A Goldendoodle puppy is a teddy-bear dog bundle of energy with plenty of love, smarts and cuteness for days. As crazy Doodle parents, we believe two Doodles are better than one! We brought home our first Goldendoodle puppy, Kai, almost two years ago. We loved him so much, we decided to get a second Goldendoodle! It’s been one week since we welcomed our new puppy, Byrdie, to her new home.

Even though it hasn’t been much time since Kai was a little guy, the details of what we did when he was just 8 weeks of age have already become a distant memory. We eventually worked with a dog trainer to help us teach Kai basic commands and to go through obedience training. Since Byrdie came home, I decided to refresh my memory and get some expert advice by watching hours of videos from dog training experts.

So, even though we’re not first time dog owners, I’m reflecting on how things went this week and on the important things we learned since that first night. And let’s be honest, it’s all about potty training right now.

Tip 1: House Training is All About Routine

Just like a newborn baby, puppies do better with consistency. Getting into a routine is the best way to succeed at potty training a new puppy. On the first day, I noticed that Byrdie was grazing on her food all day instead of finishing her food. At her young age, I figured she was probably used to eating with her littermates all day, and I let her continue doing that all week. That was my first lesson. Since puppies usually go to the bathroom soon after they eat, this made it hard to know when she needed to go outside. When she had an accident in her crate, I realized that I needed to get her on a feeding schedule. So this week, I started taking away her food if she didn’t finish it. This simple change makes her bathroom breaks more predictable.

Zesty Paws

Crate Training and Keeping a New Puppy in a Designated Area

A good way to make house training easier is to never allow a young puppy to have access to all areas of the house. Young puppies need constant supervision in a controlled area. They should not have as much space throughout the house as adult dogs.

My Top 4 Most Important Puppy Supplies for Potty Training

After potty training 3 puppies in the last 4 years, I highly recommend all new puppy parents get these three items before bringing a new puppy home:  

1. Wire crate

It’s not easy, but crate training is the best way to provide a safe place when I’m away from home, or I can’t watch Byrdie. Puppies typically will not go to the bathroom in the area where they sleep. For this reason, make sure to get the right size for your puppy. If the crate is too large, your puppy may go to the bathroom in the crate. You may need to buy a new crate as your puppy grows.

2. Long leash

Instead of letting her run loose in the house, I always keep Byrdie on a long 15 foot leash. It’s a great way for me to know where she is at all times, so she can’t get into trouble. When I’m busy, I tie the leash around my waist. The long leash also helps puppies learn to walk on a leash. Here’s Byrdie learning to walk on her long leash, and here’s Kai on the long leash when he was a puppy.

3. Baby gate

I have this baby gate up in my kitchen to keep Byrdie’s food area separate from Kai’s. This is another designated area for her to play, so she doesn’t have the run of the house. Keep in mind, this baby gate was a little wide at first, so Byrdie could squeeze between the bars. It only took a few weeks for her to grow enough where she couldn’t do that anymore. I have found that other types of baby gates are easy for puppies to climb over because they can grip the sides and scale over the gate. As long as the gate is tall enough, gates with vertical bars prevent them from climbing over.

4. Comforting Toy and Blanket with Mother’s Scent

In the crate and designated daily area, make sure to have comforting items for your puppy. It can be a baby blanket, a shirt, anything that your puppy can cuddle with and associate with their mother. When you pick up your puppy, it’s a good idea to bring a blanket with you and rub it on your puppy’s mother. Once you get home, your puppy will be comforted by the mother’s familiar scent on the blanket.

I used this snuggly puppy with Kai, and he loved it (you can see it in this video of him with it). I got this new one for Byrdie, and she likes hers too! it really seems to comfort her, especially in the crate. (The only thing I don’t like about about this version is that it’s not as durable, and the heat pack isn’t as good. So I just switched the heat packs out with the ones from Kai’s snuggle pet.) These soft, cuddly little companions have and area that holds a heat pack and a pulsing heartbeat, reminding the puppy of being right beside mama. They really do work in my experience.

Tip 2: Never Trust a Puppy

Don’t let their cuteness and intelligence fool you! Goldendoodle puppies are not capable of controlling themselves. It will be at least a year before a puppy has the same control as an older dog. I let Byrdie go off into another room while she was on the long leash, and she left a little surprise on the floor. Lesson learned. My husband now calls me the “poop whisperer.” Even when she’s on the long leash, I watch for signs she may need to go outside:

  • sniffing the floor
  • suddenly stopping when playing
  • circling

Remember, even if you do everything right, accidents and mistakes will happen eventually. When it happens, never shout or spank your dog. That will only lead to fear and distrust, making all other training impossible. Instead, calmly say, “no,” and take your puppy outside to the designated potty area.

Keep Your Goldendoodle Puppy Busy

Goldendoodles rank high in dog intelligence. As a result, they require interaction and attention from you. They also need something to engage them mentally. A bored puppy leads to mischief. I’ve learned this the hard way with damaged baseboards, chewed shoes and toilet paper rolls spread from room to room. To minimize these mistakes with Byrdie, I’ve stocked up all kinds of dog toys. Plus, she has Kai to play with too. Chew toys, rope toys, and bully sticks are a great choice when trying to keep a puppy entertained. Byrdie has stayed busy for an hour with a bully stick. Here are the types of toys to have on hand:

  • Durable chew toys – My pups love chewing on hard rubber or plastic chew toys with textured massagers. I have a wide variety I switch around. Byrdie even loves the giant ones.
  • Soft toys – I use these toys for limited amounts of time because they can be ripped apart easily. I bring different toys out at different times to keep both Kai and Byrdie interested.

