Labradoodle Training

fluffy brown LabradoodleIs it a Labrador? Is it a Poodle? Could this article have started any other way? This and other such questions will vanish as you look into the adorable, heart-melting eyes of your new Labradoodle and their distinctive fluffy coat and sprightly body. If you’re the new proud parent of a Labradoodle and want some pro training tips to ease its passage into your household and make them a stalwart – yet disciplined – friend for life, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve got everything to help you train your Labradoodle. We’ll answer the key questions, indicate what timelines you need to keep in mind as they grow, and what variations from the usual course of puppy training you might want to take with your Labradoodle. We’ll finish the article with some tips on training methods.

How Does a Labradoodle’s Nature Affect Their Training?

Labradoodles are social, intelligent, and quite mischievous. The first two qualities make them a delight to train, as they’ll pick up on their master’s cues without too much problem if they are taught appropriately, but the last one can bring its own set of fluffy nightmares. A Labradoodle won’t mind playfully pushing the boundaries if they think they can get away with it – and sometimes even when they know they can’t.

These temperaments come from their lineage breed of Labradors, Poodles and a dash of American and English Cocker Spaniels. If you picture those dogs – playful chaos merchants who are eager to please and quick to learn – then it’s natural to assume the Labradoodle harnesses those traits to the full.

As such, discipline is important with Labradoodles so that the mini-mischievous moments won’t start ruling the prairie. Likewise it’s rare for a Labradoodle to act out violently or be obviously disobedient in the face of their owner’s commands. With good solid training, your Labradoodle will retain their zest for fun without ever crossing the line.

Is It Easy to Train a Labradoodle?

Yes. In general, their intelligence and their warmth for human contact and engagement over outside stimuli mean that they are a generally receptive breed. Of course, every dog is different. We can’t wield the brush of generalization with too much glee – a lot depends on the imprint the dog received in their formative years. Yet rest assured training a Labradoodle is a simple enough task with the right guidance.

At What Age Should I Begin Labradoodle Training?

You should aim to begin training most dog breeds early – around 8 weeks – and the Labradoodle is no exception. If you wait too long after you get it from the breeder, it will be much, much harder for the dog to go to the toilet correctly, eat appropriately, and generally listen to you at all.

This is because the fear imprint begins at about this age. Despite that term sounding like a cheap Dean Koontz novel title, it’s a crucial term in dog training as it refers to the period after they have left their mother and they are neurologically complete and ready to “begin school”.

So don’t hesitate in implementing training for your new Labradoodle puppy as soon as possible, or you’ll suffer for it later when your favorite shoes become the latest game of hide and seek – with a defecation trail leading you to the hiding spot.

How Long Does Labradoodle Training take?

Labradoodles do not differ from most dogs when it comes to their training period. After the first 13 weeks, seniority classification will begin as your pup finds its place in the family. Around six months, the Labradoodle should be fully house trained. Don’t despair if it takes a little, or sometimes a lot, longer – especially if you got the pup a few weeks or more past the optimal training period. Some bad habits and inconsistent messaging may have already crept in, but they can be overcome with perseverance.

What Type of Training Is Best for Labradoodles?

Due to their particularly social nature, positive reinforcement during obedience training is particularly effective. Labradoodles want to learn, they want to be playful, so playing into that and using treats to reward good behavior with simple positive cues will go a long way.

Aversion discipline training, although optional for some more stubborn and aggressive breeds, is best completely avoided with Labradoodles, as they’re particularly sensitive to any overly aggressive discipline from their owners.

Operant conditioning is the standard process used. It’s a four-quadrant process, including the aforementioned positive reinforcement, but also negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. You’ll find as your Labradoodle grows the other three training methods open up and become more useful as your dog approaches maturity.

When positively reinforcing your dog with treats and praise, remember that a Labradoodle has around two seconds between stimulus and reward for effective association to begin. The same is true for negative stimuli like discipline and timeouts. So ensure that you react quickly so the dog can learn effectively.

With negative stimuli, you’ll have to be extra gentle with Labradoodles, as they’ll become skittish if your discipline is too severe. Try to keep manhandling to a minimum (though it’s necessary at times). They do respond well to timeouts though. Bring your dog to heel and quietly let your displeasure be known. Labradoodles are intelligent enough to know when they’ve crossed the line.

Note that striking, screaming, or making random and inconsistent noise to scare or frighten your dog will never result in a positive effect – regardless of the breed. You can be forceful with some breeds, but you should never descend into violence or intimidation.

How Do I Get My Labradoodle to Listen to Me?

The breeder and the dog’s mother will have already done some extremely basic work to prime the dog for training, and if you’re still looking for help, there are professional dog trainers that can assist.

