Training your new pup...
It’s an exciting time, bringing home a new Australian Labradoodle puppy.
These dogs are easy to train, incredibly intelligent and make great family pets.
Hopefully the following information will give you ideas on how to make the transition as smooth as possible, keeping you all and your new furry friend as safe and happy as possible.
Exercise and play
Your puppy’s exercise should be limited in the first year to 18 months of life or joints can be damaged leading to hip and elbow dysplasia. We recommend 5 minutes for every month of his life twice a day ie: at four months he can go out for two 20 minute walks.
Agility, repetitive ball or frisbee retrieving and stair climbing should all be avoided. A stair gate is very useful to stop puppy having access to the stairs. Once puppies muscles and bones are fully developed at 1yr to 18 months you can increase exercise to whatever is enjoyable for your dog.
There are still lots of games you can play with puppy, limited ball retrieving, playing tug and mind games, food retrieving (hide treats or kibble in the garden) No need to limit puppy play with another puppy unless it becomes too much for one of the puppies. And if your puppy wants to do zoomies round the garden, that’s ok.
Young puppies rarely overeat, but by 4-5 months you should be regulating their intake and making sure that any treats given are taken off their daily allowance.
Allowing your dog to become overweight can also lead to joint damage.
Dogs love chewing and this is both good physical exercise and mental stimulation for your puppy. A teething puppy will chew anything they can get hold of including socks, shoes and the sofa. Buy a selection of toys for puppy to test their teeth on instead. Just make sure they are non toxic and durable, never leave puppy alone with anything that could choke them, splinter in their mouth or electrocute them.
Do keep some special toys for when you and puppy are playing together, he will then look to those toys as being special, helping you to bond. Try to avoid games where you chase puppy as you always want to encourage your dog to run to you not away from you. Playing tug of war with your dog is fun, but make sure you win as often as the dog to discourage dominance.
An introduction to training
When you first take your puppy home everyone is very excited to have this cute little bundle as a new family member, but, what must be established early on is what training and rules you are going to put in place. Training your puppy is not just about getting him to go outside to the toilet. Its about teaching them to have acceptable behaviours inside and outside the home.
Firstly, establish some ground rules for everyone in the house to follow.
Do you want your pup to be able to go on the furniture and/or beds? If not, don’t start the habit or only allow on invitation. Never feed your puppy at the table unless you want to encourage a lifetime of begging.
It’s a good idea not to allow puppy to get into the habit of swinging on your trousers, puppy’s teeth will get strong and clothes could be ripped. You could trip and yourself or puppy could be hurt. Apart from the fact puppy wont distinguish between people who think its funny and those who find it annoying. Just gently take their mouths of while making the Ah ah sound or whatever sound you like to use followed by a firm ‘No’ At first they may need to be offered a toy as distraction. Distraction by sound is a great way to stop unwanted behaviour. Once puppy learns the sound you use, it can be used from a distance and may save many a plant, electric cable or piece of cake.
Don’t allow mouthing because when puppy is older it WILL hurt. Use your distraction sound with a firm ‘No’ immediately offer them a toy as an alternative. It’s always best to have a toy to hand when playing with puppy.
Dominating your puppy in order to make him behave is regarded as old fashioned now (observations on wolves in the wild show they live in family units cooperating with each other). Try to think of yourself as a more mature member of the family who will guide your puppy to be well behaved and offer gentle correction when he steps out of line. Get your puppy used to you touching their food by sometimes feeding them by hand, this will help stop any food guarding.
Keep in mind that puppies learn by result. Young puppies love to explore and experiment, they will repeat behaviours that give them pleasure such as playing with a ball. They will not repeat behaviours that get no result or are unpleasant, for example disturbing an ant’s nest and getting stung. Reward your puppy with treats and praise when he obeys a command or does something good. Make sure you set firm rules and apply them in a consistent way.
Consider enrolling your puppy in obedience classes, this will help you learn techniques to easily train him and develop appropriate strategies for responding to your puppy’s for responding to your puppy’s behaviour. Its also a great time for you to bond with puppy and for him to socialise with other dogs.
It’s very important to socialise your puppy at an early age so that he or she can relate to as many different people and other animals as possible. It is also crucial to get them used to as many different events, environments and situations as possible. This will ensure your dog grows up to be emotionally well adjusted. Puppies that are not well socialised may grow up to be fearful of different environments and new experiences. Frightened dogs will often bite, so work put in now will help your puppy become a well rounded, friendly and happy dog.
The younger the puppy is when you start socialising it the easier it will be. This is because when faced with a new situation the older the puppy is generally the more cautious he is. Start between 3 and 12 weeks and continue until a year old. Breeders from Regency Reds Australian Labradoodles will start socialising your puppy from three weeks, the litter will be handled by family members and friends, they’ll be socialised with other dogs and played desensitising sounds which will include sounds such as the hoover, fireworks, traffic, children playing etc.
Once your puppy has settled into his new home, begin slowly taking him out and about as much as possible, let him meet as many different types of human ie: children, old people, men with beards, other races. Take him out to see the bin collection lorry, a tractor, an ice cream van, wait outside a primary school so so he can be amongst the noise of laughing excited children. All encounters should be pleasant, if he is shy with strangers perhaps ask them to give him a treat. Watch puppy constantly for signs of anxiety or of being overwhelmed and if things get too much remove puppy from the situation and try again at a later date or just give him more space to explore in his own time.
Keep him safe from infectious diseases, by not putting his feet on the ground until he has had his full course of vaccinations. And only let him socialise with other dogs who are up to date with theirs. You should carefully introduce your puppy to other dogs and puppies, ensure first that these dogs are safe around puppies as a bad experience is worse than none at all.
