Hello. I am feeling overwhelmed today and am hoping to find some new ideas. We adopted a 3 month old Golden Doodle from craigslist (I see that is not accepted by this group, but please don't blast me on it). Admittedly, I did not do enough research into Doodles. At 80 pounds, Murphy is about 15 pounds bigger than I expected. He is very loving and thinks he is a lap dog. In closed quarters, he is a good playmate for our 20 pound miniature schnauzer, Renzi. However, outside, Murphy runs full speed and barrels over Renzi.

My daughter and I have allergies and asthma. Murphy doesn't shed, and his dander doesn't seem to bother us. However, between the dirt he wears in and the dust he and Renzi pound out of the rug when wrestling, having Murphy has quadrupled the dust in the house. That does affect our allergies.

We have a large fenced yard (split rail and wire). If someone is not outside with him, Murphy digs out of the yard every chance he gets. The first time, he came back with a child's stuffed animal. That turned out okay (fortunately, the neighbor's grandson was used to big dogs), but I worry. There's also a very busy road just across a little stream behind our house. This afternoon, Murphy dug out, and now he is covered in burrs and something (he likes to roll in feces and dead birds).

We're working on the jumping. He walks pretty well with a Gentle Leader head lead, but I cannot walk both dogs at the same time. The trainers at the obedience course we took didn't have any suggestions for his counter cruising. Everything is in his reach. He has a crate, and both dogs are gated in a large laundry/mud room whenever they're not supervised. Renzi no longer chews up things (well, he still loves tissues), but Murphy chews up whatever he can (like the rug and pad). I'm hoping that he will outgrow some of his puppy behavior within the next year.

I'm trying to deal with all the challenges. Murphy is a sweet dog, and Renzi likes having a brother. The kids enjoy him most of the time, but the escaping and allergies are serious issues. On days like today, I wonder if I can see through all the stuggles. How do we make it work?

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It is not that we don't accept adopting from CL but we try to contact the person doing this to tell them the dangers of doing so. You have rescued him and are certainly welcome here. Some of Murphy's problems may stem from being in different homes and getting used to different situations and different rules. He may have been able to do things in his old home that he cannot do at yours and visa versa.

First thing you need to do is secure your yard. That should be your number one priority right now. These dogs are retrievers, they like to run and they like to hunt. Your yard needs to be a safe and secure place for him to be. Besides dirt and burrs is the danger of being hit by a car or captured and taken to a shelter, are real possibilities. Not a pleasant place for him to be. You then need to start working on the digging and bringing in dirt. It sounds like between that and the running, he has a lot of energy that he needs to burn off. If you can find a dog park to take him to that he can run off excess energy, that might help. Or if you or one of the kids or even a neighbor kid can take him out running once a day, that will help lessen much of his energy. My son started running with my Jack, when he started his crazed age and it really helped.

He ate an entire couch (old one, Thank goodness) before we discovered running. Training classes will help with much of it and time and age will, too. Three months is rather young and you still have a ways to go until he reaches adulthood. Giving him marrow bones to chew on might help, too. Especially if he is teething right now. You can get them at the butcher or in many supermarkets. Give him something else positive to do to distract from the negative behavior.

You have also come to the right place for support and help. Let us know how it goes and keep the dialog open. You are not in it alone. Others have been where you are and "this too shall pass." We are here for you.
Thanks for your replies. Murphy is 20 months old now. He has gone to doggy daycare, and I have a friend with a Golden Retriever that he plays with occasionally. I'm sure it would help if I took him to play dates more regularly. At $25/day, day care quickly gets expensive.

He is pretty rough at play, which is why I haven't taken him to a dog park yet. I get anxious whenever dogs meet and have any issues. He is not agressive - just very exuberant and energetic. He runs full speed at other dogs. He likes to stalk Renzi and charge at him. Do you think that would be problematic at a dog park? I just don't know what to expect.

Around here, there's one large one that is not completely fenced in (it's an area of a large county park). I have never taken my Schnauzer there because he is not very good at "come." I have taken him (but not Murphy) to a different park that has fenced areas for small and for large dogs. The problem with that one is that it's all dirt and mud - and it's about 30 minutes away. Renzi is a bit overwhelmed at the dog park, so I didn't take him there often anyway.

I am not a runner, and I don't think the kids could walk or run Murphy. He's too big for them to handle right now. My 9 year-old son is almost 80 pounds,and my 6 year-old daughter is just 40. Murphy likes to retrieve the ball or frisbee, but he really wants Renzi to chase him more than he wants to play fetch. He is trying to figure out how to catch the frisbee (it's trickier), and he likes to try to catch balls in quick succession.

Chewing on bones is helpful. I put carrots or apples or peanut butter in hollow bones. Murphy is pretty good at throwing the bone around until the carrot falls out. He is on a restricted diet since the vet thinks he is allergic to chicken. Right now, he's eating only lamb and rice food and treats. Are food allergies common in Doodles? The vet suspected allergies because Murphy had recurring ear infections.

I need to discuss options with my husband and children. We've talked about a wireless fence in addition to the current one. Do you have other suggestions for securing the yard more? So far when he escapes, he usually stays in the "wild" part of our yard between the fence and the stream or he goes into our neighbor's yard. He is pretty good at coming when called back. Of course his safety is our main concern with his escaping, too.

My allergies are a real issue. I have problems year round with pollens and dust mites. Some times of the year (like now), it's hard to spend much time outside. Last night at soccer practice, I had a really bad reaction to something (rag weed most likely). I'm going to the doctor this morning with a severly swollen eye. I bring this up because it does drain my energy and make the extra dirt an issue.

I hate to think of sending Murphy off. We are attached to him, and he is quite at home here. But if we can't come up with a way to keep him exercised or entertained enough, maybe rehoming is the right way to go. He has been neutered and is up to date on everything. He had one lame day last winter. My sister (a vet and vet. radiologist) and specialists here think he has OCD (I forget the long name) in his right shoulder. He had x-rays taken. If he has any more lameness episodes or seems bothered by it, we'll look into the $3500 surgery. Since the one episode (after he played in the snow), he hasn't seemed bothered by it. IF we were to rehome him, then the new family also would have to be aware of this and willing to address it if needed.

From what I can tell from his records I got from the previous owner, Murphy came from a breeder in PA. I couldn't find much information on the breeder, but I don't think it was a very reputable establishment. The story I got was that his original owner's husband was in a car accident that left him paralyzed. The second owner was a young mom who just found out she was pregnant again, had a 3 year-old and her own business, and couldn't deal with a puppy at that time.

Let me have a family meeting about what to do. I appreciate your help.
Jenn, a wireless fence is not 100% reliable, especially with a full-on run. They will be through and on the other side when the zap kicks in. I would never count on an e-fence to contain a dog who really wants to get out. Since he is digging out, you might consider attaching chicken wire to the bottom of your existing fence and digging it down into the dirt. He needs to be trained to stop digging and other destructive behaviors by constant vigilance.

This "breed" needs a lot of attention. They are not the kind of dog to be left alone to entertain themselves. They are very people oriented dogs and crave being where their people are. You may have to think about what would be better for him and make that decision. He will probably never be a sedate quiet dog. We can help if you do make that decision. Keep that in mind.

If you decide to keep him, maybe a in-home trainer may be able to help. But make sure they work on a reward basis and not on a punishment/payment program. These dogs (as do all) respond better to love and pleasing their person. Let us know what you decide.


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