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 Pet Companion, Therapy and Service Dogs
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Therapy, Service, and Companion Dogs- What is the difference?

Posted by on September 20, 2019 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Please read the blog post on August 30, 2019 prior to this one to learn how more about our temperament testing.

A solid beta is the ideal dog for therapy. This is a dog that tests with mainly 4’s and has a moderate energy level. A dog that test’s with mainly 4’s can have a higher energy level and still do well as a therapy dog. A therapy dog can also test with a mixture of 3’s and 4’s as long as they present with a low to moderate energy level and they have a type A owner. A beta-omega with high to moderate energy can also be a great therapy dog, but socialization is the key to this guy. He will need to make new encounters with other people quite often before he is 16 weeks old.

A service dog is quite different than a therapy dog. A service dog needs a higher energy level and should have a good instinctual work ethic. An ideal service dog should test with a mixture of 3’s and 4’s and have a moderate to high energy level. They all should “fetch” during the temperament testing. A service dog potential can also have scores of mainly 3’s but a moderate to lower energy should be present. A solid beta (one that tests with mainly 4’s) with a high energy can also be a great service dog. These personality types are work minded, smart and wanting to help their person. They develop deep bonds with their owners and have a drive to assist. Goldendoodles do amazingly well as service dogs because they possess the whit, statue, temperament and right energy to do the job well.

A companion dog is a dog that does not work, as a service dog or therapy dog. Not because they wouldn’t be good at it, but mainly because they are providing only companionship as a pet, rather than usefulness by doing specific tasks. Many of the miniatures are used only for the pleasure of their company. They are friendly, reliable, trustworthy, and well-rounded. They are stable in most situations and environments, particularly with children, elderly, and the disabled, and they are consistent with that which is required to perform as a trained service and therapy dog.

Grooming Your Doodle

Posted by on September 16, 2019 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

As a breeder of both poodles and goldendoodles, I have also become an expert of their coats and what it takes to maintain them. I have learned through countless shavings and hours of mat removing that it is VERY important for you to know how to tackle their coats. If you want to keep a longer doodle coat, you need to expect and prepare for daily home maintenance, especially if the coat gets wet. This includes brushing AND combing, every SINGLE day. It also includes a grooming every 6-8 weeks. So in this blog, I will help you understand the importance of coat maintenance.


Brushing is the first step in coat maintenance. Using a slicker brush is the fastest way to break up matting. However it does not remove the mat. The mat is like a parasite, it does not want to leave its host and will hang on at any cost. So just brushing is not going to remove it. The top coat may seem mat-free while the root of the coat is completely matted. But, he feels so soft. Yes, it’s true the coat does feel soft after a good slicker brushing, but feel down by the skin, you will feel a thicker chunkier clump of fur, this is the mat. Go ahead and try to get it with the slicker brush…it won’t release. Because the slicker brush is only designed to break it up enough for your most powerful tool…the comb.


Combing is a MUST, You must do it. The comb gets to the heart of the mat. It is your “parasite” remover. The mat cannot remain with the proper use of the comb. When used properly, a comb will remove the mat and your goldendoodle will be restored to a soft flowing coat. The secret to using a comb effectively is how you use it. You must go all the way from the root to the tip.


Extreme caution should be taken here. FIRST make sure that prior to bathing that you have brushed and combed your doodle. DO NOT BATHE if you have not done this. Remember in the opening paragraph…“especially if the coat gets wet.” Water is not the friend to your doodle’s coat. It is one CAUSE if not the main cause for mats. Water allows the hair to clump together. Which allows the coat to get entangled.

Bathing Tip: Bathe every 3-4 weeks. Unless your doodle decides to get dirty in between baths. It is important that a dog’s own PH levels and oils return to his coat and bathing too often can disturb the balance.


A doodle’s coat is definitely a coat that requires conditioner. If you are home bathing, I would recommend that you check out or FAQ page and look at FAQ #12. Here you will find the conditioner that I recommend for a doodle’s coat. It is so very important because it helps with the tangles that will occur after a good cleansing bath.


A goldendoodle, as well as a poodle, as well as a human being sheds. It happens to all of us. Shedding is a fact of nature. The amount of shedding and how each mammal sheds is different. The poodle sheds more like a human, the hair is not typically seen unless you are brushing or washing. Since the poodle has a curly coat, this means that their hair sheds into their coat. This also goes for the majority of doodles. Especially the ones that have more poodle in their genetics. Like the F1b and the F1bb. So like a human, if their hair is not brushed daily it will tangle. Like a human if you never brushed your hair your hair would mat. A doodle sheds into their coat. They need a daily brushing/combing.


