us until we arrive on Saturday. The adolescent seems the way to go since we have a 16-month-old daughter and a cat, and this dog has been socialized with both.

I guess I was hoping for any tips folks had for assessing the dog at that first meeting. I am a fan of Patricia McConnell's books and radio show http://www.dogsbestfriendtraining.com/index.php, and plan to steal a few of her licks on this -- as well as some of the methods used to assess the personality of shelter dogs.

Any specific tips for Labradoodles? Any wisdom to impart a noob like myself and my wife? Any good questions to ask the breeder apart from the obvious?
 

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I can't offer you any advice from personal experience as I'm also a first time Labradoodle owner (our pup is only 4 months old). But I can relate to losing a beloved dog and feeling the emptiness it leaves behind. And I also went from "difficult dogs" (Siberian Huskies) to Labs and now to a doodle. I hope the transition will be as great for you as it is for me. My doodle is as robust as any dog I've owned, plus smart and affectionate.

I've adopted a few "adolescent" dogs in my time and a lot can be learned just by looking them in the eye. I had one female husky who couldn't look at you directly and cowered. I later surmised that she had been beaten by her previous owner. I had the extreme opposite case in a male husky who was quite aggressive and wanted to be the defiant "alpha male". He soon learned that there were 2 males higher up the ladder than him who let him know his place. So just look objectively beyond the cuteness of the dog for any "red flag" behaviors.

When I saw my doodle pup for the first time, he was not the least bit shy, nervous or aggressive. He had good energy level and a playful attitude. He could look me right in the eye without flinching. He had no problem being touched, whether on the head, abdomen, legs or tail. I looked for coat and skin problems and also looked at his backside and genitals to see any signs of parasites. Take your time.
 

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When I am choosing a pup I sit right down on the floor with them and let them come to me. This way I find out how they're going to interact (or not) with me personally. I always figure temperament and personality are my first priorities so I want to get a real feel for that right off the top.

I want to be able to pet and cuddle with them, give their tummy a scratch, and if they get too rough, see how they respond to my pushing them off and correcting them. How they respond to my way of handling them is far more important to me than whether or not they do it... as training will correct any issues if they're willing and able to take correction in a positive way.

The rest is pretty much obvious text book stuff.
I love when my prospective puppy buyers take this approach as well. I think it's got to be hard for pups to have strangers come in and stand over them and be expected to give a fair demonstration of how they are.
 

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cheesedoodle so sorry to hear of losing your beloved BC and doodles are quite intelligent as BC's too.

For me, temperament is #1 and i also listen to my gut feeling/instinct.

I also make physical contact with a dog, seeing their reactions to being touched, hugged and more.

I have 3 doodles now, a 18mo, 13 mos and 5.5mo old doodles.
All are quite easy going, sweet, comical, but all have a fair amount of independence too but a willingness to please and follow me around like a daily parade. Oh they're smart and like a BC will outsmart you 1st chance they get ahhahahhaaaaaaaaa


good luck and update us either way.
 

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Hi :)

We recently adopted an adolescent (13 month) doodle (Kirby) who had to be rehomed. Annmarie (MaxandMe) was fostering Kirby between his homes...so she was able to really observe him for a week and get a good idea of his personality. I would ask the breeder 1) why the dog was given up 2) if she observed any aggression in the dog 3) is the dog spayed? 4) if something doesn't work out with the dog, what would happen (would she take the doodle back?)? 5) health history (any major health problems) 6) is the origin of the doodle known (i.e. from a breeder, puppy mill, pet store, etc) - did the doodle come with any health guarantee?

Ok that's enough :) Good luck. Just go with your gut but remember the doodle may be nervous so her real personality may not come out during a single meeting.
 

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Others have you given you some great advice about first meetings. We have an adolescent foster dog right now and I can only add that the first few days will be a bit stressful. You probably won't get a true sense of your dog's personality until he has settled down a bit. The first 48 hours involved alot of pacing and anxiety.

An adolescent will still be a bit of a puppy so be prepared to keep the doodle and the baby separated. They will no doubt love each other but the dog might see the baby as a peer and want to play a bit too rough. In time, you can work this out with training but I wouldn't want the baby to be traumatized by crazy dog jumping. :)

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Deb
 

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wow Leslie that was great advice!!!
i'd like to add something too

ASK about both good and bad/quirky things OR FEARS
as it helps to see if it's a good situation or not for you

kirby was great the 2 weeks we had him ,,,skittish at 1st but setttled right in within days. Leslie and Jerry were wonderful to take him in their home and hearts. they knew his good and quirky habits Beforehand.
Kirby was not good with clippers and strollers....so anyone with small kids wasn't a good fit.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
picture of dog on breeder site ...

Here is a picture of the dog from the breeder site. Obviously, she is a flatter-coated doodle, which is fine with us. The fleecy coats are cool-looking, but our main concerns are temperament and socialization with kids and cats.

Anyone here have labradoodles with this type of coat, and have insights to share?

 

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She looks exactly like our foster doodle, Lucky! Lucky is about 8 months old and very sweet. If this dog doesn't work out, you might want to consider adopting Lucky.

As far as the coat is concerned, Lucky does shed. I haven't been around enough shedding dogs to know how he compares to others though.

Below are pictures of lucky. I'm not sure if looking the same means anything when comparing temperaments. :)





Deb
 

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nice to see some doodle owners in wi :D
 

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I agree with Mike... nice to see more labradoodle folk in our state.
I sold pups to Racine, Appleton, Milwaukee, and Eau Claire, so did my share to help populate here. LOL

It's amazing how many around here have yet to hear of them though.

:shock:
 

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I have two 16 week old pups with similar coats. One (the white female) sheds some and the other (an apricot male) doesn't seem to at all yet. The male has a bit more hair than the female and the one pictured here, but not a lot.
 

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I think it's great that you can see the doodle in an environment in which he/she's comfortable in so that you can get an accurate read on the behavior when it's in "it's" space.

Best of luck in your search!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
PICTURES

Will be looking for lots of advice ... Willow came home with us today, and as you can see, she is very affectionate. We will have some work to do in the area of cats, however. Will be doing some positive reinforcement to make Willow HAPPY when the cat is around ... but right now that is not so much the case on either end of the canine-feline continuum.

Here are some photos ...









Open to any cat socialization tips ...
 

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Ahhhhhhhhhhhh Willow is gorgeous
As far as the cat(s) go let them work it out and they will.
Right now it is adjustment time and eventually they will sniff each other out. Let me know if there are any specific behaviors that you need help with as far as the cats/dog. Denver lives with nine cats so we have been through it all...................
 
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