One Year Puppy Update!

About one year ago we brought home our F1b goldendoodle, Henry! He has been a handful at times, but we love having him as our dog. We saw his litter the week before we actually took him home and were not sure which puppy would be ours. I had my heart set on a girl pup, but Henry won us both over. I will always remember the day we brought him home. It is one of our most memorable moments during our 1st year of marriage. Becoming puppy paw-rents was kind of a big deal.

Taking Henry home!

Rewind to our puppy planning. Around Christmas of 2017, Mike started throwing around the idea of getting a puppy. Although I had grown up with a dog, I wasn’t really sure I wanted another. Don’t get me wrong, I think dogs are great, but with our busy schedules, I wasn’t sure it would work. We had also recently renovated the majority of our house, so the thought of it being destroyed by a puppy made me cringe. That feeling didn’t last too long because soon enough I was researching puppies.

I knew that if we were going to bring a puppy into our home I wanted to be overly prepared. My research included carefully considering breed {including size, health and temperament}, crate training and house training. I even took it as far as calling local vets and training facilities to get an idea of 1st year expenses. I also asked friends and family if they could recommend any dog walkers. We are fortunate that Henry now has the best dog walker ever! She walks him every weekday and it is so comforting to know that he is getting extra love and play time.

Henry’s first 4th of July

I loosely narrowed my search down to three breeds; goldendoodles, cockapoos and wheaten terriers. We were hoping to find a medium sized dog that would not shed. We were open to both adoption and breeders, but we went down the adoption route first. I signed up for petfinder.com and joined dozens of local Facebook and Instagram groups. In the spring of 2018, we found a few great dogs that we attempted to adopt, but none worked out. Honestly, the process was a little discouraging because one of the organizations I tried to adopt through made us feel very unworthy and unfit to own a dog. We knew that was far from the truth!

As summer quickly approached, I started to lose hope and thought we would wait until the following year. Mike is a teacher, so were hoping to bring a new dog or puppy home at the start of summer vacation. One of my cousins remembered that a friend of hers had gooldendoodles that happen to be from a local LI breeder. I debated calling for a few days because I just thought a puppy wasn’t in our cards. On my way to a work event, I figured I would just try calling the breeder. I wasn’t sure if she would have any puppies available or if she was still breeding at all. To my surprise, she lived in a nearby town and expected to have puppies in need of homes by the following week. My jaw dropped! After all this time, there was a puppy 1) near by, 2) available and 3) fit our criteria. At the end of that week, Mike and I planned to meet her and her puppies. It all seemed too good to be true, so I figured that once again our puppy plans would unravel, but I was wrong.

The woman we got our dog from was very friendly and kept a tidy home despite raising puppies and a few dogs of her own. There were nine puppies in Henry’s litter. We looked at each other and immediately knew one of them was going to be ours. We decided to leave a deposit and went straight home to start getting our home ready for a puppy. To read more about our puppy planning click here and here. I cannot stress enough how important it is to prepare yourself for bringing a puppy home. It is a big commitment.

We went back to the breeder’s home on a Sunday {it was actually Father’s Day}. There were three puppies left to choose from; 2 boys and 1 girl. It took us a little while to decide, but Henry ultimately won us over. I couldn’t believe after dreaming of a girl puppy, we were taking home our little guy. I’ll never forget having him crying on my lap the whole car ride home. When we got him home, he settled into his new house very quickly.

After being home for about an hour, we knew that we needed to decide on a name for the puppy. My husband and I met while at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. We always knew that if we were to ever get a dog her or she would be named after our school, which is located on the Hudson River. After making a list of potential names from around the campus, we narrowed down our puppy name options to Henry or Hudson. You all know which one we chose.

