Dogs are valued for their companionship and also for their intelligence. It has been estimated that there are over 400 billion dogs on the planet!
Dogs are smart: Different breeds of dogs and different dogs within each breed have different types of intelligence. Given the thousands of years that dogs have lived and worked alongside humans as well as the adaptability of dogs, there are thousands of different jobs dogs have been bred and trained to do.
Dogs have been bred to hunt, herd, protect, search, pull, guide, race, etc. While these are great and valuable abilities that have helped mankind over the ages, most dogs in the modern world no longer are required to work. They are primarily kept for companionship and recreation.
This often makes for a longer and more pleasant standard of living for the dog, but at the same time, does not take into account the drives bred into dogs over the ages. So drives that were once essential characteristics for a working dog, are, in a more domestic setting, likely to cause behavioral problems.
Luckily, most of these problems are able to be remedied. Most dogs aren’t bad dogs, they just need direction and training.
Here are some training tips we've compiled from working with dogs and their people over the last several decades. Some of them are common sense, and others may be new to you.
Know exactly what you want to teach the dog before you begin training it, and know exactly how to teach that task. It’s not fair to the dog if you are not clear and consistent.
Goldendoodles are very sensitive and respond much better to positive reinforcement (treat, pets, and praise) than to corrections. If you need to correct your Goldendoodle, do it very sparingly and very gently. If you find yourself needing to correct your Goldendoodle often, you may want to consult with a trainer to see if there are better ways for you to interact with your dog.
Dogs have pride and dignity, too. Don’t humiliate your dog, and remember to praise your dog often when it is behaving well.
Notice and reward good behavior, and work hard not to reward unwanted beahviors. A lot of the time, especially in our busy lives, we will ignore the dog when its behaving well and only pay attention to it when it is misbehaving, such as when it jumps on us. This only teaches the dog to misbehave when it wants attention.
Remember that a dog is a dog, not a person. You need to work to understand its point of view and cannot expect it to react with human logic.
Dogs have natural instincts and drives. Use these drives to your advantage when training. If your dog loves food, reward with food. Likewise with praise and hugs. If your dog loves toys, make each learning experience a game.
Dogs understand sounds, but not English. When you give your dog a command, remember to use the same tone of voice and the same way of speaking. Your dog does not understand the meaning of the words you use, but associates those sounds with tasks and skills you’ve trained it to have.
Bond with your dog. It not only makes the experience better for both of you but will help you understand your dog and work with it better, and vice versa.
Try to know what the dog will do before the dog does it. This goes alongside having a bond with your dog. This will allow you to anticipate and encourage good behaviors and prevent bad behaviors. This is often referred to as “reading” the dog.
Be patient. Its not an accident that we included this twice on this list—its important enough that we want to mention it again.
Be kind. Most dogs will do anything within their ability for their families. Know that when they make mistakes its more likely to be because of misunderstanding rather than malice or meanness.
Your dog can’t ask questions. It can do the right thing or the wrong thing. If it doesn’t understand, it is likely to do the wrong thing. Errors of this nature should be responded to with kind guidance, not punishment.
Be consistent. For example, if you don’t want your dog to sit on the couch, then you should never let your dog on the couch. Its not fair to the dog to allow a behavior sometimes and then correct or punish for that behavior at other times.
If you want respect from your dog, you must give respect to your dog. Do not act in anger. Many dogs need to be corrected, whether with a stern word or the use of a leash and collar. Acting in anger, however, can be more abusive than corrective. You are also likely to lose your dog’s respect this way.
Don’t nag your dog. If your dog doesn’t respond to a command after one or two tries then you need to adjust what you are doing, whether its to better explain to the dog what you want, encourage the dog with a reward, or discourage it with a correction.
Corrections should only be used when the dog understands what you want from it. Its not fair to the dog to correct or punish it for doing (or not doing) something it doesn’t understand.
End any and every training session on a positive note, even if its something very simple and basic. You want your dog’s last memory of a training session to be a happy one.