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We picked our Mini Goldendoodle up when she was seven weeks old and immediately started training her. Our training consisted of strategies we had learned in books along with some tips that our breeder has passed along to us that were very helpful. However, the biggest help in our training efforts was the experience of actually doing it. Learning all you can is great but nothing can beat the first-hand experience.
I write this article knowing that each dog is different so they will respond differently to training. The tips I will share worked for our Mini Goldendoodle and hopefully will be of help in training yours.
Our Mini Goldendoodle was our first puppy. As a newly married couple who had no idea what we were doing, we had to learn as we went. This was our first test and there was no time to mess around. We were thrown right into the fire and had to learn quickly. We read books, watched training videos, and talked with other dog owners all in an effort to gain an edge in the process.
We learned through trial and error. In the end, our dog became a well-trained and obedient family member. Perhaps it was our training or maybe it was her high intelligence and pleasing temperament. We’ve had lots of years with her now that she is a senior dog and it has been a learning experience her entire life. However, if we were to do it all over again, it would probably go a little smoother knowing what we know now.
While it’s inevitable that mistakes will be made, there are some things you can do to ensure the best possible outcome for how well-trained and obedient your dog becomes. Dogs generally respond well to training when they are young puppies and the earlier you start, the better off you will be.
I have put together some tips that I feel were crucial in training our puppy the way we did. If I could go back and give advice to us, these are some tips that I would share.
1) Start As Early As Possible
As mentioned earlier, our puppy was 7 weeks old when we brought her home and we immediately began training her. We started with the basics such as potty training, leash training, walking without pulling, and just basic obedience. We also began early with the task of teaching her to do common tricks such as sit, shake hands, and give five. It didn’t take her long to learn these things.
As with any puppy though, it can be challenging. They are like a toddler and are just experiencing the world for the first time. They want to explore, play, and often find themselves getting into something that they shouldn’t. Positive reinforcement is needed to help them understand exactly what you want them to do.
Your efforts will be greatly rewarded if you start as early as possible, taking it seriously and truly understanding that what you do in their earliest years will either harm or help your efforts in training your Doodle.
2) Be Patient
When you begin the adventure of training a Mini Goldendoodle, patience is going to be a key virtue that you’ll have to develop. Your dog will be able to read your emotions. They have a way of picking up on your frustration and will not respond well during these moments of frustration. If you are more patient in your approach, they will respond more positively and feel your calm, reassuring energy. It will help them to retain the teachings that you are trying to get through to them.
On the other hand, if you lose your patience with your dog and get mad at them, yell at them, or even worse, hit them, you’re asking for a negative result. A dog that experiences this may develop scars from such actions that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.
From the beginning, you’ll want to be as patient as possible and show your dog a calm and reassuring leadership style. It will take time for your puppy to respond to commands. Each dog is different so don’t expect yours to fit into some pre-defined length of time that it will take for them to do specific things. You can use general timeframes as a guideline but don’t lose your patience if your Doodle doesn’t learn commands within a given timeframe.
3) Start Leash Training Early
Leash training is a VERY important part of training a dog. A leash is a primary way you have to control your dog when on walks or out in public. If you don’t take this training seriously, you could end up with a dog that pulls, chokes itself, and becomes a handful when out in public.
You see this all the time when people are walking their dogs. The is especially true with a large breed but even a small dog like a Mini Goldendoodle can become challenging if not trained properly. This takes time and a lot of patience. Our Mini Doodle pulled like any other dog in the beginning but we often corrected her with commands and a slight tug here and there.
Because we started young, she became good on a leash and has continued this trend for most of her life. The best way we found to leash train our Mini Goldendoodle was to take her on walks consistently. Rather than just letting her run free, our focus was on keeping her by our side at all times. We also practiced around the house and gave rewards with treats when she did what we wanted her to do.
Start this process early and you’ll end up with an adult dog who will be well-disciplined on its leash rather than an embarrassment out in public.
4) Use A Potty Training Bell
This is one of the best things that we ever did. Our breeder suggested that we make use of a bell so that our dog would have an easy way of letting us know she needed to go outside and potty. We gave it a shot and it has been super convenient for our Doodle to let us know that she needs to go outside. You can read more here about our process of training our dog to ring a bell to go outside.
Many people are amazed when she goes over to ring her bell to go outside. However, it’s a simple training that can be done by any dog, especially if you start them out young. If you haven’t considered this, I highly suggest it! It’s a great way for them to notify you of their needs. Rather than walking around crying, they can ring a bell and you can hear it all over your house.
Any dog that I ever have in the future can expect to have bell training incorporated into their potty training. It’s easy to do and a Mini Goldendoodle has no trouble learning it. It’s just a matter of ringing the bell for them each time you let them outside. Eventually, they will catch on that every time they go outside, the bell needs to ring. They’ll begin doing it on their own.