BUT… I’m too busy. I’m tired at the end of the day. Do I really need to brush him every single day? Depends. It depends upon your doodle’s coat. Your groomer will help you with this. She will advise you as to how often it should be brushed and combed. More often than not, a daily brushing/combing is recommended. Puppy coats change and your doodle’s coat will become his adult coat around six months of age. Some coats can get away with brushing/combing it every three days. But why not just make it part of your routine? Like brushing your teeth. There is one exception for the daily brushing or every three day brushing (depending upon coat of course) and that is water. ALWAYS wait for the coat to dry and then always brush the area that the water soaked.


Your doodle’s coat may look brushed out and flowing. So you take him into your groomer and are proud of your brushing/combing skills. But alas, your groomer says, I’m sorry but I will have to shave Maxx down this time. He has too many mats that I cannot remove safely. You don’t believe it! How? How can his coat flow freely in the breeze and yet have hazardous mats?! It happens. A doodle’s coat is very thick. If you are not combing the root, you are missing mats. If you feel lumps in your doodle’s coat, yet his top coat is flowing, your doodle has a skin mats. If you cannot see your doodle’s skin in one area but can see it in another your doodle has a severe skin mat. These are very hard to remove, so a groomer will shave your beloved doodle.


Water is so vital in helping to maintain a soft, manageable doodle coat. Water, shampoo and conditioner keeps it clean from debris and dirt, but water can be a hazard too. If your doodle’s coat gets wet unplanned or unintended, matting can and will occur if you do not handle it properly. If your doodle’s coat gets wet, pat or towel squeeze it dry. NEVER rub it dry. Towel rubbing is another cause for matting. You can also allow it to air dry. After it dries, it MUST be brushed and combed. Period. Things like heavy dew in the morning potty break, a sudden unexpected rain storm, plunging into a lake, river, pool, etc. all call for a good brushing/combing after the coat dries.


A doodle’s coat is definitely a coat that requires conditioner. If you are home bathing, I would recommend that you check out or FAQ page and look at FAQ #12. Here you will find the conditioner that I recommend for a doodle’s coat. It is so very important because it helps with the tangles that will occur after a good cleansing bathe.

Bathing Tips: Brush, comb, shampoo, condition, and squeeze towel or air dry, brush and comb.


The comb is my tool of choice. It is the ultimate mat buster. I have been grooming for over 30 years now and I have a ton of experiences with mats. I do not use the slicker brush first, I use the comb. However for my clients, I will always recommend using a slicker first, then the comb. It is easier on the dog especially if you are inexperienced with mat removal. I have groomed all types of dogs. Some are entirely more sensitive to the grooming experience, than others. If a mat is extremely thick and close to the skin, a groomer will shave your doodle because mats can be very difficult to remove. Many are just too close to the skin to remove with a comb safely and shaving is in order. The best way to avoid a shaving by the groomer is to keep your doodle brushed and combed.

Combing Out A Difficult Mat: Use the tip of the comb to reach in a mat and help to break it up. Hold the mat at the base and put the tip of the comb as close to the base as possible. Begin moving in a short picking motion Make sure you help ease the pain of removal but holding the mat firmly as you use the comb to break it up. You can also use a pair of sharp scissors opened wide to “cut” into the mat. Do not do this if the mat is too close to the skin and you cannot pinch it in your fingers. Mat too close to the skin are extremely painful to remove safely and you can injure your dog.


Ears: Your doodle’s ears EASILY mat. The ears can get mats very close to the ear skin. Be particularly watchful to the back and inside of the ears. A slicker brush followed by the comb is the best and easiest way to remove tough mats here. Normally dogs are not extremely sensitive with their ears, but there are exceptions to the rules.

Beard: for the obviously reason this area mats. Your doodle uses his mouth for eating, playing, and drinking, so because of the constant use and water exposure, this is an area that you MUST brush daily. This area is sometimes sensitive and sometimes not, this just depend upon your doodle.

Neck: Your doodle’s neck especially under the ears, and under the beard will mat. This is a semi sensitive area for your doodle. Just depends about the severity of the mat and if you are doing regular brushing, this should not be too terribly bad.

Rear End: Because a doodle bites at their rear from time to time, this area can mat easily. This area is comb country for sure! This area is sensitive to most dogs.

Under Front Legs: VERY SENSITIVE area. This area mats because it is often over looked and the hairs here are rubbed together due to walk, running etc. Make sure you check this area often. A slicker bush will usually keep this area mat free if brushed often. This area is hard to shave because it is technically your doodle’s arm pit.

Belly/Inner Thigh: Like the rear end, a dog will lick his belly. I always shave this area for my dogs. It just keeps those tiny knots from forming and creating a painful combing experience. A slicker bush will usually keep this area mat free if brushed often. I recommend keeping this area shaved or cut very short.

Tail: Those happy go lucky doodles and their tail wagging! Yep, if not brushed regularly the tail can get very matted! Thankfully they are not as sensitive about their tails as they are their bellies, inner thighs, and under front of legs.


