published March 2018
This month’s medium-sized breed -the Groodle - continues to hold popularity with many dog lovers because of its intelligence.
They are referred to as 'toy dogs', 'hybrids' or 'designer dogs'. Relatively new on the scene, Groodles made their debut in Australia and the United States in the 1990s and have quickly grown in popularity. Why? They are a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, two well-loved breeds that are adorable and smart.
Golden Retrievers are known as loving, friendly dogs. Poodles are considered to be one of the smartest breeds. No wonder that a cross between these two would be desirable! Additionally, because the Poodle is considered hypoallergenic, the Groodle is a great choice for people who are only mildly allergic to dogs.
Bark Busters has recently trained "oodles of doodles". Before you go head-over-heels for your Groodle and totally spoil him/her, know that they have behavioural issues that come with their breed, naughtiness and stubbornness being two personality traits. You have to remember that your Groodle will have the traits of both the Poodle and the Golden Retriever, both generally stable breeds, but sometimes the mix of the two is a cocktail of rowdiness and willfulness. Nothing that dog training can’t overcome!
Known as Groodles, Goldendoodles, Golden Poos or Goldie Poos this breed has a short history. There is conflicting information on where this breed originated, with some saying Canada or Australia. We do know they became popular in Australia in the 1980s and appeared in North America in the 1990s. As pet owners were looking for a larger dog that was allergy free, a Golden Retriever was bred with a Standard Poodle and instant fame!
The original designer breeds came into being when it was discovered that recipients of dogs used as ‘seeing eye’ and ‘service dogs’ were allergic to pet fur, so a dog that does not shed was sought.
Since Groodles are not pure bred and are cross-bred, they are not recognised as a breed of its own. After seven generations have been bred, the Groodle will become eligible for purebred dog registries.
Groodles vary in size and physical appearance, depending if they look more like a Golden Retriever or a Poodle. You will see longer, shaggy-haired versions or a shorter, curlier hair type. When the fur is not cut, it will grow 4 – 8 inches in length and can grow long around a Groodle’s eyes. Therefore, it needs to be clipped regularly so your dog can see! These adorable fur kids come in a colour selection that is large -- cream, gold, apricot, chocolate, grey and black.
Standard Groodles weigh 20 – 45 kgs, medium size weigh 14 – 20 kgs, and miniature weigh 7 – 14 kgs (mum or dad being a toy poodle).
When we say that Groodles are ‘designer dogs’, we mean they are first generation hybrids. If they are bred from a purebred Poodle and a purebred Golden, this is known as ‘hybrid vigour’. This means you get the best characteristics of both of the breeds and are thought to be even healthier than their pet parents.
If you have a Groodle, you have your hands full. They have boundless energy and a hard time focusing. They can be extremely naughty and mischievous and well known for chewing, nipping and mouthing everything in sight! And door manners? They never heard of them.
Dogs learn how to communicate with others when they are first born, mimicking their mum and siblings. This is what is known as the ‘pack mentality’. Suddenly you adopt them into your home and you start speaking a language they don’t understand. Dogs don’t converse with each other with prong or shock collars or even treats. That’s why our Bark Busters trainers teach pet owners how to communicate with dogs the natural way – with voice tones and body language. We call it ‘speaking dog’.
The best time for training is as a puppy. You are going to need a lot of patience because consistency will be the key. Just when you think they have the “sit” command down pat, something will catch their attention and off they go. It is important for pet parents to establish themselves as the ‘leader of the pack’ and the ‘Top Dog’. Your Groodle will vie with you for control, and if you give an inch, he will take a mile!
Your dog will quickly learn the pecking order of the pack and look for the weak links. He will constantly question your authority and attempt to move himself higher up in the pack.
Because of their high energy, Groodles need a lot of mental and physical stimulation. Multiple walks/day and some interactive toys such as the GameChanger® will help. Groodles will shadow you everywhere you go and don’t like to be left alone. If you’re going to work or will be gone for the day, make sure you leave them with things to do or their destructive behaviours will kick in out of boredom.
One word of advice: Although great family companions, Groodles are not good watch dogs so don’t put them in a guarding situation.
Personality and Temperament
Groodles are so popular because they have the easy going, friendly nature of the Golden Retriever and the brains of a Poodle. They are so cute it is hard to resist their enthusiasm. Because they are so social, separation anxiety can be a big issue with this breed.
