How to train a miniature poodle

Updated July 19, 2017

The miniature poodle is an intelligent and highly trainable breed. They are enthusiastic and eager to please their owner. If you have a miniature poodle you know they also have boundless energy; obedience training is an excellent way to channel this energy and transform her into a well-behaved companion dog.

Establish yourself as your poodle's leader. If allowed to do so, he will try to assume this role, which will lead to behaviour problems and inhibit the training process. Simple steps send the clear message that you are the pack leader, such as never letting him walk through the door ahead of you when going outside to play or out for his daily walk.

Use a slip chain collar to train your dog to walk next to you. Firmly give her the command to "heel," and never let her walk in front of you, as this sends her the message that she is in charge. Poodles are notoriously stubborn when it comes to leash training, so be patient, use a calm but assertive voice and always temporarily stop the walk when she displays undesirable leash behaviour. And most importantly, employ positive reinforcement in the form of verbal praise and periodic treats as long as she follows your command.

Enrol your poodle in obedience training, preferably as early as three months old. Miniature poodles can be nervous and fearful of people and other animals if not properly socialised, so obedience training is a good place to begin socialising him. Obedience training will teach you to deliver basic commands such as "sit," "stay," "heel," "come," "down" and "drop it."

Practice obedience commands in three- to five-minute sessions several times a day. For best results keep these training sessions lively, fun and rewarding for your poodle.

Make your poodle perform a simple command, such as "sit" or "stay," before you give her food, water, treats, toys or affection. This is an important part of training her to be an obedient dog, and will continually reaffirm that you are her leader.

Encourage your poodle's natural watchdog instinct by teaching him to physically alert you when he hears a strange noise, or when someone comes to your door. You can achieve this by calling him to you when he barks, and then giving him a treat. Have treats readily available so you can do this every single time he barks. In time this will develop into a natural response and a treat will no longer be needed.

Do not allow your poodle to bark incessantly, which is a common nuisance with this breed. When you want her to stop barking give the firm command of "quiet." If she continues to bark, lightly spray her face with a water bottle.

Enrol your poodle in advanced training once he masters basic obedience commands. In advanced training you will learn to deliver commands such as "stop," "back up," "leave it" and "go to bed." Poodles also perform well in competitive obedience and agility training. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is a good resource when searching for a qualified trainer.


Miniature poodles have a lot of nervous energy and need to be exercised daily. The training process will be more successful when your dog has a chance to burn this energy.


Always choose a trainer that employs a positive reinforcement and reward approach, rather than a punitive or forceful approach.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog treats
  • Slip-chain collar
  • Leash
  • Spray water bottle
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About the Author

Mindy Carpenter has been a writer for more than 15 years. Her work ranges from short creative pieces to lengthy technical manuals. Carpenter graduated cum laude from New York University, earning a B.A. in humanities and creative writing.