Frequently Asked Questions

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Information about Doodles

Hearty K9s related

Preparing for your pup

Training your pup

What is a Doodle?

When we talk about Doodles we're referring to Goldendoodles and Labradoodles together. Generally we do this when we're refering to common traits, natures or even the dogs or pups themselves. When we talk about Goldendoodles or Labradoodles individually we're usually talking about their differences.

What is the nature of a Doodle?

Doodles are a combination of a uniquely hilarious personality and an amazingly loyal friend. They love to be with you, whether out jogging, camping, reading a book, or watching TV. They long to serve and please you, and they crave your approval.

Doodles are sociable, loving, intuitive, and train easily, but they are VERY intelligent. It is imperative that Doodles are actively trained and stimulated regularly in the first year, or they use their creative minds and become naughty and destructive.

They are very people-orientated, and want to be with you. They do not do well being locked up, or socially deprived for regular long intervals when the family has gone to work. They also must know undoubtedly that they are NOT the pack leader of the family. You need to be the boss.

What are the differences between Doodles?

Coats are generally more curly and softer in the Goldendoodles. They're less likely to shed but their coats are more maintenance. Labradoodle coats vary more from a slight wave to curly. Their coats don't become as long and they are less maintenance, but do tend to shed more.

Genetic temperament of the pups depends more on the parents as individuals than it does comparing between Doodles.

How are Doodles with children?

Doodles are wonderful with children, although they need lots of time and their space to 'veg'. Every puppy goes through a mouthing period where they may nip. This must be addressed immediately by closing their mouth with your hand and saying a firm "NO".

Never leave the training of your pup as the responsibility of your child. Supervise as your family works daily with him or her to keep consistency. Communicate with your family how you will discipline unwanted behavior. Be consistent in how you teach him or her tricks and therefore aid your pup in learning even faster.

How much exercise does a Doodle need?

Doodles need exercise but not an excessive amount. Just as important as their physical exercise, they need mental stimulation and training. If your Doodle is overly-energetic she or he may require more mental stimulation. When a pup becomes very naughty, or nippy, it is most often an indicator that they're overtired and have not received enough uninterrupted naps in the daytime.

I heard that Doodles are hypoallergenic, is that right?

There is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. It depends on the person's specific allergies. A person may be allergic to hair, dander, or perhaps even the dog's saliva.

Do Doodles shed, and by how much?

See my Shedding or Non-shedding section in Understanding Doodles.

Some information about Hip Dysplasia, Genetics, Diet and Exercise

Although at Hearty K9s, we have been very diligent in testing our breeding dogs for hip issues, there are some important things that everyone should be aware of. This information and advise comes from my vets.

Hip dysplasia in dogs is only less than 25% due to genetics! A good quality premium diet, and not under feeding or over feeding is very important. Being overweight for a puppy is very hard on growing and developing joints. Please consult with your vet to find the appropriate weight or body condition score for your doodle.

It seems to be common knowledge that long distance running with your puppy is a big no. The repetition of running long periods damages growing joints, especially when they seem to be growing quickly and in a clumsy or awkward stage.

In the same way, allowing a puppy to go "full force" (off leash or in your back yard) for long periods of time when they are growing can also be damaging. As my vet put it, "To many pups, offering them free exercise as much as they want is like giving a child a pile of candy and expecting they will know when to stop."

On the flip side, repeatedly crating a growing puppy (especially a large breed) for long days does not allow their growth plates to develop properly.

Too much or too little exercise is as bad as too much or too little food for growing puppies -- we need to find a nice happy healthy balance.

A few every day things to consider for growing pups...

In general... moderation is the key. It is most important to be careful with the pups when they are in a clumsy stage, or when in a growth spurt.

Can we come and visit your facility?

You're welcome to come and visit us and our K9 family. We just ask that you submit your adoption form first. This does not obligate you to a pup from us, it simply answers a lot of questions I'll have of you. Then I also want to have a conversation on the phone with you before you come to see us. I want to ensure this breed is a good fit for you before you come out.

