Meet our adorable puppy Conan the Bar-BEAR-ian, he will be joining our family in two weeks. My heart is so full with love for this little guy. Yesterday we took a road trip for visiting day at the breeders residence. If you have the opportunity to visit/pick your puppy in person, DO IT! The experience was great. The kids loved having the entire litter at their feet. We loved spending time with our puppy to make sure it was a perfect match for our family. My son Cameron is seriously counting down the minutes until we can take him home for good. Although, I am slightly freaking out inside with the thought of having to potty train my toddler and puppy, I am still very excited!
Conan is an Australian Multi-Generation chocolate Labradoodle, he will be a standard size so he will grow to be about 50 to 60 pounds, and has a curly fleece coat. I wanted to share my experience just in case you are considering getting a puppy and/or you just wanted to see some adorable pup pictures. I’m sharing our dog journey in hopes that your family will avoid some of the mistakes we have experienced in the past.
WHY WE CHOSE TO GET A DOG
I LOVE animals! I blame my mom lol, she allowed my sisters and I to have as many pets as we wanted. We started with having a black Shih Tzu. He was named after the Ewok Wickett from Star Wars. We grew up together, and he lived until he was 16 (we were devastated when we had to put him down). Throughout our years my sisters had hamsters and I had two cats. Then later my sister and I rescued an abused dog (long story), and he still lives with my mom. Needless to say my love for animals started from the beginning. I knew that I wanted to give my children the opportunity for the same experience.
In contrast, my husband did not grow up with animals and actually would be completely happy never owning a pet. He believes if you do have a pet they should strictly be outside, while me on the other hand I am trying to figure out how to fit myself, husband, and the dog all in the bed together. HAHA! Rick doesn’t necessarily like animals but he knows his wife and children love them. He definitely compromised, and wanted to make us happy which we appreciate.
OUR PREVIOUS TRIAL AND ERRORS
We actually had 3 dogs prior to Conan. It has been an interesting dog journey to say the least. I got my first dog when I was a Sophomore in college. He was a pure bred Alaskan Husky that I had absolutely no business getting. It was very impulsive, and I was not in the season of my life where I could handle the responsibility of a dog and especially that breed. Huskies require a lot of exercise, and you run the risk of them acting out if they don’t receive it. He would destroy my apartment. One time he chewed through the carpet all the way down to the cement. Not to mention, the financial responsibility and trying to be a full-time student. It was not a good fit, so I found a family that could take him.
Our second dog, was a chocolate lab. I loved him, we surprised Cameron with him for Christmas. However, at just 4 months Cody was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy (HOD). We tried to treat it but it was so aggressive we lost him within one week after being diagnosed. DEVASTATING! After that the breeder we got Cody from felt so bad she wanted to give us another puppy from another breeder. This is when we got Cooper the yellow Lab. In hindsight I don’t believe our family was mentally or emotionally ready for it. I think we should have taken some time to regroup. Cooper was about 120lbs, wild and rambunctious. We were never really able to fully connect with him, which is crazy because I love animals. Even after dog training he was just always so obnoxious, and Cam and him did not mesh well together.
The opportunity for us to move to Texas came along and we had some hard decisions to make. We would be in a transitional period, when we first moved down we were staying at my sisters as we searched for a home. Then we knew that we wanted to be in an apartment for the first year as we made the adjustment to living in Dallas. All that to say we started interviewing families that wanted to a new dog. We found him a home, for a family that actually was surprising their son and they lived on over 2 acres. They still periodically will send us pictures of him! It was a hard decision, but the best for our family and Cooper.
What I have learned through our ups and downs of pet ownership is most importantly do not make an impulsive decision to get a pet. Take your time and research the breed, assess your life, and finances. Ask yourself is your family ready for a pet? Do you have the time, to give your pet the attention they deserve? If so, start making a list of what qualities you want in a dog. You want to make sure you can truly give your pet a great life, and that you will enjoy them. This time around we took about 6 months to prepare, research, and pray on this decision. We wanted this time around to be a permanent decision and perfect match. Dogs are work and they are an extra responsibility, so if you don’t think you are ready for that consider another type of pets that is lower maintenance. Do what works best for your life!