5) Use Healthy Treats
Giving small treats to your Mini Doodle as they obey your commands is an easy way to let them know that they have pleased you. It signals to them that what they have done is worthy of a reward so they are more likely to do that in the future.
If you are going to train your dog like this, you will go through lots of treats throughout a training session. Using healthy, low-calorie treats for this is a must. Not only will your dog enjoy receiving the treat but it’s a great way of beginning your dog on a life of health and enjoying treats that are healthy for them.
Our favorite was baby carrots which we cut up into small pieces as we were training her to do different things. She loved the crunch and taste of them and now 14 years later, they are still among her favorite foods. We have used them as treats her entire life.
If you just purchase boxes of treats and commence to giving these as training rewards, you might see them gain weight if you are not careful. If not now, at least later on in life since they are going to be conditioned to eat these types of processed treats. It’s better to get them started down the path of liking healthier options that have almost no calories. You can still include the commercially made treats but these healthy options will give you an additional way to reward them.
6) Make Use of a Crate
A crate was our first method of making sure our dog was contained in an area so that she did not mess up in the house. Crates are a great way to give your puppy their space and since they don’t want to soil the small area they live in, it’s a great way to teach them when it’s time to potty.
We used our crate to train our dog and keep her in it when we were gone for small amounts of time. She would generally fall asleep in her crate and curl up with the pillows and toys that we had left for her. As a puppy, she found comfort and shelter in her crate. She often ran to it with her treat and ate it there so that no one would bother her.
I worked from home and would often keep her in a crate in my office as I worked. She would fall asleep and I didn’t have to worry about keeping an eye on her. This is very helpful for a puppy who hasn’t fully comprehended potty training yet or likes to be mischievous.
I would suggest using crates sparingly and only when you are in those moments when you can’t supervise your Doodle. Never use a crate as a place for punishment. Doing this will make a crate a negative place. Learn more about crate suggestions for a Mini Goldendoodle.
7) Make Use of a Gate
Gates are a great way to keep your Mini Doodle out of an area that you don’t want them to be in. If you have an area that is not carpeted, a gate can be a great way to make sure they stay in an uncarpeted area which makes it much easier to clean up if they have an accident. It also allows you to get them on a routine without them messing up throughout your house on carpets and rugs.
Just a simple gate that opens and holds itself together pushing against the wall on each side is what we used. The following gate is similar to ours and is very cost-effective.
8) Develop a Strict Routine
Having a routine will help your Mini Goldendoodle to become used to the training that you are trying to get across. Get up at the same time each morning, go to bed at the same time at night, take them out to potty at the same times each day, and take them to the same locations when they potty. All of these routines combined will help to build the connections in their brain needed to become a well-trained dog.
9) Touch Their Feet And Mouth Often
When our Doodle was a puppy, we made sure to clean her feet off each time she went out and came back in. This had multiple purposes.
- To keep her from tracking dirt into the house. We didn’t want dirt, mud, or water tracked into the house so we made sure to have a cleaning rag near the door at all times.
- Condition her to allow us to touch and mess with her paws. Many dogs don’t like for you to touch their paws and this a great way to get them used to it. She got to where she would automatically pick each foot up for us as she knew we’d be wiping them off.
Doing this has helped with being able to clip her toenails, trim her paw hair, and inspect for other issues regularly. She gives us her paw like it’s no big deal and we are able to do what we want with it.
We also did the same with her teeth. We often looked inside her mouth and messed around with her teeth to get her used to it. I started brushing her teeth when she was young and this has all helped to maintain her teeth over the years. She doesn’t love getting her teeth brushed but she doesn’t fight it very much either. We have no issues opening up her mouth and inspecting areas, and cleaning areas that need to be cleaned. I brush her teeth regularly and starting young was a key to making it possible.
10) Go To Obedience Training
We did not do this and decided to DIY the entire process. However, it would have probably been better to opt for this type of training from a professional. We are self-learners so we chose to learn on our own. I feel like we did a great job but the process is easier when you seek a professional who knows what they’re doing.
If you have a location in your area that offers basic obedience school, which can often be done with a group of people (and their dogs), then sign up for it. There will be a fee to pay but it will give you a good start and a foundation to grow from. Not only is it good for the dog but it will also help you to be the human and leader that your dog is looking for. It will give you the tools you need to become a great parent to your Mini Goldendoodle.
You can usually find classes like this at your local pet store or from a professional dog trainer in your area. If you are a first-time dog owner, it’s a great way to learn the basics. It will definitely give you a leg-up with being able to communicate with your dog.
Training a Mini Goldendoodle is not a difficult process but you can certainly mess some things up if you don’t take it seriously. You can’t just assume that they’ll learn things on their own. You need to be intentional about the process and make sure everything you do around them is thought out and you are at least aware of how it might affect them in the future.
If you have a Mini Goldendoodle that you are training, you are in for a fun ride and will hopefully end up with a best friend that is well-trained and a complete joy to be around just like mine is.