Theodore, 5 Months Old
Hi friends! As many of you know, Phil and I got a mini goldendoodle puppy in March. His name is Theodore and he is the apple of our eye. He is currently nine months old and he is growing so fast. I get questions & DMs about Theodore everyday. I wanted to write an article for you all to answer the most common questions and share my tips if you are getting a puppy. You can find Theodore’s Instagram here if you want to follow his adventures!
What kind of dog is Theodore?
Theodore is a F1 mini goldendoodle. He was born January 15, 2018 in a littler with 9 other puppies (7 girls, 2 boys). He is 40lbs now. Theodore and his brother were the biggest pups in their litter! Below is his seven week old head shot. Look at that paw!
Theodore 7 Weeks Old
I am getting a puppy! What do you recommend I buy? What did you get for Theodore?
Below is our puppy shopping list for Theodore. This is the same list I give to any of our friends who ask us what to get their new puppy. I included Theodore’s favorite toys, training treats and bones as well.
- Training Book – Training The Best Dog Ever was our guidebook for training Theodore. It was the best dog training book we read. The author uses positive reinforcement training techniques and has a plethora of experience to share. She even trained some of the former White House dogs.
- Puppy Pads – These puppy pads worked well for Theodore. Some of the other brands we tried leaked and these did not. Theodore seemed to be attracted to the lavender scent in the beginning. The unscented pads worked well too. Pro tip – place puppy pads next to the door you use to go outside. Once you start outdoor potty training, it will be easier to see a signal from your puppy that he has to to the bathroom. I wish someone shared this tip with us!
- Crate – We love this Precision wire crate for Theodore. It’s sturdy and still in perfect condition. We purchased the crate size that would fit Theodore as an adult (intermediate – 36 x 23 x 25 up to 70lbs) and used a divider when he was smaller. NOTE: Your dog should always be able to stand with his/her head held upright and have head clearance. He/she should also be able to turn around easily in the crate.
- Bedding – Theodore loved this fleece throw blanket. When Theodore was a puppy we used fleece blankets. These fleece blankets are perfect for the puppy days because they are cozy, affordable and easy to wash. Wait until your puppy is house trained to invest in more expensive bedding! Bath towels also work well.
- Food Bowl – We started feeding Theodore food in these stainless steel bowls (size – 3 cup). He would scarf his kibble down dangerously fast so we switched him to this puzzle feeder. He cried at first with the feeder but figured out how to use it quickly with a little help from mom & dad.
- Water bowl – Theodore started off with this Harry Barker Ceramic Water Bowl and now Theodore uses this Yeti Stainless Steel Water Bowl. They’re both great & dishwasher safe.
- Toys – Theodore’s favorite toys: squeaky balls (small), glowing fetch ball (medium), spikey ball (medium), little bear (medium), hedge hog den, bunny, donut, puppy rope (medium), happy moppy and monkey.
- The Kong – Absolutely worth buying. We have this one in multiple sizes. We would with fill it with peanut butter, cream cheese or yogurt, freeze it and then give it to Theodore in his crate. This helps your puppy associate the crate with a place where great things happen!
- Treats – Treats will make your life so much easier (especially if your puppy is food motivated). Theodore’s favorites are:
Training Treats – Buckley Trainers, Merrick Power Bites, Charlee Bears, Blue Buffalo Stix
Jerky – Wellness Core Beef & Venison & Real Meat Venison Jerky
Biscuits – Best Buddy dog cookies (cheese) & Old Mother Hubbard assorted biscuits.
High Value – Sancho & Lola Beef Tendon , Sancho & Lola Cow ears
Human Favorites – Theodore loves carrots, frozen green beans, hot dogs bites, ice cubes & small pieces of cheese
- Bones – I can’t recommend these bones enough – they were a lifesaver when Theodore was teething.
Edible –N-bones in any flavor are great. Theodore also loves pork chomps and his Himalaya dog chew. Teething bones (won’t splinter) – Rarely splinter & also great for teething – elk antler, natural white bone and this Benebone wishbone chew toy .
