Labradoodle Care

Labradoodle care is essential to raising one of these beautiful hybrid puppies into a well-developed 'Doodle. Because these dogs are both popular and somewhat established, there are plenty of Internet and print resources to help you in puppy care, maintenance, tips, raising, and caring for a Labradoodle once they're an adult. On this page, you can find out how to get started in learning how to take care of a Labradoodle.

Labradoodle Breed Development

Your cute little Labradoodle will be a somewhat big dog before you know it! These hybrid dogs have a fast growth rate. Their adolescent stage, which is typically reached by 10 months, is very short. They are considered adults by the time they are one year old, but it can take about another year for full maturity to be reached. There are sure to be Labradoodle life stages during their puppy years that will take you by surprise, however. Below is a general growth chart to help you understand what to expect and when to expect it as your Doodle moves from grows from puppy to adult — and at what basic weight it may happen!

Labradoodle Exercise Needs

If you have not yet wondered how much exercise does a Labradoodle need, you should research this. Your Labradoodle will be a fast-growing dog, but as a puppy, the exercise must be restricted. He'll walk around the house and yard, play-fight with his litter mates, and learn some easy tricks like fetching small, casually rolled balls. These all involve some activity, and that should be good enough for a puppy. The growth spurt he'll have, along with his developing skeleton, means his exercise should be moderated. Strenuous exercise can be immediately harmful as well as injurious in the future. Short walks outside should only be done after his vaccinations and no earlier than four months. Once he's about 5 to 6 months old, longer walks and more boisterous play are fine, but he should still be able to rest when he wants. When he reaches about 12 months, long walks and full exercise can be enjoyed.

Here are some exercises to consider for your 'Doodle: 

  • Walking: You can do this at least twice a day for no less than 30 minutes each. If you want to go three times, they'll probably love that too!
  • Snow-tracking: Hiding one of their toys or a rawhide chew in the snow is sure to be great fun! This can be done in your back yard (so they can go off-leash) or on a long leash in a field or the woods.
  • Jog: If you are the active type, jogging can be excellent for your Labradoodle in many ways.
  • Swimming: It's a sure bet your 'Doodle will love a pond, lake, or slow-moving stream, especially if there's a dock for diving.
  • Hike: If you have a nearby rural area, foothills, or a mountain range, there are sure to be trails that can make for a good jaunt.
  • Bicycling: If you have a disciplined dog and a bike path, a biking session once a day (instead of one of the walks) can keep both of you in shape.
  • Dog parks: These are great for discipline, freedom, fun, and above all, exercise, as contradictory as all that may seem.

There are sure to be times when you can't even get out for a daily walk, and you might live in an apartment or the city where a fenced yard is not available. You should have on hand a lot of toys, chewables, and agility puzzles. Hiding one or two toys can be good for a searching game, and agility puzzles with treats hidden in them can help to keep the boredom at bay. If you have a treadmill, this can work in lieu of walking. Of course, hiring a dog walker is also an option. Finally and above all, a managed diet and ample, fresh water will help greatly in keeping your dog healthy despite those days when proper exercise just isn't possible.

Labradoodle Maintenance

There is a myth that Labradoodles are easy to maintain, don't shed, and are non-droolers. This should be cleared up. If you want a properly behaved 'Doodle, there will be maintenance work — although it can be made enjoyable. As for shedding, the amount shed depends first on the coat type and afterward, on the diet, exercise, and environment. The same goes for drooling. While Poodles aren't known to drool, Labradors are, and this means your Labradoodle may or may not drool a bit naturally.

There are many things that can induce excessive drooling in 'Doodles, however. It might be unavoidable, such as when he is teething. It might be environmental, such as his first car ride or a new home. It might be a health issue, such as something stuck in his gums. He may have eaten a noxious plant. It might also just be a general untidiness, such as when he sloppily drinks water and slobbers a lot doing so. For this, you can get a deeper water bowl, fill it just halfway and put a mat beneath the bowl.

Labradoodle shedding can be an issue that may be problematic depending on the coat type and how much grooming you give it. First-generation (i.e., F1) Labradoodles tend to shed the most of these hybrid dogs. The F1bs, which are bred back to Poodles, are a bit better. The F2 and multigen (F3, etc.) litters typically inherit the Poodle parent's curly, nearly non-shedding coat. It's widely believed that the more curl in the coat, the less shedding. If there is excessive or uneven shedding, there could be a health problem or skin condition. Finally, be sure that, if it's excessive shedding, it's not just the puppy coat that's being replaced by the adult one.

Labradoodle Diet

The amount of food your Labradoodle should eat will vary greatly depending on the variety (Mini, Toy or Standard 'Doodle, depending on which Poodle parent was mated), age, weight, and type of food (kibble, wet, raw, or a combination of these). Puppies are best fed a lot at certain stages to help with their growth spurts, but the amount of protein and fat needs are different from when they are adult dogs. There are some companies that sell specifically labeled Labradoodle food, but it's up to you to learn as much as you can while considering your dog's health and your own budget. On this page, you can learn some basics about Labradoodle puppy food and diet. If you need to change the type of brand of dog food, it should be done slowly and over at least a week. You can do this by using 1/4th new food to 3/4s of the amount of the food you want to replace. Adjust the amount bit by bit over the course of 7-10 days until you are filling the bowl with 100% of the new food.

While Poodles don't tend to have a weight problem, Labs do, and depending on how you manage your dog's diet can help prevent obesity. If, however, you do end up with a fat Labradoodle, then changes must be made — although prevention is better than a cure. Daily exercise will contribute too, but the type of food and amount of it is very important. If your puppy is not gaining weight, you should add a little bit more with each feeding. On the other hand, if your puppy seems fat and lazy, you might want to cut back either the amount or one of the feedings. You can get an idea of your dog's optimal weight by feeling the rib cage: if the ribs are very obvious, he needs more food, and if you can't feel them, he needs less. Wet food out of a can is often not recommended for puppies as it can affect their teeth and stomach.

Living Environment

As a pretty pure companion dog, the Labradoodle is definitely an inside breed. While these hybrids will require a good bit of outdoor exercise each day, they'll be much happier living indoors with the human family members they love so much! And for the Labradoodle, apartment living isn't a good idea. A Labradoodle in apartment life will just be too confined for such a small space. Overall, these hybrids are best suited for homes with fenced yards.

Another consideration for owners of a Labradoodle: weather. In reality, 'Doodles are pretty adaptable to most climates, and will be comfortable in all but extremely hot or cold temps.