Positive Reinforcement Training
- Goldendoodles are half standard poodle.standard poodle with ball image by MichMac from Fotolia.com
While every training situation is different, most professional dog trainers recommend learning the basics of positive-reinforcement training and finding the right pace for your dog. Training a goldendoodle puppy requires you to keep your training lessons short (5 to 10 minutes) to hold its attention. Puppies distract easily, so you want to avoid long training durations so you're using the time to teach a new behavior, rather than rallying your pup's attention.
- Positive reinforcement training draws on operant conditioning, which asserts consequences influence behavior. A behavior is strengthened (occurs more frequently) when reinforcements follow, when punishment follows an unwanted behavior, such as jumping, that behavior diminishes.
- Positive reinforcement (R+) trainers use punishment differently than trainers who implement leash corrections, or tightening a choke collar to indicate displeasure. R+ trainers withdraw attention from the "bad" behavior. For example, goldendoodle puppies tend to jump. Rather than kneeing the dog in the chest to discourage the behavior, quickly turn and step away from it---withdrawing attention from your dog. No attention works as punishment since most dogs jump for the pleasure and reward of your attention. Kneeing or pushing your dog away, while negative attention, is attention nevertheless and reinforces jumping.
Teach an Alternate Behavior
- But you don't want to simply turn away from your jumping dog and leave it open-ended; that won't teach the goldendoodle how to greet politely. After you've stepped away for a few seconds, turn and face your dog. As long as its paws are on the floor, step forward and say, "Sit." Bring a treat to its nose and raise it above your dog's head so it is looking at it. Don't repeat the word "Sit." Now wait.
Reinforce Good Behavior
- After a few seconds (or minutes, depending on your dog's attention span) your goldendoodle will sit. As soon as its hind-end hits the floor calmly reward and give your dog lots of attention, but do it calmly. You've just taught your dog an alternate behavior to jumping: A dog can't sit and jump at the same time.
- If your dog pops up before sitting, walk away, withdraw your attention and try again. Practicing this often will reinforce sitting for attention, rather than jumping, since jumping sends you away. Goldendoodles are smart and will catch on quickly.