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How Should I Train My Doodle Dog?

Training and structure are the best gifts you can give your dog.

Invest in your dog's training and follow-through. If you don't follow through, neither will your dog. Structure and discipline in your home and in your puppy's life will be the foundation from which your bond, and their quality of life, will flourish.

Finding a training course or a board-and-train program in your area that's reputable and reward-based can be great if you're not sure you're up to being consistent about doing the training yourself. However, I do not recommend sending the pup away for training until they're at least six months old. Those early months are so crucial for bonding. By sending your puppy away to an obedience school at that time, you've taken away opportunities for imprinting your dog to you personally. If you want to have someone other than yourself get started on your puppy's training within that window, I'm all for hiring a professional trainer to come to your home. After six months, I think sending your puppy to a professional training course or extended board-and-train program is fine. See if you can observe a class before putting your pup in one. Whether it's you or a professional trainer working with your Aussiedoodle, never use methods that make the dog afraid of you or other people.

You may need to train the people in your life too! Meaning, tell your family members and others you'll encounter never to rush or run to the dog, tempting as it may be to hustle over and hug them or get in their pretty faces. They'll probably see this as threatening. The best situation for people to meet your dog is to be calm and let the dog approach them. I don't even recommend the person holding their hand out for the dog to sniff at first; just have them stand there. Only after the dog approaches the person on their own and sniffs them should they put their hand out.

If the dog's comfortable, the new person can then scratch them under the chin. What, you thought only cats liked that? Until the dog is relaxed, reaching over the head to pet them or "patting" them on the head can be at least uncomfortable, and at most, threatening.

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