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Labradoodles and Kids: A Brief Overview
Before we get into the details of how Labradoodles interact with kids, we need to provide a bit of background on the characteristics of this type of dog.
A Labradoodle is a cross between a Poodle and a Labrador, and they are not considered a separate breed by any of the major kennel club associations like the AKC. When talking about Labradoodle traits, you must be aware of the different types of Labradoodles:
- A F1. This is a Labradoodle bred with a Labrador and Poodle, and it will share traits of both dogs. Each dog in an F1 litter can have different characteristics in appearance, hair, and personality. This is also known as a first-generation.
- F1B. Some breeders will breed an F1 Labradoodle with another Poodle. They do this if they want to emphasize specific traits. For example, if a Labradoodle is born with poodle-like hair, the breeder might breed that dog with another poodle to bring out that trait even more. This is also known as backcross.
- F2. When one Labradoodle is bred with another Labradoodle, which is also known as multi-generational.
See Related Article: What is an F1 Labradoodle: Everything You Need to Know
When you breed a poodle with another poodle, you have a good idea of what to expect. However, that is not the case when breeding a first-generation Labradoodle. A litter of puppies might include one that has more characteristics of a Poodle and another that looks more like a Lab.
For example, let’s say you want a dog that doesn’t shed much. When you compare Poodles and Labradors, you will see that a Poodle sheds little, doesn’t drool, and has no dander. That does not guarantee that your doodle puppy won’t have the hair of a Lab—lots of shedding, dander, and drooling.
The good news is that Poodles and Labradors are both good with kids. Therefore, no matter which breed your Labradoodle favors, you have decent odds that your Labradoodle will be a friendly family dog that will adapt well to children.
Consider the Age of the Labradoodle
Labradors become calmer with age. When people think of labs as being hyperactive dogs, they are thinking of the behavior of younger labs. As they get older, Labradors settle down and become calmer.
If you get a puppy, you will have to be much more vigilant when it is interacting with kids. Although a puppy would not purposefully hurt a child, its hyperactivity might lead to accidents.
So if your dog is no longer a puppy and you bring a baby home, you shouldn't have any problems. Remember that while Labradoodles are good with kids, young puppies, like young kids, don't always think before they act.
Bringing a Baby Home
If you already have a doodle, then there is some prep work you should do before bringing the baby home.
First and foremost, your dog should be obedience trained. We do not mean that your dog must be able to heel, retrieve items on command, or complete obstacle courses. We mean that your Labradoodle should be able to:
- Obey basic commands, such as sit, stay, and come.
- Leave or drop items on command, greet people calmly, and be willing to go into a crate if needed.
Secondly, your doodle needs to be prepared for the changes that will come. Dogs don't like to have their routine changed, and that is something you need to prepare for.
- Change your sleep routine. Don’t always get up at the same time. Begin to take some naps.
- Change exercise and feeding times. If you normally take a walk in the afternoon, take one in the morning. If you always feed your dog when you get up, wait an hour or two.
When the baby arrives, not normal will be the new normal. The sooner your doodle understands that, the better it will be when the baby finally comes home.
Even these preparations are no guarantees that there will not be some tension. However, if you have trained your doodle to be ready for the changes, anything that might come up can be easily resolved.
Pro Tip: Some pet owners think that in the weeks before a baby comes home, their dog should get extra attention to make up for the lack of attention it’s going to receive. Do not fall into that trap. Once your dog gets used to that extra loving, it will become resentful when the baby comes home.
Bringing a Labradoodle Home
If you bring a Labradoodle home as a puppy, you are going to have to take extra precautions. This is when you will need to have input from the breeder. That person should be able to address concerns regarding the energy level and personality of the puppy you are planning on buying.
Some experts say that you should avoid bringing a first generation, or F1, Labradoodle puppy into your home if you have an infant. The reason for that is because, as we stated earlier, it’s difficult to know exactly what kind of puppy you will get.
That is why you need to be asking your breeder some questions about the doodle you are planning on bringing home:
- Could you tell us about the dog’s temperament?
- How would you feel about placing the parent dogs with a young family?
- Have you sold a Labradoodle to a couple with small children before?
- Can we contact people you have previously sold to?
If you have a reputable breeder, they will answer those questions truthfully. Their reputation is crucial to their ability to sell more Labradoodles.
Finally, check up with the references. Sometimes a dishonest breeder will give you some names and assume you won’t call them.
Rescuing a Labradoodle
If you are considering adopting or rescuing an older Labradoodle, then you will want to take extra precautions and time before socializing it with kids.
Oftentimes, dogs needing to be re-homed are victims of neglect or abuse. Sadly, it can negatively affect their temperament and could lead to an increased risk of an accident or negative interaction.
How Much Training Is Involved?
If you are bringing a puppy home, you need to think about how much time and energy you will need to train your new doodle. Remember, the puppy will be energetic and taught how to calm down. If you want to take every precaution, training your Labradoodle to be gentle with your kids is a must.
Your new puppy will also need time to exercise. It is difficult to estimate the additional time commitments for a new puppy, but one or two hours over the course of a day is not unreasonable. And that is on top of the extra time spent caring for your newborn.
For the most part, Labradoodles are as good with kids as other social, people-oriented dogs.
An older dog will generally be calmer around kids than a puppy will. If you are bringing home a new baby, prepare your Labradoodle for the new arrival and it should go smoothly. Allow your doodle to investigate the nursery, or even simulate holding a doll to gauge the reaction and set boundaries.
Bringing a puppy home when you have a baby is going to be more challenging. You will have to decide if you want the additional responsibilities or wait a year or two.