Points of interest:
Groodles are extremely empathetic and really want to assist people who need a helping hand … or paw! Their extreme loyalty and gentle nature and quickness in learning make them ideal to be service dogs. They also make great therapy and guide dogs and can make wonderful companions for:
My friends sometimes refer to me as "the Doodle King" because of how many Groodles (and various other "Doodle" breeds) I've worked with. I'd estimate I've worked with somewhere between 600-800 over the years. As with any breed, there isn't a cookie cutter answer to describe their traits or characteristics, but I'd describe them generally as being very responsive to training and dogs that make wonderful family members.
Many of my clients hire me when their dogs are puppies between 8-10 weeks old when they first arrive to their home. Doing this will definitely make life easier, for you can educate and train your pup to whatever rules your particular home may have, at a young age. However, I'm more often hired to help clients with adult Groodles with various behavioural issues.
As with any breed, without proper guidance and leadership, many of these cute fluffy pups can bark excessively, become aggressive towards guests, and even towards their own family. Also, if left unattended for long periods of time, either in a crate or elsewhere, Groodles may become destructive and suffer separation anxiety.
Being a very popular breed, people considering getting a Groodle should do their homework and get one from a reputable breeder. Be very cautious about buying dogs online without seeing the puppies’ environment and parents. Dogs bought from puppy mills who have no regard for health and disposition may have serious health and behavioural problems. The good news is that Groodles respond great to training and are eager to learn and change. If you're an owner with an adult Groodle, it's never too late to get help. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!
Groodles are definitely active, sporting dogs so be sure that your lifestyle can accommodate the exercise and attention needs of such a smart, athletic dog.
In summary, when I get a call from a client with a Groodle, I'm so happy that they found me because I'm confident that, with even one lesson, I can make an incredible change in that family's life. Once a client learns how to communicate to their Groodle in a way it actually understands, the sky's the limit with what Groodles can be trained to do.
Everyday Illnesses and Injuries
Your Groodle’s health concerns will change over the course of their life. A puppy might be more prone to eating something they shouldn’t, a 2-year-old Groodle may be more likely to show signs of allergies, and a senior Groodle is far more likely to develop a mass as they age. Groodle’s also have personality and physical traits that may make them more prone to certain conditions—this breed can be particularly playful, curious, and rowdy, and they can get into things they shouldn’t and injure themselves along the way.
At any stage of life, here are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Groodle:
If you are ever concerned about your dog’s health, your local veterinarian is a great resource—no matter how small the question.
If you are ever concerned about your dog’s health, your local veterinarian is a great resource — no matter how small the question.
Genetic Health Concerns
Despite being a hybrid of two breeds, the Groodle has its fair share of hereditary based issues inherited from the Poodle and Golden Retriever. These include things like Addison’s Disease and hip dysplasia. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored for these hereditary ailments by a veterinarian. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues.
Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed.
Many rescue organisations also check for common ailments before making them available for adoption.
Bark Busters National Trainer - Jeff Drier on Groodles
Groodles are a cross between Golden Retrievers and Poodles and usually share some of the best characteristics of each of those breeds. They are often highly intelligent, energetic, friendly, and outgoing; hence their popularity with active families. They want to be included in all the activities, but they also need to learn how to follow instructions or their enthusiasm can get them in trouble.
Bark Busters trainers are often called to help the families of these dogs, usually due to their over exuberance. Jumping on people, pulling on lead and not coming when called are common issues Bark Busters' trainers help the families of Groodles address.
Usually these issues are easily taken care of as Groodles are smart and want to please and fit in. As adorable as they are, like all other dogs, they need an education to learn how to be good family members. Many of these dogs can be great therapy dogs once they outgrow their puppy exuberance.
As with Golden Retrievers, their bodies mature faster than their brains and they often aren’t fully mature until they are two years older or even older. Starting their education as soon as you bring one home and making education a part of the normal routine will help them. Bark Busters trainers are experts at helping families develop a game plan for teaching these enjoyable dogs everything they need to know to be the great family members they can be. Their mums and siblings taught them how to live with dogs, it’s up to us to teach them how to live with people. It is a great way to increase the bond with them as they love learning. Exercising their brains will help them be calmer and as they are high energy dogs to begin with, that’s usually a good thing.
If you are considering getting a Groodle, do your homework, find a reputable breeder and contact your local Bark Busters trainer so you can get started teaching it right away. If you aren’t controlling the education, your puppy will and only you know your family and your visions. Only you can teach your pup how to be the wonderful companion and family member they can be.
Everybody is a friend to a Groodle and they thrive when they are around people. Conversely, they do not like to be alone for long periods and will become destructive if they aren't getting the attention they need. Groodles can have a hard time with separation anxiety.