For the benefit to you and your doodle, I recommend having your doodles clipped in a very short coat during the summer months. Since I live in the south, I will clip them in their summer coat beginning in April. They will get their summer clipping every 6-8 weeks. The last summer coat clip is in September. This not only keeps them cooler, it keeps me from having to brush/comb out their full coat daily and it allows for my doodle to stay cooler.

After September they get to have their full coat. I do have a lot of brushing/combing that I do every other day from October - March (Since, I am experienced at grooming so I can skip a day). I will do a sanitation clip in the winter, but I rarely bathe or do a full clip. Their sanitation clipping is every 6-8 weeks, but their touch up (feet and head) can go every 8-10 weeks. If I have been vigilant with their brushing/combing I do not clip their full coat until April. Then I remove their full body coat, leaving their beard, head, ears, and tail.

Puppyhood: Hang On, This Too Shall Pass!

Posted by on September 6, 2019 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

You just got your new puppy home! This is such an exciting time. He is perfect. You love him. Then he won’t stop peeing on your floor, ok he’s a puppy I can train that! Your enthusiasm and excitement overrides pee plus THIS is expected. As you are gaining control and making good progress on his house training, some other really bad things start to happen and now you are questioning…why did I think I can raise a puppy?

He begins to pick on the cat, then he eats a shoe, destroys the couch, gets into the garbage A LOT, tp’s your house, tears up your VERY expensive oriental rug and eats the walls?! What have I gotten myself into! I love him and now…I don’t like him much. He won’t listen. As you look at him with toilet paper hanging out of his mouth, you may be inclined out of pure frustration to yell… “The next time you decided to decorate my house with toilet paper, or destroy my wall, or eat my rug, you will be taken to the pound! Do you hear me?! I don’t even know who you are anymore!”

Believe it or not this has been MY experience with all of my puppies in some form or another. It has always been my fault. I did not take the time to train. I am very thankful that I have the knowledge on how to correct it properly and how to address it. I want to pass that on to you. First, thing you must know is that your "vibe" is VERY apparent to your dog. They read it like we read body language. It is instinctual for them. They have to "smell" the weakest prey in order to survive. Although they have been domesticated they still have instincts. So your energy that you present to your puppy is important. Puppies need structure like children. If left to themselves they will take advantage of their alone time.

They are like toddlers always trying to push their limits. Thankfully I have dog experience and when I start to see a puppy present with one of the above problems, it is my job as his human caretaker to first figure out why and second to help him solve it. I think that is why I love working with dogs so much. Each is an individual and each is a puzzle to be solved. I love a good challenge. An important part of training your new puppy is the way a problem is addressed and delivered. This is the key to opening the lock on your canine’s mind. Some take harsher discipline methods, while others need a gentle hand of guidance, but they ALL need direction, a calm state of mind, and the right level of assertiveness. Like children, they like and need to know what is expected out of them. What is their job or role in your pack/family?


Help I am bored! This is a dog’s cry for help, he wants to use his mind in a different way but if you don’t help him to engage in learning, then boredom sets in. Yes, I have/had a puppy that did this… actually two. One is currently the LOVE of my life, Kizzy. Her mother was the other one. So this must have been some kind of genetic thing? Maybe. But I solved the problem pretty quickly and it was ALL MY fault that they did this as puppies in the first place. They ate my walls when I didn’t make time for them. When I didn’t give them something to do, but rather expected them to behave like an adult dog. They were bored, and I hadn’t exercised them or engaged them enough to let their body and mind want to rest. I was busy…so my walls suffered. Once I gave them their 45 minute walks, engaged them with training for impulse control (more about that later), and gave them an alternate chewing object, they stopped. I also would like to add that I placed Sriracha sauce on the areas that they were chewing on too. Once a dog begins a bad habit it is hard for them to break it. So, I made the association with the wall and the sauce. I took them to the place that they destroyed, allowed them to smell the sauce, and then placed a tiny bit on the tip of their tongue…Yuck and ouch! I then placed it on my walls (I’ve done this with wood furniture too). Ha! Sweet revenge, and very effective. The Sriracha trick works with any object that you would rather not replace and that you can wash the sauce off once it has done its job of deterring further chewing.

Yep, they can be terrors even the most docile of them can do naughty things. But there is hope…don’t give up yet!


