Searching for practical tips on caring for a 4-month-old Goldendoodle puppy? Wondering what a Goldendoodle looks like at 16 weeks old? In our continuing series on raising a Goldendoodle puppy, we’re spilling the tea on what it’s like to care for a Goldendoodle through every age and stage of puppyhood.
If you’ve been following along, you’ve met Sadie and learned what to expect at the 10-week-old Goldendoodle stage. Also, you got in on the nitty-gritty of what to expect from a 3-month-old Goldendoodle.
By the end of this post, you’ll have practical tips on Goldendoodle puppy raising from a Doodle crazy mom who is up to her Goldendoodle fluff caring for a 4-month-old Goldendoodle. Plus, I’m a research hound and always on the search for helpful hacks for happier pet parenting.
So, without further a-doodle 😉, let’s get started…
At 4 months, Goldendoodles are growing and changing rapidly
If you’re anticipating the time when your puppy is four months old or you’re a soon-to-be Goldendoodle parent, you may be wondering,
“What does a 4-month-old Goldendoodle look like?”
At four months, most Goldendoodles are outgrowing the baby stage and starting to reveal what they will look like at adulthood. Their physical appearance is changing rapidly and you may notice longer legs and leaner bodies.
They still have that teddy bear look, but less of the rounded teddy bear body that’s characteristic of Goldendoodles at 8, 10, and even 12 weeks of age.
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Our family’s puppy, a medium Goldendoodle, started sprouting up at this age and we noticed she was leggier and leaner, as you can see in the photo below.
As an aside, just a month ago, we could easily carry her cradled safely in one arm. But by the end of four months, she was close to 20 pounds and we needed to cradle her in both arms to carry her.
In addition to her physical growth, her hair coat was growing too.
Goldendoodle puppy coat
If you’ve been following along with us on our journey through Doodlehood, you’ve already read our account of how the Goldendoodle puppy coat transitions to the adult coat. Early on, the puppy coat is fluffy or even wispy. However, at around four months of age, the puppy coat is changing.
Keep an eye out for signs the adult coat is coming in. You may notice the puppy coat getting longer, the texture changing, and the amount of curl increasing.
Around the middle of the forth month, our family first noticed our Goldendoodle’s coat was starting to change specifically around the base of her tail. Also, her adult coat was beginning to grow in along her top line—along the top of her back.
And her tail was “filling out” too. At two and three months of age, Sadie’s tail hair had been almost stick straight.
At four months, the hair on her tail was growing and her tail had a fluffier appearance. Around this same time, some “feathers” (characteristic of the Golden Retriever parent breed) started coming in about half way down the length of her tail.
It’s important to note, your Goldendoodle’s coat change will likely be different than what I’ve just described.
This is because Goldendoodles are a hybrid or mixed breed between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle, so there isn’t as much consistency or conformation as with purebred dogs.
What is true for one Goldendoodle isn’t necessarily true for the next. That said, all Goldendoodles do start out with puppy coats and eventually transition to their adult coats.
At four months, our F1 Goldendoodle still had that adorable “bed head” look that leaves you wondering if you really did comb her hair just five minutes ago. The coat had a naturally disheveled look, but was still very easy to care for.
Manageability of the coat
For both the F1 Goldendoodle and F1B Goldendoodle in our pack, the coats were easy to manage at four months. While the adult coat was starting to grow in, it was not tangling with the puppy hair…yet.
Since we’d been through the Goldenododle puppy coat transiton with our first Goldendoodle, I knew it was time to start putting grooming habits in place now. Also, I was curious to see how Sadie’s coat would change and whether waves or curls would begin “popping” up.
As an aside, if you’re the parent of a 4-month-old Goldendoodle, take a close look at the hair color from the base of the coat to the very the tips. Our Goldendoodle’s hair has changed color slightly. As you’ll see in the photo below, it is lighter closer to the skin than at the ends.
With so many physical changes happening, you may be wondering what other changes to expect. Next, let’s get into the nitty-gritty on how daily routines and behaviors are changing.
4-month-old Goldendoodles are mastering new skills
Just a month or so ago (if you brought your puppy home between two and three months of age), your puppy was probably learning to potty train and, likely, waking in the night too. By four months, your puppy is probably starting to master these skills! And there is a biological reason for this!
