It can be an overwhelming process to welcome a new pet into your life - especially the first week with a doodle puppy. There is so much your little guy needs to learn to be a polite, lifelong family companion – where do you even begin?
We are here to give you a broad overview of some basic tips of where to start with teaching your new buddy. Follow these three steps to begin training your 8 week old doodle puppy.
1. Crate Training
This is one of the areas that is mostly a case of “owner training”… puppies can whine LOUD and at length so many owners find it is difficult to be consistent and firm with crate training. The good news is if you welcome a JLDD puppy, we have already done some of the hard work with crate training for you.
At JLDD we introduce all of our puppies to the crate at 2-3 weeks of age! It’s a gradual introduction. First, they are first placed in a crate with another littermate. As they get older, they begin to spend small amounts of individual time in the crate each day. We give our pups an excellent head start, but as the owner, it is up to you to follow through with structured crate time even if your pup objects at first.
The first few days can be extremely difficult, but your consistency will pay off. Many owners find it difficult to be consistent because of their worry that their dog is miserable with crate training and, true enough, the puppies can sound really pitiful in there. But stay strong and remember that you are actually helping them in the long run to have a safe place when they must be left alone.
A good crate training foundation will be very helpful in curbing separation anxiety and will make traveling, boarding, grooming, etc. all easier on your pup. Once the pup accepts the crate as his personal space, he will often go there on his own to rest.
Being fed in their crate, having special “crate only” toys such as special chew toys and peanut-butter filled kongs will help pups develop a positive association with their crate. “Busy toys” such as puzzles, games and long-lasting chews often help dogs settle in their crates quickly.
Keeping a routine is key so your pup knows what to expect. Allow pup to settle for about five minutes before you let him or her out. It may take a while, but it is important to only let your pup out when he/she is quiet so that he does not associate barking or whining with getting let out.
The only time this does not apply is in the middle of the night. Most 8-week old pups will wake up after 4-6 hours needing a potty break - so in this case you will want to respond to your pup’s alert and carry your pup outside to let him relieve himself. However, be careful to make this a ‘business only’ trip - no playing and no sweet-talking or your puppy will associate crying with playtime and positive attention!
2. Potty Training
When people ask what they need to know before buying a doodle, this is the big one! And it can be very intimidating for owners. Bring all your consistency and patience!
Keep in mind most puppies will not be fully potty trained until at least 12-16 weeks. We start our young pups on puppy pad training so puppy pads can be a helpful stepping stone to outdoor potty training when you first bring your dood home. Keeping the area small and puppy pads easily accessible will help your pup stay consistent.
Many owners find it is an easy transition to slowly move the puppy pads to the designated outdoor area (closer to the door, then right outside the door, etc.). Other owners prefer to jump straight into outdoor potty training. Here are a few basic tips:
Frequent potty breaks. When your doodle is awake and playing, taking him out as frequently as every 30 minutes is important when they are young.
Establish a command/reward system. When you bring your pup out to his designated potty area, choose a command to say: “Go potty!” “Do your business!” or whatever line you can come up with. When pup does potty, immediately praise and reward him with a treat.
Always use the same exit to take your puppy out. This will help them learn where to head when the urge strikes!
Eagle Eye. Scolding your pup for an accident after the fact is generally ineffective as he will not connect the discipline to the moment of the accident. So keeping a close eye on your pup is very important so that you can “catch” them as soon as they start to squat or have an accident indoors. A quick “no” and then carrying them outside for a potty break will aid the potty training process.
3. Basic Obedience Training
It’s never too early to start on basic obedience! We work on basic obedience and conditioning as early as 4-5 weeks with our pups at JLDD by waiting until the pups sit to give their food and treats.
Remember that basic obedience is critical for establishing the owner-dog relationship early on. It teaches your doodle that he must look to you for direction and when treats are involved that looking to the human for direction is lots of fun!
Doodle puppies are extremely clever and can easily learn the basics such as sit, stay, down and come in their first couple weeks at home with you. Training tips could be an entire post altogether but here a just few tips:
Natural positioning: Moving your hand/treat in a way that encourages your dog to get into the position you want… for example holding it above the dog’s nose and moving up or back will cause your pup to naturally assume a sitting position as he attempts to follow the treat.
Timing is key: Using a clicker or a quick verbal “yes” at the exact moment your pup does the thing you have requested will help him clarify exactly what you are asking him to do.
Hand gestures: Complementing verbal commands like “sit” with hand gestures (example a closed fist for sit, open palm out for “stay”) can be helpful for your pup as many dogs pick up more quickly on the visual cues rather than verbal.
Furthermore, a new person giving the command may say the word in a different tone/pitch than your pup is used to so the hand signals provide easy consistency for the dog to respond to commands from all family members alike.
Stay positive and keep training sessions short. 8-week-old doodle pups are very smart and wired to learn from humans, but they are still very immature and lack the focus of an adult dog. So pay attention to your dog’s cues. When he starts losing interest, it’s okay to end the session and reward your dog with some play time and snuggles!
Your intuitive doodle pup can also sense your emotions so it’s important to keep sessions light-hearted. End the session if you find yourself feeling frustrated for any reason.
Furthermore, doodles are a sensitive breed and generally highly trainable so most respond quite well to positive training methods. Typically, simply ignoring unwanted behavior and rewarding the desired behavior will produce the intended results.
If you're looking for a fully trained doodle to bring home, JLDD provides an awesome course for new puppies. We hope the advice in this article helps aid the teaching of your dog! Be sure to share your best tips with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenna and the JLDD Team