Are Goldendoodles Good Apartment Dogs?

Goldendoodles are friendly, intelligent, loyal dogs.

And even though they are large dogs, they adapt well to apartment living when their owners make some adjustments to their lively activity level and their size.

Happy apartment life with your Goldendoodle is less about the size of your apartment and more about making sure they get plenty of exercises and mental stimulation.

There are a few things you need to do before you bring your Goldendoodle home to make sure everyone is happy with your living arrangement.

Goldendoodles Aren’t Always a 50-50 Mix

Goldendoodles combine the friendliness of Golden Retrievers with the intelligence of Poodles.

A Goldendoodle isn’t always 50 percent Golden Retriever and 50 percent Poodle.

Sometimes, breeders create backcrosses of Goldendoodles with Poodles to create a Goldendoodle that has more Poodle characteristics, especially the tendency to shed less.

Unlike their Poodle parent, Goldendoodles aren’t really “hypoallergenic.” It’s just fair to say that they are a lot less allergenic than many other breeds of dogs.

The more Poodle a Goldendoodle has in its parentage, the less it sheds.

Goldendoodles don’t always have golden coats. There are also Goldendoodles with red, black, cream, apricot, brown, and combination coats.

Their coats can be straight, wavy, and curly. The curlier the coat, the less often you will need to vacuum up dog hair, but the more often you will need to take your dog to the groomer.

The balance of Poodle and Golden Retriever genetics in your Goldendoodle also affects how big it grows as an adult. Depending on the size of their Poodle parent, they come in several sizes.

A Large Goldendoodle usually weighs 50 to 80 pounds (23 to 36 kg) and stands 20 to 24 inches (51 to 61 cm) tall.

A Medium Goldendoodle weighs 40 to 50 pounds (18 to 23 kg) and stands 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) tall.

Miniature Goldendoodles, bred from Miniature Poodles, weigh as little as 15 to 30 pounds (7 to 16 kg) and are just 20 inches (51 cm) tall.

Some complexes will not allow Large Goldendoodles but permit Medium and Miniature Goldendoodles.

Goldendoodles mostly display the best personality traits of both Golden Retrievers and Poodles. Like Golden Retrievers, they are affectionate, friendly, trustworthy, and enthusiastic.

Like Poodles, they are easy to train, extremely social, and highly intelligent. Like Golden Retrievers and other gundogs, they love to retrieve objects with their mouths.

They are high-energy, playful dogs that are great with children.

Unfortunately, the unusual sociability of Goldendoodles also means that they suffer separation anxiety when they are left alone.

Their intense loyalty causes them to be afraid of strangers and aggressive toward other dogs than either Golden Retrievers or Poodles if they are not properly trained as puppies.

Canine psychologists have found that:

  • Goldendoodles are less than half as likely to be aggressive toward their human families than either Golden Retrievers or Poodles. Neither of these parent breeds is especially aggressive toward their owners.
  • Goldendoodles are over twice as likely to be aggressive toward other dogs as Golden Retrievers or Poodles.
  • Goldendoodles are twice as likely to be afraid of other dogs as Golden Retrievers or Poodles.
  • Goldendoodles are 80 percent more likely to be afraid of strangers than Golden Retrievers or Poodles. However, if they are trained at the age of seven to eleven weeks to accept a variety of different kinds of people and dogs, their fear factor is lower as adults.
  • Goldendoodles don’t enjoy being held, petted, and cuddled as much as Miniature Poodles. In that regard, they are very similar to both Golden Retrievers and Standard Poodles.
  • Goldendoodles are only slightly less prone to separation anxiety than Miniature Poodles. Separation anxiety is 70 percent more likely to be a problem in Goldendoodles than in either Standard Poodles or Golden Retrievers.

The bottom line from these findings for people who live in apartments is that your Goldendoodle needs to be trained as a puppy to socialize with a variety of people and a variety of dogs.

Also, you will need to keep your Goldendoodle occupied during the day so separation anxiety does not lead to whining, barking, scratching, and destructive behavior.

Also read: Are Golden Retrievers Good Apartment Dogs?

Special Considerations for Walk-Up Apartments

When you are getting to know Goldendoodle puppies with the intent of taking one home, it is important to ask the breeder about the size of the Golden Retriever parent.

The reason you need to know is that larger dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, and puppies that have to go up and down steps and stairs on a regular basis are more prone to the disease.