Tip 3: Positive Reinforcement Pays Off

As we did with Kai, we’ve been reinforcing her learning with a “marking command.” Every time she goes outside we say “potty, potty, potty” in a happy voice each time we take her outside. As she is pottying we repeat it, giving her lots of verbal praise and a treat for her success.

Don’t Use Bribery

I’ve learned there’s a difference between bribery and positive reinforcement. Even though your puppy wants the treat, the focus must still be on you. The puppy needs to look to you to earn the reward. That’s why you don’t want to show the treat to your puppy before the behavior. This turns the reward into a bribe. Instead, you should reinforce good behavior (after it happens) with the treat.

Tip 4: No Two Puppies Are the Same

Even though they share the same parents, Kai and Byrdie are very different from each other. Byrdie seems to be more motivated by food rewards than Kai. As time goes on, we’ll see more of her temperament and personality. It’s important to understand what works best for your particular puppy. Understanding your puppy’s personality can make a difference in training, and how you react to their behavior. Just like with kids, trying to force your dog to do something that doesn’t fit with his personality will be a difficult task. By paying attention to how your puppy responds to different things, you’ll create a strong bond with your pup and learn what’s best for your Doodle.

The Puppy Stage is Temporary – Good Things Will Come

Just like kids, puppies go through toddler stages and teen years. But, the stages pass in weeks instead of years. That’s why I’m not discouraged. I know there will be many more, “Aww she’s the best!” moments instead of “What did I get myself into?”

Tip 5: You Are In Charge

This is something our trainer emphasized with Kai. Gently establish that you are the boss. It’s so easy to spoil Goldendoodle puppies and get overly sentimental about them. If we don’t teach our puppies that they must learn to fit in with our life, we run the risk of creating problems that will ultimately keep them from they love most: loving and being with humans. I’ve learned that a large part of Goldendoodle training is making sure your dog follows you and not the other way around!

Enroll in a Puppy Class

Puppy classes are a great way to help your puppy begin to understand basic commands. One of the best things about them is they allow you to expose your puppy to other dogs and people. You have the benefit of doing this with a skilled trainer to help monitor the dogs and mediate the process so that it is a positive experience for everyone.

Tip 6: Remember to Socialize Your Goldendoodle Puppy

This is another lesson I learned with our first Goldendoodle, Kai. Because he was a young puppy in 2020 when everything was closed due to the lockdowns, we weren’t able to bring him to many public places. He wasn’t able to attend a group puppy class until he was older, so he still barks at other dogs when we’re out walking. While we did our best to expose him to a variety of people and environments, we were at home more than we would typically be. We brought him to the beach a lot, and to this day, he loves going to the beach.

The American Kennel Club says the socializing experiences during the first three months of life will permanently shape a puppy’s personality and behavior as an adult dog.

Why Socializing a Puppy is Important

Responsible breeders begin the socializing process before you even bring your puppy home. During the first several weeks of life, a good breeder will gently handle the puppies. This helps shape their adult behavior and develop into confident, friendly dogs. Even at three weeks old, puppies will start to go up to people they’re around. A knowledgeable breeder will encourage positive experiences with people of all ages. As the puppies grow, the breeder will allow them to experience safe outside environments, car rides, crates, sounds and smells.

It’s important to get off to a good start when your puppy first comes home with you. The first few weeks in your home are the beginning of your puppy’s lifelong bond with you and your family members. At eight to eleven weeks, your puppy is experiencing is a rapid period of learning and development. Everything that takes place now will be incorporated permanently for life. For this reason, it’s important to keep experiences positive during this crucial time. At this age, a puppy develops its fear imprints. Any traumatic or fearful experiences at this age can last throughout a puppy’s life.

How To Socialize a Young Puppy

When it comes to properly socializing a young puppy, it’s important to start gradually. Start by gently exposing your puppy to a wide variety of people in your and around your home. Next, introduce your puppy to new situations and different places. Keep in mind, until your puppy is fully vaccinated, you’ll want to avoid public settings with unfamiliar dogs. Consult your vet about the appropriate time to bring your puppy to public spaces. With your vet’s approval, changing up your puppy’s sights, smells and sounds now will makes a lasting difference in his or her temperament. By making a special effort to properly socialize your puppy, you can help prevent your dog from becoming afraid of activities such as riding in a car, or being fearful of children. riding in a car, All of your socializing efforts help your pup develop into a happy, well-mannered companion.

Goldendoodles are smart and eager to please, which makes them pretty easy to train. They seem to clearly understand basic commands and what you expect from them. That said, every dog is different. They all have different learning curves. No mattter how smart your Doodle puppy is, it takes work on your part. But, if you put in the effort now, your adult Goldendoodle will make a great companion and enhance your life beyond measure.

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