You’ve just gotten your new puppy and you couldn’t be more excited. They are goofy and sweet and playful and just a bundle of fun. You’ve got on your rose colored glasses and anything they do is adorable! It is an exciting time for everyone, but now is the time to lock in your training routine or their adorable antics will turn into potentially big problems once your tiny bundle of fun has grown into a large, adult dog with some bad habits.
Don’t be swayed by their young age and small size. Bernedoodle puppies are incredibly clever and learn fast if you are willing to work with them. Before they come home, do some research and make decisions about what commands you want them to learn, whether or not you want them to be crate trained, potty training plans, and leash training techniques. As soon as your puppy is home, begin your training right away.
No matter which area of training you are working on, positive reinforcement will be your greatest asset. The desire to please comes from both parents. Your Bernedoodle wants nothing more than to make you happy and whenever they do something correctly, make sure they know. Attention, excitement, praise and treats will help your dog to associate good behavior with their favorite reward.
In most cases, the biggest thing you are trying to avoid with leash training is pulling and yanking, especially as your pup starts growing into an adult. As you’re starting out, baby steps are important. Start with a harness rather than a collar so you have more control and you won’t pull on your puppy’s neck when mistakes are made. Go for little walks around your yard or the sidewalk in front of your house, whatever you have available. Your main goal for leash walking is to be able to have your dog walking by your side with a loose leash. So as you are training, keep the leash short, around arms length to get them used to where they need to be. Positive reinforcement comes in to play here as well. Make sure your pup knows when they’re doing well!
We all know the basic commands- come, sit, stay, heel, and down. For your dog’s safety and your own mental well being you’ll want to start with these early. Just like any young child, your puppy has a short attention span. Keep your training sessions short, fun, and always end them on a high note. Ten to fifteen minutes several times a day will be plenty in the beginning and sticking to one command at a time will keep them from getting overloaded with information. Once your puppy knows the basics you can start to move on to the more experienced and fun tricks!
Unfortunately potty training won’t happen overnight. Starting early can help expedite the process, but it is important to be aware that accidents will happen. Start with figuring out a consistent feeding schedule. This will help your puppy establish a consistent and predictable potty schedule. On top of that there are key times when your puppy may need to go to the bathroom so try and accommodate your puppy as best you can- first thing in the morning, after play and exercise, before being put into his crate, after being released from his crate, and just before bedtime. Decide on a positive command that you want your puppy to associate with a successful potty trip. Supervise your puppy as much as possible and keep any eye out for any signs that your puppy may need to go out such as whining, sniffing, circling or scratching at the door. By recognizing the signs, you can help avoid accidents and the need for punishment and, hopefully, your puppy will start to figure out how to communicate when they need to go out.