- ID Tag, Leash & Harness – Your puppy will chew on his/her leash a lot in the beginning. We started Theodore with this leash and this harness. We ordered Theodore this ID Tag (don’t forget to phone number along with your pet’s name). When he was done with teething, we upgraded him to this amazing Mendota Pet Leash (large 1/2) (here in more colors) and cute Aztec collar .
Other products we love & use – Epi optic ear cleaner, plastic storage bin for kibble, peanut butter tooth paste, fresh breath oral care, bitter apple spray (the bitter taste helps deter puppy from chewing), Chris Christensen slicker brush and this Chris Christensen buttercomb.
Snooping Around The House With my Toy Chickie
What is the difference between a F1, F1b and multigen mini goldendoodle?
F1 – Theodore’s generation. A cross between a purebred golden retriever and a mini poodle (50%/50%). F1s are generally known to be more golden retriever looking than other generations of goldendoodles. F1s usually have a straight to wavy coat. As they get older, their coats tend to look more shaggy. F1s may shed. Theodore and his littermates do not shed. Below is a recent picture of Theodore at 9 months old.
Theodore F1 Mini Goldendoodle
F1b – A cross between a F1 goldendoodle and a mini poodle. The F1b is 75% poodle. The coat types vary in appearance but F1bs tend to have a more curly poodle type coat. The F1b should not shed and is a good choice for families who have allergy sufferers or do not want dog hair in the house. Theodore’s adorable best friend Brax is a mini F1b goldendoodle.
Braxton F1b Mini Goldendoodle
Multigen – A cross between two goldendoodles. One parent must be an F1b or multigen goldendoodle. A poodle bred to a multigen still produces a multigen. Multigens are usually low shedders. The coat types vary from curly to wavy depending on the parents. Theodore’s incredibly cute friend Franklin is a mini multigen goldendoodle.
Franklin Multigen Mini Goldendoodle
These are just the basics. An experienced breeder will be able to provide you with the best guidance on what to expect from each generation of goldendoodle, especially traits that may be passed down specific to puppies in the litter.
How did you find Theodore? What advice do you have for finding a breeder?
When it comes to finding a breeder the first thing I always tell people is to do your research! Theodore was our first dog and we wanted get our first dog from breeder for temperament and health reasons. We did not know any goldendoodle breeders so we started with the breeder list from the Goldendoodle Association of North America (GANA). GANA provides a thorough list of goldendoodle breeders across the country who are dedicated to breeding dogs based on a strong history of health and temperament in the family lineage. GANA breeders pride themselves in the quality of care for their animals and healthy breed lines. Through GANA’s breeder list, we found a breeder in Indiana that we liked and was accepting applications for her next F1 litter. NOTE: there are many unethical breeders and puppy mills (watch out for Lancaster, PA area). Many websites that claim to be “reputable” breeders are really puppy mills so please be careful and find a reputable breeder or adopt.
Theodore & Mama
How did you know it was the right time to get a dog?
My husband Phil and I wanted a dog for a very long time. We waited until we knew we would have the time to dedicate to raising a puppy. I was in my second semester of business school with a very flexible class schedule and Phil knew his work schedule for the next few months would be flexible. Puppies require a lot of time and attention – especially in the first few months and we knew our desire to get a dog aligned with having the time to dedicate to a puppy.
Enjoying Spring in NYC
What is Theodore’s personality like?
Theodore is super sweet and loving to everyone (children, animals, strangers and beyond). He’s known as a “big mush” and not aggressive. He is ball obsessed, plays very well with other dogs, loves giving kisses and wrestling. He is energetic and playful but equally affectionate and cuddly. If I am sitting on the floor, he will always come over to sit in my lap. He is very smart – he knows how to manipulate us for playtime or cuddles on demand. He is attentive to anything we do – if we are coughing or trip he will look concerned, come over and start licking us. Phil and I love him to pieces!
