Champion “Champ” Slaughter

It’s MONDAY! And somehow only the 22nd day of January?! WHY does January always feel so long?

I know I did a tiny little introduction on my blog when I shared our Christmas Break recap but I thought this little fella deserved his very own post. Because those of you who’ve been reading for years want some answers. :). I don’t even blame you! ha!

Let me back all the way up to my childhood. I grew up in the country so we had several dogs throughout my growing up years. But they weren’t fancy dogs who needed grooming or special “puppy” food or even chew toys. They were country dogs. They lived off the land so to speak. Not exactly lived off the land, I guess. We dumped Ol Roy dog food out daily. But they could handle themselves, you know? They were tough dogs who stayed outside and never set foot inside the house….except that one time a dog slipped in the house and my mom LOST HER EVER-LOVING MIND!

When Nixon came along he was pretty obsessed with dogs. He asked for a dog all the time and when asked at the age of three what he wanted to be when he grew up, he would say, “A Dog”. Which as his mom REALLY concerned me.

I just wasn’t a dog person. Living here in the suburbs “country dogs” weren’t a thing plus Texas is just so hot! And my mom self of three littles {at the time} could not begin to fathom adding a dog to family.

Many years passed where our kids would ask for a dog or mention a dog.

Finally, we did our big house renovation and you guys, I had NO CLUE how stressed out living in the chaos was making me until all of a sudden it was over! And the chaos was gone! {A girlfriend is going through a big paint job at her house and she just called me to tell me that she had absolutely no idea how I survived in that much chaos for so long. I told her that I had no idea how crazy I was feeling until it was all over and we were living in peace.}. I was at peace. Everything had a place and I felt like {for the VERY FIRST time} we could handle a dog.

So, we started researching. We wanted a dog that didn’t shed, is good with kids, will be big enough for the boys to play kind of rough with but small enough the girls will get to snuggle up with him, will be cute {because I need to think AWWWW, he’s cute!! even when he does something terrible}, and the list went on and on.

Then we made it a little more complicated by deciding this would be THE PERFECT Christmas gift. Which meant we needed a puppy born in October who’d be ready to go home in December.

We searched high and low and finally found….CHAMPION “CHAMP” SLAUGHTER…

This little guy was born on October 7th, 2023, and was free to come home early December. He is an Australian Labradoodle, which should mean something about an Aussie BUT it means he’s a mix of Poodle, Labrador Retriever, and Cocker Spaniel. We decided to keep him there {at Swinging Gate Labradoodles} for a bit of training and because we wanted him to be a Christmas present.

The plan was to surprise the kids on Christmas morning but when Tab and I picked him up at the airport and were driving him to my in-laws we realized this was a surprise we simply couldn’t keep any longer.

And my world was ROCKED! hahaha! But for real, keep in mind I’m sharing this as someone who NEVER in her life EVER had an inside dog. My first full week with a puppy…

*I immediately felt like I did when I brought newborn Ebby Lee home and by that I mean that I was SO worried we’d do something wrong and it would in turn start some terrible habit that would cause us to ruin him forever. Like if he had an accident and I didn’t clean it up with the right cleaner then he’d go back to that same spot every day for the rest of his life and have another accident. {We hear that, right?}. Those are the types of things that STRESSED ME MAJORLY OUT during the first week or maybe even the first three. 😉

*Also, kind of like being a newborn mom there were SO MANY DIFFERENT opinions about how to train a puppy. My people pleaser self was a WRECK! To crate train or not to crate train, meal times, how many meals a day, to use potty pads or not to use potty pads, should we use a play yard, what about letting him on the furniture? And the list goes ON! and ON! and ON!

*After seeing how much work goes into training a puppy, I’m SHOCKED that so many people have dogs! SERIOUSLY!! What do lazy people do to train their dogs?? Do the dogs just eventually figure it out or do their dogs still have accidents? Don’t get me wrong many days I’ve wanted to be lazy but the fear of the first scare I mentioned above keeps me jumping up out of bed.

*We went to dinner with our neighbors {who all have dogs} and I told them that my hands were so dry my fingers were all bleeding from washing my hands so much. One of them kind of turned her head like, “Huh?”. And when I explained that I was washing my hands after every single time I petted or touched Champ, they were SHOCKED! Don’t worry-still doing lots of hand washing before meal times but not so much in between AND my fingers are looking much better.