Hip dysplasia is a misalignment of the ball and socket (femoral head and acetabulum) of the hip joint.

It occurs when cartilage around the joint does not form properly, either because of genetics or because of constant stress on the joint.

Having to go up and down stairs as a puppy places constant stress on the cartilage around the joint.

Puppies with a larger Poodle Parent need to be carried up and down stairs for playtime and potty duty to avoid permanent hip joint problems.

If you don’t live on the ground floor, and you don’t have an elevator, adopt a Goldendoodle with a Miniature Poodle parent of a second-generation Poodle back-cross.

Plan for Crate Training

Another consideration in bringing a Goldendoodle home to your apartment is crate training.

You will need a wire crate just large enough for your Goldendoodle to lie comfortably.

The crate should let your dog stretch out with 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) of additional space on all sides.

The crate will become your Goldendoodle’s home when he is not out interacting with you, going for a walk, eating, drinking, or on a potty break.

Crates give Goldendoodles a sense of security. They can spend hours playing with their chew toys, unthreatened by noises outside or other passing dogs.

The sooner you train your Goldendoodle to enjoy her crate, the fewer problems you will have—or your neighbors will have—with barking, crying, howling, and whining due to separation anxiety.

Crate training also makes housetraining easier. Your dog will be much less likely to pee or poop where it sleeps.

There will always be accidents, but your dog will want to go outside when it is time for a potty break.

If you buy your Goldendoodle from a breeder, chances are that he will already be crate trained.

If your puppy hasn’t been crate trained, you should plan on spending a couple of weeks training him to be comfortable in his crate.

The method of crate training that involves the least howling, whining, crying, and barking protest by your dog is gradual.

Place a treat or a toy inside your dog’s crate. Let them go inside the crate and enjoy it, leaving the door open.

Move your dog’s blanket or bed inside the crate. Let it get comfortable spending time in the crate, and after a couple of weeks, start latching the door on them when you need to leave your apartment.

There is also a cold-turkey method of crate training that consists of locking your Goldendoodle puppy in the crate and letting her whine until she stops.

Eventually, your dog will decide her crate is OK, but your neighbors may raise some serious objections to the disturbance.

Don’t Bring a Goldendoodle Puppy Home If You Don’t Have Time

Especially in apartments, Goldendoodles need lots of time with their human family.

At age seven to eleven weeks, you should not leave your Goldendoodle puppy alone for more than an hour.

They will explore their world by sniffing, marking, and chewing if they are left to their own devices.

This is also the time in a dog’s lives when their brains are developing the ability to recognize friends and safety.

The more kinds of people, dogs, and household objects you introduce to them during this month, the more confident and relaxed they will be as adults.

This is the time in your dog’s life to introduce them to the neighbors, your cat, the maintenance person, and other friendly dogs of all kinds.

Once your Goldendoodle is at least three months old, it is safe to leave them alone for three to six hours at a time.

You will need to check on them during the day, but as long as you have puppy-proofed your apartment, they will be safe on their own. Your dog will definitely need a walk and a potty break during your midday visit.

Only after your Goldendoodle is six months old is it safe to leave him alone all day. Even then, your dog will be anxiously waiting for you when you get home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Keeping Goldendoodles in Apartments

Q. Don’t I need a fenced-in backyard to give my Goldendoodle a high quality of life?

A. As long as your Goldendoodle has access to a dog park, a city park that allows dogs on leash, and indoor playtime, and gets an hour of vigorous physical activity every day, she should be fine.

Goldendoodles like to play fetch, so a nearby field or park is a plus.

Q. What about letting my Goldendoodle run up and down stairs for exercise?

A. Even gentle climbing up and down stairs can be damaging to hip cartilage in Goldendoodle puppies.

Going up and down stairs can be difficult for fully-grown Goldendoodles. They are OK on ramps, but not on stairs.

Q. Can I take my Goldendoodle puppy on my hikes through the greenbelt?

A. Even if dogs are allowed on the trail, you should not walk your Goldendoodle more than about a mile (1500 meters) or for longer than about half an hour.

Your dog will tell you if he is getting tired. If he does not want to play, to check out new scents and sounds, and wants to lie down and rest, cut your hike short and go home.

Q. Can I take my Goldendoodle on bike rides?

A. If you let your Goldendoodle ride on your back, yes! But Goldendoodles are not long-distance runners.

Never lead your Goldendoodle by a leash while you are on your bike.

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