If your Groodle is bored, you'll know it because the destruction begins. This is when dogs tend to misbehave the most.
It is important not to spoil your Groodle too much to the point where you accept misbehaviours. It’s hard when they look like adorable teddy bears, but there is a major difference between loving and spoiling your dog. They do not do well with aggressive, harsh training because they are very sensitive. Groodles respond best to positive reinforcement. They live for belly rubs and sloppy kisses. Bark Busters does not believe in negative reinforcement because too often, aggression breeds aggression.
Groodle issues can include:
It is always better to get the right temperament puppy for your family over picking one based on colour or gender. A pretty face will not matter much if you and your puppy do not get along and does not fit in well with your family’s lifestyle.
It is important you don’t remove a puppy from his Mum and litter before eight – twelve weeks. The time they spend with their Mum and siblings is critical to their development. Puppies removed too early tend to be nervous, bark a lot, and bite because appropriate behaviour is learned at their mother’s teat. Many long-term behaviour problems can be attributed to a puppy removed from the litter much too soon.
Socialisation is a large issue they learn with their littermates and one that should be ongoing. Although Groodles are social creatures and generally get along with both people and other dogs, there are always exceptions to the rules. It is important you introduce your dog to new experiences and people. Never take your dog into fearful situations because traumatic experiences can result in lifelong anxieties.
Introduce your puppy carefully to other dogs that you know could serve as a good role model. Dogs learn a lot from each other. Just like you don’t want your kids hanging out with bad influences, the same rule should apply to dogs.
Always choose a reputable breeder and ask for references. Because Groodles are a ‘designer dog’, they can often cost a pretty penny. That’s why we suggest looking at rescues, animal welfare shelters and the local Humane Society or RSPCA. These dogs are tested for temperament and soundness.
If you want a 'Miniature Groodle', make sure one of the parents is a toy poodle or you will have a much bigger dog on your hands than you expected.
Remember your dog is only as good as you are as a role model. As a medium dog expected to live 15 years or more, it’s important you provide your Groodle not only with the basics, but you meet all his/her needs mentally, physically and psychologically.
Good nutrition can dramatically affect your dog's behaviour. Bark Busters has often seen behavioural problems stem from poor kibble. Many people are now feeding "raw" diets. Talk to your veterinarian about what food is best for this breed.
Just like you make your bedroom 'cosy', dogs like a place they can call their own. It is very important for a Groodle to have his own 'den', a refuge to get away. For many dogs this is a crate filled with toys and a comfy bed. For others it can be a dog bed in a quiet part of the house. Groodles are generally indoor dogs who like to be near their family. If you want an outdoor dog that is independent (like a German Shepherd), a Groodle is not for you.
The relationship you and other family members develop with your dog is very important. It should be based on trust, love and respect. Your dog needs to know that you will keep him safe and be the leader. If not, he will try to assume this role which is exhausting for him. It’s important you don't expose your dog to fearful places or aggressive dogs.
Groodles love human companionship and bond very strongly with their owners. Groodles will find ways to entertain themselves, so it is important to provide them with enough chewing toys and good training before leaving them for any amount of time.
Your Groodle's energy is boundless. To keep him out of trouble, you and your kids must provide plenty of time to play. If you’re not going to be around, it's important to give your Groodle something to do like playing with a Kong or an interactive toy like the GameChanger®. If you’re out and about, leave the radio or TV on tuned to Animal Planet or your dog will feel very isolated.
The Groodle's history along both parent lines are as hunters and water dogs. However, modern day Groodles have not been raised to hunt. Instead, they are great athletes who love to play flyball, tug-of-war, agility, hide-and-seek, fetch-and-retrieve and other outdoor canine sports. Groodles need at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, which can include walking, swimming, playing with other dogs, or trotting behind you as you putter in the garden. Remember that whatever you do, your Groodle wants to be by your side!
Remember the old parlour game called three card Monte? Dogs love it. Take 3 cups and turn them upside down. Place a treat under one of them and mix them all up until you are sure your dog has lost track. Place the cups a few feet apart and see if your dog can guess which one contains the treat. If he guesses wrong, don’t give him the treat yet! Instead, show them the treat and mix the cups up again. Eventually their sense of smell will kick in and they’ll get it right.
Or hide a treat in a room while your dog is watching. Pretend you are leaving it at one location, but visit multiple locations, leaving only one treat in one place. Have your dog sit until you give the command to “fetch” or “find”. See if they can find it.
Remember that Groodles have endless energy so it is best to wear them out mentally and physically. I promise that given time, they will curl up on the couch and be exhausted!
