The Whoodle is an energetic, active and intelligent crossbreed. They are bred by crossing Poodles with Wheaten Terriers, both of whom are independent, self confident breeds. So is this independent streak passed on to the Whoodle?
Are Whoodles hard to train? Yes, Whoodles can sometimes be difficult to train. They are an active, clever breed, and this can lead to problems with stubbornness. However, if training is started at an early age they are very trainable and are usually eager to please their owner.
Because the Whoodle is a mixed breed he may be a joy to train or a bit more challenging depending on what parent he takes after most. However, with the right training methods and motivation, a Whoodle can become a very well trained companion.
What is a Whoodle?
A Whoodle is a cross breed dog. They are a mixture of the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier and the Poodle. They are typically a medium to large-sized dog that are playful with lots of energy.
There is a list that ranks dogs according to their willingness to work with people, or their trainability. On this list the Poodle ranks #2 and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier ranks in at #40 out of 79 breeds tested. Terriers are notorious for being stubborn, but the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is one of the easiest terriers to train. This is important to know because the Whoodle is a mix of these two breeds. A Whoodle may be more Poodle, more Wheaten, or a mixture of the two.
How To Train a Whoodle
When it comes to dog training, some people will tell you that you have to be the alpha. Others say that you must use choke chains, shock collars, and prong collars. Some say to wait until the puppy is older so you won’t break his spirit.
But all of this advice is bad.
If dogs are man’s best friend, then why do we use tools of torture when training them? Let’s leave these old training beliefs behind and train our dogs in a way that builds our bond with them and lets them know that we love them.
I’m talking about positive reinforcement training. Not only is this a great method to use with a Whoodle, but it is also the best training method for any dog.
With positive reinforcement training, you focus on rewarding what your dog is doing that you like. Unlike the other training methods where you only punish what they do wrong.
Positive reinforcement will get results faster. Why? Because there is an infinite number of wrong options but only one right option. If you tell your dog to “sit” and he lays down or runs in circles you could punish him. Or you could lure him into a sit and then reward him when he does. It makes sense to let a dog know what you want him to do vs only punishing the bad.
So, we reward what we want, but what do we do when the dog does something we don’t want? When your Whoodle does something that is inappropriate you either need to ignore it or redirect him. Suppose your dog is jumping up on you 80-year-old Aunt Nell, this is not a situation you ignore. You would redirect the dog to sit or lay down. He can’t jump if he is sitting.
Or you can ignore the behavior. Perhaps if your dog is barking, trying to get your attention, you could simply ignore it until he stops. Do not punish your dog, he wants attention and even negative attention counts as attention to a dog. So, you just ignore the unwanted behavior.
One more important thing to keep in mind with dog training, is that badly behaved puppies turn into badly behaved adult dogs. A behavior can be cute as a puppy, but it won’t be as an adult dog. A puppy jumping up on your leg is so cute, but you don’t want your adult dog to jump on you. If you don’t want your dog to do something as an adult do not encourage it when your dog is a puppy.
Here's a cool video, that helps to explain exactly what positive reinforcement dog training is, and how to implement it successfully.
What's the Best Training Equipment For Training a Whoodle
As mentioned before, when it comes to training; shock collars, prong collars, or choke chains are not acceptable and should never be used
To train a Whoodle, all you'll need is a harness, a leash, some treats and a lot or patience!
If you're Whoodle is still a pup, you will want to attach the leash to his harness and not his collar. Jerking or pulling on a collar, even a flat collar, can cause thyroid damage in younger and smaller dogs. Training with a harness is much more comfortable for all involved.
You are also going to need treats! A variety of treats makes training much more interesting for your Whoodle. Mix it up a bit, and pay attention to what your dog’s favorite treats are and save those for when your dog performs exceptionally well.
The Whoodle has a high prey drive, meaning he loves to chase things. This makes toys and games an epic option for rewarding your dog. When he does something you want him to do whip out a toy for a game of fetch or a game of tug. Use treats and games for a super interesting and fun training session!
How To Socialize a Whoodle
Socialization is an important part of any dog’s training program. It is especially important to introduce the Whoodle to small pets such as cats, bunnies, and hamsters at a young age. This will help to teach the Whoodle how to enjoy small pets without needing to chase and harass them.