Help me I’m frustration. So any aggressive rug destruction, toilet paper or paper tearing, any ripping apart including your couch cushions and even digging can be out of frustration or lack of impulse control. How do you help a frustrated dog? This can be a little trickier. This requires some effort on your part. You have got to teach the puppy that being calm gets the reward and being naughty doesn’t. Okay great, so how do I stop my rug from being destroyed? It is time to train your puppy to wait. Wait at the door, no rushing out, wait for dinner, no diving right in, wait for a treat without jumping and barking, silence in the crate and he can get out, and wait to be asked out of the crate before rushing out. Calm behavior gets a fun game of fetch if toy motivated or if food motivated a high end treat like chicken or hot dogs. Every time your dog shows even the slightest form of self-control or patience REWARD it! Immediately at first and then begin spreading the time to increase patience and self-control. A dog is quite opportunistic. A dog’s view on life is "carpe diem" seize the day! When opportunity knocks, answer the door or bark at it! When a squirrel crosses the road, a dog will immediately make a mad dash to catch it before it gets out of his reach. A dog watches you intently as you are eating and some food drops on the floor, guess what? He'll most likely gobble it up before you even know you dropped it. You are spinning in circles to find it, but all you see is your dog licking his lips. These are instinctual impulse controls problems. We have much work to do, BUT it can be so rewarding when you see progress being made.


You have guests over for dinner and your dog greets them WAY too enthusiastically, he keeps jumping up like a kangaroo! Goodness. Nobody wants to deal with that and it is so embarrassing! Not only is he jumping but he is also barking excitedly. Well again he has impulse control. He is just so excited to meet someone new and that overrides any good behavior and manners that he may show you on a day to day basis. If he does this to you too when you come home, it is time to get this under control. Teaching to control excitement with impulse control can be a daunting task at first, but again when you see progress it is SO very rewarding. Being consistent is important but what is the most important for an overenthusiastic pooch is draining his energy. This can be done with a good 45 minute walk or a 20 minute fetch session in the back yard. In any case with an overly enthusiastic dog, energy draining is a must. So this will also take some time on your behalf.

Important tip: to gain the quickest results you must remain calm and assertive when you begin your training.

So let’s talk about the commands of sit, stay, place and NO and GO! When teaching a dog these commands it is best to do so after your dog has been exercised. Once they learn them these can be handy tools for you and good reminders on how to give people respect and space. Sit and stay go hand and hand. Teach sit first then begin to add stay. As your dog masters sit, the stay command can be added for longer durations of time with you moving away one step at a time. Your backyard play sessions can incorporate the sit and stay commands with his favorite fetch toy. Just remember you only throw the ball for a dog that is showing a calm, controlled temperament. Every time your dog shows excitement, do not give him what he wants. Wait him out and this is a good time to teach him “NO!”

If he cannot control his excitement, say “NO!” and turn away from him (be assertive and calm when you say it). Block any jumping with a knee or a turning away. The NO! command means, I will no longer engage with you in this state of mind. The No! command is also great in keeping him from eating the garbage, the cat, the plant, chewing shoes. NO! is a wonderful word and your dog needs to learn that NO! means to stop the behavior immediately or playtime and interaction time is over. Dogs hate being ignored. They are social creatures and only want to engage with you so removing yourself socially from them makes them use their thinking side of the brain rather than their reactatory side. The GO! command is a way to send your dog away from you before he gets too excited. Thus eliminating or preventing the excitement level to rise. This is a little trickier. It takes the ability to read your dog’s reaction or anticipate it prior to the behavior. This GO! command is also good for sending your dog away from the area you don’t want him to be in. Let’s say that he has crossed the line from the living room to the kitchen and the kitchen is not where he is allowed to be. So send him with GO! He will leave and cross the line to his permitted area. In order to teach this, you will need to walk forward as you point him out of the area to the place you want him to be. If he tries to go around you, block him. You do not need to say anything except “Go!”. There is also the place command. This command is a time out. This command only works after he has mastered the stay. When you send him to his place it is important to always place him there and release him with a high quality treat. You will select a spot in the house usually a dog bed or crate, and tell him “Place!” once he settles in it, reward him with a treat. Make him stay there until you release him. You teach place the same way as you would teach "Go!"

The point to all these commands is to teach your dog impulse control and that a calm quiet disposition is rewarded rather than an excited one. Hey human, that goes for you too! Being calm and assertive while you train is the best example you can give while training and it will get results much much faster! These five commands done in a calm state of mind and an assertive tone are the keys to living successfully with an energetic dog. Always remember to release his energy with exercise first.

Temperament Matching...The Essence of a Lasting Friendship

Posted by on August 30, 2019 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

My goal in this blog is to explain why we temperament test our goldendoodles and how to help you find your perfect match. Here is a short disclaimer that we want to make known and want you to understand prior to reading this blog: Temperament testing may be predictive and should not be construed as absolute given an animal's behavior ultimately depends upon internal, external, and environmental factors. And, the extent to which nature vs nuture influence and effect the ultimate behavioral outcome irrespective of preliminary testing results from a given point in time in the animal's life.