Ringing in the New Year with the ENTIRE family {Champ included} but minus Tab who was at a football game in Buffalo.

Remember the whole, “Should we let him on the furniture?”. That rule didn’t last long! But I keep periodically telling Tab our couch isn’t going to last as long now. I’m not sure if that’s true but Tab wanted Champ on the couch and I’m certain I’ll want a new couch eventually so win-win.

In case you can’t tell from the pic, Tab is obsessed with him. LIke I have no idea how my husband has functioned for 18 years without a dog in his house.

This pic is absolutely terrible BUT I took it bright and early one morning when it was just the two of us up and Champ had actually gone to the back door. I flipped out thinking he meant, “Please, Mom, take me outside because I’ve gotta go”. And YOU GUYS! That’s what he meant! We went outside and he went #2! I was SO PROUD! Basically oozing with pride! If you’ve ever been potty training a puppy then you get it. Keep in mind, my puppy had handled his business OUTSIDE but friends, I had accidentally stepped in his #2 and didn’t realize SO I TRACKED IT IN THE HOUSE ON THE BOTTOM OF MY SHOE! Let me say it again, my puppy FINALLY signaled he needed to go to the bathroom outside, he goes outside which means NO MESS for me, and I CARRIED THE POOP BACK INSIDE ON MY SHOE! Pride comes before the fall, right?? That’s biblical! I was basically a walking Bible verse that day!

The first couple weeks were pretty rocky. A lot of that I blame on my expectations from him being at training for three weeks. I was kind of expecting him to arrive pretty potty trained {spoiler alert-he wasn’t!}. Plus I was SUPER new to this whole puppy thing and had NO CLUE what I was doing. Since it was Christmas Break, we had no schedule or routine to our life. Kids were home, we had family in town {which was amazing}, and there was no structure to our days. I finally spent one day where I basically followed his every move and learned exactly what his triggers were, really paid attention to his bathroom routine, etc. {I charted it like a newborn, you guys!! hahaha!}. That one crazy, long day was exactly what we needed and then I got better. I’m definitely not saying I have it all figured out, BECAUSE I DON’T! But the accidents are so much fewer and farther between. I can see the light at the end of the puppy tunnel.

Often times, you’ll find him exactly like this…snuggled up while I do my Bible Study in the morning or beside me while I work during the day.

To sum it up, Champ Slaughter has been A LOT of work but…He’s a really SUPER sweet puppy! He is so cuddly and snuggly. He’s finally getting used to our crazy loud crew. Bless his heart, he’ll be getting all settled in for a nap and a kid will get home from school so he’ll get all wound up. Then he’ll settle down again and more kids will walk in and basically that’s his life. It just happens over and over.

He’s officially been with us one month tomorrow and if he continues to progress at this speed by next month he should know all kinds of new tricks. ;).

To put it mildly, the Slaughter Six are all pretty smitten! Exhausted? Yes, that too! But smitten, nonetheless. Like I said, by next month I’m sure he’ll be amazing us all with his new skills. I’m looking forward to some of those…particularly the potty training skills.

Hope you guys have THE BEST Monday! See you back here on Wednesday!


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  1. 1.22.24
    Elspeth said:

    He’s previous!! So glad you added a new addition to your family! Puppies and dogs are the best companions!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Thank you!!

  2. 1.22.24
    Sheaffer said:

    That picture of Champ cuddled up next to Tab’s head? That’s the kind of picture you need to text me when you take it so I can ooh and ahh. Champ is adorable!!!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      HAHAHAHA! Got it!

  3. 1.22.24
    Kanela said:

    We have an Australian Labradoodle. She is 8 years old and the best dog ever!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I’m so glad to hear this!

  4. 1.22.24

    Champ is perfect! I laughed over the poop incident. I have learned the old I get and the more we add to our family, I get better at the whole puppy thing. I was terrible with our first dog, and you’re already doing so much better than me, so congrats! 🤣

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Thanks, Jennifer! What a MESS that was!! haha!

  5. 1.22.24
    Jessica Miller said:

    We have an Australian Labradoodle too!! She’s almost 2 now. You made a great choice on breed, our dog has been the perfect family dog! Champ is the cutest!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Oh Jessica! So glad to hear this! Thanks for sharing!

  6. 1.22.24
    Cgilliam said:

    He is so cute. We have a mini golden doodle and she is the best. All the doodles are super smart dogs too and easy to train. Which kid is he clinging the to the most?