It's not Kosher to visit different breeders in a day. You could be endangering the health of the pups you visit. Do not go to pet establishments such as a pet store, off leash park, another breeder, or veterinarian before coming to visit. Wear freshly washed clothes and cleaned footwear. This is for biosecurity reasons.

Do not allow your children to tease or rush towards the dogs. Always ask to pet a dog before doing so (this is basic dog etiquette).

Folks are not allowed to visit puppies unless they're choosing from that litter. Again this rule is to help with biosecurity.

If it's muddy season when you come to visit, rest assured, you will not leave clean. Bring proper foot attire and freshly cleaned clothes that have not been to pet establishments as listed above.

Please be sure to be on time for all appointments. I book my clients (and my life) back-to-back most days, and if you are late, it shortens the time I have available for you.

How have you fed the pups and how do I feed mine at home?

At 3.5 to 4.5 weeks old the pups are introduced to softened puppy kibble. Normally by the time they're 5 to 6 weeks old they're crunching hard kibble and do not need it softened anymore. The pups are given free choice here, but that is not recommended for house training.

I suggest that you feed your pup 3 times a day until about 8 to 9 months old, or until yours doesn't want that middle feeding anymore, then twice a day until your pup is about 3 years old. From 3 to 8 years old once a day is often sufficient, then after 8 years old go back to twice a day. This, of course, will vary with each dog, but it is a basic guideline.

It's good practice for the lowest human member of the family pack to feed the dog (perhaps the person who the dog often dominates). It's proper etiquette to have the pup/dog sit and wait until you put the bowl of food down and give the release command that they can eat. It is also important to allow the dog to eat their food after you have finished your own meal. These are big things in the dog world that help them see you as alpha.

We'll give you the name of the puppy food your pup is on when you come and choose your pup. We suggest that you feed puppy food until the pup's first birthday, then slowly change your pup over to a quality adult formula.

What kind of treats do you suggest?

I'm personally not a big treat fan, as I find using my voice and body language much easier and handier than fumbling for treats. If you prefer to work with treats, and/or your dog is very treat orientated, then I suggest just using their kibble as a treat. This is especially a concern early on when a new treat may bother your pup's stomach. Sometimes a brand of dog food will also make treats which are similar to their kibble and so may be easier on your pup.

What if we bring the pup home and after a while we realize that my allergies are being very irritated by the pup?

As soon as you think there may be problem, please contact us. We'll suggest a few things to try, and if nothing works, we'll take the pup back. Then you can either try a different pup when there's an appropriate one available, or we'll discuss a refund (normally minus the deposit).

What if I want to breed the pup I buy in the future?

It's best for all involved if you state your intentions of breeding your pup from the start. That way I can help you choose the qualities that would be best to create another generation of quality doodles and keep the standards high. What we ask is that you wait until your pup is at least 2 to 3 years old. Your dog should have a clean bill of health, have it's hips x-rayed and eyes tested. As a courtesy we ask you to contact us to let us know the test results and your intentions.

How do you come up with names for the pups?

We name the pups here to make it more personal and fun for us. But, of course, when people choose a puppy and adopt it they normally choose their own name.

Why are you less expensive than many others and yet you do more with your pups?

Our prices remain considerably lower than many other doodle breeders because we choose to make our pups more affordable for more people. The health testing we perform on our adults before we breed them and the methods used in our puppy program make a huge difference in our Hearty K9 pups and sets us apart from many other breeders. Many of our pups have gone on to become therapy and service dogs, requiring high socialisation and adaptation skills, intelligence, trainability, and loyalty.

