Learning how to train your Labradoodle puppy is a huge task! It can be pretty daunting – especially when your new 8 week old pup is home and you’re having to put all that knowledge into practice. But, Labradoodle puppy training doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, Labradoodles are a great breed for training, since they’re often very people oriented, intelligent, and eager to please.
Still, it’s one thing to talk about it and another to actually do it. So, to make things a little easier for you, we’ve laid out some of the top Labradoodle training tips. In this article we will talk about the main types of training most people try to accomplish and how to get started. Plus, at the very end, we will discuss what to do if you’re starting to feel a little overwhelmed by it all. Let’s jump right in!
Are Labradoodles Easy to Train?
Since Labradoodles are such a new breed, their personality and trainability can be harder to predict than purebred dogs. Especially if you’re bringing home a first generation mix (that is, one with a Labrador parent and a Poodle parent). Generally, both Labradors and Poodles are very easy to train. They both tend to form strong bonds with their close family, are very intelligent, and are food motivated, which is great for positive reward training. So, as long as you choose a reputable breeder who breeds from two friendly and intelligent parents, your puppy is very likely to be the same.
However, it’s worth noting that many people underestimate just how much work a Labradoodle can be. They’re one of the world’s most popular dogs at the moment – but, just because they look like a teddy doesn’t mean you’ll spend all day cuddling on the couch. Labradoodles are high energy dogs from working breeds. They need a LOT of exercise and mental stimulation every single day. So, this is something you must be prepared for. Especially since a large, untrained Labradoodle could easily hurt someone – even by accident when it jumps up.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that according to an owner questionnaire, mixed breed dogs were rated as less calm and more likely to show problematic behaviors than purebred dogs. This study did not specifically look at Labradoodles. But, it demonstrates that mixed breed dogs won’t necessarily be easier to train and care for than purebred dogs. Particularly for first time owners that aren’t always as confident with training. Nevertheless, if you use positive reward training methods, and keep things consistent, you should have no problems training your Labradoodle puppy.
Labradoodle Puppy Training Tips
Let’s start off by taking a look at some of the best tips for training a Labradoodle puppy. These will help whether you’re starting off your potty training, or whether you’re trying to train your Doodle some basic obedience.
Use Positive Reward Methods
Multiple studies have shown that punishment-based training, and aversive training techniques are less effective than positive reward methods. And that they can have a negative impact on the overall personality of your dog, increasing their nervousness and fearfulness. Labradoodles tend to be very food motivated. So, positive reward methods will be very engaging! And, they’re a great way to build on the bond between you.
Prepare as Much as Possible
Ideally, you’ll be reading this before your Labradoodle puppy has arrived. But, if not, there’s no need to panic! Preparing for training beforehand will make things a lot easier, but you’ll still manage even if it takes you a little longer to get everything ready. Your puppy won’t mind!
Try to ensure you have the best equipment for the training you want to do. We’ve included a list of our top training essentials at the very end of this guide for you. You can use that as the start of your puppy products checklist!
Consistency is Key
Positive reward methods are great for Labradoodles, but like any training method, you must make sure you’re staying consistent! So, establish a solid routine and stick to it. This will help you as much as your puppy. After all, once something is a habit, it’s much harder to miss it out of your day. So, see if you can make training a habit from the time your puppy comes home! And, stick to the same methods.
Consistency also applies to who is training your puppy. Generally, dogs struggle to generalize. So don’t assume that your partner or kids will be able to jump straight in at the same level of training as you. For the best results, everyone should partake in individual training sessions with the puppy – but they should each start from the beginning so your Doodle understands that the same rules apply to all members of the family. Luckily, once a Labradoodle has been through training steps once, they’re likely to fly through them with a new person – so don’t let this put your family members off!
Start Training Early
Labradoodle puppies need to stay with their moms until at least 8 weeks old. But, after that, they can come and live with you. And, you don’t need to wait for any particular age to start training. In fact, training games and sessions will be a great way to fulfil your new Labradoodle puppy’s mental needs. It will also help to build a strong bond between you and your new puppy from the very start.
Give your Puppy Enough Rest
Although Labradoodle adults are active and energetic dogs, Labradoodle puppies need a surprising amount of sleep when they first come home. So, don’t expect to be training all day every day. Not only will this result in an exhausted and grumpy puppy, but it will also make it harder for them to concentrate and succeed in training sessions. And, daily naps can be a great part of crate training your puppy – so you can make the most of this need for rest.
Capture Actions Before Adding a Cue
Something that many new puppy owners struggle with is adding a cue that their puppy will respond to every time. A big reason for this is because they try to add a cue or command before they’ve taught their Labradoodle what it means. So, use positive reward training to capture the behavior you want before adding a label to the action.
