Tag Archives: Dog Training

Getting along

Lately it has come to my attention that there is some bad feeling between the purebred poodle folk and the doodle folk. I can’t say I am surprised, but I decided to do a little research and see what people were saying is so terrible about the other. What I found was a little discouraging, because it seems like doodle owners far too often are misinformed and a touch disparaging of half of their dog’s breed. Here is some common misinformation you might read on the net, or hear from other doodle owners/breeders, and my comments on it.

  1. You breed another dog with the poodle so that it will have the smarts of the other dog, and the hypoallergenic coat of the poodle.

The problem here is two-fold. First, the poodle is the second smartest breed in the WORLD, and so if we are talking about making anything smarter, it is the secondary breed that will benefit from the poodle, not the other way around. (unless the secondary breed is a border collie) Secondly, when you combine the coat genetics, you will most likely get a puppy that sheds less than a typical shedding dog, but most all F1 doodles do indeed shed some, sometimes more than you would have expected.

2. Breeding the poodle with the other breed will take the best traits of both breeds and combine them to make a wonder dog.

By way of example, lets just say that there are two people who marry and decide to have a family. The husband is tall dark and handsome, but incredibly unintelligent. The wife is short, dumpy, and pale, but has an incredible wit. Does this necessarily mean that all of their children will be tall, dark, and handsome, and smart as well? Or could it be possible that they may be short, dumpy and pale, and fairly dumb as well.  Which leads me to the next thing commonly stated:

3. I love (whatever breed) but I don’t like those froo froo Poodles, so I am going to get a doodle!

If you don’t like poodles, don’t even think about getting a doodle. If you LOVE your doodle, chances are you actually love poodles too- you are just uninformed as to what the poodle is actually like. If you don’t like either breed in your breed combination dog, please don’t get that dog. What you will get is a combination of those two dogs- and every combination will be slightly different. That is why so many doodles behave so differently. Sure they have some in common, but that is much to do with the two breeds they were bred from. And when you purchase a doodle, look for consistency in your one breeders line. Doodles vary wildly from breeder to breeder. Until they are made a breed and not a combination of breeds, they will continue to be like a box of chocolates…

4. I am so upset, the groomer made my doodle look like a poodle!!

No, God made your doodle look like a poodle. Because it is poodle. Lets embrace the poodle in our doodles. Lets not chew out our groomers for grooming a dog “breed” with no grooming standard in a way that we don’t appreciate. Find a good groomer to work with, be kind to that groomer, and together figure out the way you like the dog done, or groom the dog yourself. And along those lines:

5. The coat is so low maintenance!

No joke- I had a lady call me that wanted one of my aussiedoodles. She was going to get a golden retriever, but the coat was too high maintenance for her, so she wanted a doodle instead. Needless to say, I refused sale. Doodle coats are very high maintenance- just because they are typically low shedding, does not mean that they are low maintenance. If you want a long fluffy doodle coat, you need to brush and brush, and clip and clip. If you want the dog run all over with a number 10 blade then you will have your low maintenance coat. Just take the time to do a full body clip every two weeks.

6. But my doodle IS low maintenance. I never brush him, and he never mats!

Really? Can you run a comb through his leg hair? I doubt it. Somehow this idea that the doodle coat doesn’t mat or need grooming has been widely spread. I brush my doodle every day, and clip her twice a month. Believe me, if there are fleas around they are going to LOVE that “low maintenance, long doodle coat.” I also clean out/shave down her paws with the shaver (like a poodle, GASP) in the summer so that if she gets a foxtail in her toes (which she does) I can find it before it abscesses.

7. Poodle people are so snooty!

Lets be sure that before we go throwing stones at the poodle breeders, that we become responsible doodle people ourselves. Let’s not spread fantastic lies about our dogs. Lets train our dogs to be calm, kind, and good companions and playmates. Lets keep our dogs to some standard of grooming. And lets embrace the poodle side of our dog, and be sure to give credit where credit is due. Instead of touting the excellence of our cross-breed against their purebred, lets tout the excellence of BOTH breeds that created our doodles, and remember that hundreds and hundreds of years went into creating the dogs that create our doodles. So lets be kind, and not snooty ourselves, yeah?



Due Date and Update

Firstly, Jane has been bred and is due around December 11th, not that she has ever whelped on her due date. So puppies mid-December, and they are the same cross as the last 3 litters, so they will all be blue merle with minimal white. Jane is a happy camper, and since our chickens have been laying far more than we can eat, she is enjoying her daily eggs, and her coat is super slick and shiny.