Yet when you take the reins, you’ll find it’s easier than you think and a total joy. Remember to be consistent and confident.

Consistency

Remember when you didn’t do your homework and the teacher let you off, then the next time came down on like a ton of almighty bricks? The time after that (you were a bad child) they just frowned. After a while you didn’t know what to expect, so you often took the chance and did no homework at all.

The same is true for dogs. If you praise a dog and stroke them when they come to the table for some of the chicken you cooked one time, then scold them when they come sniffing for the steak the next day – they’ll be unsure of their boundaries.

Decide what you think about the action – can they jump on the sofa? Yes or no, and be unwavering with your reactions in the first 8 weeks of puppy training. As the dog gets older, you can show more leniency, as the fear imprint will have diminished and your Labradoodle will have an idea of the general rules.

Confident

Confidence is so important. Labradoodles still need to know that you are in charge. Although they are not as combative for the alpha role as other dogs, if they sense you are hesitant about controlling them they will run their wild Puckish ways and your new rose garden won’t last long.

Confidence doesn’t mean shouting or striking, though. It means using the right cues and doing so with conviction. Talk loudly. Keep your voice deep and low and use simple words like “Good!” and “Bad”. Keep it simple so you can react quickly within the 2-second stimulus window.

And don’t be afraid to use your hands or a leash. Yes, a Labradoodle is more timid. You can’t grab them by the scruff of the neck like you can some more belligerent dogs. Yet firm, direct force is good. Don’t hesitate to scoop them up fast and immediately relocate them to their time-out zone or crate when they misbehave. When you decide to attach the leash, do it quickly and confidently (if it’s in the act of discipline), and don’t barter with the dog when giving it a time out or withholding a treat.

The First Two Weeks of Labradoodle Training

In the first two weeks, this is the training you’ll want to get started on straight away with your new Labradoodle.

How Do You Potty Train a Labradoodle?

Potty training is the first Rubicon to cross with any dog. It’s essential that this training begins immediately and is consistently and effectively carried out. Of course, the house smelling of dog faeces will naturally impel you to this end, but it’s so important it’s worth saying out loud.

Once you’ve arranged a feeding timetable for them (it’s good to feed them at the same time each day so you can get a handle on their structure), notice how long it takes them after eating to want to go potty. You can expect the first few times to occur within the house. Then take them out at that exact time. At first, you will have to pre-empt it, but eventually your Labradoodle will understand when it’s time to go.

Be very positive with your reinforcement once the dog has finished their business outside, and even more so when they start indicating they want to go outside to eliminate. It’s a good time for the selective deployment of treats. In the first days, save these treats for effective potty time rather than smothering your dog with so much positivity it stops meaning much to them.

How Do You Train a Labradoodle to Eat Properly?

Labradoodles are foodies. They love to eat. They can even suffer from pica and start eating stones – that’s how ravenous their appetites are.
a Labradoodle and water bowl

Therefore, training Labradoodles to eat only when they should is essential. When you pour them their first bowl of golden delicious meat chunks, don’t let them tear straight into it. Rather:

  1. Grab your puppy’s collar and fill the bowl with food.
  2. Restrain the Labradoodle (gently) and say “Wait!” until they acknowledge the command.
  3. Wait for calmness and obedience. Then, say “Eat!” – and let them at it.
  4. Repeat this at every meal time. Don’t forget to do it even once. They need to understand when it’s okay to eat.
  5. Eventually, try him “off-collar” and without restraint and see if they can follow the wait command. Eventually, Labradoodles will pick it up. Yet their sheer giddy joy at the sight of food can complicate this more than for other breeds.

And that’s it. When finding your Labradoodle eating outside of their allotted time, be firm with discipline. Time outs, strong “Bad dog,” and maneuvering the Labradoodle away from the slippers is essential.

Crate Training

Labradoodles are merchants of chaos. They’ll happily wind you up too. More than most breeds, the Labradoodle reacts well to time-outs. Also, sometimes, it is good to pre-empt their delightful insanity and have them somewhere safe where they like to be. This is where a dog crate comes in.

Dog crate training gives your Labradoodle a safe space for them to retire when their heart rate beats too fast. It doubles as both a discipline tool but also as their safe space. As such, make the inside of the dog crate a nice place to be, with a comfortable bed and their favorite toys. Indicate your own excitement at the crate, so the Labradoodle can share your curiosity. As time goes on, if they start visiting the crate by their own volition, reward them and encourage them to go inside.

When he starts to feel comfortable, start closing the crate door but maintaining affectionate contact with them. Over time, increase the time of the closed door and, eventually, start leaving them there to rest and relax.

