Tag Archives: golden doodle puppy blog

Puppy Love for reals

She had him at woof.


For those of you looking for an update on our Golden Doodle puppy, Brady, he’s a near-perfect pooch. Sure, he requires work and the kids don’t walk and care for him as much as I hoped they would.

But that furry guy greets me at the door every single time I get home with a leg nuzzle and a wagging tail that says “You’re the greatest!”

It never gets old. His love is truly unconditional, a rarity in my house.

He’s friendly, well-behaved, and doesn’t smell bad. He really doesn’t shed, and seems content to eat the same food every day, and spend hours on my cold, slate kitchen floor without a complaint or hint of bitterness . (Although he does much prefer to lay among the pillows on my couch.)

And now’s he’s got a crush on the girl next door.

golden doodle loves wheaton terrier puppy on carpoolcandy.com

The lovely Elsie

She’s an adorable Wheaton Terrier named Elsie who’s just a few months younger than Brady.

Ever since they discovered each other across our chain-link fence, their obsession has grown. When one is out, he/she is searching for the other. Their determination to connect is so intense, they’ve found spots all along the fence to dig holes just deep enough for Elsie (who’s smaller) to escape into our yard.

golden doodle loves wheaton terrier puppy on carpoolcandy.com

This week’s escape hole dug by Elsie

While our neighbors are onboard with the relationship, they’re non too pleased about the endless excavation and have tried many different methods to shore up the shallow spots– to no avail.

golden doodle loves wheaton terrier puppy on carpoolcandy.com

Attempts to block the lovers from clandestine meetings

Despite the neighbors’ Les Miserables quality barricades, those pups burrow their way to being together.

At least a few times a week, Elsie will dig her way over and I’ll see the two dogs barking and chasing each other around with a glee akin to me at a Bloomingdale’s shoe sale.

They run, they wrestle, they snip at their ears.

golden doodle loves wheaton terrier puppy on carpoolcandy.com

They roll around in complete circles like animated cartoon dogs.

golden doodle loves wheaton terrier puppy on carpoolcandy.com

When they get tired they stop and drink water, sharing one bowl, even though there are always two.

golden doodle loves wheaton terrier puppy on carpoolcandy.com

Sometimes they’ll find a shady spot and lay down next to each other glancing around and I swear they’re having some telepathic conversation about me, the sorry state of our yard, or perhaps the high price of good steak these days. Who knows?

They’re so deeply in love, we’ve started referring to them as Romeo and Juliet. golden doodle loves wheaton terrier puppy on carpoolcandy.com

Get a room!!

We don’t always want them escaping into the other yard, and have to corral them back home, but they just can’t stay away. We arrange regular play dates so they get exercise and their flirting fix. (And speaking of fixed, don’t worry, they’ve both been neutered.)

The only down side to this affair is that they get filthy from rolling around in the hay, so to speak. But it’s a small price to pay to see the determination and joy of love blooming through a metal fence.

My Doodle puppy got shaved, and it’s all my fault

You may remember that Wilson and I are new to dog ownership. Neither of us had a dog growing up and our now 11-month-old puppy, Brady, is paying the price of our rookie mistakes.

Golden Doodle on carpoolcandy.com

Brady wearing a backpack at the bus stop

Things have been going well with Brady. He’s sweet, smart, and very motivated by food so he’s well-trained in most areas–although he still likes to chew on stuff. In the last several months he started to expand, like one of those animal-shaped sponge toys that inflates when you add water.

The last time the vet weighed him, he was 56 pounds, but it seemed like 36 of that was his long, beautiful, white hair. I read the puppy care books, and dutifully brushed him out every few weeks. But I never cut his hair.

Like not even one time in the last 9 months since we got him.

He’d been groomed– brushed and blown out like a movie star– but never cut. I often bathed him myself in the tub or kitchen sink, I picked the disgusting goop out of the hair around his eyes, and cleaned out his ears, but scissors were a stranger to his ever-growing canine shape.

Golden doodle groomed on carpoolcandy.com

Brady with a blowout.

It’s hot and I knew his long locks were making him uncomfortable so I made an appointment at the groomer, hoping they’d give him just a trim.

But when the groomer took a close look, under all the white, fluffy hair were thick patches of matted hair, so close to the skin they couldn’t be brushed through or cut without causing him pain and stress and hours of work. Apparently puppy hair falls out and adult hair grows in, kind of like teeth, but when you don’t cut it, all the hair gets twisted together.

He needed to be completely shaved.

You may remember from a previous blog (read it here), that I felt acute anxiety and discomfort when my three boys (ages 8, 11, and 14) wanted a barber to take a razor to their long, lovely tresses. I had similar feelings yesterday when told Brady would be shaved down to the nub.