The goldendoodle may not look like his ancestor the wolf, but if you trace their lineages far enough back in time all dogs are descended from wolves. It has been said that the first wolves that befriended man had a friendly temperament. There was a study done in Russia involving foxes. This experiment bred foxes who were comfortable getting close to humans. Researchers discovered that these foxes were also good at picking up on human social cues. The majority of wolves would have been fearful and aggressive towards humans. It is their nature, but some had a friendlier disposition, which may have given them access to human hunters and their prey. Making these wolves opportunists, smart, friendly and clever. No one knows how man and wolf became friends. In my version of the first man/wolf friendship, I believe man’s first encounter with a wolf must have been with a lone wolf. I think even the strongest man would be intimidated by a pack of wolves. I also believe that this man and this lone wolf had similar temperaments. They both must have been opportunists, the man seeing the wolf as a hunting partner, the wolf seeing the man as an easy way to get a fast meal. Both were smart and clever to pair up this way. Both had to show friendship and trust to each other. The old adage that opposites attract, did not apply then nor does it apply now to our human/canine relationships.


Thankfully dogs have been domesticated for a very long time. Domestication has made the dog more even-tempered, friendly and loyal. Even the domesticated alpha temperaments are able to live peacefully with his matching human. The temperament testing allows us to guide our puppy buyers to the right match for them. We do temperament testing because we want to MATCH puppies with people. Just like people, some dogs are hard to live with, and just like people, some dogs are easy to live with. That of course depends on how we match up. We want our clients to have the dog that will bring them life-long joy. So when they do all the naughty dog things... like eating your shoes or tearing up a rug, no worries, a little disruption in the friendship is nothing, he’s your BFF! Bahaha…it will happen. My favorite dog Kizzy does a lot of gross things…A LOT… But because she is my perfect match, I over look half eaten moles placed lovingly on my kitchen floor and my trash cans being plundered. She’s a dog. She’s my dog, she’s my best friend and I love her! Shout out for all you first time dog owners out there, this is the first dog I have ever owned that brought me half eaten dead animals. Please do not panic and think this is a common thing among dogs because it is not! I have had many dogs in my lifetime and this is the first one who has ever done this. Although my cats have left them for me at the backdoor. FYI: Trash plundering is common though. Moving on…


If you are a type A personality, confident, authoritative, in charge and love a good challenge, an alpha or an alpha-beta would be a great match. Especially if you have dog experience. These types of temperaments in dogs thrive with authority and discipline. The bond created is like no other. An alpha would drag their person from a burning building and alert your neighbors. Think of Rin Tin Tin. A beta-omega would crumple under your personality even when you speak gently to him. They would submissive pee and cower. Side note: Not all dogs that cower have been beaten. Dogs can “feel” your temperament. It is a beta-omega’s expression of submissiveness. They are telling you they will never challenge your authority. It would be very hard for a type A personality to train a beta-omega.


Betas are the middle-of-the-road dogs. They can be matched with both type A’s and type B’s, basically anyone. They can tolerate a weaker personality leading them. As long as you give them direction and guidance, they can tolerate a strong personality as long as you pack your patience and inside voice. They will happily follow you. Think of Lassie. Any dog whether alpha or omega appreciates leadership and guidance. However the “no” command for an alpha is VERY different from an omega. Just like children, some need harsher discipline than others. The beta can handle any way their person delivers the “no” command. They are very tolerate of your mistakes. They are just very chill, dogs.


If you are a type B personality, calm, relaxed, very soft spoken and you do not like confrontation and conflict, I would highly recommend a beta-omega. They would do well with a softer touch. They would follow a quiet leader and a softer hand would create a strong and lasting bond. The beta-omega may lack the confidence and drive to pull you from the burning building like an alpha, but they would never leave you alone. Think of Toto. Type B's should never choose an alpha. An alpha would over-power you or protect you. They would either not respect your leadership or will think that you are weak and need protecting. So biting is inevitable with this match. Your alpha will either bite you or bite someone else or both. Sad but true, most dogs euthanized in animal shelters are alphas raised by type B/ no dog experience personalities.


Someone with dog experience trumps all the typical match-ups. Someone who has a good understanding of dogs whether type A or type B can be matched with any dog. They can pick and choose the battles they want to take. Someone with a type A personality who understands dogs and wants to live with an easy going sweet and compliant dog can choose a beta-omega and do well with him. They know how to help the puppy build his confidence and then the pup becomes more beta than omega in his hands. A type B personality may want a challenge and as long as they have dog experience, a type B personality can rewardingly witness an alpha dog gladly hand over his position to him.


I grew up with dogs. I know them. I have owned all types within my lifetime and I have learned how to train and adapt to each temperament. I am getting older so when I was young, I would choose an alpha every time. I’m a type A an Aries. I am strong-willed and I LOVE a good challenge. Now that I have gotten older, an alpha exhausts me. I want a dog that will be more compliant without having to put forth much effort, so now my favorite personalities or temperaments are alpha-betas. They are the life of the party! Since I have a strong personality, they easily comply with my authority and are just so much fun to train. Kizzy is an alpha-beta. My perfect match. She is confident, outgoing, and friendly. She doesn’t need me and gives me my space. She was a breeze to train because she respects me and wants to please me. Can you tell that I LOVE a good alpha-beta?


