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My family has owned a Labradoodle for just over 18 months – that’s when we brought our pup, Moose, home. He’s now 22 months old and has grown to roughly the size of a medium-sized Labrador, but with a lighter build.
Moose is an inside dog, with the run of the house. Fortunately, he was almost toilet trained when we got him, so we can count on one hand the number of accidents. He is particularly good with where and when he toilets, preferring parts of the garden where we do not habitually walk. He sheds a bit of hair (but not too much) and has little doggie odor, despite being bathed about once every two weeks… which he really doesn’t enjoy!
Our 11- and 12-year-old girls have pampered Moose endlessly from the moment he came home. He doesn’t complain when they dress him up in all sorts of clothing – maybe because they constantly play with him! He has never tired of their attention and never shown any kind of aggression toward them or any other person. In fact, he wants to be everybody’s friend, dog or human.
Moose is surprisingly good with toddlers and does not bounce or jump at them. As the kids get bigger and faster, he is inclined to chase them if they run from him, but it is overexuberant (not aggressive) play. He reacts to people he has met before consistently but differently, based on their previous interactions: for example, he will jump at my mother-in-law because she is quite gregarious, likes dogs, and plays with him, but not at my mother, who is a little less inclined to engage.
Moose is an active dog and communicates his need to play by bringing you that week’s Toy du Jour (most times, just an old sock or dog toy). He loves to run, and run, and run – the only real way to tire him out is with another, equally energetic dog, or by throwing rocks on the beach. Other times, he is content to sleep and follow my wife around.
He is not a greedy dog and certainly does not have the Labrador trait of eating anything. He’ll often leave the kibble we have given him at the beginning of the day and eat it throughout the morning, or sometimes not at all.
In terms of intelligence, Moose is very capable of learning. He sits on command (especially if a treat is provided!) and understands that when we give him something, it is his to chew. He’s not necessarily the cleverest dog in the world – it took him a while to realize that when a ball went under the chair, it was still there, even though it may have disappeared out of sight!
But what Moose lacks in perceptive abilities, he makes up for with love. He is very affectionate when we come home, and he’s not immune from seeking a quick scratch or attention (the 11 O’Clock Lovin’s when I am working!) But he is not needy and will sit happily away from us, sleeping away.
His two colors make him a unique Labradoodle – we have only seen his type from the breeder, Paw Print Labradoodles in Gundaroo (outside Canberra). He’s not as curly as most Labradoodles we have seen. Rarely do we walk him without a comment on him from passers-by, with the eternal question: “What kind of dog is he?!”
While Moose’s pep and friendliness are wonderful qualities, they can present some challenges. He will pull on his leash to greet someone and is often a bit bouncy around dogs and humans. Over time, he has learned which dogs to avoid and is much better at reading the signals that other dogs give off to determine if the encounter will be aggressive or not. This is part experience, part training with Bark Busters, who have helped calm Moose down in certain situations.
Bark Busters has also taught us techniques to stop Moose from pulling on his leash at the beginning of a walk or when he encounters another dog. He has responded very well thus far, and it has made for happier humans and dogs alike!
Moose has been a wonderful addition to our family. He loves life, and we love life with our Labradoodle!