Tips and Tools for Training Your New Bernedoodle puppy
Who doesn’t love a new puppy! Let’s be honest, emotions with a new puppy range from completely gaga to the most irrational spoiling possible. Somehow dogs have a way of breaking down our tough exteriors and easily widdling their ways into our hearts. But dogs who continue to receive a level of over spoiling and undertraining oftentimes find owners quickly shifting from lovestruck and infatuated to irritated and frustrated. Building a relationship with your new dog takes time. Puppy training from the very beginning is a good idea because discipline leads to freedoms which in turn leads to a long, happy relationship between owner and pup. If you were considering spending money on a trainer for your Bernedoodle, try these tips and tools first. With a little consistency, patience and encouragement, you’ll find Bernedoodles can be quite easy to train on your own.
Did we mention the word “consistency?” Consistency. Consistency. Consistency is your key tool. This is the biggest and probably hardest component for the trainer, who can be solely you or multiple people so long as you are all on the same page. Teaching discipline must come from discipline. Us humans oftentimes have a hard time being consistent and patient for results. We like instant gratification. Pups do too. Therefore, treats are a favorite tool for training. When pups connect an action with a reward, they are more apt to repeat the action right away. However, treats should always be combined with enthusiastic praise and encouragement. Using treats only will result in an overweight puppy and most likely a dent in your bank account. Bernedoodles are eager to please creatures so overtime, verbal praise alone will suffice for them. Find a small, easily chewable, convenient snack that your pup likes and use it consistently alongside praise. If your dog doesn’t dig food treats, find a toy or some sort of reward that they seem to like.
It’s a big wide world for your new pup and just like humans tend to find rest and respite in their own bedrooms, crates provide small, safe spaces for pups as well. This can be a temporary tool for training but oftentimes, crates end up becoming a preferred, sacred space for Bernedoodles. Select a crate large enough to fit your puppy full grown. In the beginning, whenever your puppy will be out of your sight for an extended period, they should be in the crate, including overnight. No one needs to be reminded that puppies are mischievous, curious creatures who left unsupervised will undoubtedly create unwanted messes. When they are out of their cage, give them their due attention and exercise.
You will need to find a good leash or collar for your pup, but the type of equipment you choose is still less important than consistency and good training practice. Since bernedoodles are extremely lovable and friendly, relationship- based training works best. This means they don’t work well under strong authoritarian leadership.
There should never be a need for choke, prong, e-collars or anything that causes pain to train. A leash or harness should be comfortable and fit properly around your dog. If your bernedoodle tends to be more playful and high energy, a harness may be a better option. If you end up with a more docile pup, a vest harness or leash should work fine. Retractable leashes are the least favorite among trainers as they tend to reward pulling which is to be avoided. Dogs have an instinct to escape restraint and pull away if they do feel constrained. But consistently tugging on a leash or harness ignites the fight or flight reaction causing them to pull more. The leash should provide comfort, it should provide enough slack to give the dog a feeling of freedom but not too tight to where they feel overly constrained causing pulling.
Learning commands is one of the first and foremost important skills you will want to teach your pup. Nothing is worse than having a wily pup that doesn’t listen to commands. With five or ten minutes a day, pups can catch on quickly to commands. Lures, such as a treat, are used as a way for them to get focused on you and to reward and reinforce correct behaviors. Use the lure to get them focused on you, then say a simple, one- word command in a stern sharp tone, such as “Sit.” If they don’t perform the action, repeat the command. Repeat until they finally connect command with action.
When performed correctly, immediately reward and shower with praise and treats. This process should be repeated a few times. Make sure to only give treats when the verbal command is used and not when the dog performs the behavior without being asked. This is necessary to reinforce the meaning of the verbal command. Since dogs are also naturally inclined to read body language, you can add a hand gesture immediately after the verbal command as well. This makes communication with your pup versatile allowing commands to be used wherever, whenever and however its best suited for you and them.
Although bernedoodles are intelligent dogs, it can still take months to create trained habits. Using the crate, treats and leash a bernedoodle can be well trained in weeks to as long as 4-6 months. Again, your consistency is key to how quickly your pup will become trained. Taking your pup outdoors is the obvious preferred route for elimination, however when this isn’t possible for various reasons, puppy pads can be used to create a destination that should be regularly used. New pups should be immediately taken outside as well as at consistent intervals throughout the day. As a general plan, aim to take the puppy outside upon waking and every 3-4 hours throughout the day. It’s a good idea to let them out 30 min after feedings and sleeping and once in the middle of the night. Puppies will also give clues such as sniffing around, circling or try to sneak out of sight before they need to go to the bathroom. Keeping new puppies within eyesight will help eliminate indoor accidents. Dogs live in the moment and are more reactive rather than contemplative about their actions. So, if accidents do occur, verbal reprimands are only effective if used in the moment of action itself. Puppies who relate to you with fear and associate you with punishment have a harder time feeling secure enough to do what’s expected of them, on their own.
Rewards over punishment work best. Having treats in hand, take pup outdoors, patiently wait and after they go to the bathroom and while still outside give them a treat and heavily praise their achievements. In the beginning its important that your puppy is highly supervised, that you’re watching for signs, being consistent about taking them out and giving positive reinforcement. If all of this is done, puppy training will be as quick and accident free as possible. All good habits take time and new puppies are no exception to this rule. Your reaction is so important in keeping your role of authority over your new pup. It is your job to remain calm and stern yet loving and trusting. Good relationships with your dog begin with a strong disciplined understanding of expectation and boundaries while at the same time feeling loved and secure. Relationships with bernedoodles are nearly effortless and training can be the same with a little consistency and patience.