Labradoodles are a hugely popular breed that can make the perfect addition to an outdoorsy, active family. But these dogs can be boisterous, which leads to problems if you have small kids and other pets.
So, are Labradoodles easy to train? And are these dogs intelligent or scatterbrained? That’s what you’ll want to know if you’re buying one of these gorgeous pups.
Read this guide to learn more about Labradoodle training, including some proven top training tips!
Are Labradoodles Easy Dogs To Train?
In a word, yes, Labradoodles are easy dogs to train!
Let’s discuss what makes training the breed so straightforward and find out if there are any downsides to Labradoodle training.
What Makes A Dog Trainable?
Some dog breeds are more amenable to training than others. That’s mainly due to the dog’s breeding and its original purpose.
Usually, dogs bred to work with people are the easiest pups to train. Dogs that crave rewards, either in the form of food or verbal praise, are also relatively straightforward and trainable.
In comparison, dog breeds created to provide companionship tend to be less obedient to some aspects of training, as are dogs with a fiercely independent streak or an extremely high prey drive.
So, what qualities does the Labradoodle have that make these pups easy to train?
Intelligent dogs are typically the easiest to train, as they can more quickly learn to associate rewards with the tasks they are asked to perform.
Labradoodles are produced by crossing a purebred Standard Poodle with a purebred Labrador retriever and American and English Cocker Spaniels in the case of the Australian Labradoodle.
All those breeds are renowned for their intelligence, so it’s highly likely that the Labradoodle crossbreed will be pretty smart, too.
Poodles are brilliant dogs regarded as empathetic, picking up on the mood of their handler and adapting their behavior accordingly.
However, Poodles can sometimes be somewhat stubborn, so early training and socialization are essential for these dogs.
The Lab is renowned for being a smart, trainable dog breed.
Labrador retrievers are a working breed bred to work alongside hunters as bird dogs, fetching shot waterfowl.
American and English Cocker Spaniels
The Australian Labradoodle has American and English Cocker Spaniel genes in its bloodlines.
Those breeds are of average intelligence and tend to have an aptitude for obedience training classes.
Dogs focused on their human handler are easier to train than scatty pups that are very easily distracted.
A highly-focused dog, such as a Goldendoodle, will quickly work out what he needs to do to get the verbal praise or tasty treats he craves. With consistent training, a focused dog will progress more rapidly than a dog whose attention wanders.
Different factors motivate different dog breeds.
For example, Labradoodles form strong bonds with their human handlers. That makes the breed eager to please and more motivated to do what you want.
Doodles are also quite food-oriented, so using food rewards during a training session is an excellent way to keep your dog motivated and interested in what’s happening.
Regardless of the breed, for a dog to be easy to train, it’s crucial that it’s well-socialized from puppyhood.
Socialization refers to the dog’s ability to interact with other dogs, people, and pets. The dog must also accept being trained and handled.
Although Labradoodles are naturally social dogs that generally get along well with people and other pets, it’s essential that your puppy is socialized from day one in the following situations.
Meeting Other Dogs
Your Labradoodle puppy should be exposed to other dogs in a safe, controlled way.
For example, you could arrange to take your puppy on playdates with friends who have sociable dogs, visit a dog park, or take your puppy to doggy daycare once or twice a week.
Some dogs become aggressive and defensive if they feel restricted, so behavioral experts often recommend it that your dog is allowed to mingle with other pups off-leash. However, if your dog lacks confidence and you think he might run away when confronted by another pup, it’s best to keep both dogs leashed at first.
Meeting New People
Both Labrador retrievers and Poodles can sometimes be standoffish when meeting new people for the first time. So, it would help if you taught your puppy to meet and accept strangers.
The easiest way to do that is by taking your dog to new places where he will get to meet lots of different people in strange environments. It would help if you also invited friends round to your home so that your Doodle gets used to strangers calling.
Training Your Labradoodle
Training your Labradoodle is a very broad topic, but here are a few of the most important elements to give you an idea of what you’re taking on!
Potty training is one of the most important things that your puppy or adult Labradoodle learns.
Crate training entails your puppy spending some time alone while confined to his crate. That’s essential if you work away from home or for times when you need to go out to the store, and your dog can’t go with you.
If your Doodle doesn’t go through crate training correctly, he might suffer from separation anxiety, develop destructive behaviors, or pick up other undesirable habits. When you leave and return to your dog, keep calm. If you make those events exciting, your dog will find it difficult to relax and settle when you go away.
Your dog should never regard spending time in his crate as a punishment. Keep your temper when things don’t go according to plan, as losing your cool could ruin months of training.
Throughout his life, your dog will need to be handled routinely from time to time, either by you, by a vet, or by a professional groomer. So, teaching your puppy to accept being handled is an important aspect of his training program that shouldn’t be neglected.
Get yourself a supply of special training treats to reward your pup, and take time to teach your pet to accept having his mouth, ears, and paws touched.
Dogs tend to guard resources, such as their food, toys, and beds. Often, a dog will get defensive if someone approaches them while they’re eating. So, you need to curb that behavior.
Teach your dog to accept being handled or touched while eating, and get them used to you removing their food bowl. When the dog accepts that without growing or showing any signs of aggression, be sure to reward your pet immediately with some training reward treats and replace his dinner right away.
What Are The Downsides of Training Labradoodles?
Despite being relatively easy to train, there are a few downsides to training Labradoodles.
Prey Drive and Distraction
If the Labradoodle takes most after its Labrador retriever parent, it might have a short attention span and be easily distracted by other dogs or people.
These dogs also have a pretty high prey drive, meaning that they will dash off and chase things. That could be another dog’s ball or toy, a squirrel, your neighbor’s cat, or another dog.
If your Labradoodle takes mostly after his Poodle parent, he might have a rather stubborn streak, which can be problematic when it comes to training your pet.
However, so long as you use positive training methods and don’t resort to yelling at your dog or punishing him, you can usually cajole your furry friend into doing what you want. Negative training methods usually don’t work. That style of training gets you nowhere with a Labradoodle.
Stubbornness is generally an issue if you try to stop your dog from doing something rather than asking him to respond to basic commands.
Labradoodle Training – Proofing
“Proofing” is a training method that works especially well with Labradoodles.
Proofing means training the dog that your commands or cues mean the same thing no matter when or where you use them.
For example, when teaching your dog the “sit” cue, start by training your dog to perform that basic command indoors in an empty room. Once the cue is established, and your dog is obedient to it, move on to using the command outside in your backyard. Next, introduce a few distractions.
Up The Ante
Ask your dog to sit and then move away for a minute or so before moving back again. Gradually, increase the distance you move away from your dog over a number of training sessions, also moving away for longer.
Once that’s well established, carry out the same training routine in a place where other dogs and people are around but at a distance. Next, you might want to repeat the exercise where there are wild animals around.
The idea is to “prove” that your dog will respond correctly to your cues whenever and wherever you are, no matter how distracting the environment is.
Use More Advanced Commands
As your pup’s training continues, you can use the same proofing training method for more difficult commands. Ultimately, you want to be able to give your dog a whole string of commands without him losing focus, regardless of what’s going on around him.
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Labradoodles are usually pretty easy to train. These dogs are intelligent, love to please their human owners, and are usually cooperative if each training session is rewarded with lots of praise and treats.
What tricks did you train your Labradoodle to do? Tell us about your smart pet in the comments section below!