Once the space is effectively set up as “their space” it then becomes a good disciplining tool. Time outs can be used in the crate to great effectiveness. And “go to your room” will work as well with your Labradoodle as your children.

An in-depth look at Labradoodle crate training can be found in this article.

How Do You Train a Labradoodle With Small Children?

Labradoodles are quintessential family dogs. They’re loving, kind, and emotionally sensitive to a kid’s needs. That said, it’s important to establish the bond between them from the start and help them know where each other’s boundaries are. Labradoodles won’t be aggressive with your child, but they may be afraid of them and may bite in response. Here are some good tips:

  • Make sure the kids talk quietly to your Labradoodle to avoid scaring them.
  • Provide a safe space for your dogs that the kids aren’t allowed in. If you’re using a crate, this space is perfect.
  • Try to stop your child from being rough with your Labradoodle.
  • Have a “special treat” only the child ever gives the dog to form a positive association.
  • Have the child present during tasks like grooming and feeding time.

How Do I Groom My Labradoodle?

Labradoodles aren’t resistant to being groomed. They keep the pretty-boy poodle tendency. They can be distracted and overly energetic during bath time. So work hard to make bathing a calm time for the dog. Begin grooming immediately, but don’t worry about overbathing your Labradoodle. Despite the fact that their luscious fur will often get dirty, it’s best not to overdo it.

Here is a good video that goes in-depth on grooming your Labradoodle.

How Do I Socialize My Labradoodle With Other Dogs?

Take them out! Labradoodles will be quick to go off with other dogs on escapades and it can be tempting to try and restrict this behavior out of fear. Yet, as soon as your dog is ready to come to heel and you can provide a safe space with another confident dog – for example, a friend’s – it’s good for dogs to have playtime with other dogs and it increases their overall emotional maturity.

At first, keep your Labradoodle on a leash and go slow. Let the dogs sniff each other’s rears. Once they become confident, let them off the leash to play in a safe space like your backyard. Once Labradoodles have achieved this process with one dog, they’re infinitely less likely to cause commotion in public spaces at the sight of other dogs.

Training Your Labradoodle Basic Commands

Labradoodles love to learn and they love to please. It makes the cheeky devils all worthwhile as it means that training them is a very simple and pleasurable affair.

They have a longer attention span than most dogs, and are more receptive too, but their patience is not infinite. Don’t try to overstress the dog by trying to force them to learn a whole command in one session. With Labradoodles, one-session learning is possible. Yet, it’ll most likely take more. Keep your sessions short at first – about five minutes is good. And focus one command at a time as you lay the basics before chaining commands together or teaching many at once. It’ll only create confusion.

Use treats and praise every time a positive action is achieved!

Sit

This is a great command to start training your Labradoodle with. Saying the simple command while using your hands to indicate what you want the dog will do will quickly yield results. If not, don’t be afraid to maneuver your Labradoodle into the sitting position using gentle force while issuing the command.

Stay

Labradoodles will be so keen to be at your side and receive affection that they’ll suffer at first to obey this command. The problem is that suddenly every action becomes wrong. Walk away slowly saying stay, and immediately chide the dog (gently) if they fail and “reset” the position. Walk away, repeating “Stay” and reward the dog once you get five steps away and hold it for one second. You can then increase the command distance and see how long they can stay.

Come

Once you get far enough away from your dog when teaching the stay command, you can combine it with a “come!” command to get your dog at your side. It makes the command all the more rewarding. It’s also an extremely effective way to inculcate the come command in other situations when your Labradoodle has started to run its carefree days amongst the green grass of the barns.
a Labradoodle running

No

An essential command in your dog training armory. The dog must realize when something has been done wrong. The key is to stay the “No!” command in a deep-pitched, alternate voice to your usual voice and to only use it when a mistake has been made.

Have a different “general” term for poor behavior that actually isn’t a problem. And don’t use it excessively. The dog needs to know now is the time to listen. Positive reinforcement can be used at first in the early weeks of puppy training, but as time goes on, don’t be afraid to use negative conditioning to ensure respect and keep control of your Labradoodle.

Down

Another instance where using your hands at first can help train your Labradoodle. Bring your palm down to the ground while wielding a treat to get their skittish attention. Don’t be afraid to leverage their backside down so they comply and understand what they need to do. This command is more for fun, but it can be useful especially if your Labradoodle is leaping up to play with guests to the family home.

Your Labradoodle is House-Trained

Labradoodles are naughty whirligigs of unbridled joy. Their social intelligence and kind temperament make them a loving part of any household pack. They’re obedient, easy to train, and quick to please. As long as you can keep their playful abandon in check, your Labradoodle will be an excellently behaved member of the family.