One Year Puppy Update!

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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.

Rewind to our puppy planning. Around Christmas of 2017, my husband 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.

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 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. My husband 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, we 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 college in the Hudson Valley. We always knew that if we were to ever get a dog her or she would be named after our school or the area. 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 (read more about that here). 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.

Our Goldendoodle | Must Have Puppy Products

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Welcome back! Today, I am talking must-have puppy products. I am sharing five products that we’ve bought for Henry that we can’t live without. If you’re new here, you should also read about Henry’s first day home. Before getting Henry I started a puppy wishlist on Amazon. This helped me prepare and prioritize. It was a lot easier to get carried away with puppy purchases than I thought it would be. To no surprise, I blew my mini puppy budget – whoopsie! At least I now have a bit of an excuse when Amazon orders arrive; “Oh that box? It’s for Henry!”


Although we have not actually purchased a crate yet (we’ve borrowed two) I think it’s an absolute necessity. Henry loves his crate. Using a crate really helped us house train him. It’s also a safe and cozy area that is 100% his space. We even take the crate to my parent’s house when he stays there for the afternoon. As long as he has his crate, we know Henry will calmly settle into his new surroundings. I have a separate blog post all about our house training experience and tips {read it here}. He started in a 24 inch crate and is currently in a 30 inch crate. We think he will probably need a 36 inch crate for good, so that will probably be the size we purchase {update 12/3/19: We did purchase the 36in crate, but ultimately had to also buy Henry the 42in} . If our moms didn’t have extra crates lying around we probably would have went with a 36 inch crate with a divider from the start. The dividers adjust the puppy’s space as he grows and are a much more affordable option than buying multiple crates.

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Puzzle Toy

Henry currently can’t play outside because he doesn’t have all of his vaccines. Although I know it’s best to keep him inside for now, I totally feel bad for him! The poor guy is growing like a weed. I know he can’t wait to get outside and stretch his long legs. There are times that Henry has a ton of puppy energy. We knew we had to find a way to keep him entertained for his first few months indoors. I found this puzzle on Amazon about a week after brining him home. It’s a great way to keep him occupied even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes. I also feel like I am giving his little brain a good challenge {he’s actually a very fast leaner}. As the weeks pass by, he completes the puzzle more quickly. It was really cute to see him progress. In the beginning, he only used his snoot to push the covers. Eventually he realized he could use his paw to move them too.

Activity Ball

To keep his attention longer than the puzzle we bought him a ball that holds dry food. This ball is hands down Henry’s favorite toy. It’s pretty much our favorite toy too because it keeps him running around and occupied for a while. The ball comes apart in three pieces; top, middle disc and bottom. On the bottom you place dry food {we usually do about 5-10 pieces}. Next, you cover it with the disc, twisting it to adjust the size of the hole. Last, you put the top back on. The disc and the top piece have holes in them. As Henry pushes the ball around food slowly falls from the bottom, through the disc hole and eventually through the top hole. Henry loves food and loves chasing this ball around the house. It’s a great toy for indoor exercise.

Safari Comb

My cousins also have a goldendoodle and they recommended that we purchased the Safari comb from Amazon or Chewy. Goldendoodles don’t shed or shed very little, so their coats are prone to matting. I think Henry’s fluffy hair is the cutest and want to keep him that way. To help prevent a horrible trip to the groomer that results in a close shave, I bought this comb. It is really great for combing close to the skin where the hair mats. This comb has about 5 teeth with slightly jagged edges. These edges must be why the comb works so well. The Safari comb is great for de-tangling. I try to comb Henry at least 2x per week. It’s not his favorite, but he’s slowly getting use to it. I’m not sure how much his hair will change, but most of his body doesn’t seem to tangle. The area on his lower back by his tail tends to get the most knotty. Each time I comb him the comb picks up a good amount of hair. I usually try to comb him when he’s sleepy, so he doesn’t fight it. I also really like the Safari double sided brush.

Bitterapple Spray

Overall, Henry is an awesome puppy. He’s been fairly easy to train, has had minimal accidents and picks up on new commands quickly. However, the worst and most difficult characteristic is play bitting. I am pretty sure he thinks everyone is part of his litter! Fortunately, he doesn’t have much interest in chewing our furniture. We are his preferred chew toys. I have watched a lot of training videos on YouTube {Zac George, Ceasar Milan} and with their tips I am slowly seeing some improvement. For the limited house hold objects that he does try to chew, we use the bitter apple spray to deter him. Growing up this stuff didn’t phase my family shih-tzu, but Henry HATES it. I think it’s definitely worth a try if your puppy is in a biting phase.

If you have any puppy product recommendations, please share them in the comments below!


Our Goldendoodle | House Training Tips

Welcome back! This is my second post since we’ve added Henry to our family. Today I want to share the tips that have helped us successfully train our little guy. I was definitely nervous about house training prior to getting a puppy. Growing-up my family had a shih-tzu who wasn’t the best with house training. My parents now have a havanese and he has been very difficult. When we met Henry’s breeder for the first time she told us not to use “potty pads.” She told us to take him right outside and he would learn. With consistency, patience and praise we have had a lot of success house training Henry.

