How smart are Labradoodles? The answer is pretty smart! Labradoodles are intelligent, trainable dogs. In this guide we’ll explain what makes Labradoodles so clever, and why some Labradoodles are super smart! We’ll also give you some great tips for developing your Labrador’s problem solving skills and making a success of training your clever Labradoodle puppy.
- Why are Labradoodles smart?
- Your clever Labradoodle’s genes
- How smart are Labs & Poodles
- Different ways to be smart
- Are Labradoodles easy to train?
- Socialization & Intelligence
- Separation Anxiety in smart dogs
- Mental Stimulation for Doodles
- Playtime For Labradoodle
- Teaching Tricks To Your Doodle
Labradoodles are intelligent dogs. Both of their parents are traditionally working breeds, with an impressive ability to learn new cues, and respond to them reliably.
With great canine intelligence comes great human responsibility to provide mental stimulation – this helps us to avoid unwanted or destructive behaviors. So we’ll be looking at ways to keep your clever Doodle busy.
Why Are Labradoodles Smart?
When we talk about dogs being smart we usually mean that they are easy to train and quick to learn. And both these characteristics are common in dogs that were originally bred to work as a team with a human partner. Teamwork requires co-operation as well as intelligence. And as we all know, it’s a lot easier to teach a co-operative student!
That’s why dogs from the herding or pastoral groups such as border collies and german shepherd dogs, are very smart. And why dogs bred to work as hunting companions, such as Labradors, GSPs and Golden Retrievers, are also supersmart. Mixed breed dogs with parents from one of these groups, have a good chance of being smart too!
Labradoodles have some awesome genes!
Looking at the brainpower of the parents gives us a good idea of what to expect from their puppies. Luckily, Labradoodles are the offspring of two highly intelligent breeds, namely the Labrador retriever and the Poodle.
And while Poodles do not currently belong to one of those two clever groups of dog (herding and hunting companions) that we talked about above. If you go back a few hundred years, Poodles were hunting companions too!
Are Labrador Retrievers and Poodles Smart?
In a lengthy survey of dog breeds done by psychologist Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia, Labradors ranked 7th and Poodles 2nd out of 138 breeds.
These rankings were based on the time it took to learn a new command, and the dogs’ level of obedience.
Both breeds are considered among the brightest working dogs. Which means they are able to learn a new cue with fewer than 5 repetitions, and obey it at least 95% of the time.
If you think that’s impressive, Coren also found that Poodles and Labs have intelligence on par with that of a 2-year-old child. And they can understand more than 150 words.
How Smart are Labradors?
There are plenty of reasons why Labradors have been America’s favorite breed for over two decades.
Not only does their friendly, gentle nature make them the ideal family pet, their intellect and incredible sense of smell allows them to excel in a number of jobs, such as guide dog, drug detection, explosive device detection, service work, search and rescue, and therapy.
How Smart are Poodles?
Poodles are often stereotyped as pampered pets with showy pompons and reputation for being standoffish.
But they were actually bred for water retrieving. Their flamboyant fur was originally cut in tufts to allow them to move freely in the water, whilst still protecting vital areas from the cold.
When it comes to off-the-charts smarts, only the Border Collie ranks higher in the canine world.
Elegant and dignified, Poodles are also highly active.
Their superior intelligence, keen senses, and ability to learn mean they were capable of bringing supplies to soldiers during wartime and entertaining as circus performers.
How Smart Are Labradoodles?
With two such accomplished parents you can expect a Labradoodle to have inherited qualities from both parents that give them a superior canine intellect.
Which sounds like an amazing blessing.
But it can be a double-edged sword, if their owner isn’t prepared to train them regularly, and provide lots of mental stimulation.
Canine Intelligence – different ways to be smart!
When studying the intelligence of dogs, experts typically break it down into 3 distinct types:
- Instinctive intelligence
- Adaptive intelligence
- Working intelligence, or obedience
Instinctive intelligence refers to what a dog was bred to do, such as herding or guarding.
In the case of the Labradoodle, both parents are water retrievers. Which is why these dogs are competent swimmers, and know how to carry something softly in their mouth without damaging it.
Adaptive intelligence is how well the dog is able to problem solve on his own and learn from his environment.
For example observing where the treats are kept so he can raid them later. Or knowing to go to the door when he has to relieve himself.