House rules when coming to choose a pup

  1. Talk as a family ahead of time about your highest priorities for a pup and list them in order. For example:
    • Temperament (energy level, independent, confident, submissive, etc),
    • size,
    • gender (in goldendoodles there is very little consistent behaviour/demeanour that distinguishes males and females once they are spayed/neutered),
    • and coat.
    In general, the longer, wavier, and softer their coat is at choosing time, the less likely they are to shed. In turn, if their coat is short and course, they are more likely to shed. Longer straight coats will generally shed less than shorter straight coats. But there is no real black and white, just generalizations.
  2. Wipe your feet on the disinfectant matts provided and wear cleaned 'old' clothes as listed above for visiting.
  3. We know it's a very exciting time but try your best to remain cool, calm, and collected. This in turn helps the pups to be calmer.
  4. Do not pet a puppy unless their butt is on the ground. You can make a pup sit and then pet it, but do not pet it while it's jumping on you. We start this behavioural training here and the more consistent we can be with the pups the better they'll be at it. That way we can avoid you having a jumping dog in the future.
  5. Do not let a pup chew on your fingers or clothing. Correct the pup by using a low authoritative voice, hold the snout firmly for a moment, let go, and offer your hand again. I can help show you how to do this properly when you're here.
  6. I'll only bring out the pups in a litter that are actually available and which match your priorities. I try to have folks arrive in deposit order (the time when I receive a deposit) as much as possible. I'll help you choose your pup based on my findings of what I have seen in the pup to that point, compared with your priorities and your experience with dogs. After you've been with the pups for a bit, I'll start taking pups out that I/we decide do not match well for you. It then becomes easier to choose when there are not as many in the room.
  7. Bring your camera/phone so you'll have lots of photos to show your people while you wait and prepare to take your pup home!

How does our adoption/choosing process work?

There are times when people leave deposits for a pup as much as a year in advance, so I do encourage folks who have recently committed to wait for a pup from Hearty K9s to start the adoption process as soon as possible. Most of the time the wait for a pup is not very long but it depends on pup availability and the number of previously approved applicants.

The choosing process is actually very easy to complete and can be finalized fairly quickly in some cases. We've outlined these steps so you can be prepared and relaxed the day you come to choose your pup.

These are the nine steps involved in the adoption/choosing process:

  1. Fill out the adoption form fully and submit it to Hearty K9s when you have committed to adopt a pup from us.
  2. Wait for the adoption application to be approved. We will contact you for further information during this time.
  3. Pay the deposit and consequently get placed on the waiting list. Previous applicants get 1st choice so it's important to get your application for adoption in to us early.
  4. Read the books we've recommended for you. This is a very necessary and required step. The sooner you start the better for everyone involved.
  5. When the litter is 6-7 weeks old we'll contact you if the spots for the pups are not already filled by previous applicants. At this time we'll make an appointment with you to come and choose your pup. If you're not able to come during your alloted time you can choose your pup by communicating through emails, photos, and phone calls. Depending on applicants' schedules, and how many pups are being chosen that day, there can be limited flexibility in scheduling your time slot.
  6. Bring your list of questions with you to the appointment and review the order of preferences you have for a pup before you arrive. Review your copy of the adoption form you submitted to us to determine if your preferences have changed in any way. Inform us of any changes if you haven't done so already.
  7. You have the option to pay the balance owing for your pup on the "choosing day" appointment with a personal cheque as long as it is at least a week before you pick up the pup. E-transfer is accepted anytime from when the pup is chosen to the day before pick up. Only cash, certified cheque or bank draft is accepted on the day of pick up. I do prefer if you pay ahead as there is less to deal with on the big day when you take your pup home, but the choice is yours.
  8. Also bring your calendars so that after you choose your pup we can arrange a day and time for you to come pick up your pup.
  9. This is the day when you get to choose your pup. Because you've followed the previous steps you're now prepared for what to expect and can enjoy the time choosing your companion. We'll also let you know what kind of food to buy for your puppy and when to book the next shots.

We've also found that we need to provide some important clarifications so that the choosing experience works out the best for both you and your pup.

  1. Your deposit is good for "a" pup from Hearty K9s. For example: if something comes up and you're not able to take a pup when planned your deposit is kept for another time when the timing is right and there is a good match for you. Your deposit is also transferable to an approved home/family if your plans change that much.
  2. I post updated photos of pups for your viewing pleasure; not to make a choice before you meet them, or at least are informed of their personalities. I take many photos in order to get a suitable one for the website, in both pose and quality of the photo. This is a very involved, time-consuming task and many times a pup just doesn't photograph well in the amount of time I can give. Since these photos are just a fraction of a moment in time please do not make a judgment about a pup if their expression is perfect or not... it has little or nothing to do with their true character.
  3. When the pups are younger I do not comment on personalities since they're just budding at 4 weeks and are just blooming at 7 weeks. A lot of a pup's personality also depends on how they react to our socialization program and even more on how you mould your pup once the pup is in your hands.