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I’d say Ebby Lee! Britt does a really good job with him too. My boys tend to be on the lazy side of “dog duty”.

  7. 1.22.24
    Alison said:

    Awwww…. Champ is adorable! I’m so proud of you for getting a dog! Haha! We just got a new puppy. He’s 11 weeks old, and we’ve had him for 1 week. Everything you’re saying is happening to us as well. We are in this together! 🙂

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      GIRL!! That makes it easier just knowing we’re not alone!

  8. 1.22.24
    Cara said:

    I’ve always heard the phrase “adopt don’t shop” related to dogs. Wondering why your family chose to buy a dog through a breeder instead of going through a reputable rescue organization

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Hi Cara! I wonder that often about why more people don’t adopt children! So many precious babies without moms or dads to love on them! Since we’re new to the dog owning world, many people recommended us getting a puppy and training it for our family. If we’d had more experience, new what to look for, etc. then I think we absolutely would have been open to adopting.

  9. 1.22.24
    Kate said:

    He’s precious! So many of us have dogs because they are so worth it! No one is more loyal! Do you have a video of the kids finding out??

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I do but I’m not sure my kids would approve because we woke them up and had them come into the living room in pjs. 🙂

  10. 1.22.24

    One of the hardest secrets I had to keep this holiday season…AND THE BEST ONE!!! The Shull Nine are still so EXCITED (and yes, a bit in shock) that the Slaughters are now SEVEN!!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:


  11. 1.22.24
    Sara said:

    #1 – Absolutely adorable! #2 – I washed my hands and clothes constantly. I looked at a million new mops because my floors are dirty all the time! I asked other friends how can you stand for your floors to be dirty and they looked at me like I had lost my mind! #3 – I love that you are so honest about the whole thing. I was exactly like you; probably more of a wreck though. I had completely crazy expectations from bringing him home, his puppy bootcamp and his month-long board and train. At the end of the day, they are just animals and I am not a professional dog trainer so life goes on! The biggest “help” for our pup has just been time.

    Keep the puppy content coming! I love it! So thrilled for your family, especially the kids!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Thank you, Sara!! AND YES to our floors! He brings in SO MUCH GRASS!

  12. 1.22.24
    JoLynn said:

    He is precious!!! We have a very similar (in looks) cockapoo! Just sharing training tip: we keep a small silver bell on the floor by all our exit doors. When our dog has to go potty he rings it with his paw – that way if we aren’t standing near the door and don’t know one of us will hopefully hear the bell to let him go out to potty! Trained him by every time we took him out, we would use his paw to ring the bell and it didn’t take long for him to connect the two and we would give a treat! It really helped speed up “no more accidents in the house!” Enjoy your “5th baby”😂😍!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I actually think I ordered a bell but we need to start using it! Thanks for sharing!

  13. 1.22.24
    Jinjer said:

    What a CUTE puppy! And that says a lot that he loves and feels safest with the mama who has never had an inside dog before.

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I keep telling my people he loves me the most because he sees me the earliest/middle of the night. hahaha! I keep offering them that position!

  14. 1.22.24
    Toni:0) said:

    He’s so very cute! Congrats! My senior dog is nearly 16 and it’s like we have a toddler in the house. It’s very tough so similar to what you’re going through now will occur when they get old too so just being honest as it tends to come on unexpectedly so thought I’d warn you now LOL. Have fun with him. The kids will love growing up with a dog.

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I’ve heard that from friends. Hang in there, Toni!

  15. 1.22.24
    Heather Van Eck said:

    So cute! We have 2 Australian labradoodles. They are the best. What size will Champ be?

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      I should have added that! Totally forgot! They’re predicting around twenty pounds. What about yours?

  16. 1.22.24
    Jen said:

    Champ is just so adorable!! How many lbs will he get?

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Estimating 20ish pounds :). Thank you!

  17. 1.22.24
    Stefany said:

    We have a mini-Australian labradoodle (18 pounds). I was in the same situation as you….only outdoor dogs growing up and I’d “never” have an inside dog. Lol! The first 3 months of puppy-life are rough, but then it gets better. I will say the main thing that has saved us is having a puppy door!

    • 1.22.24
      Erika Slaughter said:

      Oh yay!! I’m so glad it’s going well at your house! Thank you for sharing!