Are Poodles Easy to Train? 9 Strategies for Poodle Training Success

Poodles have many traits that make them wonderful, sought-after pets. They are attractive, allergy-friendly, affectionate, and intelligent dogs that work to please their masters. With all of these desirable traits, you may wonder how receptive they are to learning positive behaviors.

poodle sitting on the lap
A super cute Poodle sitting on its owners lap

Are Poodles Easy to Train?

A resounding yes! Poodles ARE easy to train. Whether they are of the standard, miniature, or toy variety, Poodles are one of the most trainable dog breeds with their keen intelligence and eagerness to please their masters.

Almost any dog owner will be able to train an average Poodle to a very high standard.

The American Kennel Club gives the Poodle breed their highest marks on trainability. With equally high marks in mental stimulation needs, your poodle will enjoy working for your approval.

While no dog is perfect, Poodles are highly trainable. They come close!

What Characteristics Make Poodles Easy to Train

poodle sits on a outdoor lounge
A Tan Poodle sitting on an outdoor lounge. Beautiful!

As dogs originally bred for hunting, Poodles are meant to work and are happier with tasks to perform. Training gives purpose to their roles as furry companions with opportunities to please their masters, something that they naturally strive to do. As such, they are very receptive to learning new tasks and behaviors.

With their above-average intelligence, Poodles enjoy the mental stimulation the training process provides. They are smart enough to understand what you are trying to guide them to do, which makes training easier for both master and dog. Provide positive reinforcement, and your Poodle will be more than cooperative with your training efforts!

[Want to know the “dumbest” dog breeds? Check out our list of dog breeds known for other characteristics besides their brain]

Benefits of Training Your Poodle

naught parti poodle has torn up a pillow
A guilty looking two color Poodle

Properly training your Poodle ensures you get the behavior you expect from your pet so that you and your Poodle are happy living together. Remember, your Poodle is eager to please you, so you are fulfilling a need for your dog while making pet ownership a positive experience for all involved. 

Training also helps keep your Poodle focused on more desirable and constructive activities. 

Keep in mind that your Poodle’s above-average intelligence can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you interact with your dog. Without proper stimulation, your Poodle may find her own entertainment, which may not be to your liking! 

Being a high-energy breed means your Poodle needs a good deal of exercise. Teaching your Poodle games such as fetch and other athletic feats can fill the need for physical activity while instilling discipline and providing an opportunity for following commands and practicing recall.

How Long Does It Take to Housetrain a Poodle?

a gray poodle in the grass outside
A Miniature gray Poodle enjoying the outdoors.

Generally speaking, after 2 solid weeks of intense Poodle housetraining, most Poodles begin to get the idea that they need to do their business outdoors. That being said, full house training for puppies may take from 4-6 months. The number of accidents and time frame for completing training varies from dog to dog regardless of breed, but Poodles are smart cookies and catch on to the routine more quickly than average.

There are several methods to housetrain a dog, and Poodles are no exception. Whatever method you decide to use, consistency and positive reinforcement are key. Your Poodle needs regular repetition to learn what is expected of her and help her develop the ability to control her bodily functions. Treats and other rewards help cement the behavior you’re looking for.

What Commands Can Poodles Learn Easily?

chocolate toy poodle eats food from a bowl
A chocolate Toy Poodle eating from a ceramic bowl

Your Poodle is highly capable of learning obedience commands that help her be social with humans and other dogs. Pet parents who set clear expectations for their Poodle’s behavior will have more fulfilling relationships with their dogs. Basic commands are easy to teach your Poodle with positive reinforcement and repetition. 

Some beginning commands for your Poodle to master are sit, stay, come, down, and stand. These are easily taught by using a clicker and/or special treats to encourage them to get into the proper position that the command requires.

After your Poodle has mastered a few basics, you can continue adding additional commands you wish her to learn.

See our timeline for Poodle training. Know at which age you should be teaching certain tricks and behavior.

Reasons a Poodle May Be Difficult to Train

Cockapoo at beach vs poodle
Both Poodles and Cockapoos are water loving dogs. They can be frightened of waves though. Compare the Poodle vs Cockapoo in our guide.

While as a breed Poodles are highly rated in terms of trainability, in some cases you may encounter challenges while training your Poodle. It’s important to recognize these traits when teaching your dog new behaviors.

Poodles love attention and are not afraid to bark or resort to other unwanted behavior to get it. As hard as it may be, there will be times when ignoring certain behaviors may be the path for eliminating them. Once the unwanted behavior stops, you can give your Poodle some desired attention and a treat.

Poodles are also a high-energy breed. For this reason, it may sometimes be frustrating to get your Poodle calm enough to pay attention during training sessions.

Making sure your Poodle gets sufficient exercise can help her focus on the task at hand. Training when your Poodle is in a calm state with minimal distractions will produce better results.

9 Strategies for Training a Poodle

poodle puppy swims in a pool
A Poodle puppy swims in pool. Some Poodles love water from puppyhood!
  1. Do Your Research – There are many ways to train a dog. Compare methods for teaching specific behaviors to evaluate which method you are most comfortable with and feel you can stick to. Take your Poodle’s temperament into account when deciding among methods. Programs for intelligent and high-energy dogs will be best suited for your Poodle.
  2. Have a Plan – Keep in mind the behavior you are working on and be familiar with the steps for your chosen teaching method. Obtain any equipment you need to train your Poodle and have it at the ready when it’s training time. 
  3. Keep it Simple – Stick to one method or habit at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm or confuse your Poodle.
  4. Use Positive ReinforcementReward the behavior you want rather than punish behavior you don’t.
  5. Be Consistent – Apply the training method you are using for a specific desired behavior consistently over time for best results.
  6. Choose the Right Rewards – It’s recommended to buy special treats your Poodle loves to use only for training to keep her motivated, but keep in mind that treats are not the only effective reward! Dogs are also motivated by affection, playtime, and special toys.
  7. Be Prepared for Setbacks – People aren’t perfect, so have realistic expectations for your Poodle. There will be regression, but that doesn’t mean the training isn’t working. Be mentally prepared to work through those moments and keep your eye on the prize!
  8. Remain Calm – Training takes time and effort. Many behaviors need a great deal of repetition to become habits for your Poodle. Your patience and positive attitude will be rewarded!
  9. Know When to Call in a Professional – If you feel like you’ve tried it all without getting the results you desire, don’t hesitate to consult with a professional dog trainer. A trainer’s extensive experience may be what you need to diagnose the problem and get your training on track.

Learn More About Poodle Care and Training