Now jumping into where we are today. Looking back on the last year, I can’t imagine life without a dog. There’s nothing better than waking up or coming home to a happy pup wagging his tail for you. However, it has not been easy. In fact, there were many times it has been more difficult than we expected. I grew up with a dog, but she was a fraction of Henry’s size. He is currently weighing-in at 43lbs. Most people assume he weighs 15-20lbs more than he does based on his size. When we were looking into getting a puppy, I thought 30lbs would be a good size, but I knew Henry would be bigger. Big dogs have also intimidated me a bit because I grew up with a 15lb shih-tzu. His size has definitely made some of the typical puppy traits like jumping and biting more of a challenge.

Since the day he came home, he’s been very mouthy and thinks his mouth is how he shows affection or gets attention. Honestly, this was not the behavior I expected from a goldendoodle based on everything I’ve read about the breed. We’ve tried many different approaches to correcting this problem, but none have yet to resolve the issue. I have also worked with trainers on correcting the behavior. Mouthing aside, he’s also very tall and can swipe things off our counters. He has also recently started jumping up on guests. To work on this problem, we always keep low calorie treats in our pockets and constantly ask him to “sit.” Henry knows this command, so that is where we try to focus his attention. A trainer told me that focus is actually Henry’s #1 issue – he doesn’t have any! He’s 100% still a work in progress when it comes to obedience.

In addition to a behavioral issues, Henry has had a few health concerns. Henry was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 6 months old. Fortunately, he has responded extremely well to daily joint supplements. Our vet said that joint supplements could be all he needs for a long time. We will focus on keeping him at a healthy weight and active daily. His only limitations are that he is not allowed to go to dog parks (potential rough play could injure him) and he can’t run on concrete. Since taking the joint supplements, his progress has been amazing. He has become very strong and has excellent control when he turns and pivots (disclaimer: I am not a vet or an animal expert).

Henry was also diagnosed with a few dental issues early on. He didn’t show signs of pain or discomfort, but our vet kept a close eye on the development of his teeth. Without getting too much detail, Henry’s bite was off and his dental development was slow. Our regular vet actually sent us to an animal dentist who we saw for check-ups over 3 months. Henry had surgery to remove 2 adult teeth that were misplaced and a few baby teeth that were not falling out on their own. The vet also “opened up” his gum were an adult tooth was impacted which helped it drop down. Since that surgery, he’s been totally fine in the dental department. Now, I am trying to get him used to me brushing his teeth.

On the positive side, Henry took to both house and crate training really well. He hasn’t had an accident in our home since August or September. Overall, he really didn’t have many accidents. We were very focused on following a strict schedule to house train him — and it worked! He also still sleeps in his crate when we’re not home and at night. Even when we’re home, he goes in on his own to nap. Henry picks up on new commands quickly. Most recently we’ve taught him how to “catch” toys or treats and to go to his “spot” (outside bed) and his “bed” (living room bed). I am hoping by the end of this summer I can teach him how to catch a Frisbee. Overall, he’s an extremely happy, goofy pup. He loves to play, run around and snuggle once he tires himself out.

Henry requires a fair amount of exercise which includes at least 1 walk per day and play time in our yard. We also keep a variety of toys for him, including puzzles, for him to have in the house. He has a ton of thick hair, so I comb and brush him every week. The Safari brand brush and comb are my favorites for keeping his coat knot-free. If you want to keep your doodle’s coat on the longer side, it does require a fair amount of upkeep. We take him to the groomer every 6-8 weeks because his hair grows fast and it’s difficult to bathe him at home. I am really happy with our groomer! The first time I brought him in, I showed her pictures of goldendoodle cuts that I liked and a few that I did not. I always ask to keep Henry’s nose/snoot full and round, not trimmed and pointy.

Now that we have Henry, I can’t imagine having a small dog! I love Henry’s size. He is the best snuggler and fun to play with. I am so happy to be Henry’s puppy mama.

If you recently brought home a puppy or are thinking about it, be sure to follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and read my previous puppy blogs! And, if you have any questions about Henry or his training, leave them below.

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