I felt sick as I drove away from the doggy salon, imagining cartoonish, oversized scissors chopping off his hair as he pleaded and yelped in helpless fear.

Too dramatic?

Maybe, but that was the guilt talking. If only I had taken him in for a cut sooner, or learned how to brush him properly, maybe we could have saved that gorgeous, downy, white coat.

He went from this…..

Golden Doodle on carpoolcandy.com

To this…..

Golden Doodle shaved on carpoolcandy.com

Yeah, almost unrecognizable. Sinead O’Connor in a dog.

Of course he’s still sweet, good-natured, playful Brady. Of course it will grow back. But will it be the same silky, soft texture? Will he have that Shaggy DA look that made people stop in the street to pet him and smile?

I hope so.

We put an old size 6 t-shirt on him to make him feel more safe and prevent him from scratching and biting at his skin because it’s such a close cut.  I’m getting used to how he looks but I still feel pangs of guilt and regret every time I see him.

I’m sure he’s much cooler now in this heat. He stayed outside longer today than he had in a while. He’s also easier to walk, at half the size he used to be. Everyone thought he was a big, fat dog, but really he was just really, really furry….like a giant muppet.

Brady seems perfectly happy with his new coat. The groomer warned he might be agitated and feel vulnerable, but he’s the same energetic, playful puppy.

I guess I’ve gotta get over my Samson-like attachment to hair. I know that our insides are more important than our outsides. But I hate unmet potential, and what’s better than a good hair day?

Things no one tells you when you get a puppy

I thought it was about time I gave you an update on the progress of our six-month-old Golden Doodle puppy, Brady Blue. He’s a good dog:  smart, affectionate, eager to please, and the right balance of mellow and active.

Puppy in a blanket on carpoolcandy.com

But taking care of a dog is hard work.

I’m not surprised by the time and energy it requires. I knew that going in. But as I’ve said, neither Wilson nor I grew up with a dog so there have been some surprises along our puppy path. In just four months, Brady has provided amusement, adventure, worry, and dare I say aggravation?

I was warned by everyone that puppies pee and poop all over your house, chew on shoes, and play rough. I knew he might cry the first night in the crate, he had to be neutered, and would bark loudly.

Bu there were many things you dog people didn’t tell me. Here are just a few:

Puppies are obsessed with toilet paper.    What’s that all about? Brady’s go-to activity is grabbing onto the end of the roll and running as far as possible. Then he rips it to pieces  until it looks like a Homecoming Float threw up on my floor.

Puppy plays with toilet paper on carpoolcandy.com

Who, me?

Puppy eats toilet paper on carpoolcandy.com

Ok, maybe that time it was me.

Puppies love the snow.  One of my favorite experiences as a dog owner was letting Brady off the leash in our back yard after a fresh snow. Watching him race in circles and bound around with the kids was the purest expression of joy I’ve ever seen.

Puppy and boy play in snow on carpoolcandy.com

Puppy and boy play in snow on carpoolcandy.com

Not sure who is happier here. I love Brady’s snow mustache!

Puppies eat pencils and paper.    I expected him to munch on shoes, belts, and backpacks but I thought that was because he was teething and the leather feels good in his mouth. What’s the allure of eating entire pencils and paper? It can’t taste good!  I’ve decided he was a fellow writer in a past life and he’s been sent to inspire me.

Puppies have to wear a cone when they get neutered.    I had seen dogs with cones before but I always thought it was because they were biters or badly behaved. I felt so sad for my poor pooch when he had to walk around with that cone of shame, banging into walls like he was drunk because he had no peripheral vision.  But the second we took it off after the allotted 5 days, he went to town on his wound and we had to put it back on until he was completely healed.

Puppy wears a cone after neutering on carpoolcandy.com

Training classes are a pain in the ass. It’s important to me that Brady understand the rules of our house and maintain some manners so I knew training was a must.  Although we’ve learned a lot, the commitment to attend weekly classes and keep up with practicing skills is yet another thing added to my busy plate. Plus, every family member needs to be on board and since I’m the only one who’s gone to every class, we are not in sync on our message, and the learning is slow.

Puppies are so very naughty.   Much like children, they know exactly when you have your guard down, and they get into trouble quicker than you can say milkbone. I swear I was on the phone for a second when Brady ran upstairs and pooped in my son’s room, or found a stuffed animal and swallowed all its insides, or discovered an abandoned bag of candy and ate every piece, plus the bag.

Puppy jumps on desk on carpoolcandy.com

Brady jumped on my desk to get a clementine he smelled from down below

Their obsession with food makes them do crazy things.    We found this out the hard way. Up until about a week ago, Brady was totally cool with human food. Wilson and I could sit on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and he’d lay next to us without budging. We ate our meals in peace. He has clearly hit the adolescent stage, testing boundaries because this week he jumped up with his front legs on the kitchen counter, grabbed an entire stick of butter and swallowed it whole!  Ick and oh boy.

