Are Doodles Hard to Train? (Here’s What You Need to Know)
The popularity of Doodles has exploded in recent years, and it’s no surprise. Not only are these designer dogs beautiful, but they’re also family-friendly canines with a reputation for being low- to non-shedding.
If you’re thinking about adding a Doodle to your household, you’re probably wondering about their temperament and whether they’re easy to train. Although the answer is usually yes, there are some things you need to know about Doodles and their training.
What Is a Doodle?
Doodles are often referred to as designer dogs because they’re not purebred canines. Instead, they are a cross between a poodle and another breed. This means you can’t register a doodle with an organization for purebreds, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC).
For Doodle owners, the lack of registration papers is a small price to pay for a dog that typically boasts the best traits from two breeds.
The Goldendoodle, for example, is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. With some luck and careful breeding, the resulting puppies are likely to have the happy-go-lucky nature of the Golden Retriever. And also, the intelligence and low-shedding coat of the Poodle.
Common Doodle Mixes
Now, here comes the tricky part. Breeders today have created Doodles of all shapes and sizes by mating poodles with numerous breeds, including but not limited to:
- Labrador Retrievers (Labradoodles)
- Bernese Mountain Dogs (Bernedoodles)
- Schnauzers (Schnoodles)
- Wheaten Terriers (Whoodles)
- Australian Shepherds (Aussie Doodles)
Because these breeds have different temperaments, it can be difficult to generalize about the trainability of all Doodles.
However, these designer dogs have one thing in common: their Poodle heritage. The Poodle is a very intelligent and highly trainable breed that learns quickly.
Crossing a Poodle with a breed known to be people-pleasers, such as the Bernese Mountain Dog or the Labrador Retriever, typically results in intelligent and easily trainable puppies.
Tips for Training Your Doodle
Even though Doodles enjoy a reputation for being easy to train, you’ll still want to do the following to ensure that you raise a well-adjusted, well-mannered canine:
Spend Time Training Your Doodle While Still a Puppy
Having a small puppy jumping on you when you get home may seem endearing at first. However, as your pup grows into a full-size Doodle capable of knocking over children, you probably aren’t going to find this behavior “cute” for very long.
The same goes for your puppy pulling you on your walks. It’s not a big deal when it’s small, but it can become a definite issue as your Doodle gets bigger and starts dragging you around. The intelligent thing to do is nip these behaviors in the bud when your Doodle is still a manageable size.
Socialize Your Doodle Pup
You can start by introducing your Doodle to other humans, including children, soon after bringing your puppy home. It’s also a good idea to have your Doodle interact with other dogs when it’s still a puppy — but be careful.
Are Playmates Vaccinated?
If your Doodle does not have the complete series of puppy vaccines, you’ll need to ensure that the other dogs are fully vaccinated. You don’t want to expose your puppy needlessly to dangerous diseases such as parvovirus, distemper, or rabies.
Once your Doodle has received all vaccinations, you can start going to new places and introducing it to other dogs. All these experiences can help your Doodle learn to feel more comfortable in various situations.
Enroll Your Puppy in Classes or Hire a Trainer
Even though most Doodles are easy to train, there may be times when you’ll need to seek professional help, especially if you’re a new pet owner. Enrolling in puppy obedience classes can teach you how to train your Doodle to perform the basics, such as sit, stay, and come.
As your pup grows older, there’s a possibility that your Doodle could exhibit behaviors that you can’t “fix” on your own. If that occurs, you’ll want to hire a trainer.
For example, if your Doodle is pulling aggressively toward other dogs and you’re having difficulty controlling your pup, you’ll want to correct that behavior quickly.
An out-of-control dog could cause injuries to itself, to you, or others.
Doodle training isn’t just about teaching your dog what to do. It’s also about training yourself, the owner. Being inconsistent with your expectations can be confusing to your Doodle.
You can’t, for instance, get angry with your dog for jumping on your couch one day, but then allow your dog to join you on the couch when you’re feeling blue and want company. If you’re inconsistent with a dog, you can quickly undo any training your Doodle may have.
Is it Really Your Doodle?
Other issues may arise if an owner starts getting a bit “lazy.” For example, it’s not unusual to hear owners complain that their housebroken puppy has suddenly regressed and has accidents around the house.
Is the puppy regressed, or is it possible that the owner has stopped watching for signs that the Doodle needs to go to the bathroom?
Before blaming your Doodle for being untrainable, make sure to consider your actions or lack thereof that could be contributing to your dog’s behavioral issues.
Remember: Not All Behavior is Training Related
Doodles can be high-energy dogs. If they aren’t provided with ample opportunity to burn off their energy, they could engage in behaviors that you might consider “bad.”
A bored or restless Doodle, for example, might chew up your shoes or dig holes in your backyard.
To prevent these types of behavior, you need to give your dog plenty of exercise in the form of long walks or at least 30 minutes of playtime a day.
If you don’t have the time to give your Doodle the exercise it needs, consider hiring a dog walker or attending doggie daycare. As the adage goes — a tired dog is a good dog.
For the most part, Doodles are highly trainable and delightful dogs. It’s not surprising that in 2021, Doodles were ranked as America’s fifth most popular type of dog. That’s a considerable jump from their standing in 2020 when Doodles were sitting in ninth place.
At this rate, these beautiful and highly trainable canines could be the top dog in the United States before you know it.
AUTHOR BIO: Alec Hutchins is Chief Marketing Officer of Recherche Kennels – Bernes, a professional breeding and training facility. Recherche Kennels has over 10 years of experience breeding with top parent bloodlines and training puppies to be the perfect family pet.