Now for the update: We are moving! All the way to Northern California where my husband will be embarking on a new career journey, and we will enjoy warmer winters. We will be in Red Bluff, which is a beautiful rural area at the tip of the Sacramento Valley. It is where I grew up, and it will be fun to go back. We will sure miss Idaho though. We have loved it here! This concerns you because while the puppies will be born in Idaho, they will be moving with us to California, and will be 8 weeks old and ready to go from Red Bluff, not Idaho.

I am taking names for our waiting list, so if you are interested please contact me. My number is (530)736-9026. Call or text. You can also email me at lo.savedbygrace@gmail.com.

Puppies are $1500 if you are on the waiting list, $1800 if you are not, so it is beneficial to be on the list. Prices are firm.

Attached are a few pictures of Lucy, our now one-year-old Aussiedoodle, and a full sibling to the coming litter, with Annie, my 3 year old. Annie has been learning her leash work, and Lucy has been wonderful for her!


The lay down and wait




leash work at a jog




giving treats, the best part!


look at that nice loose leash!


Good job girls!

Before and After

Lucy’s hair was getting wild so I mustered up my courage and got out the soap, towels, clippers and scissors, and a fairly painless hour and a half later I had a new dog. It was my first time grooming and Lucy’s first time being totally groomed. I am already seeing some areas that need some touch up, but am overall very satisfied!


Outdoor Training Session


Well, Lucy is nearing 4 months now. She is great! We all adore her. This is her first all outdoor training session. It was warm today (in the high 30’s…warm is relative) so I decided it was a good day to start outdoor work. (side note: it snowed 20 min after I went inside) She has done all of these things inside, with inside distractions like my kids and noises and such, but outside provides a whole new level of stimulation and distraction. I was very happy with how she did. She has done leash and recall work outside on walks etc. before, but not really the other stuff.

In the long, pretty boring video we work on sit, lay down, stand. All these commands are held until the release cue “ok”. We also work on the place command and sending with multiple “places”. We do all of these off leash. I also worked on distractions particularly with the place command. Slapping my leg and kneeling, the cat, and the smell of mice that have been hiding under the snow all winter until this week were wonderful distractions. I use “nope” as a “not correct,try again” command, not a punishment. Then I just bring her back to where she got off track and start over. It keeps her motivated and happy. She is a sensitive dog, and if I were to be upset with her, or punish her on mess ups she would shut down. She also likes to know if she did something right, and I feel the “nope” coupled with the marker “good” for correct behavior helps her figure out what the right thing is.

Also we do a bit of loose leash work. It is essentially a messy heel. Over the summer we will clean up the leash work to a nice heel, but for now all that I care about is that she focuses on me, she keeps the leash loose, and that she sits when I stop. Also when I say “heel” she must roughly get into heel position on my left leg. Not looking for perfection here.

She knows a few other tricks, but nothing that I really wanted to work on in our first outdoor session. Basically we were looking to reinforce that calm waiting behavior, and good focus.

The video is 15 min long, feel free to skip and skim as much of it is repetitive.

And if you are curious about my sizable girth (the neon vest is the only vest that still fits), yes, I am 22 weeks along and due with our 3rd girl July 1st. So we will probably have a very tiny baby in the house when you pick up your new puppies. 🙂

Lucy , 12 weeks+

Our sweet Lucy is now over 12 weeks. She is almost ready for her 3rd round of shots. I am sure you all have your puppies on a schedule with your vet. After one more round we will have the 6 month check up that will include rabies. It is also a good time for the spay/neuter procedure.

Here is a video of a typical short training session with her. It was first thing in the morning. We are working on sit, lay down, high fives with each hand/paw, double high fives, and look. When outside we work on recall, and leash work, as well as fetching. I do leash work outside because she is always more relaxed then, and I like a relaxed learner. :-)When she has all these down a little better we will introduce the place command and work on stay. She is so fun and smart.

We were in northern California for the last month, and she enjoyed the above freezing temperatures and no snow. She learned to fetch like a champ, and walk on a leash, and recalls AMAZINGLY. She does pretty well in the heel position, but will need a lot of work to be super consistent. She sits when I stop, walks by my left heel or slightly behind on a loose lead, and is learning the “look” command while walking. She doesn’t yet know the heel position without a leash- but we will be working on that over the next several month. We are also going to have to work on distraction training when in the heel position. All in time. I will try to post a video of lead work when it is not so cold and miserable outside.

We love Lucy. She is a doll. She is GREAT with our kids. She is also a snuggle bug. Here are a few pics. The first is of Jackie, Lucy’s half border collie sister. Lucy got to play with her a lot in California.

