Every dog owners dream is to have a well-trained an obedient companion, however without the correct training this may be unachievable. A proper program is the cornerstone of good behaviour in dogs, and without obedience training, dogs simply do not know how to behave. Dogs thrive off boundaries and predictable routines which will make them happier and healthier in the long run.
There are a number of ways you can train your dog; through classes, a professional, or even do it yourself. Each way of training has benefits and drawbacks; however a mix of all can be very beneficial for both you and your pup.
When to start training
Whether you’ve picked up a brand new puppy or you’ve rescued an older dog, training should start immediately. It is important to deter your dog from picking up bad behaviours by not allowing them to get away with certain things in the settling in phase. This is why you should have ground rules locked in before getting a dog. Do your best not to break these rules, otherwise their behaviour could reflect poorly on your rule breaking.
The keys to training your dog are repetition, structured programs, patience, and rewards. Joining a training class is a great way to start off as well as an opportunity for your dog to meet other dogs and people and become sociable. From there you can continue your training at home, and remember to only give positive reinforcements when they complete the desired task – otherwise they will not understand the training concept.
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when training your dog:
- Listen to your dog: if they look uncomfortable meeting another dog or person, take them away from the situation immediately
- Affection, affection, affection: make sure you let your pup know when they have done the right thing and be generous with your affection towards them – it’s even ok to go a little over the top
- Be direct: instead of telling your dog ‘no’ when they do a non-desired behaviour such as jumping on someone, give them a command such as sit to show what they should be doing instead
- Consistency is key: this is especially important with a family dog. If there are a number of conflicting commands when it comes to a certain behaviour, your four legged friend may become easily confused
- Positive reinforcement: during training, treats are the chosen reward for certain behaviours. However as they begin to learn more and do the command much quicker, the reward can be anything from a cuddle, pat, or rub to playtime or a walk.
Training time should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your pup. You should take this time to bond with them and start the foundations of a well behaved, sociable furry friend. If you’re having trouble with training, you can always seek a behavioural expert or experienced dog trainer.