What do I need to do while I wait for my puppy?

Homework: What books do I need?

Please be aware that we do require homework to be completed before you arrive to pick up your pup. The following books are great resources. As it is with raising a kid, you can't find any one book that will give you all the answers.

The "Art of Raising a Puppy" and "Let Dogs be Dogs" are must reads before getting a puppy from Hearty K9s. "How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend" and "How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond" are highly recommended but optional.

These books will give you a great foundation to start your training with your new pup. Whether we've had a dog all of our lives, or if we're newbies, we can all learn.

  1. The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete. This is a basic, down to earth, easy to read book. It will help you in many ways you may have never thought of to get a great head start before you get your pup. This book has also been the source of inspiration behind my puppy program. For adult dogs, the Monks have a great book called, How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend .
  2. Let Dogs Be Dogs: Understanding Canine Nature and Mastering the Art of Living with your Dog by the Monks of New Skete and Marc Goldberg. This book came out in Fall 2017 and is an excellent resource. I love this book and it will help you understand the commitment of owning and training a dog.
  3. How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond by Cesar Millan. This book came out in October 2009 and is an excellent resource on raising a well-balanced pup. I've learned a lot from Cesar Millan, both through his books and his TV show on National Geographic, "The Dog Whisperer". By using his theories and practices I've made a huge impact on my pack of dogs with the result of creating a better life together for all of us. Other valuable books he has written are, A Member of the Family , Cesar's Way and Be the Pack Leader .

What do I need to buy before I bring the puppy home?

What do I need to bring with me when I pick up the pup?

Shipping puppies: We do fly puppies!

Bathed pup trial test in your car

At Hearty K9s, typically 75% of our clients have allergies of varying degrees. If you have severe allergies, have reacted to a variety of different dogs before, have environmental allergies where choosing in our barn, or horses/cats passing by may trigger a reaction, or if you would just feel better in doing a trial run to see if you may have a reaction to the pup you plan to bring home -- then please ask us for the "bath test."

Allergies are not black and white. For example, just because you do not react to your friend's goldendoodle does not mean you'll be safe with all goldendoodles. You can actually be allergic to one pup in a litter and not another.

Therefore, we offer "the bath test."

I'll help you choose your pup via photos, videos and phone calls before you arrive. When you get here, you stay in your vehicle the whole time and I pass you your chosen freshly washed pup to play with (in your vehicle) for an hour at least. I ask that those affected actually put their face right into the pup’s fur and allow them to lick the inside of your forearms and neck. Bring a towel, or t-shirt you're wearing, that has been rubbed on pup and have the allergy sufferer sleep with that on their pillow that night. Sometimes delayed reactions happen, so it's suggested to do this before take home day.

What's all included in the training session that we receive when we get a Hearty K9?

When you pick up your puppy you'll receive a one hour training session on the basics of establishing a balanced and healthy relationship with your puppy... which is the basis for everything! Then 5-8 weeks after you've taken home the pup, I'll offer a 2 hour training session that includes some basic leash work. "The Art of Attention" which has the pup work for their food begins a solid way of training your dog to "look" at you. Also in the second session, I'll teach you the beginning basics for "placement". This is where you teach your dog to go to a "Place", relax, and not move from that spot under any circumstances.

I'll be offering the second round of classes normally in the "training centre" that my vet has in town at Wetaskiwin Animal Clinic: 4735-39th Avenue ( Unless I have only one family in attendance it will be at my home. It may also be held at my place for larger groups if we have a really nice day!

Words of Wisdom from a great trainer, Chad Mackin

Don't Look at the Dog! Look at Yourself! If you're a dog owner training your own dog, or working with a trainer to get your dog trained, I have one piece of important advice,

Don't worry about what your dog is doing, worry about what you are doing.