WHY WE CHOSE TO GET AN AUSTRALIAN MULTI-GENERATION LABRADOODLE
We have researched the breed for a while, and we have talked many times on the decision to get a dog. We really wanted to get one that was perfect for our lifestyle and family. It took months to finally decide on the best breed. From my own personal experience, take your time to research the breed and the breeder. Don’t just go based on cuteness, because I made that mistake. Learn the breed! You want to fully know what you are committing to and definitely want to get your dog from a reputable breeder.
With our previous Labrador we felt that his size was just too large for our family. He was 120lbs and wild. We wanted a dog smaller than our last, but not a toy sized dog. My husband has allergies and one of his major complaints with our previous dog was the shedding. We would vacuum and less than an hour later tons of hair again. We tried everything. With my husband not being a dog lover this was a tough adjustment for him. That led us to start considering a hypoallergenic dog. They have minimum shedding and great for people with allergies. We picked chocolate because I have always loved chocolate labs. My best friend in middle school had a chocolate lab and I loved her, and it always stuck with me. Labradoodles are known to be great family dogs and easy to train. Not to mention, I feel like I am getting a live chocolate teddy bear!!
Please know that getting a Labradoodle is an investment, as they can be a bit pricey depending on the breeder. If you find a low cost Labradoodle breeder verify their accreditation and breeding methods. An example of the consequences of getting a dupe is you could end up getting a normal shedding dog. Research is key!
PICKING THE RIGHT BREEDER
We searched many breeders, there were not many that bred Australian Multi-generation Labradoodles and were accredited. Due to this the waiting lists for some breeders can be quite long. We actually put down a deposit for one breeder and later got a refund because it was disclosed that we were #41 on this list!!! Yikes! We then decided to go with Lonestar Labradoodles which I love! Their dogs were beautiful, and I love what they included. They have been in this business for 12 years and were very professional.
Almost all breeders require you to put down a deposit and then make the final payment about 1-2 weeks before the puppy comes home. We were #3 on the waiting list for this particular litter, so we got to pick third on visiting day. The breeder was 3 hours from us, but it is well worth it. I came into the visit already having an idea of the one I wanted. However, we still spent an hour interacting with all puppies to help us decide. Another thing I loved about this breeder is they microchip and neuter your dog before they come home to you. Which is one less thing I have to worry about, and they include a 2-year health guarantee.
PREPARING THE FAMILY
When we decided to get a dog we knew that having a dog would require the effort from EACH family member. Once Rick and I made the decision, we decided to tell Cameron so he could feel part of this process. We called a family meeting, and made the announcement! Cameron was so excited he started break dancing! HAHA! However, we brought him back to reality and got a little serious.
We explained to him this would also be his responsibility, and explained what that meant for him.
We asked him to let us know if he wanted this major job, which he obviously said he was ready. To make sure he was serious about the decision we gave Cameron a project. He had to research all about Labradoodles, along with finding 10 facts about how to take care of a dog. Next step, he had to make a presentation about what he learned and educate the family on his findings. This was our way of getting Cameron committed and understanding the responsibility. Also educating him on a dog’s needs.
Well, for Calvin we are just praying he doesn’t consume too much dog food. We have been leaving Conan’s dog bowls out so Calvin can get use to them being a part of daily life. Also, just talking to him about the new dog. We will just really be monitoring Calvin with him to make sure he understands this is a REAL ANIMAL! During the visit Calvin did great with the puppies. He absolutely loved when they would give him kisses, and just kept running after them. I am hopeful. I will basically be having 2 toddlers at one time, so we will all be working together to make the adjustment to the dog not a one man job.
I have been extremely long winded with this, but I wanted to share my experience to hopefully help another family planning to start on the same journey. This is truly just my own personal experience. You may not be pressed on pure bred or prefer to adopt. Everyone’s experience will be unique for them. Just make sure to plan properly for whichever route you choose. I will do another post soon on the what to get for your new puppy, along with more pictures of him!