Labradoodles are slowly taking over the world, one home at a time. They are human oriented animals and make great family pets. However, training a Labradoodle like any other dog can be challenging especially if you have never done it before. They are highly intelligent and without training can outsmart you.
Here is what you need to know to make Labradoodle training a success:
Establish you are the pack leader
In the litter when Labradoodle puppies are communicating with each other, they will position themselves above one another, bite and growl. This is their way of establishing dominance and who is the pack leader. If you notice your puppy behaving as such, you need to teach them that you are the pack leader. And as the pack leader, show your pup how you’d like them to behave.
Now as the pack leader, your dog trusts and respects you therefore he can listen to you.
Start training early.
Training your Labradoodle isn’t something you keep off until there is an incident or as they settle in. As soon as they get home, teach your dog what is expected of them. Your fur ball is less likely to get in to trouble if you manage their expectations. Setting boundaries earlier on in the relationship will make training easier.
Start them out on a leash.
If you come home with a puppy, put him on a leash as soon as you arrive and walk him around your home both inside and out. Allow all your family members to walk him with you as well calmly and assertively. Leashing your puppy will make potty training as well obedience training seamless.
Socialization is important.
Socializing your dog is vital especially when at a young age. It involves meeting and interacting with other people, dogs and other pets. Labradoodles are social dogs and are at their happiest when they spend time playing and with people. Expose your dog to new and different sounds, sights, textures, smells and experiences. Arrange playdates with friends who have well behave dogs so that your fur ball can have a fun and healthy experience.
If your puppy is older, you need to do a thorough research of the breeder or shelter. Ensure that your Labradoodle was properly socialized during its initial development period.
Stick to positive reinforcement.
Swatting, yelling or fear based tactics are not the best tools to use when teaching your Labradoodle. Remember that beyond the training you want to build a loving secure bond with your dog. Positive reinforcement on the other hand is rewarding and pleasant for both you and your fur ball. Positive reinforcement entails verbal praise, treats, an affectionate pet and clicker training rewards for a job well done.
Your Labradoodle will also make a positive association with training time.
Crate training isn’t for everyone; not everyone opts to crate train their fur ball. However, it can be a great resource for early stage training. A crate gives your dog a sense of personal space. Only use the crate for positive experiences and never leave them in there for way too long.
Stop bad behavior before it buds.
It is easy for your adorable dog to develop bad habits; however, theses should be nipped at the bud. When a bad behavior trait is left to go on, it will become harder to change in the future. During teething for example, your pup will be inclined to bite you. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you should discourage the behavior so that it doesn’t become a character trait.
Supervised interaction when dealing with small children.
Getting your child used to handling your Labradoodle is a whole other spectrum. There are crucial steps to ensure both your kids and the dog map out clear boundaries to create an environment of trust and kindness.
Here are some pointers:
- Before allowing your child to pick up or cuddle your dog let them first practice with a toy.
- Teach the kids to speak quietly around the dog.
- Allow your child to give the Labradoodle a treat that nobody else does. This is to help your dog make a positive association with your child.
- Teach your child small tasks that involve taking care of the dog like filling the water and food bowl and grooming.
- Provide a safe retreat for your Labradoodle that is off-limits to the children.
Teach your child to make the Labradoodle wait for treats to avoid the misconception that they can take advantage of kid’s hierarchy in the pack. Your dog should learn to be polite and wait to be handed treats by your kids.
Practice eating in front of your Labradoodle.
Eating in front of your dog is meant to cultivate patience. Try eating in front of your dog then allow him to eat only when he calmly sits down and patiently waits. When eating, it is a great time to teach your dog the basic commands such as stay, sit and come.
Practice feeding time etiquette.
It is important for your dog to understand that you control the resources. Your fur ball should also learn to stay calm when family members mill around during his meal times. Teach your Labradoodle to sit and stay as you prepare his food and place it on the floor. Since you control the resources you are ten to allow him to approach and eat. As your puppy enjoys their meal, approach them and command them to sit or come. Remove the food bowl and as a reward for listening offer them a special treat then give back their food bowl.
If your dog starts growling or threatening to bite during feeding you should consult your trainer and breeder.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Training Your Labradoodle
There are many mistakes owners make when training their Labradoodles. Before you start your home training, you need to know what to avoid. Here are commonly made mistakes that you should avoid when training your Labradoodle new tricks and behaviors:
Correction based rather than positive based reinforcement
Concentrating on the negative is not nearly as good a training tool as focusing on the positive. Mixing the two training techniques isn’t a good option either. You will end up confusing your dog. The use of punishment or dominance leads to future problematic behavior.
