Labradoodle & Goldendoodle Forum
When we got our puppy at 8 weeks, we were told he was held the most in the litter. He begged everyone to pick him up. They described his personality as a calm puppy that just went with the flow and took a while to develop a personality.
After we brought him home, he had some separation anxiety and would not let us leave the room. We thought he may have been coddled too much. With some training and patience, he quickly grew out of it. He can now be left on his own for several hours without a problem. It’s like night and day.
He’s now just over 4 months. Over the past several weeks, he has become less affectionate. He won’t cuddle or lay next to us. When we try, he gets up and moves to the other side of the room. We can tell he gets stressed — lots of yawning, some whale eyes, etc.
He does love our company though and follows us around the house. He’s very sociable and playful — with us, family, strangers, and every dog he meets.
Most of the time, our relationship with him feels very one-sided. He (attempts) to get what he wants when he wants it. But he does listen to us and training has gone great. I have no doubt he looks up to us as leaders. We provide exercise, training, playdates, and a structured meal schedule (although he’s always begging for more food).
We love him and know we are lucky parents because of how calm and friendly he is, but we can’t help but feel a little sad that he doesn’t enjoy our company a bit more. We see a lot of photos from his litter mates snuggling with their families.
It makes us wonder: did we do something wrong; is this just a phase; or is this just who he is?
Awww...those cute little fur kids...how dare they "snub" us! LOL. When I read your blog, it brought back memories of my darling Skadi. She was 3 months old when we brought her into our home (she had been with another family who didn't have the time to care for her) anyway, she was a 'lil beast'. Then when she was with us awhile, she started acting the very same way you are describing your puppy. Moving to another spot when I approached her! I couldn't believe that little stinker! Anyway, I asked my trainer about the behavior and she said 'normal' and I was to act 'cool' toward her and let her realize that I was the 'cool kid' that everyone wants to be around. So instead of fawning all over her, when I came home or into the room, I just ignored her pretty much and let her come to me. To this day when I come home, I ignore her until she calms down...then I greet her. Works like a charm. I understand wanting to cuddle, kiss, love love love the new puppy...unfortunately, mine didn't care for that type of affection when she was little. She just wanted to bite me. Today is a completely different story! Around the 6 month mark she changed like someone was throwing a light switch. She stopped all her biting and being "mean" to me! She will be 8 years old this July and is very very very loving. She still does not like hugs over and around the neck and head, but she loves to be kissed all over her face and lets me hug her all over the rest of her. About 3 years ago she started getting in bed with me at night(she doesn't stay, but she rests with me for about an hour or so) then in the morning she will also get in bed with me...actually cries if I don't 'rub' her! So, hang in there...your baby should come around in a few months...patience is the key.
Thank you for sharing your story. It provided a lot of comfort and encouragement. It sounds like Skadi is a sweet companion. :) We hope our puppy gets there as well. Of course, we'll love him just as much if he doesn't. It would be nice though :)
The cool kid advice you mentioned...I totally agree with this!
I have a doodle that enjoys our company but is absolutely not a lap dog or a cuddler. He just isn't. I have one that we are training right now and it was pointed out to us that we were letting him be in charge of when to cuddle and we are learning techniques (as you have) to make him self soothe and look to us as the ones to decide when and where to cuddle. We were warned that there would be a period when we would WANT to cuddle him, and he would look at us and go the other way. We are in the middle of that right now. It is a power struggle. I think they come out the other side for snuggles, if they are going to be a snuggler at all.
Oh they change so much during that first year. When Gavin was that age I could not even pet him without stuffing a toy in his mouth because all he wanted to do was bite our hands! Now he is a therapy dog, meaning his job is to be constantly pet. Be consistent with training and expectations and he will turn out just fine. PS I would rather have a dog that you give affection to on your terms than a pushy dog that is demanding of affection. The latter can be exhausting!
Thank you all for sharing your stories and guidance. It gives us hope.
We’re surprised to see him act this way considering we had the opposite problem when we first started out a couple of months ago (separation anxiety, wanting to be held, etc.). At the time, our trainer warned us that over socializing him to people may cause him to be less excited around us. Not sure if that actually was/is the problem. He gets very excited with other people and less excited when he sees us after a short time away. We’re trying to not take it personally, but it’s hard not to with all the work that goes into building a bond.
Josh, the doodle I mentioned earlier that is NOT a snuggler at all and is fiercely independent - well, when the going gets tough, he depends upon us to take care of him. We visited friends where he was not comfortable - he spent the weekend in my lap - I loved it. We had a car accident with him, he was in our arms the whole time while we waited for a tow truck and then spent the next weeks by my side while I recovered.
It sure sounds like you've done an awesome job of raising your Doodle to be a balanced, independent and calm dog. I give you so much credit for providing the environment and leadership for this to happen. I'm not sure that's just "who he is", but for now it's what he's most comfortable with. I'd back off a little for now with the cuddling. He definitely "enjoys your company" if he's following you around the house. As others have said, I really think with some patience he'll likely become more affectionate as he gets a little older....but even if he doesn't he sounds amazing!
I love this forum because it allows its members to share experiences, reminisce, and laugh together about the uncertainties that come with having a fur child. Your discussion brought me back to when we first got Teddy. We picked him up when he was 8 weeks old (he just turned five months this week). Though it seems like we’ve had him for such a short period of time, to us, it feels like he’s been a member of our family for years now. Especially with all of the challenges we’ve had to overcome, including having a snuggly teddy bear that didn’t want to snuggle. I can confidently tell you it changes. Where he once used to go to the other side of the couch at the sight of us, he now rests his little head on our lap to nap. The major shift came when we started to allow him to sleep on our bed. Our trainer discouraged it and said we shouldn’t allow it until we felt he respected us, and not until recently did we feel that was the case. Once he was allowed on our bed, the hugs, kisses and love tripled! Everyone’s experiences are different, but thought that I’d share mine!
He is very very cute! So sweet looking! It just gets better and better. Enjoy!