Working or obedience intelligence refers to a dog’s ability to learn from people. For example learning a new trick or understanding basic human vocabulary.
Are Labradoodles Easy to Train?
In order to be easy to train, dogs need to not only be intelligent, but also eager to learn.
In other words, they need to be easily motivated by the types of rewards we can offer them (like food, or toys).
Luckily, Labradoodles are generally social dogs who want to please their humans.
Labradors are also famously greedy – they are highly motivated to work out what we want from them, in order to secure the next snack.
To get the most from your Labradoodle puppy, the key is to start training as early as possible. Dogs, who are as young as 8 weeks old, can begin learning new tasks.
Consistency and patience are key. Always use positive reinforcement techniques and reward your dog when he gives you the proper response.
This study found that training improves dogs’ performance in problem solving tasks.
Socialization for Smart Labradoodles
Early socialization that introduces your Labradoodle to a wide variety of people, environments, and situations is very important to ensure your dog doesn’t become fearful.
This means they must be able to interact well with other animals and humans, as well as being able to accept life experiences.
Supervised periods of exploring new surroundings will build his confidence.
Like training, socialization should start as early as possible. In Labradoodles, the window for effective socialization closes when a puppy is 12 to 16 weeks old.
Separation Anxiety in Smart Labradoodles
Intelligent, friendly dogs that thrive on social interaction can be prone to suffering from separation anxiety.
This can lead to serious behavioral problems if not dealt with.
Signs your Labradoodle is worried include:
- Barking or howling
- Drooling excessively
- Attempts to escape
- Digging or clawing
- Destructive behavior
- Self-harm such as chewing their feet
Labradoodles with separation anxiety need a second chance to learn to be alone very gradually.
Mental Stimulation for Smart Labradoodles
Dogs that were bred to work for a living need to be challenged.
Clever dogs have a tendency to get bored easily. Providing them with sufficient mental stimulation is something that can easily get overlooked.
Sitting around the house throughout the day doesn’t provide a smart dog with enough stimulation to satisfy their instincts.
Today there are a myriad of choices when it comes to dog toys.
Interactive dog puzzles are an easy way to keep your Labradoodle engaged and entertained.
When he’s able to focus his attention on a task that requires mental stimulation, it can go a long way to preventing problem behaviors.
And nothing else compares to training games for achieving this.
Playtime for Smart Labradoodles
Don’t overlook the importance of playing with your dog too.
Actively engaging your Labradoodle in playtime is a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated while strengthening your bond at the same time.
Tug of war, fetch, and Frisbee are easy ways to increase your Labradoodle’s mental stamina.
Playing hide and seek or hiding treats are other fun options.
Creating an agility course in the backyard or making up your own games are also great for physical and intellectual stimulation.
Is it Easy to Teach Labradoodles Tricks?
Learning to do tricks is another way to engage your Labradoodle.
Teaching your dog a new command can improve their focus and impulses.
Since Labradoodles are such smarties they can usually learn basic tricks such as sit, heel, and come quite easily.
As with any training, patience, consistency, and positive encouragement go a long way.
It’s best to keep training sessions short so your dog doesn’t get bored.
Ultimately, Labradoodles should be able to learn as many tricks as you care to teach them. Keep commands short and always reward him when he’s done a trick properly.
How smart are Labradoodles?
Considering that Labradoodles are the offspring of two breeds that rank in the top 10 of most intelligent dogs, you can rest assured that they are one of the smartest mixed breeds around.
These dogs are also loyal, friendly, full of energy, and adorable.
As long as you take the initiative and channel it appropriately, Labradoodles will amaze you with their intelligence.
References and Further Reading
“Smarter Than You Think: Renowned Canine Researcher Puts Dogs’ Intelligence on Par with 2-Year-Old Human,” American Psychological Association, 2009
Polgár, Z., et al., “A Test of Canine Olfactory Capacity: Comparing Various Dog Breeds and Wolves in a Natural Detection Task,” PLOS One, 2016.
Marshall-Pescini, S, et al., “Does training make you smarter? The effects of training on dogs’ performance in a problem solving task,” Behavioral Processes, 2008.
Bradshaw, JWS, et al., “Why do adult dogs ‘play’?,” Behavioral Processes, 2015.