For instance, use a clicker and pieces of kibble to show your puppy that sitting is the correct action before you start adding a cue to the start of the action. And, when you add the cue, make sure you’re absolutely certain that your puppy will do the action. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a cue that they won’t respond to reliably! Remember, reward the behavior you want to see!
Increase Difficulty Slowly
Once you’ve got the basics sorted, such as a puppy that sits when you say “sit”, you’ll want to start adding duration, distractions, and even distance between the two of you. All of this is known as proofing – essentially ensuring that your puppy will respond to the cue no matter what is going on around them. And this can be a really tough part of training.
The trick here is to set your Labradoodle up to succeed. Make sure you increase difficulty very slowly. And, if you make one part of training harder, make the rest easier. For instance, if you’re making your puppy sit for slightly longer than normal before rewarding them, make sure there are no other distractions around! Don’t throw them in at the deep end – this is just a recipe for failure.
Give Yourself Breaks
We’ve already spoken about the importance of giving your puppy breaks from training, but it’s also important that you give yourself breaks. This way, you’ll be on top form when you’re interacting with your puppy, and less likely to snap or shout when your puppy doesn’t do what they’re meant to. After all, they’re still learning, and that can be very frustrating for owners! Especially owners that aren’t getting enough sleep because of potty training.
If there’s someone else in the house with you, get them involved with raising the puppy. This way, you can have some much needed rest before diving back in. If you’re alone in the house, invest in a puppy pen and some great toys like Kongs to keep your puppy entertained during those times when it’s all getting a bit much. This doesn’t mean you’re failing as a puppy owner. In fact, it means quite the opposite, because you’re giving yourself the opportunity to recharge, and will come back even stronger.
Potty Training your Labradoodle Puppy
Now we’ve covered the top Labradoodle puppy training tips, let’s look at some of the most common training areas – starting with potty training. There are two main methods for potty training any puppy. These are either using puppy pads, or training your puppy to go to the toilet outside from the very start.
If you’re using puppy pads, you will need to line your puppy’s entire puppy zone with pads at first. Then, as time goes on, you can reduce this coverage so that your puppy knows only to go in that one small space. If your puppy doesn’t seem to like toileting on pads, you can buy litter trays that have a layer of grass to attract your pup.
Training a puppy to go outside from the start will be a little more time consuming, but can be very rewarding. You will need to anticipate the times that your Doodle needs the toilet, and take them outside to their toilet zone before any accidents. This includes throughout the night, when your pup wakes up needing a wee. For some Labradoodle puppies, this can be as frequent as every 20 minutes at first.
If your puppy does have any accidents inside the house, or somewhere they shouldn’t, make sure to clean very thoroughly. Use an enzyme based cleaner to break down the proteins in the urine and remove any smells. Dogs have much better senses of smell than us, so this is very important! If you don’t remove all traces of the accident, your puppy will likely keep going in the same place.
Crate Training your Labradoodle Puppy
Crate training isn’t for all owners. In fact, it can be quite a controversial topic. As long as a crate is used properly, it can be a great training tool. But, if used incorrectly it can be cruel. So, don’t ever leave your puppy in the crate for very long periods, when they’re hurt or visibly distressed, or as a form of punishment.
Work to make your Labradoodle’s crate a positive place by hiding treats inside when they aren’t looking. This will be a pleasant surprise for your pup, and will have them returning regularly to their crate in the hopes of another reward. Plus, when increasing duration in the crate, you will need to work in very small steps at first. I.e. seconds rather than minutes. Mix up short durations with longer ones as your puppy gets more confident.
Obedience Training your Labradoodle Puppy
Obedience training is really important for all Labradoodles. They will grow up to be large dogs that could easily accidentally hurt someone if they jump up. Not to mention that it’s embarrassing and frustrating when our dogs don’t respond to commands like “down!”. And, in some cases it can be dangerous for our dogs – such as if they try to run out into the road, or grab something poisonous from the kitchen counter.
Get started on obedience training straight away. Your puppy will love the mental stimulation, and it’s a great way to build a strong bond between the two of you. Obedience training is quite a large topic. So, if you’re struggling to know where to start, you can take a look at puppy training classes near you, or even register with an online training course.
Leash Training your Labradoodle Puppy
Training any dog to walk nicely on the leash can be tough. But, you can use positive methods here too. And, make sure to get started at home before tackling the outdoors with all of its distractions and temptations. Like all other training, try to set your puppy up to succeed.
