How To Train A Labradoodle – Tips And Techniques

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Every future dog owner has wondered about the training regimen of their puppy. Will it be easy for you to instill good habits and teach neat tricks? It is essential that you can correct behaviors that are unwanted and promote good habits, to ensure that your dog can be a companion for life.

However, training can be difficult and overwhelming. Have you wondered what materials you need to begin training? Or how you should reinforce certain behaviors? Or, when should you start teaching your simple dog commands?

Learning these training tips and techniques will make you a happier owner with a more well-mannered dog.

Are Labradoodles Easy To Train?

Trainer woman with his Golden Labradoodle

Labradoodles are a crossbreed between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle. Labradoodles tend to be very friendly with strangers, patient with children, quick to learn, and easy to please. This makes them a perfect companion for family life. 

Due to their genetic heritage, Labradoodles are very intelligent. This is because poodles are the second smartest dogs, and labrador retrievers are the 7th smartest dogs. This was found in a study done by canine psychologist Stanley Coren

This means that Labradoodles require fewer repetitions to learn a command and are also more likely to obey the command on the first request. Hence, it is possible that you will only need a few attempts to teach your doodle pup a new trick.

Why is training important?

Training time for a puppy can be long and repetitive, which is hard to do if you don’t understand the reward. If you let unwanted behaviors go unchecked, then your dog will continue to do these destructive behaviors.

While things like biting or rough-housing is cute when your dog is a puppy, as your Labradoodle grows to be up to 65 pounds, that’s going to get really painful really fast! A lack of training for your puppy leads to a naughty, attention-seeking adult dog.

You need a fun and easy way to incorporate basic puppy obedience training into your daily life; not only will this reduce inappropriate behaviors, but it will also satisfy your pup’s curious mind & help them grow crucial skills, like listening, responding, and following.

How should I start?

You don’t need an extensive list of items to begin training your puppy. The most important thing you do is identify your puppy’s motivation. There are usually four main types of motivation.

Food

Dog food on shovel and on can in white wooden background

Some dogs are motivated mainly by delicious training treats. However, try not to over-feed them, as this can cause your doodle to become overweight. 

Petting

Some dogs really love to be petted. In fact, studies show that petting your dog can release oxytocin in both the human and the dog; this is the feel-good hormone that allows a mother and a newborn to bond!

Verbal Reinforcement

Use positive affirmations when your pup shows basic obedience skills, such as “Good Job!”, “Good Boy!”, or even just “Yes!”. Certain dogs respond very well to this. 

Playing

High-energy dogs will love a game of tug-of-war after a challenging training situation. This is a fantastic way to get in exercise, while also improving your relationship. 

Try testing all of these motivators out and see what your dog responds best to. Mix and match your labradoodle’s favorite motivators for your training program. 

Based on this, you might need more treats or more toys. It all depends on what your doodle prefers. The type of motivator is not as important; all that matters is that your puppy has an energetic response to it.

A great tip is to use soft treats for your food-motivated doggie. This is so you don’t have to wait for your pup to finish chewing before you continue your puppy training session.

Nine tips for training your Labradoodle

Labradoodle running outdoor

Information on training methods can get extremely overwhelming. Owners may find contrasting pieces of advice online; some sites say “never tell your dog no” and others say “discourage negative behaviors immediately.”

The truth is that we will probably never know what the best method of training is because our pooches are vastly different from one another.

So, here are a few simple tips that will likely work on all doodles. See how your puppy experiences these training techniques and try adjusting your training program accordingly. 

1) Choose a good name

The name of your Labradoodle is extremely important. Dogs often respond better to shorter names with more emphasis placed on the last syllable. As a general rule, try not to go over two syllables for the name of your dog. 

Not only is a short name easier to shout out, but it is also easier for your dog to remember. Choosing a short name allows your dog to respond better, which is the foundation for obedience training. Some examples include Honey, Bailey, Jacky, or Rusty.

2) Be consistent

Training isn’t something that ends as soon as potty training your pup is over. Proper training is achieved after a lifetime of work. Try to engage in some time of training every day, whether that is practicing your doodle’s heel technique or teaching them a cool party trick. 

