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How to Train An Doodle Puppy

There’s a method to my Lowe’s madness. I stopped walking and put this 15 week old trainee in a Sit/Wait because I saw something he didn’t. Crossing at the end of our aisle was a gentleman and his beautiful but quite overstimulated Australian Shepherd.

Aussie saw my puppy, and wanted to come down our aisle for a visit. Aussie Owner did not want this, nor did I. The owner was wrestling with him, fussing at him, clearly having a difficult time. I could see it wouldn’t be a positive interaction for the trainee, so I was prepared to make an about face. A redirect was my next step.

While Aussie owner regained some control over his dog, I distracted the puppy with vocabulary drills. Stop, sit, wait, let’s go, heel. This trainee was oblivious to my reasoning for randomly stopping and practicing our words. He doesn’t need a reason from me, he just needs to do as he’s directed. And he did. Good boy Blitzen. The Aussie and his owner moved on, and then we did too.

Had my trainee seen the other dog, no doubt he would’ve been distracted and reactive, not holding the Wait like I asked. He is just a baby. That’s to be expected. No worries, it’s just one more training opportunity. What I do with it as his handler is what’s important.

Blitzen made me proud today. The investment we’ve put into his education paid off. Aussie Owner, on the other hand, is going to need some IcyHot for an achy shoulder tonight. He was not enjoying his Lowe’s visit, his dog was stressed and anxious, and his embarrased wife walked away like she didn’t know either of them Where is the fun in that?

In the canine brain, hierarchy is fundamental. Someone must be in charge, it’s the natural order. So if you aren’t the boss of your dog, guess what? Your dog will reluctantly step up to the plate and take over, and basically do whatever the hell he wants. Someone must be in charge, period. This is how a dog’s mind works.

Hear me: they are not equipped to perform this role, nor do they desire this role. What they want is guidance, leadership, safety, direction. They do not want to be the Boss.

Our doodles love to please you - that’s half the battle! Show them how.  Blitzen mindfully and willingly obeys basic commands, because I am in control and he is confident in my leadership. It feels safe to him. He doesn’t think I’m “mean”. Quite the contrary, he has a higher level of respect for me because of the boundaries I establish and enforce. A dog with strong, effective parenting will love you more. Not less.

Leash walking is a great place to start if you are ready to go into Boss Mode with your dog. When you have your dog leashed, be all business. Give each command a short name, take up the slack in the lead, and control the walk. Set the position, the pace, the speed, the direction, the stops and the starts.

Be the Boss. Clearly define boundaries, be consistent, DIY it, hire a trainer if you need to, but do the work. A well mannered dog is truly pleasurable company. Easier on your joints too.


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