If you have a Doodle, then you already know how smart these sweet pups are. You should also know that when it comes to dealing with a smart dog, a good training routine is essential.
If this is your first time training a dog, you might be confused about where to start. If it’s been a while, you might be curious about newer methods in dog training. Whether this is your first time training a Doodle or a third time, it can be confusing to figure out how to approach training.
The training tips we offer here can be applied to all dogs but are especially pertinent to Doodles and their quirks. Let’s get started on Doodle Training 101 to learn how to effectively train your Doodle.
Doodle Breed Quirks
Alright, let’s address the elephant in the room. Doodles are amazing dogs, but like any breed, they have their quirks.
Doodles Can Be Stubborn
The Poodle in the Doodle makes for one smart dog. Mixed with a Golden, a Lab, a Maltese, or any other intelligent dog, you have a recipe for one smart but stubborn pup.
There are a lot of dog breeds that were bred to be able to act independently, to track, to perform a task, and to respond to things in the environment that a person might not notice. This includes hunting companions, like Poodles, Labs, Goldens, and Spaniels. And herding dogs like Aussies as well as working dogs like Huskies.
These dogs are easy to train, but you need to use the right methods. That independent streak means they need clear instructions and a reason to do what you want. If they don’t understand what you want, or if they don’t have the right motivation, they just won’t do it. If your stubborn Doodle is hard to train, the problem isn’t your dog. It’s you.
Doodles Are Prone To Separation Anxiety
Doodles love their families. Many Doodle dogs are crossbreeds of dogs that are meant to work with and around people. This means that when your Doodle is left alone, something feels off to your dog. They’re meant to be around people, but where are the people?
Training will help curb separation anxiety and the destructive behaviors that come with it. Setting boundaries helps your dog understand her place in the dynamic. Training also gives your dog a mental workout. If your dog is properly mentally and physically stimulated, she’ll be less likely to experience feelings of stress and anxiety.
When To Train Your Doodle
You should start training your Doodle as soon as possible. The best-case scenario is that you have a puppy you have just brought home. Since puppies are still in the early stages of brain development, learning desired behaviors may go faster. But of course, puppies don’t have the longest attention spans, so don’t make sessions last too long.
That doesn’t mean that training is worthless if you have an adult Doodle. While it may take longer, training will help your Doodle get settled if they’re new to the family. The advantage of working with an adult dog is that they aren’t as easily distracted as a puppy.
Getting Started With Training Your Doodle
Keep It Positive
Training is about helping your dog navigate in a world made for people and setting clear expectations. It’s a way to help build a bond with your dog and learn to understand each other.
It is not about punishing your dog for things they don’t know, and it is certainly not about showing your dog who’s boss. Punitive methods, aversiveness training, and negative reinforcement methods will not help your dog learn faster and may even have a negative effect on your dog’s psyche and your relationship.
This is why positive reinforcement is the Dog Friendly Living training method of choice. This method of training keeps stress down and avoids creating problems like aggression. It builds trust and communication. If you have an adult Doodle of dubious background, you will not be triggering any memories of abusive situations.
Positive reinforcement uses clicker training, treats, praise, toys, and hand signals to communicate what you want to your dog. There is some fear that your dog may become treat dependent. The goal of positive reinforcement is to get your dog to the point where treats are no longer necessary. As your dog learns what you want, you will slowly begin to wean them from the treats.
Your dog will learn best if you are consistent. Get your dog on a training schedule. Dogs do best with a routine, and making training part of that routine will help her… and you. If you do it at the same time every day, training will become a habit for you and will be something your dog expects and will be prepared for.
Schedules and routines are also helpful in preventing separation anxiety. Consider scheduling meal breaks, potty training, and walks as a part of training. Through this process, you are training your dog to know what their day will be like and when to expect meals and outside time.
Do Some Light Exercise Before Training
It’s true for all of us. It’s hard to learn if you can’t focus. If your dog is excited and jumpy, it will be harder for her to pay attention. You don’t need to run a marathon, after all, it’s also hard to focus if you’re exhausted, but getting the wiggles out is helpful before a training session.
Go for a short walk, play a little catch in the backyard, or have a game of tug of war. Give your Doodle enough exercise to be settled. She will still have enough energy to focus on training, without chasing after every leaf that blows by.
Doodles are smart and easy to train, but they won’t learn everything in a day. Remember when training you aren’t just overcoming a language barrier, there’s a whole species barrier. Be consistent, make sure you are clear about what you’re trying to get your dog to do, and be patient.
If you want to make sure your training skills are on point, book an in-home or virtual training session with Dog Friendly Living. We use positive reinforcement training to help weave your dog into your lifestyle.
If you have a new furbaby, we also offer our signature Puppy Prep Course. In this course, we teach you what to expect from the stages of puppyhood and how to build trust and a strong bond with your dog.