Socialization starts at the breeders home and continues for the life of the dog. Proper socialization means that you introduce your dog to a variety of people, dogs, animals, places, sounds, sights, and smells. These introductions should be positive to help the Whoodle look forward to experiencing new things.
Some Training Tips When Training Your Whoodle
People and dogs learn better when training is fun.
If something is fun we look forward to doing it again. If things aren’t fun we don’t want to do them and we will procrastinate as much as possible. Our dogs are the same way. This is why we need to make training super fun. One of my trainers once said, “train every command like it is a trick and not just a basic cue.”
You should start training as soon as you bring your Whoodle home. He will be learning the whole time anyway. Those first two weeks are the most important for imparting to your dog what you want him to do and when. This is true whether you are bringing home a puppy or an adult dog.
So, how do you make training fun? Make it a game! This is super easy to do with a playful pup, especially if you use toys and games as a reward for a job well done.
An example would be having your dog sit, before you toss the ball for him. Having him lay down, before you whip out his rope toy for a game of tug. Or having him come to you, before you run away from him for a game of chase. Or practicing your recalls and stays while playing tag with your dog.
You can use treats on occasion instead of toys as well. Nothing like a tasty snack when you’ve been playing hard. Using treats and games in this way makes training super fun. It also makes you more interesting than the surrounding environment. If you are interesting, it is easier for your dog to focus on you and what you are asking him to do.
Because the Whoodle is an intelligent breed, it is a good idea to not repeat training too much. Do not ask him to sit 15 times in a row without adding in some fun like a game or another cue. Sit, down, speak, spin, sit, stand, come, change it up and make it more interesting for both of you.
Another way to help keep things fun is to keep training sessions short. This can easily be done by adding the training into everyday life. Have your Whoodle sit while you open the door to go outside. Call him to you randomly for a bite of cheese. Have him down-stay while you prepare his dinner. Or do 10-minute bursts of training frenzy with games throughout. Keep training short, but train often.
Always end the training session when you and your dog are still having fun. Look for calming signals form your dog. If your dog is looking away from you, yawning, or licking his lips these can be signs that he is stressed. If he is displaying calming signals it is a good idea to stop the training session.
Another key to fun training is to always end on a high note. Finish off any training session with a command you know your dog can do and do well. This will leave you both with a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Lastly, something I like to do when I finish a training session is to act sad that the training session is over. I mean the training was fun, you played games, gave treats, and saw your dog shine! Don’t act relieved that you got the training done for the day or that you can now check training off your to-do list. Instead, be sad that the fun is over for now. This will translate over to your dog and make you both all the happier for the next training session!
When training a new cue, it can be helpful to do a couple of reps and then let your dog sleep before you try again. Sleeping will give your dog time to understand the new information that you have given him. This can help him to learn more quickly.
Whoodle Training Classes - Some Tips
Training classes are a great option for Whoodles (and any dog) especially puppies.
A good training class will offer plenty of time for socialization, play, and training. Training classes are often an hour long. So, keep in mind the above training principles. Keep variety in the rewards, have fun, and change up the cues.
Be sure to go and observe training classes so you know what it will be like. When looking for a class to join, choose a class that offers positive reinforcement training only. You do not want a trainer from the dark ages that insists on leash corrections and punishment.
Imagine yourself being in the class with that trainer and whether or not you would be having fun. Look for a class that leaves you feeling like you just had a ton of fun.
Walking your Whoodle or playing with him before and after a training class can also be helpful.
This will help to tire him. He will be a little less bouncy when you enter class. Plus, a good play session after class can help to alleviate any stress that has built up during class. In addition, a tired dog is always better behaved than a dog that is bursting with energy.
The Whoodle may be easy or more challenging to train. This is due to the fact that Whoodles are a mix of the Poodle and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier. Poodles are known for being easy to train. The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier can be a bit more of a challenge. So, the Whoodle can be like either of his parents or a mixture of the two.
Training is best done when you focus on the positive. Praising and rewarding the dog for what he has done right and ignoring or redirecting the actions that you do not like. Rewards can be food treats, toys, or games.
With the proper training method and motivation, you can train your Whoodle to be a well-behaved companion.