So now it’s up to you to evaluate yourself. Who are you? Are you a type A or a type B? If you are a type A, have dog experience, and want a fun challenge, then choose an alpha-beta. If you are a type B without dog experience, you most definitely want a beta-omega. Betas are a good match too but some (those with higher energy levels) may be a bit of challenge for you, and you may have to work out some kinks, but it will come. Like I said they are forgiving. I would caution a type A without dog experience from getting a beta-omega as their first dog. You will be very frustrated with the training and the reactions you get from your pup. As I would also caution a type B with little dog experience from getting an alpha-beta as their first dog. You will most likely be returning him to us and we would have a very difficult time trying to bring him back to his natural state.


The Volhard Temperament testing should be used as a guide to let new puppy owners know what type of temperament their puppies may grow to be as adult dogs. Although this is a very good measurement of temperament at this point in their lives, there is another factor that can change a puppy’s natural tendencies. It is the nurture effect. It is the way you raise your puppy. Because a dog has befriended man, their domestication has given many a desire to please, but always remember that you are dealing with an animal and just like humans, they can be influenced by the environment that they are raised in. We by no means will proclaim that the Volhard temperament testing is an absolute or final determination of adult temperament. We just like to use it as a guide to help you be matched better with the cute puppies that steal your heart.

Crate Training...The Den Effect

Posted by on August 23, 2019 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Dogs have a natural instinct to be in a den. Let's think about the wolf for a moment, the ancestor and originator of our beloved pet dogs. Where do they sleep? They are always on the move hunting for their next meal, but when they bed down for the night they will either find a den or a cave. Some will take the time to dig an area in an open space to rest in. Denning is natural, instinctual, and comforting. A crate is our pet dog's den. They love it.


First I must say, the crate is not a punishment tool. It is a housetraining tool. A safe place. Do you utmost best to not leave your puppy for more than 4 hours in the crate during the day. Be consistent with your schedule. Keep his area in your home limited to one area until he has proven to understand this is his living area. Now let's move on to why I think a crate is an amazing way to train a puppy.


Our goldendoodles have had a "den" since their sixth week of age. We allow them open access to their crate during the day and almost daily they will be caught napping in a puppy pile in their crate. They love the safety it brings. At night their crate door is closed. We have spent two weeks getting up at night when a puppy cries. Being crated with their litter mates is comforting and when a puppy cries at night on our watch, they need to potty. By the time they are ready to go home, our puppies are sleeping though the night. We have a feeding schedule that we recommend and will send home to all our clients to help with the transition. Our puppies will come to you crate trained. YAY...but there is a catch, as stated before they are crated with their litter mates. So although they have a sense of well-being and safety in the crate, they are not alone. Dogs are pack animals. So being alone for the first time in life can be very disturbing to a puppy. It takes about two nights to adjust.


So let's talk about that adjustment period and how to help him get through it. You will need a few things for his crate. A crate cover (you can use a blanket or towel) a soft matt to lay on, and a microwave heating pad. This heat is a source of comfort. Simply place it in the microwave for approximately five minutes, then place under your pet's bedding. It will provide up to ten hours of safe, comforting warmth. These three things are great for the first few days of alone crate adjustment. Always cover his bed the first few days you put him in his crate. Make sure you place his crate near but not in the same room as you. In a place where he cannot see you moving about at night. If you have an ensuite bathroom, do not place him in there. If he sees you up, he will want to be up. Use common sense the first weeks with you.


Next you will need to be firm and set rules. You're now your puppy's pack. Whether it is just you or you have a big family, everyone in the family is part of your puppy's pack. You need to make sure your puppy knows his position in his new pack, bottom! I will blog about this another time, but for now, the crate is a good way to establish his position and set rules.

The first and most important rule is to never let your puppy train you. This is NOT good. A puppy's cry is meant to enlist a rescuer, entice an intervention, and erupt guilt. This pitiful cry means he wants something that he is not getting. Be brave and trust me on this... IGNORE him! His mother did at the appropriate times. Our dames are GREAT moms they nurse and clean the puppies very well, but there are times when they need a break. They will come out from their whelping box and hang out with us. I have seen the same mom ignore her crying puppies after she has left them warm, fed, and pottied to run to them when she hears them crying. She instinctively knows when they need her and when they are crying wolf. You will too, eventually.