“Jackie” Jane’s Border Collie litter from 2 years ago. Brilliant very fun dog. Ceaseless energy. My brother was also visiting in California and so all our dogs got to play together.


Lucy and her partner in crime, my 16 month old daughter Sarah. They are great pals, and Lucy is very very gentle.


The girls, (Annie 3, Sarah 16mo) and their dog.


Hangin out with mom. Jane got rid of her winter coat in CA. Poor thing is a little chilly now.



How are your puppies doing? What are they learning? Are you having trouble with anything specific? I would love to hear from you.

Shy Puppies and Expectation Management

The puppies are about to go to their new homes, which is always a really fun time for everyone! We can’t wait to meet you all, and for you to gain a new member to your pack.

There is a scale of shy to outgoing in every litter, and you can definitely see it in this one. Some puppies will jump out of the box to come see you. Some will hang at the back and just watch. Both have their positives and negatives in training, but I thought I’d take a few minutes to address the shy dog, as they can sometimes be a bit more tricky than an outgoing one. Here are a few tips that may help.

  1. Don’t coddle them when they are being shy. It won’t build their confidence, and you may unwittingly reward them for unwanted shy behavior. Instead, when they are being shy in a corner, either ignore the behavior, or calmly lure the puppy out with a treat or toy, and reward the puppy as soon as it shows any interest in you at all. For example, if her ears perk towards you or she takes a step towards you. Praise praise praise and treats.
  2. Don’t discipline shy behavior. A shy dog should be calmly and kindly disciplined for biting or jumping, as should any puppy, however DO NOT discipline the shy behavior. If you go towards your puppy and she slinks back, walk away, and then try again. To say no, or to become frustrated will make things worse.
  3. Encourage her to socialize, especially with people, but DO NOT do too much too fast. An over exuberant person at the wrong time could worsen the shyness. If you have an established dog in the home already, that can be a huge confidence booster.
  4. Make treats really tasty. A good piece of sausage or bacon will make about any dog, shy or not, love you. In the instance of a shy puppy, I am all for bribing. Every time the puppy looks at you is a good time to reward her. Building that positive association with yourself and with other people (have others reward her too) will build a really solid foundation for a naturally reserved dog.

Managing Expectations:

My Dad often, and wisely, talks about managing your expectations. Be sure that what you expect is realistic so that you do not grow frustrated or discouraged with yourself or your new puppy. For instance, if you imagine yourself cozied up in front of a nice movie, while snuggling your sweet puppy, you may be disappointed if you have an outgoing energetic puppy that doesn’t care to snuggle. Or if you imagine your puppy springing into your arms the moment you greet her, you may be disappointed when the puppy hangs at the back of the crate for a while if it is a shyer puppy.

If you expect the puppy to be perfectly potty trained, or to know instinctively that slippers are not for chewing on- you may become frustrated with the hole in the toe of your slipper, or that wet spot on the carpet.

One expectation people often have, that really needs to be “managed” is that their puppy will be human. Puppies are dogs. They love humans and they will want to please you, no doubt. But their needs, their desires, and their habits are dog, not human. We have to be very careful not to treat them like a human. It is confusing to the dog, and can cause a dog to shut down. We also have to be very careful not to take what they do as personal. It’s not personal, I promise.

So manage your expectations: instead of just dreaming up the ideal of how life will suddenly be perfect with your new fluffy friend, think also of what challenges you might have. Plan how you will react to your puppy when she misbehaves. Plan on how you will reward her. Plan on things you can do to boost her confidence in your home and integrate her into your life. If you don’t have a plan in place, frustration will take over and neither you nor your puppy will be better for it.

So, ask yourself: what do you expect with this new puppy? Are those expectations realistic? If so, great! If not, what can you do to change your expectations?

I trained horses professionally for 6 years. I have started and finished hundreds of horses. It is an amazing job, and so rewarding. I found that in training, I made my worst mistakes when I was frustrated. I became frustrated most often because of mismanaged expectations. Sometimes I expected too much of my self. Often I expected too much of the horse. Usually I expected too much of a horse that was going to go into a show discipline- I would get caught up in the perfection that was in my mind, and forget that I was riding a 2 year old. Then I would become frustrated, the horse would sense it and shut down, and I would spend the next two days undoing my mistake. From those mistakes I learned to manage my expectations for the horses I was on, and got tremendous results. The same goes for dogs. Someday your dog can know every trick in the book, will be perfectly potty trained, heel off-leash, come every time when called… but right now your dog is a puppy. A young, very eager puppy with a lot to learn. Remember that when you find holes in your socks, and pee on the floor.

If you have read this far I commend you. 🙂

Can’t wait for you all to meet your puppies! They are indeed precious.