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QUESTION: How Easy are Bolognese Dogs to Train?

ANSWER: The Bolognese is an intelligent breed and can usually be relatively easily trained. Training treats can be used, from a young age, to reward good behaviour. Start by teaching your puppy to come when called. They will quickly learn key words and phrases and pick up on situations and your behaviour. Early socialisation is vital in rearing a well balanced and sociable dog. Your vet may hold puppy parties, which can really help contribute to a rounded upbringing and a happy dog.

Grooming is an important issue with the breed, so puppies MUST get used to being groomed. It is a good idea to groom a puppy every day from a young age until they get used to it. During grooming some areas of the body are less likely to be tolerated than others, such as the feet, under the tail and the groin area. It is vital to persist and cover these areas daily as the puppy will eventually get used it. Use praise, encouragement and food treats to help dogs accept grooming and other procedures such as nail clipping, eye, ear and teeth cleaning.

Bad behaviour should be stopped by removing the puppy to a ‘time out’ place. If this is done consistently with good behaviour being praised and rewarded Bolognese do quickly learn what is required from them. You may find, as with other toy breeds, that your Bolognese suffers from separation anxiety. As they are so loyal, they do get attached to people and sometimes don’t like to be separated. To avoid this happening, it’s a good idea to leave your puppy home alone for short periods from day one. Make sure the puppy is in a safe place when left and that he has toys and possibly a warm heat pad for comfort.

Bolognese can be trained easily to do tricks such as roll over, jump through hoops and use other agility apparatus. If given the opportunity a Bolognese is likely to really enjoy activities such as agility, obedience training and learning tricks.

Lead training

Gradually introduce your puppy to wearing a collar in the home and then introduce a lead for short periods. In a quiet place use treats or a favourite toy to encourage the puppy to walk beside you. When training your dog to walk on a lead never pull on the lead, encourage the puppy move in its own time.

When out on a walk, Bolognese are a breed that will usually come back when called. Toy dogs tend to be loyal and not interested too much in following a scent or ignoring you when you call them. However, they do like to make friends with other dogs and can run off to greet them. When walking your Bolognese, it is a good idea to look out and see what other dogs are in the area. If you are in doubt that the other dogs will be friendly and not boisterous with your Bolognese, put your dog on the lead. Bolognese can get easily spooked by other dogs especially as puppies.


Puppies naturally do not want to mess in their sleeping area and will automatically toilet outside, if given the chance to. After eating or when they first wake up, take a puppy outside and they will relieve themselves. Praise or treats can be used to re-enforce correct toileting.

In the car

Travelling in a car will not automatically come easy to any dog. The first few times a puppy will shake, whimper, be a little distressed and possibly vomit. It’s a good idea not to feed your dog in the early stages before a car journey. As with leaving your dog home alone, car journeys need to be gradually introduced to avoid making a rod for your own back. Your dog must be restrained in the car and the best way is to use a small crate with bedding and a favourite toy. Build up the journeys gradually and after a few times things will be a whole lot better.


For showing, it is vital to sign up for specialist training classes as this will teach you and your dog how to behave in the show ring and allow judges to examine your dog including his teeth. You would be extremely lucky to put a dog in the ring at 6-months with no ring craft training and have a good experience. If a dog is comfortable with the show environment, he will move freely and show himself off in the best possible way.

We would love to hear your tips or experiences of training your Bolognese. Please make your comment in the comment box below.


Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.