When they are being placed in a crate for the first time without their littermates, they will cry wolf. It is VERY ok for him to cry as long as he has been walked, fed, and give water. If these needs have been met, let him cry it out. Side note and big no no, don't keep food or water in his crate. My best advice is to wear your puppy out with playtime prior to placing him in his crate. This will provoke him to want to sleep rather than get out and play. When you do hear his procuring cry (it will happen). Don't give in to him. Allow him to comfort himself. In the long run, following these basic rules will help him learn more about his position in the pack (so important), and will help him have more security in comforting himself.


How can you be brave and firm? Here is how to help your new puppy adjust to his alone time. First ignore him. But with puppies as with toddlers they will throw a temper tantrum when they don't get what they want. While kids will throw themselves on the floor, thrash about and wail, puppies will also wail and some will even bite at their crate door during a puppy temper tantrum.


How do you handle a puppy temper tantrum? You have to address it. There are levels of addressing. The first thing to do is tell him "NO!" Firmly and leave. Miraculously this works...sometimes. But not usually. So stand by the door and wait. If you hear him again, address it immediately and tell him "NO!" Do this a few more times and if you see that he is not going to give it up, tap his crate or if using a wire crate enlist a jar of pennies...just something with enough sound to distract or break him out of it. Many puppies give up at this point after a few minutes and fall asleep. Do this as many times as he needs to settle himself down. Always leave the room each time you address it or if the crate is covered with a cover, stand very quietly by. Always be prepared to act quickly and swiftly to his cry. He will learn when you say "NO!" You mean it. "No!" will mean to be quiet in his crate. You can translate this to barking too. A good firm soild "No!" is your best word with a dog, It teaches limits.Dogs like to know their limits.

Within a few days/nights your puppy will take to his crate very easily and quietly (unless you happen to have vocal dog...they will usually take a little longer to adjust). Crate training provides a number of benefits to you and to your puppy. A crate that is sized properly (read more about size below) encourages a pup's instinct not to mess where he sleeps, helping to teach him bladder and bowel control and thus helping with housebreaking.


The maximum you want to leave him over night in his crate is six hours at first. Eventually as he ages he can stay up to 8 hours. When he can stay in his crate without complaining and he has proven some good house manners, you can move him out of his crate and into your bed. Kizzy is my sleeping buddy and has been ever since she was 4 months of age. When she proved to me that I could trust her to "hold it" through the night even when I got up. If you have to get up during the night for any reason, you can test out your puppy's ability to "hold it". Once he is established and is quiet in his crate you can then bring him into the same room with you. When he watches you get up and then goes back to sleep without complaining, then he is ready to be brought into your bed. Expect a little complaining when you first bring him to your room because this will be something new. There is really no set time frame as to when you can bring him into your room. I would suggest that he gets established sleeping through the night quietly in his crate for at least a week, then try bringing him in.


Depending upon the size of goldendoodle you are getting will depend upon the crate size.

PM MINI: A miniature (10-20lbs) goldendoodle will need one appropriate for a mini poodle, cocker spaniel, beagle etc. Look for sizes that are 15-20 inches in height. Try not to get anything under 15 inches in height...14.5 is fine.

PM SMALL MEDIUM: A small medium (20-30lbs) goldendoodle will need a crate the size of an Australian Shepherd, Border collie, or bull dog. Look for sizes that are 19-22 inches in height. This can vary from manufactor to manufactor so if you find a wire crate that is 24 inches and their next size is 36 inches then that 24 inch is the best size for a small medium.

PM LARGE MEDIUM: A large medium (35-55lbs) would need the size of a small golden retriever or springer spaniel. Look for sizes that are 24-36 inches in height. Try not to get anything over 42 inches in height. 42 inches will be more than enough space.


A good house training rule during the day is to leave your puppy’s crate in an area that you can place a gate and limit his roaming, This place need to be limited on size and safe for mistakes to be made. If you do not have an area like a small bathroom or laundry area, a playpen is the next best route. Playpens are a perfect way to give him a little freedom and are a great place to put down pee pads to protect your floor and give him a place to "go". I would encourage you also get a pee pad training pad holder. Puppies are notorious for destroying their pee pads if they the time and opportunity. You can always try stick to the floor pee pads too.

For expanded play area ideas, if located in a small bathroom, move to a kitchen area or screened in patio. Eventually when your puppy does not soil his play area, you can open the entire house to him. A puppy’s bladder develops fully at 6 months, so let him out often to establish that outside is the correct place to eliminate.


Setting a timer for one hour on your phone is a great way to remember to let him out. You can increase the timer as he ages.


Please do not leave him in a playpen if you leave your home. If you are going to be gone for a full day, and have no other option, then yes. But if you have someone who can check on him, the crate (up to 4 hours during the day) is the safest place when you are away from the house.

Anal Glands...The Dirty Truth

Posted by on August 16, 2019 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Recently, I had this wonderfully gross discussion with one of our puppy clients in an email about anal glands. She wrote: Ok, give me this scoop. My sister in law just told me with small dogs there are anal gland issues that have to be expressed or they drag their butt and make your house smell awful? Is there truth to this?