#1 – Designated Potty Place

The day we brought Henry home we took him to his “potty place,” directly from the car. To our surprise he quickly went to the bathroom then we brought him inside. We have consistently taken him to the same area to go to the bathroom. Henry knows that area is for potty and generally goes pretty quickly. He is always on a leash. Early on, we only gave him a few minutes to do his business. If he laid down or started playing we took him inside and tried again in about 15/20 minutes. As soon as his goes, we give him lots of verbal praise {no treats – we don’t want him to start faking us out for snacks}. When he is finished we take him back inside. We want him to learn that at this point in is life, outside is for potty time only.

#2 – Crate Training

If you have done any research on crate training you probably already know that dogs naturally do not want to sleep and potty in the same place. Crate training your puppy will help him hold his bladder until he is able to go in the correct area. The crate should be a safe and cozy place for your pup. We were fortunate that Henry took a liking to his crate from the day he came home. He will go in and out on his own throughout the day to nap. Henry was about 9lbs when we brought him home and started him in a 24 inch wire crate. We borrowed this crate from someone. Otherwise, we would have bought a large crate with a divider. Around 14 weeks and 13-15 lbs, we switched him to a 30 inch wire crate that we borrowed as well. He is growing length-wise faster than he is in weight. We decided to switch him to a bigger crate because he was starting to seem cramped. Although he still had room turn, he always had to lay scrunched up. To this day he has not had a crate accident or cried through the night. Inside his crate we keep a machine washable crate bed, a thin towel and 1-2 toys. The crate is located in his room (aka the ‘puppy area’) right next to our bedroom. We have kept the crate in the same exact spot since day one {consistency}.

#3 – Puppy Area

As many resources state, it’s usually the owner’s fault a new puppy has an accident not the puppy’s. From experience, we could not agree more! We decided it was important to us that we confine Henry to limited area where he had easy access to his crate and his potty place. In our house, we have an room with a door into the backyard. Henry’s potty place is right outside that door. This room was the perfect option for our puppy area.

Henry’s crate is in that room and he has constant view of ‘his door.’ We only take him outside to the bathroom to through this door {consistency}. For about the first two weeks he was home he barely left this room {patience}. When we let him explore he had an accident even though we were watching him like a hawk. This made us realize how small he was in comparison to his new home. By taking him out of his puppy area we set him up for failure. He was too far from ‘his door’ and easily confused in what seemed like a giant house. Until we knew he was able to hold it longer, we kept him in ‘his room’ unless we were holding him.

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#4 – The Schedule

For the first two weeks, we wrote down every time Henry went potty, ate or drank. This was helpful for us and Henry. These notes helped us learn a lot about Henry and forced all of us on to a consistent schedule. Within a few days we were able to see a pattern between eating, drinking and potty. We compared day to day notes to see if he made progress and set expectations for the day. During the first two days home Henry peed 14 times before dinner! Henry generally had to pee 20 minutes after drinking water during his first two weeks. As the days when on he was able to stretch this time. We also realized he pooped around the same time 3-4x per day. This all sounds crazy as I type it, but the schedule gradually made the whole situation less stressful. We knew what to expect and when to expect it.

When we took Henry home, the breeder strongly recommend we limited his water the first few days home. She said he had never had is own water bowl and would likely over drink and make a huge mess. It only took one little bowl of water for us to realize that he was OBSESSED with water. Over the first few days we gradually increased the amount of water he drank. We have continued to increase the amount of water he gets each day while still monitoring his bathroom habits. Too much water at once or too frequently almost always results in an accident. Our vet and some sources I read suggest about 1oz of water per pound of puppy. We started using a mason jar that measures out 10 oz . This helps us ensure he is getting enough water each day. Henry is about 14 weeks old and we still do not leave a water bowl down. He would drink an entire bathtub if we let him!

During the night we took total control of Henry’s schedule. We were very consistent. For his first five nights home we set alarms every 2 hours to wake up and take him outside to potty. Almost every time Henry was asleep, but we wanted to make sure we got to him before he could get upset an have an accident. Sleepily we took turns taking him outside with a flashlight. No chit-chat, no play time. Just potty. After about five days, he was always sound asleep when our alarms went off, so we were confident that he could hold it a solid two hours. We were ready to increase our trips to three hours for about another five days. Then we increase to four hours. Within 2.5-3 weeks, Henry was sleeping through the night from about 9pm to 5am. As I write this blog, Henry is about 14 weeks old. He is very sleepy by 7:30/8pm and relaxes in his room. We take him out for the last time before we go to bed between 9pm and 10pm and I am happy to report that he can sleep until at least 6am these days.

# 5- Door Bells

The day after we brought Henry home we put bells on ‘his door.’ In the theory, the puppy will ring the bells to let you know he has to go out. I knew of some friends who had a lot of success with this method. Each time we took Henry out {we still carry him out} we touched his paw to the bells and said, “potty.” He caught on to this within two or three days! Even though he wasn’t doing it consistently, we were impressed he was doing it all all. About two weeks after having him we removed the bells for two or three days. He started playing with the bells constantly. Henry is a pretty quiet pup {unless he knows food or water is coming} so we were having a hard timing knowing when he needed to go out. He occasionally barks or stares at us, but felt bad that we didn’t really know. When we put the bells up for the second time he played with them a lot less. Now he can run from one side of the house to the other to ring the bells on ‘his door,’ when we needs to go out. If he rings the bells shortly after coming back inside we know he just wants to play.

There you have it. My top of tips for successfully house training your pup!


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