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Groodles/Labradoodles as therapy dogs

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  • Groodles/Labradoodles as therapy dogs

    Hi everyone. I am new to this site and apologise if my question appears in the wrong area! I am a Psychologist looking to train a dog to work with me in a clinical setting. I previously worked with and loved our two golden retrievers until old age inevitably separated us. I am looking at groodles (labradoodles) and wondering if anyone has opinions about miniature vs medium re temperament and suitability? From a transport and lifestyle perspective I think a standard groodle would be too big for us. So far I have a had one breeder indicate that the miniature groodles are a little more energetic and medium less flamboyant and possible more suited to therapy work. Another has indicated there's no real difference. We are looking at female and would really appreciate any information about the breed. Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    Hi Suzz,

    I am a dog groomer so my experience with Groodles and Labradoodles comes from working with them, not owning them.

    I find most Groodles to be pretty crazy... I'll be honest, I'm yet to find a Groodle that I enjoy the company of. Not sure if that is a lack of training and socialisation on the owner's part or whether that is just purely the dogs nature - Probably a mix of both. Labradoodles are often similar in my experience, and size doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference either.

    What is it about these mixes that makes you want one?

    I have a Standard Poodle, I chose him with the intention of doing therapy work in hospitals and nursing homes. I think the most important thing you can do when looking for a dog suitable for therapy work is find a supportive breeder who will temperament test the pups and help you decide which pup would be most suitable. My breeder assessed all the pups and chose my boy for me as he had the most relaxed nature of them all.

    Make sure your breeder does health testing as well. Hip and elbow scores (testing for hip/elbow dysplasia) is extremely important, as well as testing for eye diseases and heart diseases. These are all things that can be issues in Poodles, Golden Retrievers and Labradors - ie: Groodles and Labradoodles.

    Most designer dog breeders don't do this testing, so please make sure your breeder does because it can save you a lot of trouble and heartbreak in the future!

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    • #3
      Originally posted by maddogdodge View Post
      Hi Suzz,

      I am a dog groomer so my experience with Groodles and Labradoodles comes from working with them, not owning them.

      I find most Groodles to be pretty crazy... I'll be honest, I'm yet to find a Groodle that I enjoy the company of. Not sure if that is a lack of training and socialisation on the owner's part or whether that is just purely the dogs nature - Probably a mix of both. Labradoodles are often similar in my experience, and size doesn't seem to make a whole lot of difference either.

      What is it about these mixes that makes you want one?

      I have a Standard Poodle, I chose him with the intention of doing therapy work in hospitals and nursing homes. I think the most important thing you can do when looking for a dog suitable for therapy work is find a supportive breeder who will temperament test the pups and help you decide which pup would be most suitable. My breeder assessed all the pups and chose my boy for me as he had the most relaxed nature of them all.

      Make sure your breeder does health testing as well. Hip and elbow scores (testing for hip/elbow dysplasia) is extremely important, as well as testing for eye diseases and heart diseases. These are all things that can be issues in Poodles, Golden Retrievers and Labradors - ie: Groodles and Labradoodles.

      Most designer dog breeders don't do this testing, so please make sure your breeder does because it can save you a lot of trouble and heartbreak in the future!
      Yes I would totally agree that you are better off finding a very supportive breeder who has a real understanding of the temperaments of their dogs and also does the recommended health testing. The health screening is really important in those breeds for the reasons stated above.

      My family had a small labradoodle from a one off backyard breeding from a friend. She very crazy as a puppy but was an extremely intelligent dog with a rock solid temperament. Unfortunately her coat was a nightmare to manage and she had quite a few health issues.

      It really is about forming a relationship with the breeder, making sure that the puppies are raised in the house and well socialised by the breeder in a range of situations and given good stimulation and enrichment before they leave and that the breeding dogs have been hip and elbow scored and screened for eye and heart diseases.

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      • #4
        Only from my observations of attending a dog training school for years - the smaller doodle varieties do seem a bit more excitable than the larger ones, but to be honest I'm not convinced that isn't a case of small dog syndrome where they can "get away with it" more than the medium doodles and poodles. One of my least favourite dogs is an erratic mini poodle and its purely because the owner just lets it jump around like a headless chook. While the aussie cobberdog

        Obviously the problem is in the eye of the beholder and this person has decided it's not a problem, I am just wary as neither dog or owner respect another's space. While the medium doodles, poodles and labradors the owners are more mindful of size and thus behaviour.

        absolutely require the basic health checks for those health problems common between poodles, goldens and labradors...

        Meet the parents, they will be your best indicator on personality of puppies. Meet cousins and grandparents too. If it's a repeat breeding - even better! You can meet the resulting progeny that have matured.

        The doodle community holds lots of doodle events, so you could go visit those that are local to you and see which dogs are to your liking - they will be able to warn you away from bad breeders/puppy mills and direct you towards good breeders and those who produce consistent dogs. Many in the doodle community have therapy dogs, so you will be able to talk to them about their thoughts on suitability across assorted breeders and types of doodles.

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