If you’re handy, consider building a fun obstacle course. PVC pipe is inexpensive to buy and can create a great agility course.
The GameChanger® - The Best Interactive Toy
If you’re like most dog owners, your dog has tons of toys. Some he can destroy in minutes!
That’s why Bark Busters developed the GameChanger®, an interactive toy that is virtually indestructible and can provide your Groodle with hours of fun. It’s an interactive puzzle toy that delivers a treat. It’s a chew toy, that they can carry around and take to their bed and promotes healthy teeth. They can’t rip it apart like many ‘stuffed’ toys. It’s a workout toy, that they flip over with their nose and scratch at with their paws. It will possibly be your dog’s favourite toy.
The GameChanger® comes in four vibrant colours and will give your dog hours of fun and mental stimulation.
Great Toy For Addressing Separation Anxiety and Greedy Eaters
We have had great success with the GameChanger® in helping dogs that suffer from separation anxiety. The idea is to fill the toy with the dog’s favourite treats and give it to your dog just before you leave the home.
Dogs do love the toy as it provides them with several different experiences. It’s a brain teaser -- they have to work out how to get their treat out. This engages their brain and is a boredom buster. It has an easy and difficult mode. So always start on the easy mode that is where all four holes of the toy are not aligned. The difficult mode is where all four holes are aligned.
Apart from the brain teaser it gives your dog a chewing exercise. The toy bounces back and reacts to your dog’s bite much the same way that a tennis ball reflexes and springs back. Dogs love that reaction and it keeps them entertained and coming back for more of the same.
The GameChanger® is also a great tool for addressing ‘greedy eaters’. Many dogs scarf their meal in minutes and then come back for more. Dogs that have obesity issues can be helped by using the toy to deliver their daily ration.
When a dog has to use its paws and jaw to get a meal, it makes for a happier, more fulfilled pet.
Because Groodles are so active, you have to be very wary of them running away. Imagine how broken hearted you would be if your Groodle got lost or escaped and faces the dangers of the street.
That’s why Bark Busters developed the WaggTagg™ a unique pet identification system that is easy to use and free for all Bark Busters clients. It is absolutely essential that your dog have identification on him at all times, and the WaggTagg™ works on an easy-to-use QR code system.
The dog owner first inputs some data about the dog at the WaggTagg™ website. Whoever finds the dog needs to simply scan the tag which sends a text message directly to the dog owner and several other people that the owner has nominated (like your vet, a neighbour, a family member, etc). The tag does not reveal any sensitive information to the finder because it protects the dog owner’s privacy.
This way if your vet office is closed on the weekend, you can still be reunited with your dog.
Bark Busters has many success stories about dogs that have been found with this tag!
Does your dog bolt out the door when he sees his lead? Pull you along on walks or lead you around? Many dog owners complained to Bark Busters that their dogs would not walk correctly on the lead. After reviewing all the collars and leads on the market, Bark Busters decided an improvement was needed – the WaggWalker® was born.
The harness comes in 6 sizes and is suitable for dogs 6 months and older.
This harness is available from your local Bark Busters trainer 1800 067 710 or www.barkbusters.com.au/waggwalker.php
That’s why Bark Busters founders, Danny and Sylvia Wilson knew that an essential part of a dog’s training had to involve a lead or harness. Thus, the WaggWalker® was born.
Modern doggie-parents want the very best for their dogs in today’s society and with the busy lifestyles they lead, more and more dog lovers are turning to dog parks as a way of socialising and exercising their dogs.
When people are told that they need to socialise their dog, they tend to immediately think that they need to rush out and take their dog to a doggie park.
Dog parks can be great fun for most dogs and dog parents, not every dog will do well in this environment, especially young inexperienced Groodles.
Groodles are an energetic breed and love to romp and play, but this can unsettle other more experienced dogs that they encounter in the park and the result might be an altercation.
A young inexperienced dog or puppy might feel threatened by a confident larger or more experienced dog that tries to dominate a juvenile. This type of interaction between two dogs that are strangers, can leave your dog with lasting behavioural issues, such as dog aggression.
For example, if a dog doesn't enjoy being jumped on or snapped at, they could feel threatened and become agitated and might retaliate.
This can then become a normal reaction to all other dogs that can stay with your dog forever.
Although training can help rectify this behaviour, prevention is better than any cure.
The best way to prevent this behaviour is to socialise your dog with calm or low energy dogs and be sure you have strong voice control over your dog in low, medium and high-level distraction environments before attempting to visit a dog park. Try visiting the dog park in off peak hours and practice gaining focus from your dog before you allow him to run off and play.