Using Positive Reinforcement to Train a Puppy Golden Doodle

By: David Codr

Published Date: July 7, 2016

Jess (Mini Goldendoodle)

Jess ia a three-month-old Miniature Golden Doodle puppy who lives in Omaha. Her guardians scheduled a puppy training session with me to teach her to come on command, stop mouthing them and some general puppy obedience training.

Jess showed nice confidence and a great middle energy level during the greeting. One of the most important factors when getting a dog is making sure its energy level matches your lifestyle. Many people mistakenly select a dog based on its looks, but energy level is much more important.

Because she is a medium / low energy dog, I knew that this puppy training session would be easier than most. We chatted about her daily routine and that’s when I learned that she didnt have many rules or boundaries in place. This lack of structure can easily give the dog the impression that they have the same authority as the humans. And when a dog considers you its equal, than listening to you becomes optional.

I recommended a few new rules to help Jess start to develop a follower’s mindset. Enforcing the rules with great timing (reacting within 3 seconds of less) consistently will be an important part of her development.

To make sure that the guardian understood how to best communicate and interact with Jess, I spent a few minutes of this puppy class discussing how dogs and puppies learn.

By correcting, or preferably rewarding Jess with good timing (within 3 seconds maximum) she will be able to better communicate what she does and does not want from her puppy. Positive reinforcement training (rewarding the dog for doing what you want) is much more effective than correcting unwanted behaviors (punishing a dog for doing something you disagree with).

Positive dog training is my preferred way of motivating or training a dog as it communicates how the dog can please the human. Most dogs and puppies want to please us. The problem is most humans do a crappy job of communicating in a way the dog understands.

Sometimes, the most effective way of getting a dog to stop doing something is to distract them. Because Jess likes to chew and mouth, I spent a couple of minutes going over a way to redirect the dog using positive reinforcement.

By focusing on redirecting Jess and richly rewarding her with good timing when she does the things that please her humans, we can help her adopt what I like to refer to as desired behaviors.

By the end of the session, Jess was coming when called the first time, had stopped mouthing and was already responding to the new form of positive reinforcement. I strongly recommended that the guardian look into enrolling Jess in a Puppy socialization class as it will greatly help her build up confidence while also curbing some of her other unwanted puppy behaviors like mouthing.

Because she has such a nice calm demeanor and her guardian picked up the techniques and exercises so well, Im guessing Jess’s days of innocent mischief will soon come to a close.

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