Aim for regular training sessions of at least 15 minutes a day, broken down into smaller increments or until your dog gets bored.

Whenever you see it, try to reprimand bad behaviors with an authoritative voice. Consider everything as a teachable moment; after all, the world is a labradoodle’s classroom!

3) Begin training as soon as possible

F1B Labradoodle e1653492294599

As soon as you bring a young puppy into a new environment (like your home), their mind is a clean slate. Use this as an opportunity to begin setting some ground rules.

For example, if you notice any bad habits your puppy has bought home, like jumping on you when you enter the house, denounce the action with a stern voice.

Potty training can begin as soon as eight weeks old. By nine weeks, your doodle should understand that going to the bathroom is an outside activity only and will try to follow this habit with their limited bladder control.

Dogs need discipline in life to stimulate their minds and exercise their self-restraint. 

4) Implement manners

Just like raising a child, it’s very important to have a “polite” Labradoodle. This means a dog that doesn’t bark or growl when they see strangers, that doesn’t steal food off the dining table or engage in rough-housing.

Many people aren’t comfortable with dogs, so a dog that misbehaves around them is a bad experience for everyone involved. 

 It’s important to nip these in the bud when they are young or else you might have a dog who misbehaves in its adult life. 

5) Begin socialization early

Happy couple with labradoodle

Socialization is a crucial method to getting a well-behaved dog. Dogs should be able to get along with human babies, older adults, and other animals. Now, this is also dependent on your Labradoodle’s natural temperament.

Some dogs intrinsically do not enjoy spending time with people other than their owners and prefer to be on their own. In this case, your goal should be getting them as comfortable as possible.

By introducing them to people and large crowds at a young age, you can limit the chances of your doodle becoming territorial or aggressive as they become older. 

The window for socialization starts as young as ten weeks. You can invite guests to the house to pet and play with your pup; this will get them used to the idea that your house does not belong to just them.

Other chances for socialization include going to parks, markets, etc. You can hold your puppy in your arms if you are worried about them becoming overstimulated or nervous. 

6) Manipulate your voice & body language

Unfortunately, dogs don’t understand English. If that was the case, training would be so much easier! Due to this, we must rely heavily on the tone of our voice and our body language.

While a dog can’t understand the meaning of a word, it can quickly pick up on a stern tone, v/s an encouraging tone.

If your doodle puppy does an unwanted behavior, say “No.” in a stern voice (it doesn’t have to be loud). If your Labradoodle follows your instructions, then you can say “Good Dog!” or another short and positive affirmation in a cheerful voice.

Avoid harsh screams as this can scare your puppy unnecessarily and may cause them to disengage with the training. 

Body language is also very important. You should be able to read the emotions of your dog in its body language and respond accordingly.

If your pup seems very skittish and scared, avoid towering over him. Instead, crouch down and make yourself smaller. Also, try speaking in a quieter tone to make him more comfortable.

7) Give deliberate commands

Labradoodle

Your doodle is very intelligent and will understand if you are bluffing when you give him a command. Thus, you should always enforce your commands.

If you ask your pup to sit and he doesn’t, do not reward him. Also, don’t repeatedly say “Sit! Sit!” until he does. This will make it seem like responding the first couple of times is not mandatory.

If your pooch is not responding to your commands, simply wait for a few minutes, keep your patience, and start again from scratch. 

If it still does not work, it’s possible that your doodle can’t recall what you want from him. In that case, gently push his behind down to the ground so that he is in the sit position.

While you are doing this, repeat the command “Sit.” After this, reward your dog. Repeat this until your dog is able to sit by itself and then reward it.

8) Keep training exciting

Training can get mundane, even for your dog. Try keeping training upbeat by incorporating fantastic games like Hide-and-Seek. When your Labradoodle is young, hide in the same room and call out your pup’s name. When they find you, reward them verbally or with a treat.

As they get older and better at recall, you may hide throughout the house, in the backyard, or in the park. Not only is this a fun activity, but also your dog will get its exercise running around the house trying to find you.