Puppies eat their puke.  Soon after Brady scarfed down the butter, he puked all over my couch. And then he ate it as my son looked on in horror. When I say Brady doesn’t like to miss a meal, I mean it.

You have to cook for puppies.  Brady puked on and off for the next two days so the vet said I had to give him Pepcid AC, stop his dog food and make him chicken and rice for every meal. That’s right, now I’m cooking two dinners every night.

Puppies carve a spot in your heart you didn’t realize you had.  I don’t mind making two dinners every night because I want Brady to feel better. I was as upset about his illness as I would be about my kids’– maybe even more because he can’t tell me what hurts.

He cuddles on the couch with Wilson and me every night while we watch TV.  He meets each one of us at the door with his jingling collar, wagging tail, and kisses. Unlike a sibling or spouse who can get on your nerves, he’s the family member adored by all, who brings us together to care for him.

I can no longer imagine life without that dumb dog. He brings out the best in all of us. Despite all the surprises, I have no regrets, only gratitude.

Share some of your puppy tales in the comments.

First days of puppyhood: week 1 with Brady

Brady Blue has finally arrived… and so far, he’s lived up to the hype.

After years of our children prodding, pleading and praying, our 8 week old Golden Doodle puppy showed up last weekend, making dreams come true. The breeder drove him and 4 of his siblings from Michigan to their new homes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Wilson and I were away, so some generous friends offered to take him for the first night. (Shout out to the Backers– hope he left only memories and not puddles and teeth marks!)

As I’ve mentioned before, neither Wilson nor I had a dog growing up, so this was a big step and we anticipated a huge adjustment.

Before his arrival, I shook down dozens of friends for insider tips on care and training. I eagerly read the terrific book “Good Owners, Great Dogs,” and spent over an hour perusing the aisles at PetSmart.

1st trip (of many) to Petsmart for new puppy on carpoolcandy.com

1st trip (of many) to load up at Petsmart

The groundwork reminded me of being pregnant the first time, under the illusion that the best gear and thorough research would prepare me for anything.

But new living things– both furry and bald– are unpredictable. You’re never quite ready. But they’re so sweet, innocent, and helpless, your nurturing instincts kick in and you quickly forget what life was like without them.

We all fell in love right away.

10-year-old Aden– who pushed the hardest for the pup– has been extremely attentive and earnest in helping me train him.

New Golden Doodle puppy on carpoolcandy.com

A boy and his dog

Like an infant, the first few days were bliss. He cuddled and slept and smelled good. Every little noise and expression was adorable. By day 3, his personality came out and he became more brave, adventurous, and defiant. Now he’s going up stairs, teething on shoes and doesn’t need to be sitting on my feet all day (although it slowed me down, I loved that ephemeral phase.)

He doesn’t like the crate much. He resists going in and if you can get him in, he cries as soon as you close the door. It hurts to hear him cry so I don’t leave him in there much during the day when I’m home, but he sleeps in the crate near our bed at night.  Wilson and I have been strong badass parents. We don’t give in and let him out, and the crying has dissipated each night.

Last night– his 5th away from home– he only cried for 5 minutes and slept a glorious stretch from 11:30p to 6:20am. We’re on a puppy roll.

It took a few days to find a routine, but he sleeps a lot during the day so I’ve been able to get some work done when he naps and try to take him out every 2-3 hours and after every meal. He has met many kids and adults and is friendly and mellow.

1st days with new puppy on carpoolcandy.com

Brady exhausted after his morning romp

He can be affectionate, especially in the morning. I never thought I would enjoy a dog licking my face. Whenever I saw other people receive a tongue lashing I thought it was gross, but a peck from my pooch is now sweet. Plus, I know exactly where that tongue has been. He hasn’t had all his shots yet so he can only go in our backyard and the house.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work. I get so frustrated when he has an accident in the house, mostly because it means I’ve fallen down on the job, and missed an opportunity for a teaching moment.  But there’s always another pee coming my way.

He has little bursts of activity where he goes nuts with a toy or a blanket, rolling over and growling while wagging his cute little white tail. But after about 10 minutes he’s spent and passes out.

New Golden Doodle puppy on carpoolcandy.com

There are certainly similarities between taking care of a puppy and a newborn but puppies are much easier. When I need to leave or get something done, I put him in a crate. He eats and drinks on his own. And he’s as cute and lovable as a newborn (let’s face it, some babies look like little, wrinkled old men, but there’s no such thing as an ugly puppy!)

And I didn’t have to carry him for 9 months or forego sushi and wine.

Look at this face.

1st days with new puppy on carpoolcandy.com

I’m sold.