Pulling in itself is quite a rewarding behavior for our dogs – as they feel like they are getting somewhere when they pull on the leash. So, one way to stop this is to simply turn and walk in the other direction when your puppy starts to pull. This can mean your walks don’t actually end up far from the house, but it will teach your puppy that they aren’t going to get where they want to go by dragging you along!
It’s also worth bearing in mind that puppies won’t need many formal walks, especially when they’re only a few months old. In fact, too many walks can harm their developing joints! They will get a surprising amount of exercise during training sessions and play time with you at home.
Socialization isn’t necessarily a type of training, but it’s something that many owners overlook. Before 12 weeks of age, you must socialize your Labradoodle puppy to as many new experiences as possible both in and out of the home. This will help your puppy to feel confident and happy in new experiences as an adult. However, you may need to invest in a puppy sling, as you cannot put your pup on the ground outside until they are fully vaccinated.
It’s important that you work at your puppy’s pace to ensure each new experience is positive. If something seems to scare your puppy, try observing it from further away with lots of tasty treats. Then, when your puppy is comfortable, you can reduce the distance a little.
Socialization and desensitization is also important for processes like nail trimming, grooming, and bathtime! So, if there’s anything you know your pup will experience as an adult (vet trips, schoolyards, loud noises, busy roads, etc), make sure they get a positive experience with it before 12 weeks old.
Training your Labradoodle to Get Along with Children
If you have children at home, you can get them involved with certain aspects of training! They will enjoy spending time with the puppy, and it will help build a strong bond between them, like yourself. However, make sure that children understand that puppies have limits. And, make sure you supervise all interactions so you can step in if either of them are getting overexcited.
Socialize your puppy well to children in and out of your house to reduce any risks of fear or aggression.
Essential Products for Labradoodle Training
When preparing for a new puppy, ensuring you have the right equipment is just as important as the knowledge. So, here’s a list of the most common things new Labradoodle puppy owners will need:
- A high quality kibble or food
- Treat bag
- Puppy pen
- Baby gates
- Crate (usually large but with a divider)
- Teething toys
- Grooming equipment
- Nail trimmer or grinder
- Puppy pads
- Enzyme cleaner
- Poo bags
- Puppy sling
Can you think of anything else we could add to this list?
Getting Help with Labradoodle Puppy Training
If you’re finding training hard or overwhelming, don’t beat yourself up. Puppies can turn households upside down. They’re a deceptive amount of work! And, when they’re in their teething stages, or on a bad training day, it can feel like nothing is going right. But, don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help.
It can be really beneficial to enroll in a puppy training class, or an online training class. This will help you to keep training structured, and will also motivate you to keep at it. You may also benefit from finding an online dog forum, where you can speak to other owners that are going through the same troubles as you!
Finally, keep a record of your training and puppy raising. This way, when things aren’t going so well one day (it happens to us all!) you can take a look at how far you’ve come! Here are some other guides that may help you with training:
- Crate Training Your Labradoodle Puppy
- How to Potty Train a Labradoodle Puppy
- Labradoodle Sleeping In Bed
- Labradoodle Puppy Exercise
- When Can Labradoodle Puppies Leave Their Mother?
How to Train Your Labradoodle Puppy
We’ve only really covered the basics of how to train your Labradoodle puppy here. So, if you’d like to find out about training a puppy in more detail, head over to the training courses on our sister site, Dogsnet.
How are you getting on with training your Labradoodle puppy? Have you started yet, or are you still waiting for your new pup to arrive? We would love to hear your own training tips and experiences in the comments!
References and Resources
- Hiby, E. (et al), ‘Dog Training Methods: Their Use, Effectiveness and Interaction with Behaviour and Welfare’, Animal Welfare (2004)
- Todd, Z. ‘Barriers to the Adoption of Humane Dog Training Methods’, Journal of Veterinary Behavior (2018)
- Rooney, N. & Cowan, S. ‘Training Methods and Owner-Dog Interactions: Links with Dog Behavior and Learning Ability’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2011)
- Vieira de Castro, V. (et al), ‘Improving Dog Training Methods: Efficacy and Efficiency of Reward and Mixed Training Methods’, Plos One (2021)
- Vaterlaws-Whiteside, H. & Hartmann, A. ‘Improving Puppy Behavior Using a New Standardized Socialization Program’, Applied Animal Behavior Science (2017)
- Howell, T. (et al), ‘Puppy Parties and Beyond: the Role of Early Age Socialization Practices on Adult Dog Behavior’, Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports (2015)
- Turcsan, B. (et al), ‘Owner Perceived Differences Between Mixed Breed and Purebred Dogs’, Plos One (2017)