Being a doodle owner isn’t easy—especially as a first-time pet parent. It comes with challenges, frustrations, and sometimes grief. No matter what you’re going through, you can find comfort in the fact that there’s always others who have been through the same thing and are usually willing to help you in whatever way they can.
One of my favorite things about doodle owners is that we’re all part of a community and ready to support each other. Whether that community is around town or online, explicit or unspoken, it’s always present in one shape or form. I especially love the community that is growing around Popular Doodle on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as well as in our Pup Pack email newsletter.
Featured here are 50 experienced doodle owners and the one piece of advice they wish they had known earlier. Whether you’re a new doodle owner or have years of experience under your belt, there’s a lot we can learn from each other! Take this advice to heart and, if you found it valuable like I did, feel free to pass it on!
Don’t smother them with attention every time they cry—especially at night. Teach them to self settle. You’ll have a less anxious dog later on in life.
– Natalie Jane
Set aside time and a space (whether you have a yard or need to go to a nearby park) to exercise every day. A tired dog is a good dog.
– Jenna Nicholes
Keep all bags off the ground! It’s like having a toddler in the house. Our Bubbles went through my handbag and ate nine Nurofen tablets. She survived after three nights in hospital and a $2,700 vet bill. Lesson learned.
– Melissa Verner Green
Buy pet health insurance. We have a six-month-old and just went through what was either a snake bite or bee sting. $1,300 emergency vet bill. We have Healthy Paws pet insurance.
– Karen Wolod Goldstein
Be patient! Potty training doesn’t happen in a night or a week. It takes months to get it right.
– Rachel Larose
Introduce grooming once your pup is fully vaccinated. Start with having a face, feet, belly, and sanitary trim along with a bath and blow-dry to get your puppy used to the grooming process. Your puppy needs to know that grooming is a way of life, not a punishment.
– Jess Burns
A puppy should only be walked five minutes for every month of life. So if puppy is three months old a walk should be fifteen minutes twice a day. Play has no limitation.
– Betty Barker Gordon
Don’t invite them into your bed or anywhere else you don’t want them to have access to for the duration of their life span with you.
– Lynn Swan
Always buckle your pup in the backseat. Sudden stops and front air bags can severely injure even the best co-pilot.
– Cindy O’Dell Boling
I found mental stimulation to be much more calming than physical. Not that exercise isn’t important but getting that doodle brain focused is key.
– Kim Reedy
Learn what human foods are dangerous to dogs.
– Josh Krasner
Once doodles get enough exercise, they are all about the snuggles! Otherwise, they are wild and crazy all evening.
– Jennifer Wallace Chapman
Most doodle owners have no idea what they are getting into with these type of dogs and keeping their coats groomed on a regular basis. The problem is these dogs have a two-cost system. While they look groomed on the top coat, the bottom coat could be so matted that it is pinching their skin. This makes your doodle uncomfortable or even in pain when this happens. If you think a groomer is going to charge you the regular price of grooming and take hours trying to get all the matting out, think again! That is why your doodle will come out of the shop with a shave that looks like the picture below. We learned the hard way and now we use certain grooming tools and take our time combing out our dood’s hair through both coats.
– Michelle Kimbrough
Research throughly before buying a pup. There are so many puppy mill breeders with zero concerns over their health.
– Helen Purcell
Professional training is a must unless you know how to train a dog. My doodle was my first ever puppy at 47 years young. As you can see I just love and admire her. She has been the greatest addition to our family unit. My teen boys love her to pieces. They are such loving, people dogs with the best personalities!
– Cheryl Morris Medved
A few of those child gates and pet corrals are very helping when they are little and into everything. We slowly removed or opened the barriers to introduce Bonnie to the rest of the house. Now we just have one gate to keep her in the kitchen while we are gone. She just turned one so maybe in another year or so she can have full time run of the house.
– Sarah Nursall Murdick
If they are an F1, there is a 50% chance of them being a shedder. Mine sheds very fine hair.
– Lori Eddinger Wilkins
Develop a thick skin for AKC and purebred dog people who sometimes like to make disparaging comments like “they are just a mutt”. Come up with a little one-liner you can use to convey it doesn’t matter to you and you love your “mutt” anyway.
– Sara Engle Anderson
Doodles don’t always understanding how rambunctious they can be around people. If you have small children, doodles don’t always know where their booty-shakes go which can easily and unwittingly knock down a smaller person. Let’s not even get started on their happy tails! A good duster, maybe, but an accidentally whip on the face for sure!
– Jacque Hancock
Beware of the first couple of years with your doodle puppy. They WILL grow out of the naughty phase and be the BEST fur baby and companion you could ever ask for!
– Misti Rice
Teach them from the very beginning not to jump on people!
– Rebecca Johnson
Socialize them while they’re young with people of all ages as well as other dogs!
– Jordan Vetter
Doodles will help you meet people. They attract a LOT of attention and you will find yourself constantly saying “thank you” for all of the compliments you will receive about them. I barely got a nod when pushing my children in the stroller, but my doodles turn LOTS of heads!