Helping Mama With Her Emails
How did you train Theodore?
With lots of treats, positive reinforcement and love. Theodore was food motivated and very eager to please which helped us train him relatively quickly. Before Theodore arrived,we both read Training the Best Dog Ever. It was my favorite dog training book and I highly recommend it. The author uses positive reinforcement training techniques, has a plethora of experience and was responsible for training Sunny and Bo Obama.
We brought Theodore home when he was 8.5 weeks old. Our vet told us that socializing Theodore early on was important for his development so we made it a priority. We made a big effort to schedule several indoor play dates with immunized dogs we knew in our building during his first few weeks at home.
We did not start potty training Theodore outside until he had the appropriate shots, per our vet’s recommendation. Theodore put EVERYTHING in his mouth and we did not want to take any risk of him getting sick with something he was not immunized against. We transitioned him off of pee pads once we our vet said it was safe to take him outside. He was fully potty trained by 5 months old.
We did crate train Theodore and I’ll talk about our experience with crate training below.
Did you work with a trainer?
When Theodore was older, we did a few lessons to correct some habits like jumping on people, stealing objects and improve leash walking. If you are in New York City, we highly recommend Melissa Arbitman from Tails of the City NY. She is wonderful with dogs and helps solve the problem you are having very quickly.
Proudly Carrying My Loot From Central Park – it’s fiber mama!
Where did you put Theodore’s crate? How did you get him to like his crate?
When we brought Theodore home, we placed his crate in our bedroom in a spot where he could see us when he was sleeping. We got this Precision wire crate in a size (intermediate – 36 x 23 x 25 up to 70lbs) he could grow into and we used the divider while he was potty training. Dogs enjoy a cave-like atmosphere and feel safe when their crate is enclosed. We covered the top and sides of his crate with a light blanket, leaving the front open for airflow.
Theodore’s first few nights in the crate were very tough. He hated his crate and cried. As a dog parent, it breaks your heart to see them crying. My husband slept on the floor with Theodore the first night and then after that we fully committed to getting Theodore adjusted to the crate. The advice we were given was to make the crate a place where exciting things were happening. We would give him lots of treats and praise as he went to his crate at night. We also put one of our t-shirts in the crate so our smell would be close. Before leaving the house, we would always give him a high value treat (ex. Kong with frozen peanut butter) in the crate along with lots & lots of praise. Over the next few weeks he began to love his crate. By four months he was adjusted to his crate, never barked, cried or protested going in. Once it was clear he was happy in the crate, we began to let him sleep on the floor of our bedroom. We still crate him whenever we leave the house. He is very sneaky and we don’t want to risk him getting into anything. To date, we leave his crate door open and he is so comfortable in there that he’ll occasionally pop in there for a nap when we are home.
Note – Never use the crate as a form of punishment. This will cause your puppy to fear the crate and you want your puppy to feel the crate is a place of peace. Puppies under six months shouldn’t be left in a crate for more than 3-4 hours at a time. They can’t control their bladders for that long.
Can I Have a Treat Please?
What funny things does Theodore do?
There is never a shortage of things to laugh about with Theodore. He knows the command “drop” very well. That said, when he really wants to play with us he will find something that he knows is important to us / that he is not supposed to have (a shoe, a letter, a magazine, a credit card, toilet paper etc) and he will run wild around the apartment with the item. Lately, he has become obsessed with fall. Oftentimes, when he sees fall leaves, he will nose dive into the leaves, chew them and then proceed to blissfully roll around in them. He knows the command “up” very well. However, when we say “up” he will roll over, play dead and freeze.
Theodore 9 Months Old
Has Theodore changed since you got him?
Theodore has not changed much! He has always had a huge appetite, wonderful temperament and lots of energy. The only change I have noticed is that his coat is darker. His coat is now a deeper golden while his belly is still light golden. If you look at his 7 week old puppy headshot at the beginning of this article, you can see how much lighter he was. It is so cute – our little ombre boy!