According Veterinary Partner Information Network’s article on house training, it is common for puppies who are under four months of age NOT to be able to hold their pee.
So even if a puppy wants to learn to potty where you’d like, he or she may not have the bladder control to do so yet. Fortunately, around four months, puppies are gaining bladder control!
If your puppy is potty trained or close to being potty trained, remember to keep up the positive reinforcement and consistent schedule. Take your puppy out to potty after meals, after play time, after waking up from naps, and times in between.
And if an accident happens, give your puppy (and you) lots of grace. Neither of you are perfect. And what ever you do, don’t scold your puppy for an accident.
Even though we have a puppy safe fenced-in yard where our dogs can run and play, we continued to take our 4-month-Goldendoodle out on a leash for potty breaks. This way, we can keep praising her for pottying, and we know whether she went poop, pee, or both.
Also, we’ve established a schedule (see below) that includes plenty of planned potty breaks, so our puppy isn’t responsible for telling us she needs to go. Rather, we’re giving her plenty of opportunities for success.
By using scheduled potty breaks, keeping her on-leash for potty breaks, choosing a potty spot in our yard, and offering heaps of praise (think you won the lottery) for pottying success, our puppy hasn’t had any accidents this month.
Is your puppy sleeping through the night (i.e. between six and eight hours)? At this age, you’re probably getting a little more sleep than when your puppy was just two or three months old.
Also, at this age, puppies still need plenty of naps in addition to sleeping at night.
According to Embrace Pet Insurance, the average 4-month-old puppy sleeps about 11 hours in a 24 hour period.
One thing to check at this age is the size of your puppy’s crate. Is it still roomy enough to be comfortable for sleeping? Because your Goldendoodle puppy is growing rapidly, has he or she outgrown the crate?
Our puppy outgrew her first crate at this age and she needed a larger one. As a gauge, your puppy should be able to stand up in the crate without the head touching the crate’s top. Also, there should be at least enough room for your puppy to turn around easily.
Much like babies, Goldendoodle puppies go through a teething stage. This is when they lose their puppy teeth and adult teeth start coming in.
During this teething stage, our fur babies need plenty of ways to relieve their need to chew. Offering a variety of chew toys made from a variety of materials can help your puppy get through the teething stage.
When selecting chew toys, make sure to follow the kneecap smack rule (i.e. if it would hurt your own kneecap, it’s too hard) and the thumbnail rule (i.e. it’s too hard if you can’t leave an impression in the toy’s surface with your thumbnail) to determine whether a puppy chew toy is too hard for your puppy.
Why are these guidelines important? They are both ways to ensure that, while you’re giving your puppy chew toys to help him or her satisfy the need to chew, you don’t choose a chew toy that’s too hard and risk hurting your puppy’s baby teeth or permanent teeth.
Basically, this means avoid hard toys and chews such as deer antlers, hard nylon toys, and bones.
Making way for permanent teeth
At our Goldendoodle’s veterinary visit, we were surprised when our vet looked in her mouth and said that she’d lost eight teeth. How could we not have noticed!?!
So, over the next couple of weeks, we started watching for signs she was losing a tooth. And every so often, we were observant enough to find a baby tooth that had fallen out of her mouth and dropped onto our floor.
4 months and growing more independent
At this age, puppies are gaining independence—exploring and noticing the world. What does that mean, really? Here’s one example our family noticed: Previously, our puppy had followed along at our heals and would stay near us no matter what. Now, she was now seeing the world as a bigger place.
Not only did she notice the leaf in front of her nose, but also she now noticed the birds flying high in the sky.
And when once she’d happily trotted along beside us for our walks, now she’d plant her fluffy bottom on the sidewalk, so she could watch a bird or observe a passerby that was at least a block down the street.
Puppy enrichment, socialization, and play time
By now, most puppies have completed their last round of vaccinations! For our family, this was big. With our veterinarian’s thumb’s up, we could now take our puppy to pet-friendly stores, go on leashed walks at our favorite parks, and bring our puppy along with us everywhere.
When we weren’t out and about, our puppy’s space at home was expanding, too.