– Lanna Marinaccio Lebet
Start training classes ASAP. Eight weeks old isn’t too early! They are wicked smart dogs!
– Anne Hester Peters
Doodles hate to be alone. They are people dogs. If you’re gone a lot, get a cat. When you get a doodle pup, be prepared for devoting lots of time to them.
– Kelley Ragan
Expose your doodle to many different experiences. That being said, make sure that you also have a routine to make your doodle feel safe.
– Nancy Nolan
Take some time off work if needed to help them adjust to their new home!
– Zandra Kingsbury
We take our doodle to doggy day care and it has helped with socialization in addition to expending lots of her energy.
– Christy Young Goza
Your time is one of the most important things you can give your doodle. Be loving and consistent when they are a puppy and they will become the best dog you will ever fall in love with.
– Betsy Barber Shoaf
Routine, routine, routine. They are so smart and pick things up easily—even bad habits if shown only once!
– Anna Ha
Practice leaving them alone from a young age. Ten minutes, a half hour, an hour, etc. They are known for having anxiety, so getting them used to you going to work all day is great for their mental health. Also get a camera to watch them. I got a small USB WiFi camera for about $30.
– Lana Dennis
I suggest you reach out to a breed-specific Facebook group and meet up with other Doodle owners to pick their brains on what behaviors to expect and the best ways to correct them. They have tried and tested experience and usually valuable advice.
– Tania Terry
Patience and persistence is the key to changing these determined doodles into your dream dog.
– Teri Phillips
Be prepared for them to be extremely high-energy as a puppy. They will need lots of opportunities to get out their boundless energy. Once they’re older and more mature, they will still need a good amount of exercise (physical and mental), but the impulse control they gain with maturity will mean a more flexible schedule for you.
– Kim Seastrom
Keep anything that is valuable, important, or something you just don’t want chewed up out of sight and put away because these little boogers are very sneaky and I know mine will chew up anything he can get his hands on!
– Gabby McCarty
Get them used to being touched—ears, tail, feet, beard, etc. This will save a lot of tears later on at the groomers and vets!
– Sharon Singleton
Be the boss. They will push boundaries all the time. Training is a must and you have to be consistent. Mia’s is two years old and she has been a wild child at times because we weren’t the boss at first and everyone in the family wasn’t on the same page. We learned from our mistakes.
– Diahann Pruitt
An absolute lifesaver for me was getting a doggy door. I know not everyone can use them, but I started with an insert in my sliding glass door and now have one in the wall of my kitchen that leads to the backyard!
– Susan Calkins Loth
Have consistent boundaries. Ask yourself, “Do I want my adult doing this behavior?” It may be cute as a puppy, but allowing, laughing, making it a game, etc. will encourage bad adult dog behavior. An example of this is running out the front door. Make your puppy wait at the door until they are invited out every time you walk through. Stealing socks, shoes, and food is also unacceptable. Humans need to ‘claim’ items and spaces by teaching the command, ‘MINE!’ and/or ‘LEAVE IT!’
– Beth Lynn Luukkonen Kern
If you travel like I do, find a consistent pet sitter. Daisy is super attached to “mommy” and gets out of sorts (not eating, sad looking out the window) waiting for my return. As soon as she is comfortable with her sitter, she is far more relaxed while I am gone.
– Marlene Lamb
Patience and consistency are key! Dogs need a schedule but sometimes it takes them a while to get used to it so don’t give up!
– Kelsey Evans
It doesn’t take long for matting to start, especially if you use a full harness or doggy clothes!
– Lisa Smith-Oliver
Exercise their minds as well as their bodies. They are capable of understanding so much and crave mental stimulation.
– Jaclyn Terese
Teach them at least a few tricks. They love the ability to communicate with you in this manner. Ivy became so much happier once she learned tricks.
– Karen Word
Never assume something is too big to be swallowed!
– Lisa Colliver
Watch them like a hawk. Anytime they start sniffing the floor take them outside. Be sure to use keywords like “potty” and throw a party/celebration when they go outside. Get special treats only for when they go potty so they register “I got this awesome treat by doing this, I’m going to do it again.” Never let them wonder around by themselves until they have it down. And whatever you do, do not get angry when they have an accident inside! Puppies LOVE attention in any form they can get it. If you raise your voice at something naughty, they will continue to do it because they got a reaction. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it!
– Madison Dahl
Clean up accidents inside with anti-enzymatic cleaner. Using standard cleaning products will make the area appear clean to humans, but your pupper’s sensitive nose will still pick up the scent which encourages them to go again in that spot.
– Breanna Kolb
Be sure to take them to a good vet within first 3 days after you get them for full check-up. I was so glad I did. The vet caught an issue right away and treatment was pretty easy. If I waited could have been bad for my pup.
– Kathleen Hahn
Check and clean their ears often! They start to smell and can become infected if not cleaned properly!
– Karley Curtis
They grow up soooo fast. Don’t wish away any moment! The mouthing and sharp teeth will be gone in no time. Just love everything about them every day. Enjoy the journey.
– Donna Anderson