just a girl and her puppies.

This happened at our house this afternoon. I promptly melted into a puddle.

How lucky are we to have such loving and patient dogs? I’ll answer that- so lucky.

is that a labradoodle?

When people meet Lily they usually say things like, A. “Whoa she’s big!” B. “What kind of dog is that?” or C. “She’s just a big ball of fur!”
And then I say things like, A. “I know. She is a big girl.” B. “She’s a Goldendoodle. A Golden Retriever mixed with a Standard Poodle.” or C. “Yes, she’s a muppet.”
And then they say things like, A. “Man, does she knock things off your table with that tail? It must be crazy at your house.” B. “Oh, so she’s a Labradoodle? I thought those things were little…” or C. “A muppet!? You’re hysterical and beautiful and brilliant.”
And then I say things like, A. “Guy, you don’t even know the stuff she can knock over with her tail. Plus, I have a German Shepherd, too. What- where are you going?” B. “Similar to a Labradoodle, but not. That’s why she’s a GOLDENdoodle. A big one. What- where are you going?” or C. “THANK YOU! I’m going to kiss you, you little sweetheart! What do you mean you never said that? What-where are you going?”
This big, muppet of a Goldendoodle can be a little intimidating when she romps all over the place and barks at the UPS truck and rests her paw on top of Hudson’s head and knocks full bottles of beer off the coffee table and shoves Maddie over with the swipe of her tail and mean-mugs for photographs.
Lily the Goldendoodle with long hair

But then you get her a haircut, and things don’t look so scary anymore. Because underneath all that hair, is just a little shorn sheep. A skinny Pad with a chenille coat and toothpicks for legs and a feather duster tail and rolls of extra skin for days (because she lost 10 pounds when we got Hudsie and has kept it off for the last two years).

Lily the Goldendoodle after getting groomed

Lily the Goldendoodle after her haircut
The cutest little Labradoodle I’ve ever seen…

better versions of themselves.

German Shepherd and Goldendoodle dogs sleeping on the bed
To be fair, this only happens only a few times a year.

Our puppies are long overdue for an attitude adjustment.

  • Listening to commands only when convenient or bribed with a treat – unacceptable.
  • Mauling and jumping on guests as they enter our home – unacceptable.
  • Trying to climb all over said guests in our home – unacceptable.
  • Pushing up against us, sliding a head under our hands for scratches, knocking over Madeline – unacceptable.
  • Roughhousing inside – unacceptable.
  • Pulling on the leash- unacceptable.
  • Jumping the fence – unacceptable.
  • Begging for food scraps underneath Maddie’s high chair – unacceptable.
  • Eating socks, clothes, puzzle pieces, ________ – unacceptable.
  • Pulling birds out of the sky and attempting to eat them (I can’t make this up)- unacceptable.

When you put it all down on “paper” like that, they look awful. The worst. Why haven’t we given them up months, nay, years ago? We’ve been asking ourselves that question a lot lately. But the bottom line is…we haven’t give up on them. For better or for worse, when we brought baby Lily and little Hudson home, we took on a responsibility. It is our job to give our dogs a good quality of life. One where they are healthy, obedient and happy. And believe me when I tell you we have put thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into this responsibility.

We have put the pups through every training class Petsmart has to offer (passed them all, but behaviors slipped the moment we let our guard down). We’ve used Gentle Leaders (not the best solution, because Hudson is a very intense puller). Spike collars (brought Hudson’s pulling to a managable level, so I could take them on walks to the dog park by myself, but I never really felt comfortable that the means justified the end). Stimulation collars (not a good solution for us- we have way to much guilt). Daily visits to the dog park to burn off excess energy (have ended with Lily shutting down the dog park, running away from me and refusing to go home).

And though quite well-intentioned, it hasn’t been enough. Like any parent knows, consistency is key. Lily (3 1/2) and Hudson (2 1/2) lives have been anything but. Andy deployed for a year, we moved twice in less than a year (living in a hotel, apartment and two houses), we had a baby, plus Andy was gone for nine weeks of Ranger School and is now gone for a month at JRTC.

We do NOT blame our dogs for their behaviors. We do often wonder why Lily is such a stubborn girl or why Hudson is such a pushy pup…but at the end of the day, the blame falls upon our shoulders. Which is why we will continue to try. We owe it to them.

This morning I dropped Bad Pad off at doggy boot camp. She’ll spend two and a half weeks living and training with Chris from K9trainer4U. Then Hudsie Boy will join Lily for nine days of together training. Then I’ll pick Pad up, and he’ll remain solo with Chris until mid-September. Over a month of constant training and re-wiring. The goal? To be better versions of themselves. Cross your fingers, folks! This may take a miracle…

In the meantime, Andy and I will receive a few lessons ourselves. But there’s one thing we learned a long time ago. We are committed to these puppies. They are our family.

German Shepherd, Goldendoodle and baby
Adopt a dog. You won’t regret it.