A puppy-proofed play space
After we brought our 10-week-old Goldendoodle puppy home, we set up a small play area using puppy gates and our couch to make a puppy-proofed space that was about 12×8.
By four months of age, we’d broadened our puppy’s space to include most of the family room. We loved using the Pawland extra wide dog gate across hallways and entries to confine her space and keep her safe. Plus, as you can see in the photo below, they are sturdy, versatile, and attractive.
We have two and are thinking of buying a third in brown for our outdoor patio.
With the additional space came opportunities for mountain goat sightings. 😉 For example, for us hoomans, coffee tables and chairs are pieces of furniture. But for our pupper, those same tables and chairs must morph into great look-out mountains that needed to be scaled for their expansive views.
Continuing to use a leash inside the house when we needed to keep our eye on our Goldendoodle puppy was a helpful solution. Additionally, we redirected her with games and training.
Our puppy quickly learned sit, stay, come, lay down, spin, and shake paws. She is laser-focused and eager to practice her skills—and the treats she gets as rewards are high on her list, too.
Often, she tries to anticipate or guess the command. Goldendoodles are smart, which makes teaching skills easy and fun for the family.
In addition to fun tricks, teaching good manners is important. For example, practicing four-on-the-floor greetings now will instill a proper hello at adulthood. Teaching a sit before entering and exiting a door makes life easier.
Health and care of a Goldendoodle puppy at 4 months
As mentioned above, your 4-month-old Goldendoodle’s coat is growing, and you may even be starting to notice it changing. If you haven’t already, now is the time to help your puppy get used to Goldendoodle grooming.
What does this look like? For our puppy, we use a dog comb and comb her hair daily. Then we gently massage her paws so that she is used to having them handled.
At this age, you may be thinking about your Goldendoodle puppy’s first professional grooming session. Before doing so, you may want to ask your groomer if you could do a quick “meet and greet” so your puppy can get acclimated to the grooming environment.
Then, at the next visit, rather than a full groom, take the next step and ask for a feet, face, and fanny trim.
Both our family’s Goldendoodles are groomed at home. Our senior Goldendoodle has the drill down and is used to having her hair cut. She knows the routine, and that the dog grooming table is the “place” for her hair cuts.
For Sadie, we started combing her and introducing her to the grooming tools at ten weeks. Now, we’ve added in acclimating her to grooming by sitting her on the grooming table in preparation for her first trim.
Additionally, at 4 months, our Goldendoodle puppy has had two nail trims. After letting her get used to the nail trimming tools, we slowly progressed to clipping her nails.
With the help of peanut butter in her pink Kong Binky and with a family member cuddling her and giving her lots of sweet talk, Sadie didn’t even notice her first nail trim. I clipped just the very tips of the nails.
My goal was all about making the experience a positive and happy one for her. I was not so focused on perfectly trimmed nails.
The very act of nail trimming was high on my list of puppy care routines to put in place early. With our senior Goldendoodle, I missed this step at puppyhood, which I wished I hadn’t.
Also, in addition to coat care, we started to introduce her to the idea of daily toothbrushing. You can learn a few of my pearls of wisdom about pearly white teeth, by checking out my article on how to brush your dog’s teeth. My vet gave me honest insight into why brushing matters and I learned a valuable lesson.
Food and nutrition
Since puppies is growing so much, the amount of food needed increases too. Your veterinarian is the best resource for determining how much food your Goldendoodle puppy needs at this stage.
For our puppy, the amount of food she needed doubled between 10 weeks and four months of age. Also, at four months, our puppy is still a chow hound, so we continued to use slow feeders or dog puzzles to slow down feeding time.
Most likely, around four months, your puppy will go to the vet for his or her last round of puppy vaccinations. This may be the last new puppy vet check-up until the puppy spay or neuter. This vet visit is a great time to ask your veterinarian questions you may have about your puppy’s care and behavior.
Here are just a few questions that you may want to ask your vet:
- When should I spay or neuter my Goldendoodle puppy?
- Do you have any recommendations for puppy training classes?
- How much should I be feeding my Goldendoodle? How much should I be increasing the amount of food as my puppy ages? When should I switch from puppy formula to adult formula dog food?
- What dog food do you recommend for my Goldendoodle?
