DISCLAIMER: The following is written specifically for Goldendoodle puppy owners, but can be adapted to most new puppy owners.
Training Your Goldendoodle Puppy –
Getting started training your new pup from scratch can look like a daunting task, if you have no prior experience..
But we’re here to put you at ease – and supply you with a few tips and resources to have an enjoyable puppy training experience!
1. Bonding With Your Puppy
Perhaps the most important step, bonding at a deep level with your new Goldendoodle pup, will activate it’s instinctive trust and desire to please you. This will also help create a positive and fun environment for training for both you and your pup.
2. Establishing The “Alpha”
In addition to bonding and trust-building, it’s important to establish yourself as “alpha dog” to your pup. Place clear boundaries on your pup’s behavior right away. Don’t allow your pup to jump on you without permission, always eat before your pup gets food, walk thru doors first, etc. The goal should be to give your pup a sense of structure and clear understanding of where it stands in the “pecking order”.
3. Initial Training
There are many methods and means available to get your dog to obey on commands. While the best methods are likely to vary, there is a few do’s and don’ts that you should know, no matter which training method you use:
✔DO: Teach your pup it’s name. This is the most foundational of your training efforts..getting your pup to recognize it’s name. This helps your ‘Doodle know when you’re addressing it, or what it to do something.
✔DO: Keep a light, calm, and confident attitude. Goldendoodles will quickly pick up on the attitudes and emotions of their owners, and if there’s stress and impatience, it can cause your pup to cower or become overly aggressive.
✔DON’T: Make it too complicated. Keep things short and sweet, especially at first. Keep it fun for your puppy, and use easy to understand commands like Sit, Stay, & Come. If your pup’s attention starts to wander, it’s a good sign it’s become bored or tired, and you should let it rest until a later time.
✔DO: Use positive reinforcement when possible. Some training methods involve negative reinforcement, as well, ie, negative consequences for undesired behavior, but don’t let negative consequences be the main environment your pup lives in.
PRO TIP: Use a squeaky toy to keep your pup’s full attention and associate training time with fun!
4. Training Methods
There are a few main methods of training used by top dog trainers around the world. They are listed below, along with a brief description:
➡ Clicker Method As the name denotes, the main premise of this method of training, is a small handheld “clicker” that is used to make a small “Click” every time the pup performs a desired action. In time the pup will associate the clicker with a positive reinforcement after completing a command. The downside can be a dog who refuses to obey when no clicker is present.
➡ Treat Method Like you probably guessed already, this method makes use of small treats as rewards for completing a command. The pup learns to obey a particular command to get the treat. This is a very common and effective method, however, again the downside can be lack of obedience when no treats are present.
➡ Positive Reinforcement Method Popularized in the past few years, this method removes all negative consequences for disobedience, and instead, focuses on developing such a deep bond with your pup, that it instinctively wants to obey to please you. This behavior is encouraged by lots of positive reinforcement in the form of praise, affection, and treats, when a particular command is performed. This method has proven very effective, however it may not be entirely suitable for all dogs, or owners.
➡ Negative Reinforcement Method This method is best used in conjunction with other Positive Reinforcement methods. The primary purpose is to discourage unwanted behavior such as excessive barking, chasing vehicles, or running away. Used properly, it’s quite effective. Shock collars are an excellent example, and deliver a small, unpleasant shock when triggered. The downsides to this method is, if overused, causes needless pain and even permanent anxiety in dogs.
The best training methods combine elements of both Positive and Negative reinforcement. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you and your Goldendoodle!
5. Training Your Goldendoodle
Now that you understand better, the methods used, let’s dive deeper into the actual training phase..Below are some examples of training methods we’ve used with great success:
EX 1. Learning to Come This is simple, and can be adapted for other commands such as “Sit”, or “Stay”.
- Start by getting your child or another adult to hold your pup a short distance away. Using a treat or toy, repeat it’s name and the command to “Come!” while holding the treat/toy out to entice the pup to come to you. Reward it with lots of praise, the treat or allowing it to play a bit with the toy.
- Repeat this exercise with varying distances, and rewards. Keep this a primarily positive experience for your pup, and it will very soon learn to come whenever you call.
- As a variation, you can also give a short, sharp whistle after repeating “Come” until the pup learns to associate a whistle with the command to Come. Learning to come to a whistle is especially useful for longer distances where your voice might not be readily heard.
EX 2. Potty Training This is the immediate concern of many new ‘Doodle owners. Training your pup to go potty outside takes patience, but, practiced with consistency, most pups will catch on very quickly.
- Just like humans, dogs are very habitual creatures, and will do best with a regular feeding schedule. Take away it’s food between meals.
- Take your pup out to eliminate first thing in the morning and after meals or when he wakes from a nap. Make sure he goes out last thing at night and before he’s left alone.
- Don’t allow your pup the run of the house until he’s fully trained. Keeping him contained in a large crate or playpen, will help him associate going potty, to going outside.
- Take him to the same spot each time to do his business. He will quickly associate the spot with going potty.
- When your puppy eliminates outside, make sure you give it plenty of positive reinforcement, such as a treat, praise, or letting him play with a toy.
PRO TIP: Use the “bell method” to train your pup to ring a small bell whenever it needs to go outside for a potty break! Read this excellent article to learn more!
Our Final Takeaway
The best training methods for you and your new pup, largely depends on your own personality and your dog’s! However, as a general rule, in our experience ‘Doodles respond well to a combination of bonding-relationship-positive-reinforcement style, and mild negative reinforcement, such as a scolding or taking away a favorite toy.
The most important thing to remember is to keep things light and enjoyable for the puppy. Especially at first, your pup will have a short attention span. Consistency is the key, so take your time, and keep training sessions relatively short.
Be sure to check out our Recommended Resources below for more comprehensive videos and “how-to” guides!
The list of high quality training resources available online are long, and varied. Some trainers go for one method, and others swear by another method entirely!
That said, here are a few links to top resources we recommend for more indepth training.
- Consider taking your pup through professional training classes. Not only can you work with a professional to train your dog, you will be “trained” as well, as in, learning how to bond more closely with your beloved pet, as well as how to read his language, and (of course) the actual training!
- For a top quality training school, we recommend James Hamm, owner of Lone Star Dog Trainer. He is recognized as one of the top dog trainers in the USA, and lives right here in Central Texas. His service area covers all of Texas, western Louisiana, and southern Oklahoma.
- Like to read? This blog, from Rover.com has multiple full length articles on dog training, covering many scenarios.
- YouTube Videos. One of the top trainers on YouTube is Zak George. He has hundreds of entertaining, high quality, step-by-step training videos.
- Cesar Millan, the famous “Dog Whisperer”. He is known as one of the best trainers in the US, and around the world, and is best known for his TV series “Dog Whisperer”. His website is full of great information and videos covering many different scenarios.
There are many other great sources as well. We recommend simply Googling for top trainers in your area, for more information and how-to’s. The more time you invest into educating yourself about your new pup, and its training, the better your experience with dog ownership will be!