What does a family with four kids, one dog and one cat need? Apparently… a puppy!
Welcome… Chance, our mini GoldenDoodle.
Chance is the most gentle puppy. He learned quickly from our 4-year old Standard Goldendoodle (and now Chance’s best friend) how to act & behave in our house and around the kids.
They took to each other very quickly and luckily Coach has been an amazing teacher & big brother.
However… at four months of age, he still needs to learn a few things and it’s almost time to start his training.
When is the best age to train a mini goldendoodle puppy (or any puppy?)
“Young puppies have short attention spans but you can expect them to begin to learn simple obedience commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” as young as 7 to 8 weeks of age.
Formal dog training has traditionally been delayed until 6 months of age” according to the Veterinary Centers of America.
How do dog trainers train puppies?
When we adopted Coach years ago, we worked with a dog trainer. He met us for private lessons each week, for eight weeks, to show us exactly what we needed to do and it worked wonders! Coach is such a great dog.
Dog training schools typically offer several dog training methods, as well, such as teaching you to use clicker training and training with food rewards, praise or play/toy rewards.
Today I’ve spoken with two trainers, one veterinarian, and a dog breeder to bring you information on dog training so you could find the best one for your dog.
Dog Training Theory: Positive Reinforcement
A vast majority of certified dog trainers subscribe to training methods that utilize positive reinforcement. My wife would only choose this method if she were a trainer.
The major theory behind positive reinforcement is this: Rewarding good behavior makes that behavior more likely to occur in the future.
In conjunction, many trainers will also provide negative feedback to interrupt behavior is incorrect; this negative feedback typically consists of a sharp sound like “tssst” or another benign attention-getter, such as a spray from a water bottle.
Once the dog’s attention is diverted from the inappropriate action, the dog can be redirected into performing a positive behavior, which is then rewarded.
The four dog obedience training methods that utilize positive reinforcement and association.
- Clicker training
- Rewards of food
- Rewards of praise/attention
- Rewards of toys/play.
Each dog’s temperament and preferences are different, which means the most effective method will vary from dog to dog; a certified dog trainer can assist dog owners in determining which approach will be most effective for training a dog.
In fact, good dog training schools will conduct interviews before starting obedience training to develop a training plan with the pet owner.
Dog Obedience Training Method: Clicker Training
When it comes to obedience training, clicker training is a very popular dog training technique among certified dog trainers. Clicker training for dogs involves the use of a hand-held device that creates a clicking sound.
When the dog is given a reward as reinforcement for “sitting,” “staying” or another obedience command, the treat, toy or praise reward is paired with the clicking sound.
Over time, the dog begins to associate the clicking sound with the reward. Once the dog is reliable in his obedience skills, the food rewards are given only occasionally, but the clicking continues on a consistent basis, serving as an indicator of praise for the dog.
If you need a clicker, you can find them at a pet store or on Amazon. Here is a quick affiliate link to find the ones that we have: DOG CLICKER
Obedience Training Technique: Food Rewards
Some dogs have a very high food drive. In these dogs, food rewards can work well for a dog obedience training reward.
A food reward can consist of a traditional dog treat, or other less traditional pets treat foods like baby carrots, pieces of cheese, cold cuts, hot dog bits or other high-value foods.
The key to eliciting certain behaviors from a dog in a dog training course setting is to maintain the dog’s attention and food can help owners achieve this. The food also serves as an effective, high-value reward for the dog. Our trainer & our vet suggested small bites of hot-dog as a high-value treat.
Obedience Training Methods for Dogs: Toy Rewards
Dogs who have a high prey drive – like sighthounds such as the greyhound breed, will often place a higher value on toy rewards like a ball. Or use my affiliate link to find this dog toy that we have (it has 11,000 5-star reviews on Amazon!
Toy rewards are good for the dog who would be apt to pick the toy when presented with an option between a treat and a toy.
Certified dog trainers who are working with clients who undergo frequent dog training courses, such as a police dog or a cadaver dog, will typically opt to use toy and play rewards, since toys can be used for specialized dog training.
In the case of a drug detection dog or cadaver dog, the dog’s toy will be scented with a synthetic scent that mimics the scent of drugs or decomposition. In essence, the working dog learns to detect drugs by seeking his toy during retrieval exercises.
Obedience Training Using Praise as a Reward
This approach is good when training a dog who is very people-oriented and in-tune with his humans.
Often, praise is used in conjunction with toy rewards, clicker training or food rewards, but occasionally, a dog trainer may use praise and attention alone to teach certain obedience training commands.
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What does a family with four kids, a 4-year old golden-doodle & a cat need? . . Another puppy! 🐶🐶🐶. However… this #minigoldendoodle is the perfect fit! Two months with him and he is so happy, calm and the kids still carry him everywhere! 🤣 Not sure which one in this picture is happier. #boyandadog
Praise is often used as a training reward for dogs who have suffered abuse or neglect, as praise helps develop a dog’s self-confidence and trust of humans. Although, on the flip side, we have used it for our dogs (not abused) and they have responded very well to it.
All in all, pick one thing and be consistent. Consistency is the key to success… and you’ll have a happy, well-behaved dog!