When you anticipate your dog is about to engage in behavior you do not want to reinforce, simply distract them with another command. And when they act accordingly reward them.
Long training sessions.
Long training sessions will bore your dog and he will no longer be interested in learning anything new. Your dog may feel overwhelmed and not retain anything new they have learned. You should stop training your dog when you notice positive results and opt to continue later on.
Training in the same place.
You are most probable to focus on training your Labradoodle at common because that’s where both you and your dog live. However, that may reinforce the idea that your dog should only act a certain way at home and not at other places such as the park or a friend’s house. Try training your dog outside, in other homes and the dog park. This is meant to teach your dog to behave consistently irrespective of where they are or whom they are around.
Over-relying on treats.
Offering your dog treats is a great way to keep them motivated especially when you start out training. The rewards however should vary incorporating other variations such as praise, toys and play. Relying wholly on treats will create a response where your Labradoodle only responds when you have food with you. Chances are you won’t always have pockets of dog food on you so ensure your dog can respond to praise and play as well.
Poorly customizing training to suit your dog’s individuality.
Dogs, like people, are individuals and not every training method will work for every dog. Some are motivated by food, others are stubborn will others are natural born pleasers. First get to understand what motivates your Labradoodle and how they learn. When one method fails it may not necessarily mean your dog can’t learn. You just need to adjust your training technique until you find what works best.
“Practice makes perfect.” is a great training mantra. Your Labradoodle may learn fast but if you do not practice often then it was all for nothing. Keep the training up even after he has learnt everything you intended to teach him as a means of mental stimulation. Training is a continuous process that should continue throughout your dog’s lifetime.
Allowing for inconsistencies is one of the most common mistakes pet owners make. Occasionally you may offer a lapse in training, be it in the little things. It could be letting your dog jump on a stranger or sit on the couch but this is considered as reinforcing wrong behavior.
A lapse in training makes it hard to reteach your dog commands since he already can’t tell the difference between wrong and right.
Potty training a Labradoodle puppy
How hard can it be?
Well, that’s entire dependent on your Labradoodle. A puppy’s life revolves around eating, sleeping, playing and pottying. They have no idea of time or a schedule therefore; it’s up to you to decide on a potty schedule. The difficult bit is to constantly be on the lookout that your puppy needs to go potty.
How long does potty training a Labradoodle take?
Potty training a Labradoodle puppy to use a specific spot to relieve itself is dependent on age and bladder control. Usually it should take four to five months to be completely potty trained. Three-month-old puppies for example can wait for one to three hours. Your puppy may even make it for longer or need to go potty sooner.
Training will help your puppy work up to longer time stretches.
Here are a few key points:
- Teach your puppy the “go potty” command.
Whenever you take your puppy outside to the designated relieving spot have a treat in your pocket and give the “go potty” command. Repeat this command whenever you take them to the toilet so that they associate it with potty training. This way your puppy will learn to go potty on command. Immediately your Labradoodle puppy is done give him a treat and praise.
- Do not respond to whining and crying.
When your puppy cries at night, get up and wait by the cage until he is quiet for a minute then take them outside to the relieving spot. Give the “go potty” command and quietly wait until they are done.
- Do not punish or yell at your puppy for accidents.
Punishments and harsh words or yelling won’t work on your puppy in the instance of a potty accident. Instead your puppy will be afraid of you rather than trust you. If you catch your puppy in the middle of a potty in the house, firmly say ‘No.” and take them outside to their designated potty spot. Once they are done give them a treat and the due praise.
- Use crates and X pens setup when you are gone.
If during the potty training stage you are busy in the house, don’t let your puppy run around. Instead keep them in a crate to avoid accidents. Even if you are going out for a short time opt for the X Pen setup for your puppy. When you get back home, calmly take your dog outside and let them go to the bathroom.
- Be consistent.
Take your puppy outdoors to the same spot, the same time and after his meals every day. This way it easier to create a potty schedule. Take your Labradoodle outside when they wake up, after eating or drinking, after you have been out of the home for a while, and before going to sleep.
Remember, it is important to invest in training and management tools such as exercise pens, crates and playpens. They will help make dog training manageable and easier. Labradoodle training should be serious but a fun and gentle process. It is entirely up to you to develop the breed’s great characteristics and celebrated qualities.