Furthermore, this is crucial in more dangerous situations. For example, if your doodle has slipped out of its leash during a walk and has run off, you can call its name again. Then, it is more likely to come as its recall skills have improved.

This game can also increase your confidence in your dog. For example, you will be more comfortable with letting them off their leash during hikes or other outdoor activities.

Most importantly, ensure that the training is humane and positive. Your dog should be motivated to learn because they would like to please you, not because they are scared of your disapproval. This leads to more fruitful results in the long run.

9) The proof behind proofing

Brown labradoodle puppy in the park

Dogs learn habits very specifically. For example, you might spend hours teaching your dog to sit in the living room. However, the second you try this in the dog park, your puppy looks at you completely confused.

This is because dogs are good at discrimination, not generalization.

So, your puppy may easily understand that her tennis ball is different from the baseball you introduce to her. However, she may not understand that a football is also a ball that can be played with.

Similarly, your dog is unlikely to roll over when you ask her to sit, as she understands that these are two different commands. However, if you ask her to sit in a new environment, she may not be able to connect the dots and perform. 

This is where proofing comes in. Proofing is ensuring that the behavior you are teaching can be performed in any environment, with any distractions. In order to do this, you must repeat the actions many times in many different settings. 

This means the dog should be able to stay in a seat for a long period of time before you tell her to get up. This also means that she should sit even if you tell her the command from a few yards away. 

If you find it difficult to proof your puppy when you are introducing distractions, try using high-value treats like chicken, salmon, or cheese. This makes the training much more interesting than the environment for your puppy. 

Positive V/S Negative Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is awarding your pet whenever they complete the desired action. For example, petting your dog’s head when he sits.

On the other hand, negative reinforcement is punishing your pooch when he performs an unwanted behavior. This is like yelling at the dog whenever it begins to bark.

Positive reinforcement is usually favorable over negative reinforcement. This is because dogs might not understand that the behavior they did is what caused this repercussion.

Furthermore, studies show that dogs don’t feel real guilt.

Instead, the guilty face or “puppy dog eyes” that they have may just be a learned response because your doodle has realized that if they make this face, they get scolded less.

On the other hand, we have more evidence that dogs are able to experience primary emotions like happiness, which makes positive reinforcement much more effective.

Important tricks to teach

Cute apricot labradoodle dog sitting on the yellow sofa

These tricks are the most useful tricks you should teach your puppy. In fact, they may even be life-saving.

Recall

Recall is the ability of your dog to come back to you when you call its name. This is crucial if you plan on leaving your dog off the leash for a walk, or even if your pup accidentally slips out of its leash.

Simply call your doodle’s name and when it walks toward you, reward it. 

Bite Inhibition

Naturally, puppies bite a lot while playing, but this can grow into a nasty habit. If your pup begins biting, make sure your fingers are folded inwards so they’re harder to bite, and then entice your dog with a fun toy.

If your dog shows aggression while biting, turn around and walk away. 

Sit

The sit command is one of the basics of obedience training. Put a treat near your pup’s snout, and as he comes towards it to sniff, bring it upwards.

This will force your doodles head up and rump to the floor in a sitting position. Then, give him the treat and lots of verbal praise!

The sit command is an easy command to learn and will introduce your pup to the concept of behavior and reward.

Conclusion

Labradoodles are very intelligent animals and can be taught crucial behaviors in just a couple of minutes. Training is an important time investment because it can mentally stimulate your doodle and allow a greater sense of security.

However, some things to be mindful of when designing a training program is to keep it light, fun, and positive. Also, be intentional with your commands and the way you call your pooch.

Above all, have fun! Training is a fantastic way to build a bond with your new puppy. So, savor these moments and enjoy watching your little Labradoodle’s mind expand! 

If you have any questions about the best way to train your Labradoodle, please leave a comment down below!

Meet our writer

Anoushka’s love for animals began with taking care of the cows & chickens on her family farm. As she grew older, this love transformed into a love for dogs. She volunteers in a dog shelter, so she is well-versed in the care and comfort of all breeds of dogs.

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