Learning New Tricks

Teaching Your Goldendoodle Puppy Basic Commands

One of the best parts about raising a puppy is discovering their ability to understand and respond to verbal commands. From showing off to just having fun, teaching your puppy commands is an experience that pays off forever. Dogs have been known to learn some pretty neat tricks and can even be helpful around the house when they grow up and find themselves in a bigger family role. By the time you pick up your Goldendoodle puppy from ABCs Puppy Z's, they'll be 8 weeks old and more than ready to start learning some basic commands.

Even though your puppy's attention span is limited during this stage of their life, it's never a better time to imprint some basic commands on their permanent memory. Command training early on also serves to develop healthy habits such as obedience and communication, which leads to good behavior. When training your puppy, you will be teaching it how to respond to your verbal commands through positive reinforcement and a method called food-lure training.

Puppy training should always be a fun and gentle experience and you should never use any type of punishment to train your dog. Keep each training lesson short while spreading out a few 5-minute lessons throughout the day. The more often you can train your puppy, the better. While you don't have to train your puppy every single day, it's best not to wait too long in between lessons if you really want those commands to stick.

Before You Begin

At this early stage in their lives, puppies are easily distracted by the things around them — and can lose interest in ten different things in a matter of seconds. Their adorably-limited attention spans are a joy to watch, but can present a challenge when teaching them new tricks. If you plan on getting anywhere with your pup, you'll have to pick out a quiet “puppy classroom” in the house where there are very few things or noises that can distract them. Ideally, it should be just you, your pup, and some treats.

Your puppy's reward should be whatever they love most — whether it's their favorite treat or their favorite toy. Professional trainers have found that training a pup with their favorite treats for a few minutes before mealtime works well, as the puppy will be getting hungry and is motivated to win a treat.

Training your puppy involves two rewards:

  1. A primary reinforcer (a treat or a toy).
  2. A secondary reinforcer (petting and verbal praising, i.e., “good boy!” or “good girl!”).

When training your puppy, it's important to use both reinforcers, because you won't always be able to give your dog a treat when they follow a command (and you shouldn't have to!). Your puppy will need to learn that being petted and praised for listening is also a reward. As time goes by and your puppy gets good at following commands, you can start phasing out treats and only give them sometimes, while always giving them praise for following commands. The older your dog gets, the more willing it will be to follow your commands on the simple basis of being obedient.

For your dog to learn the meaning of a word, you will need to associate an action with the word you're saying. So, with every trick, you will need to show your puppy what the word means, for example, when saying sit, your puppy should be sitting. So, without further ado, let's get started!

F1 Minature Goldendoodle Laying Down at Back Door to Be Let Outside

Teaching a Puppy to Sit

With a treat in hand and a quiet place to practice, you're now ready to teach your Goldendoodle puppy to sit!

Remember, the first goal of puppy training is to teach them what the command actually means. Once they learn, you'll be able to practice until they comply without hesitation. There are two methods to teach your puppy to sit, and you should practice them both until they get the meaning. The methods are:

Teaching a Puppy to Come

You probably won't have a lot of trouble getting your puppy's attention, and you might even be able to teach them this command naturally when you want them to come. But the goal of training your puppy to come also has to do with getting them to respond to their name or a specific word, like “come”.

F1 Minature Goldendoodle Running Back to Family with Come Command

Teaching a Puppy to Stay

The stay command will include the cue word, “stay”, and a release word, such as “up”, “ok”, “move”, or whatever you prefer. For the stay command to work, your puppy will need to learn the meaning of both the cue word and the release word, but knowing the “sit” command is also a big plus (this really helps them learn to stay!).

Teaching a Puppy to Lie Down

Having fun yet? Don't worry, it gets easier! The lie down command is taught in much the same way as the sit command — by using the “capture” technique. By now, your puppy should have a good idea of what the release command means, which you'll be using to teach them how to lie down. If your puppy doesn't respond to the release command yet but you've got your mind set on teaching them how to lie down, you can always make them get up using a lure technique (a sniff of the treat should do the trick!).

F1B Petite Goldendoodle Laying Down in the Grass Learning to Open an Easter Egg Filled with Goodies!

What a Good Pup!

As far as basic commands go, that's pretty much it! There's nothing cooler than a little pup that knows how to sit, come, stay and lie down. Through your commitment and regular practice, your puppy will get the hang of it before you know it. And by training early, you'll be opening the door to more advanced obedience training that will come in handy as your puppy grows into an adult dog.

For dog owners, there's nothing more rewarding than having an obedient and trustworthy companion at their side. Everyone loves a good dog, from your family and friends to your neighbors and people out in public. So, train early and keep it up — sooner or later, your efforts will always pay off! Feel free to Get In Touch with us any time for more tips on basic puppy commands or with any questions on puppy and dog training.