So I gave her the scoop on poop...the kind that hangs out in the anal glands and creates the wonderful potent introductory smell for dogs. This smell is why dogs sniff each other’s rear ends. It is the equivalent of a hand shake for humans. Anal glands are important to the dog world and some dog owners will never have to deal with them while others will be plagued by them.

Just to be clear here, butt dragging is not only associated with small breeds. It can be any dog, but it especially effects long hair breeds.

There are three reasons why a dog develops anal gland problems. Fecal contamination, rectal prolapse, and tapeworms. All three causes can be disturbing to deal with because it makes you have to deal with your dog’s anus. I know, I's not your dog’s best side. But if you are the type of owner that loves to have your dog lick your face (I have seen some let them lick their lips and inside their mouths!!!), you need to read this and maybe reconsider. If your best friend develops an anal gland problem, he won't always scoot to relieve the irritation...are you getting the point? Do you know what I mean? Okay let me lay it out there for you...he will lick his butt and then lick your face or mouth. A dog doesn't use critical thinking, they just love you! So you dog licking lovers (I am not one of them) need to deal with this issue promptly!


A bout of diarrhea can leave your bestie dehydrated, weak, and with a messy, matted bottom. This will cause your dog's anal glands to be itchy and thus he will drag his butt and lick it. Long haired dogs especially need to have this area kept free from fecal debris. It is important to pay attention to this area when your dog has soft stools or diarrhea. Left untreated it can cause impacted, infected, and irritated anal glands. So as long as fecal contamination hasn't led to infection, treatment can be as easy as trimming away dirty hair (be very careful to avoid cutting the skin). After that, you need to clean the area with warm water. How can you avoid the problem with long haired breeds? ALWAYS make sure that you keep your dog groomed and in between groomings take him in for a sanitation clip or you can do this yourself. Keeping your dog groomed properly helps prevent him from developing serious anal gland issues.


This is when part of the rectum the last part of the large intestines protrude through the anus. A rectal prolapse can happen to your buddy after severe diarrhea or from straining with constipation or a blocked anus due to fecal debris. If you see an elongated, cylindrical mass sticking out from your dog's bottom, call your vet right away. This is a sign of rectal prolapse. Did I mention that it is important to make sure that rear end is free from fecal debris?

ALL dogs will at some point in their lives but especially during puppyhood will have unexplained and unexpected GI issues. Which includes vomiting and diarrhea. SIDE NOTE: if had together, you want to get your best bud into the vet. This is not something to ignore. Dogs typically do not have GI problems unless they have a foreign object, a twisted gut, or an intestinal infection. But if you are only seeing diarrhea, you can rest assured that your pooch has eaten something that does not agree with his stomach. Dogs are notorious for eating things they shouldn't and if you have a dog that likes food, over-eating can cause an issue too. UGH...dogs! If you could only reason with them!


These boogers are a less common reason your dog may start scooting, but let's address it. They are completely preventable. Just make sure Fido doesn't get a flea infestation. Dogs get tapeworms by swallowing worm-infested fleas. And while scooting can be one sign of tapeworms, the most common sign is the appearance of tiny, rice-like tapeworm segments around your dog's anus. Tapeworms are relatively easy to treat with a simple dose of oral or injectable medication. Did I mention that you need to keep an eye out on your pup’s anus?


A fairly common cause of reoccurring impacted anal glands is constipation. The best cure for constipation is feeding a well-balanced and healthy diet. We have never had a problem with constipation using Victor and we do not get a kick back from promoting this dog food. So this is out of a true and proven experience with this brand. If your dog experiences constipation regardless of the food you are using adding a teaspoon of pumpkin daily to your dog's food will help ease mild cases of it. It also helps to add it when they are experiencing diarrhea too! Pumpkin is an amazing gourd!

In conclusion if your best friend develops anal gland issues and you are seeing excessive scooting then it is time for a good expression. Take him to the vet to have it done initially. Warning DO NOT express the anal glands unless the anal gland get infected or impacted. It is best to leave the anal glands alone unless they need attention. You will know when your dog is scooting and you see the anus red and raised. Sadly, once you mess with your dog's anal glands it can be the beginning of a long and frustrating anal gland problem. This is when you have to take preventative action so once there is an anal gland expression done and your dog ends up having reoccurring problems, it is time to employ your groomer. Ask your groomer to make sure that every time they groom your dog they express their anal glands. If your dog does develop an anal gland issue, taking him/her to the groomer every 6-8 weeks and having the anal glands expressed will 95% of the time eliminate any scooting and self-expression and provide the much needed relief they are seeking.

So that is the down and dirty secrets of dog ownership. But don't be discouraged because these things are controllable and even if they happen the joy your dog brings to you is worth the tiny bits of the nasty cleanup they occasionally need.