Keeping Your Labradoodle Happy

Keeping Your Labradoodle Happy
15 Dec 2015

Recent years have seen a rise in the breeding of two lines of pedigree dogs together. This has brought us the Cockerpoo (Cocker Spaniel x Poodle), the Cavipoo (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel x poodle), the Jug (Jack Russell terrier x pug) and of course the Labradoodle (Labrador x Poodle).

Whilst these new ‘breeds’ are not recognized by the Kennel Club, they do have the advantage of diluting out inherited health problems that tend to run through specific breeds. They also make for some very cute dogs that have wonderful temperaments.

The Labradoodle

The Labradoodle seems to magically blend what is best about both breeds. Without exception they seem to have reliable temperaments, love people, and live to please. Another great thing is that because poodles come in different sizes, you can also get ‘small’ labradoodles that can fit in better to city living.

However, both lines of ancestors (Labradors and Poodles) were originally working dogs, which mean Labradoodles are intelligent and love a mental challenge.

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Mental Stimulation for Labradoodles

Any dog that is bored or frustrated may divert his untapped energy and get up to mischief. This might show itself as disobedience in the park, or destructive tendencies at home. None of this behaviour is malicious, but the result of a clever dog seeking some way to amuse himself.

If you own a Labradoodle, then make sure he gets plenty of exercise and that he also is mentally stimulated. Here are some suggestions to help you do this:

  • Reward based training: The Labrador part of the Labradoodle loves food, so these are highly food-motivated dogs which makes training so much easier. Spend time each day doing reward-based training. As he masters the basics, notch things up a gear and teach him to do tricks.
  • Basic Instincts: Labradoodles are descended from hunting and retrieving dogs, so incorporate games of fetch into your training and play. As well as basic retrieving of a ball, test your dog to see if he has a talent for following scents. To do this, use a T-shirt that has your scent on it, drag it a short distance along the ground, and get your dog to retrieve it. Gradually drag the T-shirt further, and eventually out of sight, so that the dog has to sniff it out to retrieve it.
  • Puzzle Play: Make your dog work for his dinner by using a puzzle feeder. Not only does it slow up his eating (Labradors can be very greedy!) but he has to solve a problem to get access to the food.
  • Swimming: If you have access to a safe body of water, let your dog retrieve a ball from a pool or pond (although not one containing blue-green algae). This fulfils his natural instinct to plunge into water, and helps him be happy.

Labradoodles make adorable pets and are great family dogs. But for all the pleasure and enjoyment the dog gives you, make sure you give back by satisfying his need to run around and solve puzzles.

Keeping your Labradoodle Happy

Want to Know More about the Labradoodle?

Vital Statistics

  • Height: From 14 – 24 inches (35 to 61 cm)
  • Weight: 15 – 65 lbs (6.8 – 29.5 kg) –sometimes more!
  • Life expectancy: 10 15 years
  • Coat: A shaggy, curly coat that requires combing, brushing, and clipping.

Special Considerations

Health: Labradoodles are a blend of two purebred dogs. Although the genes of one breed help to dilute those of the other, because the dog carries a significant amount of purebred genes, the dog can still be more at risk of some health disorders. These include:

  • Joint problems such as hip or elbow dysplasia (from the Labrador side)
  • Heart problems (from the poodle side)
  • Dental disease (poodle side)
  • Grass seeds getting stuck in the curly coat

Temperament: The Labradoodle is a shining model of what a happy, good-natured dog should be. These dogs are almost without exception friendly, affectionate, and eager to please. They make delightful companions and are an ideal family dog.

However, the Labradoodle is an energetic dog and best suited to an active owner who can provide plenty of exercise. Also, the coat can grow overly long and become tangled, unless groomed daily and clipped regularly.

 

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Pippa Elliott

Pippa Elliott, BVMS MRCVS, is a veterinarian with 27-years' experience in companion animal practice. Pippa's first job was in a practice by the sea, where she acquired her first (of many) waif-and-stray, a Dockyard Cat Rescue kitten, called Skate. She then worked for the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Sick Animals) which is a national charity that provides veterinary care for the animals of owners with limited finance. Currently Pippa works in a Veterinary Clinic in UK.