Leaving puppy alone
All dog/puppy owners find it occasionally necessary to leave their pet home alone. To prevent separation anxiety it is best to introduce puppy to being left alone early in its life.
Start by Making sure when you are at home there are periods of play and activity, but also regular quiet times, rewarding him when he is behaving quietly with quiet praise and perhaps a treat.
Then start leaving your puppy alone for short periods of time, while you are in the house, going upstairs or just into another room. Say five minutes, gradually increasing the time. Try to return to puppy when he is not crying or barking. Always make sure puppy has plenty of toys, a good idea is to leave empty cardboard boxes too, so he has a variety of new and interesting things to keep him occupied.
Do make leaving and returning uneventful, if you make a big fuss of him with lots of hugs he’ll presume its a big deal. When you return, if its possible to wait until he is calm to greet him that’s better, otherwise he could learn to be excitable and jump up when guests arrive too. Of course if he is a young puppy you may need to get him outside to go to the toilet before he has an accident.
Most dogs want to be close to their humans and Australian Labradoodles particularly so, as they have been bred to be our perfect companions, so early training in this area is very important to lesson any anxiety.
Toilet training your puppy
Your puppy will have already started toilet training with your breeder, who will have sectioned off an area in the puppies pen with fake grass or wood pellets for this purpose, encouraging puppies to use the area. Puppies will also have been voiding in the garden, especially if the weather has been nice they will have spent time in a safe enclosure in the garden.
When you get your puppy home, you should restrict him to areas where an accident won’t do too much harm and can be cleaned easily. Take him out frequently (once an hour to begin with, also after a meal or a nap)put him down, don’t speak to him at all until he is going to the toilet, then use whatever word you plan to use as your command ‘wee wee’ or ‘potty’. Then praise your puppy just as he finishes. Puppy will begin to associate that word with him wanting to go to the toilet.
I would advise leaving a puppy pad near the door, just in case he needs to go and you miss it. Gradually as his bladder gets stronger and he remembers that you are pleased with him when he goes outside, you will find less need for the pad. And can remove it.
Setting rules for new puppy
Before bringing your new Australian Labradoodle home it’s important to establish some rules with other members of the family as to what is expected from the new puppy, and what he/she is allowed or not allowed to do. Every home and family is different, so it’s up to you to decide what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable.
To help your Australian Labradoodle grow into a well mannered, well behaved family member you need to teach them a set of rules to live by, and this is the responsibility of everyone in the household. These rules must be strictly followed by everyone so as not to cause confusion.
Where in the house will your dog be allowed to go?
Many people prefer if their dog doesn’t go in certain areas, the dining room, babies room, upstairs etc or maybe just at certain times, for example when you are entertaining in the dining room. It’s helpful to put baby gates up to restrict your dog going into these areas especially while he is young.
Should you let your dog up onto the furniture?
Of course this is entirely up to you but things to consider are:
1.Is he likely to get up on the sofa when just back from a walk with wet or muddy paws?
2.Will he take the space of a human and be reluctant to move if someone wants the seat?
3.Should you feed your dogs scraps from the table or while you are preparing food?
In my experience when you start doing this the dog will constantly be there when you are eating or preparing food watching you and begging for scraps. This can lead to an overweight dog or one that is always under your feet while you are preparing meals. So personally I ban all feeding of titbits to my dogs.
Other things you need to consider are:
Who will exercise the dog and when?
Who is responsible for feeding?
Who will brush your Australian Labradoodle, trim their nails and inspect them all over for good health?
Who will undertake training and when?
Who will clean up in the garden after your pet?
It’s good to encourage everyone in the home to get involved particularly with grooming and training as it builds bonds and strengthens relationships with family members and the dog.
Which words will you use when giving commands?
Your Australian Labradoodle has a new language to learn so you should try to make it as easy as possible for them. So make sure you assign cue words and signals for things like sit, come, down, stay and make sure everyone in the home knows and uses them.
Will you allow your dog to jump up when greeting people?
I would recommend strongly that right from the start you don’t allow this as they could easily knock a strong adult off balance and could completely knock over a child or an elderly person. Not to mention the muddy paw prints and ripped clothes. To stop your Australian Labradoodle doing this, you have to teach them that it’s never ok, you can’t allow it sometimes and not other times.
Of course after a few months you could then teach them that they can jump up to command, only when you’ve said so. But wait until you are confident in them to understand that this is only when they are asked.
Biting in play
Do not allow your children to play games where they play fight and puppy uses his teeth on their fists or hands, when puppy gets bigger this WILL hurt. Its best to work with the rule of no teeth on skin EVER. There should always be a toy between a child’s hand and puppy’s teeth.
Respect for your dog
Remember your dog needs respect too, so he feels a valued part of the family.
Developing puppies need a lot of sleep, so when they are sleeping in their bed or crate people should not disturb them.
Do not disturb your puppy or dog when they are eating, this could cause anxiety and lead to resource guarding and aggression.
Never tease your puppy or dog especially with food or toys as this can lead to frustration, possessiveness and even aggression.
Never shout or hit the dog. It achieves nothing and as they won’t understand and could end up making them less trusting and unsure around people.
Children should be shown how to handle a puppy with care and respect. No ear or tail pulling, pinching or prodding. Let them hold the puppy when sitting down only, no picking them up in case they accidentally drop them. And if puppy wants releasing they must let them go straight away.
Remember, dogs thrive best when they know what is expected of them and have been taught what they can and cannot do.
Wishing you good luck and lots of fun with your beautiful Australian Labradoodle puppy.