How Smart Are Goldendoodles? And How to Make Them Smarter?

Intelligence varies from one dog breed to another and it can be somewhat difficult to measure, especially when it comes to crossbreeds.

Goldendoodles are a crossbreed between Golden Retrievers and Poodles which rank very highly among the smartest dog breeds. Consequently, Goldendoodles are just as smart as their parent breeds – if not smarter.

So, how smart are Goldendoodles? Goldendoodles are very smart as they are very perceptive of their environment and the feelings of those around them. They have an uncanny ability to communicate with their owners and can learn commands very quickly. To make your Goldendoodle smarter, you need to engage them in mentally stimulating activities.

Keep reading to learn more about what it means for dogs to be smart, what makes Goldendoodles smart, and how to make them even smarter.

What Does It Mean for a Dog to Be Smart?

Intelligence is a very important trait in any dog breed, but it’s not really easy to measure and it varies from one dog breed to another.

Stanley Coren, who’s a psychologist and a canine research expert, conducted a clinical study that helped define what it means for a dog to be smart as he divided canine intelligence into 3 main categories which are instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence, and working intelligence.

Even though the study hasn’t been repeated or expanded, it’s considered the leading starting point for measuring intelligence in canines.

A prominent criticism of Dr. Coren’s study is that it was only done on pure dog breeds and excluded multiple popular cross breeds such as Goldendoodles. Another criticism is that it mostly focused on one category of canine intelligence which is the working intelligence.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the 3 main categories of canine intelligence.

The Main 3 Categories of Canine Intelligence

  • Instinctive intelligence – This refers to the dog’s ability to perform the tasks it was bred for such as herding, retrieving, companionship, etc.
  • Adaptive intelligence – This refers to the dog’s ability to solve any problems it comes across without help from its owner.
  • Working intelligence – This refers to the dog’s ability to learn commands quickly. It’s based on the number of repetitions it takes for a dog to learn a certain command, so the fewer the repetitions, the faster the dog’s learning and the smarter the dog is. It’s also based on the percentage that a dog can perform a known command.

Are Goldendoodles Smart?

goldendoodle chewing on toy to answer how smart are goldendoodles

Goldendoodles are considered smart based on the level of intelligence their parent breeds have exhibited. In fact, they’re often considered to be smarter than their parent breeds combined.

They are a cross between Golden Retrievers and Poodles which rank 4th and 2nd respectively in the clinical study conducted by Stanley Coren.

As mentioned before, the study focused on the working intelligence of pure dog breeds so it’s mostly based on the number of repetitions it took for a dog breed to learn a new command and the percentage that a dog breed can perform a known command.

The study showed that Golden Retrievers and Poodles were able to learn the commands with fewer repetitions as well as obey known commands right the first attempt. So, not only are they fast at learning but they’re also highly obedient.

You can learn more about how smart are golden retrievers here.

Let’s take a quick look at the results of the study with numbers:

It was shown that both dog breeds can learn new commands with just 5 repetitions or less. In other words, it can take less than 10 minutes to teach these dogs a new command.

It was also shown that both dog breeds can obey known commands on the first attempt with a 95% (or higher) success rate.

To put these results in perspective, the study showed that other dog breeds with average intelligence can learn new commands with 25 to 40 repetitions which means they need about 5 to 8 times more repetitions compared to the Goldendoodle’s parent breeds.

Additionally, other dog breeds can obey known commands on the first attempt with only a 50% success rate which means that the Goldendoodle’s parent breeds are nearly twice as successful in comparison.

What Makes Goldendoodles Smart?

Now that we’ve established why the Goldendoodle parent breeds are considered smart, let’s take a look at what makes Goldendoodles just as smart, if not smarter than their parent breeds:

  • They have an uncanny ability to communicate their needs with their owners in clever ways.
  • They are very perceptive and have a keen sense of understanding their surrounding environment as well as their owners.
  • They can easily infer what their owners are feeling, whether they’re sad or happy, then they will approach and behave accordingly.
  • They can decipher what their owners want them to do from the simplest of gestures such as following their gaze or pointing to an object.
  • They are easy to train and discipline as they can quickly learn many new commands as well as remember already known commands on the first try.

How to Tell If Your Goldendoodle Is Smart?

Even though you can’t really perform an IQ test on your Goldendoodle, you can easily tell if it’s smart.

Here are some of the signs that indicate that your Goldendoodle is smart:

  • Your dog can learn new commands or tricks quickly. It can also remember old commands without much practice.
  • Your dog has great problem-solving skills and can do very well with puzzle toys or any activities that involve mental stimulation.
  • Your dog will take cues from you and can mimic your actions to achieve similar results such as learning how opening doors.
  • Your dog can easily follow its daily routine and still adapt to any changes or new situations without trouble.
  • Your dog can tell if you’re happy and want to play or if you’re sad and in need of comforting then behave accordingly.
  • Your dog can get your attention and communicate what it needs from you such as rubbing against your hand when it wants to get ear scratches or giving you its paw when it wants to get a handshake.
  • Your dog will initiate playtime with you by bringing you its favorite toys.
  • Your dog can tell when you’re going outside by observing your mannerisms.
  • Your dog can easily recognize its surroundings when going outside by spotting any familiar landmarks.
  • Your dog knows how to stay safe when going outside and will often try to keep you safe as well.

How to Make Your Goldendoodle Smarter?

Even though Goldendoodles are naturally smart, you can always work on developing their skills and making them even smarter.

