If you have decided on a Poodle as your canine companion, you are one of the many people who think they are wonderful dogs. They are a well-loved breed and the seventh most popular in the US. Whether you prefer a Toy Poodle, a Miniature Poodle, or a Standard Poodle, they are happy, active dogs with high intelligence and training your poodle is easier than with many other dog breeds.
They can be trained to be good hunters, trackers, performers, watchdogs, and companions. Whether you get your dog a new puppy or one that is older, both need basic training to be the best pet they can be. Read on about how to teach your dog easily and effectively.
Rules for Early Training
Poodles are highly intelligent dogs that are enthusiastic learners. They have a desire to please and respond positively to the encouragement that encompasses praise, repetition, and positive reinforcement, making obedience training fairly straightforward. If you are starting a training regimen with your dog, then there are some good guidelines to follow as you begin the process:
- Set aside a regular time each day to do training
- Keep sessions short and fun
- Consistency: make sure that each time you work with your Poodle, they are corrected for things they do wrong (but not shouted at) and given lots of praise when they do things correctly
- Keep things simple: teach one command at a time so it’s not confusing
- Praise is important! Your dog wants to please you, so when they do things right give them lots of love and praise
- Never use physical punishment: only use the word NO to correct the wrong behavior
- Don’t bring your new puppy home before eight weeks of age, preferably after 12 weeks—they learn from their mom and it hinders training
What Training Should I Start With?
Housetraining is a good place to start. Dogs need to go out on a regular basis so that they get used to going to the bathroom on grass.
Take them out first thing in the morning and watch for signs your puppy needs to go to the bathroom throughout the day. If they start circling and sniffing around, it’s time to go out.
If they start to go before they get outside, pick them up and take them to the proper place so they begin to understand where that place is. It’s important that you keep an eye on your Poodle when they are inside so you can see signs of when they need to go.
They should be taken out every hour or so no matter what. If they don’t pee, then try again after 30 minutes. If your Poodle goes to the bathroom outside, praise and reward with a small treat such as Zukes Mini Naturals Peanut Butter Treats. Positive reinforcement is a big help.
You can crate train your dog to help with housetraining but if you would rather not crate train then create a space in the house where they can go if they cannot get outside. Training pads at one end of the room opposite to their bed and toys is helpful as they won’t soil near their own living space. They will gravitate toward the pads.
Crate Training for Your Poodle
Crate training your Poodle helps in many ways, including housetraining and easing anxiety. Before any crate training starts, make sure you have the right size crate and all the comforts needed. The crate should be one that is large enough for you Poodle to stand up and lie down in without a problem. Too much space, however, is not always helpful. A good crate should have:
Once you have the crate, you can make it more homey with a bed and a toy or two. The goal of a crate is to make it a positive safe space for your Poodle. A water dish can be added once your pup is housetrained and is in it for longer periods of time.
Use the crate to overnight your pup or if you are away for longer periods. It helps train your Poodle to hold their urge to go. When you’re crate training, take your Poodle outside right before and after they are in their crate. Once they go, give them a reward for doing it. It will also help if you take away their water two hours before bedtime so they can sleep longer without feeling the need to go. This can slowly change as they age but no water in the crate is helpful at the start of training.
Leash Training for Your Poodle
Leasing training is important for Poodles of all sizes. Most towns and cities have by-laws that require a dog to be on a leash both for the dog’s safety as well as the safety of other people. Poodles need to learn how to walk properly on their leash, so they won’t pull and tug as you walk down the street. You can use a No Pull Harness or a Buckle Down Collar.
Once again, treats are helpful when training your poodle. As a dog owner, your goal is to have the dogs follow your lead and not pull so when they look up at you or walk beside you, they should be praised. Poodles will soon learn that pulling ahead gets no reaction but walking properly rewards them. The other option for young dogs is to train them to sit and stay so whenever they start pulling you have them sit and stay so they refocus their attention on you rather than the what’s ahead of them.
Poodles are wonderfully smart and trainable pets. They have great potential to learn and move beyond basic training. Before they become a retriever, service dog, companion or watchdog, you need to make sure that they can undertake all the basic training first.
Being house and crate trained along with having good manners while walking on a leash are all things that will make your dog a polite pet that is respectful of their home and any other people and pets they interact with. With basic training perfected, your dog will be a joy to have in your home as well as lots of fun when you are out and about in your neighborhood.