Teaching Your Puppy To Mind

Training your new Goldendoodle puppy to follow your commands can be extremely rewarding. And let’s face it, showing off these feats of obedience for others can be a proud moment in the life of a dog owner. But most importantly, this training is build and strengthen your relationship with a new puppy, and will allow for a more pleasant experience down the road.

Expert behaviorists say you can begin training your little one as early as seven weeks old, providing your sessions are presented as gently play. Give them a few days to adjust to their new life with you, and then begin.

Getting Started

Remember that puppies have very short attention spans, so you’ll want to school your pet for only a few minutes per lesson. That said, you could try mini-sessions several times per day. When your pup is between four and six months of age, you can begin formal obedience lessons. A few pointers:

  • Whenever possible, try to arrange the situation so your pup can’t fail. For example, throw only one ball into the backyard and ask him to “fetch the ball.” (Giving him access to several toys at once would add too many variables to the game.)
  • Bribery does wonders. Reward desired behaviors with praise, food, and toys.
  • Be consistent. If you don’t want Puppy to jump on neighbors in greeting, don’t let him jump on you either when you walk in the front door. Also, use the same simple words or phrases for the same specific behaviors.

Basic Commands

As anyone who has tried to rein in a rowdy dog will tell you, your puppy must be able to respond to a handful of basic commands instantly. Here are a few that might get you out of an embarrassing (or an emergency) situation:

Off/No Jumping: Stand tall with your hands under your armpits and angle yourself away when you see your pup coming towards you. Say “Off!” or “No jumping!” as they approach. Reward your pup with some calm attention when all four paws are on the floor.

Kennel: Present your pet with a treat, then put it in their kennel while saying “go kennel.” When they go inside, praise them, but don’t shut the door yet. Practice this scenario a few times and then begin closing the door, rewarding them with treats through the bars.

Gradually extend their time in the crate. (A word of caution: If they whimper, don’t let them out as that rewards the behavior.) When you do open the door for good, don’t throw a party. You don’t want leaving the kennel to be better than going in.

Speak: Show the puppy a treat and say “Speak!” (You may have to actually bark yourself or find another way to amp your puppy until they bark). Once they bark, reward them with a treat or praise.

Quiet: After your puppy masters “speak,” really get them going. Then, bring your finger to your lips and say “Quiet!” suddenly. They will likely be startled and immediately stop barking. Reward them liberally. Repeat this process several times and begin to slowly increase the length of time they are required to be quiet before receiving a treat.

Drop it: To help avoid unwanted aggression or guarding behavior, teach your puppy to hand over their toys and food. Begin by offering them a toy-for-food trade. Say “Drop it!” as you make the exchange.

Leave it: Leave it is best taught in 3 steps:

  1. Put a treat in a closed fist and hold it out towards your pup. Say “Leave it!” the instant your puppy goes to sniff the fist you reached out. Use a treat in your other hand to guide the puppy’s head away from the closed fist. Repeat this process until you can offer the closed fist and your puppy doesn’t lean out to sniff it.
  2. Open your fist so your puppy can see and smell the treat in your hand. Tell the puppy “Leave it!” the instant they go to sniff your hand. You may need to close your hand around the treat to ensure your puppy doesn’t have a chance to take it. Use a treat in your other hand to guide their head away if necessary.
  3. Drop a treat on the floor and tell your puppy to “Leave it!” Be prepared to cover it with your foot/hand to prevent your puppy from trying to eat it. Distance is key; don’t drop the treat at your puppy’s feet on your first attempt. Instead, drop them a decent distance away from your puppy until they no longer try to get the treats.

Reward your puppy from the opposite hand of the “leave it” treats each time your puppy successfully ignores the held or dropped treats. Once your puppy is consistently responding to “leave it” with treats, begin using it for other things that your puppy is not allowed to have!

Sit: Place a treat in front of your puppy and gently move it up over their head while saying “sit.” They’ll raise their head to follow your hand and, in the process, lower their bottom. Reward your puppy with that treat the instant their booty hits the floor!

Down: Once your puppy is sitting, present them with another treat. Lower it to the ground while saying, “down.” You may need to move the treat towards and away from the puppy on the floor to wiggle them into that down position. Give them the treat when their elbows and belly hit the floor.

Stay: Lure your puppy onto a surface with clear borders and boundaries. Direct them into a sit or down. When building the “stay” command, you need to consider the 3Ds:

  • Distance: how far away from your puppy you’re moving
  • Duration: how long you’re staying back from your puppy
  • Distraction: what’s going on around you that’ll make it harder for your puppy to “stay”

Make sure you build each of the 3Ds individually of one another before combining them. For example, to build distance start by shuffling your feet. Then, take one step back and immediately return to your puppy. Next, two steps back without pausing. Apply the same concept to duration and distraction.

Come: Carry treats with you throughout the day and randomly call to your pup using their name paired with “come” (Example: “Bentley, come!”) When they race to you, guide them into a sit and reward them!

Training your puppy can be a hugely rewarding enterprise for the both of you. Not only will your pet be manageable at home, but in public.

We fully train our English Goldendoodle puppies, including hundreds of hours of work with each one. Click below to find out more about our Puppy Training Institute