You are learning a new skill set, as you embark on your journey to a well-behaved, reliable and trust-worthy pet. Whether this is your first time, or your fifth time to train your own dog, chances are you are either learning or re-learning certain skills. Developing proficiency in these skills is the most certain road to dog training success.

There are two learning curves present in every dog training relationship. The learning curve of the handler, and the learning curve of the dog. The handler's learning curve is the most important because it ultimately defines the learning curve of the dog. This is true even for seasoned professionals. We are constantly learning, improving and growing (or at least we should be). With each dog, I try to make the training easier, smoother and more clear because if I do this, the dogs will learn faster, make fewer mistakes and become reliable faster.

It's easy to get caught up in what the dog is or isn't doing. In fact, it's actually hard to not get caught up in that. After all, that's the goal right? -- to have a well-trained dog. But that's the paradox, the secret to having a well-trained dog is in the quality of the training. This is an important distinction.

While the training methods can be very important, the skillful application of the method is ultimately what makes it successful or not. Whether you're using a clicker, or a prong collar or anything in between, the best training approach in the world won't work if you're not using it effectively.

So focus on what you're doing. If the technique is right for the dog, and the application is good, the dog will improve. If the dog isn't improving, it means one of two things, either the approach is wrong for the dog, or you're not applying it effectively. But you can't possibly know which is which without first becoming proficient in the approach.

So practice, then practice some more. Become skilled with the exercises you're using and see what happens.

When I teach clients, I give them a specific response to each of the things that commonly go wrong. Then I tell them the dog getting it wrong is just part of their (the owners) learning experience. The dog getting it wrong means they need to clean up their handling a bit. It's not the dog being stubborn, disobedient or having an attitude problem. The handling isn't creating the change we want. Fix the handling and the dog will fix himself.

I see the wrong response from the dog as a sign that the training is incomplete and I ask what I need to do to fix it.

Focus on being the best dog trainer you can be, and the dog will end up being the best dog he can be! So don't worry about what the dog is doing. Worry about what you are doing, and the dog will get better.

Foundational Training, Heather Arthur

We never know how our spoiling, permissiveness, or lack of accountability will rear its ugly head. Or how tiny, easily dismissed, moments of rudeness become a gateway for rotten behavior that seems entirely unrelated.

How could the demand for attention (barking, pawing, or nipping), and our subsequent indulgence, lead to resource guarding? Or how could barreling out of the crate or through doorways without consideration lead to reactivity? Or how can pacing, spinning, barking, and excessive non-stop arousal lead to severe separation anxiety?

Because here's the thing... it's ALL connected.

Every single interaction carries with it information about who we are and how our dog should behave around us. A life filled with endless pampering, oodles of unearned privileges, and loads of freedom and liberty, all create a lifestyle rich for taking advantage, & an atmosphere that feels like no one is in control.

Where there is a void in believable authority and leadership, you will find a host of seemingly disconnected issues. Funny thing is, we don't get to choose HOW a lack of leadership shows up for our dog. His individual personality, genetics, temperament, and demeanor all meld with what we have to offer, and can manifest into a range of annoying to dangerous behavior.

A life that offers believable leadership, non-negotiable rules for right and wrong, predictable routine, and dependable structure, by and large will produce a dog who seems transformed... where a dog held accountable for blasting out of his crate no longer resource guards his food. Or a dog who no longer whines and panics when his owner gets up to use the restroom because rules are now prioritized over freedom and affection.

ANY and ALL misbehavior, no matter if annoying or dangerous, is a symptom of a life lived without structure, rules, and accountability. Pair the lack of this dimension with overindulgence, and we will produce a plethora of dog related issues... we just never know which ones.

Heather Arthur

My tidbits

This advice is gathered through reading I've done and experiences I and/or my clients have shared. I share them with you to help you establish a good relationship with your dog and perhaps to answer some questions in advance.

This advice is gathered through reading I've done and experiences I and/or my clients have shared. I share them with you to help you establish a good relationship with your dog and perhaps to answer some questions in advance.

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