So, here are some useful tips you can follow to make your Goldendoodle smarter:

  • Make sure to socialize your dog at a young age by exposing it to different sounds and scents and allowing it to interact with different places, animals, and people.
  • Start training and disciplining your dog at a young age to make it more open to learning new things. It will also ensure that you’re dog is well-behaved and obedient.
  • Make sure to teach your dog basic commands like “stop” “sit” “stay” “come” and “down” at the beginning of its training before progressing to any advanced commands or tricks.
  • Try to find opportunities to incorporate the commands your dog has learned throughout its daily routines such as during its exercise sessions or playtime.
  • Make sure to spend as much time as possible with your dog to develop a stronger bond between the two of you.
  • Encourage your dog to take in its surroundings by allowing it to sniff anything it comes across.
  • Try to regularly introduce new things into your dog’s daily routine such as giving it a new toy, teaching it a new trick, or playing a new game.
  • Make sure to engage your dog in various mentally stimulating activities for at least 30 minutes a day along with their physical exercises to develop their skills.
  • Make sure to give your dog treats and praise whenever it displays any smart behavior such as successfully obeying a command or performing a trick as positive reinforcement will encourage it to continue displaying this kind of behavior.

Stimulating Activities to Do with Your Goldendoodle

Mental stimulation is key to developing your Goldendoodle’s skills and making it smarter.

So, here are some fun and stimulating activities you can do with your Goldendoodle:

Fetch Games

Fetch games are ideal for exercising your dog both mentally and physically.

They provide a great opportunity to develop your dog’s instinctive intelligence as well as practice different commands.

You can easily play this game with your dog both indoors and outdoors as all you need to do is toss a ball across in any direction, then ask your dog to retrieve it for you.

You can also purchase this inexpensive IQ Treat Ball which is a treat dispenser that combines playing fetch with food.

All you need to do is fill the ball with your dog’s favorite treats, then toss it across the room. As the ball rolls over, it will dispense the treats and your dog will be able to retrieve them from the ball.

You also can make the game more advanced and increase its difficulty by making the opening for the treats smaller.

Hot and Cold Game

The Hot and Cold game relies mostly on verbal communication. It will help develop your dog’s listening skills and teach it how to interpret your vocal tone.

To play this game, you need to hide one of your dog’s toys or treats when it’s not looking, then you need to help your dog look for the hidden object by communicating verbally.

If your dog is moving away from the hidden object, that means it’s cold and you need to use a calm tone to communicate that. If your dog is getting closer to the treat, then that means it’s hot and you need to use a more excited tone to communicate that.

Nose Work Games

Nose works games rely mostly on your dog’s sense of smell. They will help develop your dog’s scent recognition skills as well as its tracking skills.

You can easily play these kinds of games with your dog both indoors and outdoors.

All you need to do is place some treats in different locations across your home or backyard, then create a scent trail that your dog can sniff until it tracks the treats.

Another way of playing is to place 3 cups in front of your dog and hide treats under one of the cups. Switch the cups around, so that your dog can find the cup with the treat underneath through observation as well as smell.

You can also purchase this Sniff Diggy Mat which is made up of various pieces of colorful fabric that you can hide the treat in so your dog can dig through and find the treats by relying on its sense of smell.

Puzzle Toys

There are a wide variety of puzzle toys available with the main objective of getting the dog to use their skills to solve the puzzle and earn a reward. These puzzles will help improve the dog’s cognitive skills and memory as well as teach them to stay focused on a specific task for a period of time.

You can purchase this TRIXIE strategy game that is designed to teach dog cause and effect. Your dog will need to use different techniques to flip knobs and sliding disks to find a hidden treat.

Obstacle Courses

Obstacles courses will help improve your dog’s agility as well as teach to follow commands and cues as it moves through the course.

You can easily make a DIY obstacle course out of common household objects such as pillows, cushions, chairs, and low tables. All you need to do is set the obstacles around while making sure it has enough space to move or jump, then guide your dog through by using different commands or treats.

You can purchase this Obstacle Courses Training Starter Kit which you can easily set up in your backyard. It comes with different kinds of obstacles and hurdles that your dog can go through. It’s also made from non-toxic plastic material that’ll be safe for your dog to play with.

Related Questions

What Is the Smartest Dog Breed?

The smartest dog breed is the Border Collie. It ranked first place in a study conducted by Stanley Coren to measure the intelligence of pure dog breeds. Other dog breeds that rank high on this study are Poodles, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Dobermans, Shetland Sheepdogs, Labrador Retrievers, Papillons, and Rottweiler.

Are Goldendoodles Easy to Train?

Goldendoodles are easy to train even if you are a beginner with no experience in training dogs. That is because these dogs are highly intelligent and can easily learn new commands in a short time. However, the training process will be a lot easier if you start when the dog is at a young age.

Are Goldendoodles Good as Service Dogs?

Goldendoodles are good as service dogs as they’re very smart and perceptive of others feelings. They can be used in nursing homes and hospitals to comfort traumatized individuals and guide them through stressful situations. They can also help individuals with sight or balance issues.

Do Goldendoodles Need Physical Exercise?

Goldendoodles do need physical exercise. They’re highly energetic, so they need to be exercised regularly to help them release any excess energy, otherwise, they will become bored or depressed. It’s recommended for Goldendoodles to exercise for about 60 minutes every day.

How to Train Goldendoodles to Follow a Command?

To train your Goldendoodle to follow a command, you first need to establish a simple command word that you want your dog to respond to, then repeat that word in a firm tone whenever you want your dog to associate the word with a certain action. Make sure to reward your dog whenever it successfully acts on the command by giving it a treat.

Helpful Resources 

The Intelligence of Dogs 

Stanley Coren’s Dog Intelligence Ranking

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

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