- I’m planning on taking my puppy to the groomer or day care. Do you recommend vaccinations for kennel cough? Influenza?
- Is now a good time to get pet insurance? How does it work?
If you’ve been following along on our Goldendoodle adventures, you know that we try so diligently to keep our puppers safe.
At this age, our puppy was faster than a Hoover vacuum when it came to sucking up anything on the floor.
For us, keeping everything picked up off the floor was job number one.
To add to this, now that our puppy’s grown so much, our little Hoover vacuum isn’t confined to scouring the floor. Our puppy has grown enough that she can sniff out human food or drinks left sitting on side tables, coffee tables, and—with a stretch—kitchen counters, too. (Yes, Goldendoodles tend to be excellent counter surfers.)
Can you relate? Since at this age, Goldendoodle puppies may be starting to check out the kitchen table and trying out their counter surfing skills, we want to make sure you are aware of two common household dangers for puppers:
1. Xylitol is hazardous for dogs
Xylitol (a.k.a. birch sugar) is an artificial sweetener that is commonly found in some human foods, especially sugar-free chewing gum.
Sadly, I’ve read too many heartbreaking stories of puppies who have found a container of gum (with birch sugar as an ingredient), munched right through the plastic container, ingested the gum, and couldn’t survive.
According to VCA Animal Hospitals article, Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs, the Pet Poison Helpline received 5,846 calls involving dogs ingesting xylitol in 2020.
2. Grapes are bad for dogs
Also, remember that grapes are toxic to dogs. Keep grapes and raisins out of the house. Or, if you do have grapes or raisins in the house, keep them safely tucked away or well out of reach of your dog. According to Live Science’s article on foods that cause most pet deaths, grapes are among the top seven dangers.
Parenting a 4-month-old Goldendoodle
When first bringing home a Goldendoodle puppy, there’s a rush of excitement and newness. Then, you may experience a bit of new puppy overwhelm and think, “Wow! Puppies are a lot of work!”
Fortunately, by four or five months, most likely, you’re heading toward the finish line on a wonderful puppyhood journey that is a marathon, not a sprint.
For our family, we’d established a routine and the new puppy overwhelm stage was in the rearview mirror. Yes, there was still craziness. But our Goldendoodle was sleeping through the night, had the potty thing down, was cozy in her crate, and learning some basic commands.
Plus, we’d figured out a schedule that worked for our family and for her.
Example of our family’s 4-month-old puppy’s daily schedule
- Wake up — Our Goldendoodle (the fluffiest alarm clock ever) wakes up at about 6 a.m.
- Potty time
- Breakfast — In her crate with a slow feeder, which gives the hoomans a few minutes to get ready while she is eating
- Potty time
- Activity – (training, play time, leash walk, car ride)
- Potty time
- Nap time in her crate – anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours
- Potty time
- Activity – (training, play time, leash walk, car ride)
- Crate time – anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours
- Activity – (training, play time, leash walk, car ride)
- Quiet time – Combing, grooming, paw handling (about 10 minutes)
- Potty time
- Snuggling on the couch around 8 p.m.
- Potty time
- Bedtime in her crate
Also, if you count the number of times that the word “potty” is listed on the schedule above, you’ll count eight times. Does that seem like a lot? It’s actually consistent with the number of times that The University of California’s Davis College of Veterinary Medicine recommends for frequency of urinary elimination for puppies between the ages of 14 to 20 weeks. (The article suggests six to eight scheduled potty breaks for puppies this age.)
Making puppy days “Golden”
Finally, whether you’re beginning your “Doodlehood” journey or you’re anticipating the day when you bring home a Goldendoodle puppy, enjoy each step of the way! And don’t blink because just like that your 4-month-old pupper will grow into the next stage. And before you know it, puppy days will turn into the quieter-yet-still-comical days of Goldendoodle adulthood.
Thank you for stopping by HappyGoDoodle®—a cozy online space for Doodle dog enthusiasts. We hope that, by sharing our own journey, you have a glimpse into what it’s like to parent a comical, lovable, curious, and smart Goldendoodle puppy.
Most of all, we hope that we’ve shared some helpful tips that will make your own journey “Golden” for your pupper…and you.