Just like humans, dogs need to know who’s in charge and what their boundaries are. The best way to develop this understanding, while spending quality time with them, is to provide them with proper training. While it’s best to start training when they are puppies, older dogs can be trained too – contrary to the adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
At first, dog training can seem daunting, especially if it’s the first time you’re attempting it. The truth is, training a dog requires commitment and patience, but the quality time you spend together will be mutually rewarding. Pedigree has identified a few, basic training tips to help you get the upper paw.
You’re the boss
If you give your dog free reign, he will assume he is pack leader and think he can do what he likes. Be strict until your dog knows his place – whether it’s no sofa, no bed or no treats. Dogs pick up on feelings of anxiety or hysteria, so always use a calm, firm voice.
If you let your dogs on the bed, but your partner pushes them off, you’ll just confuse them. All people involved in raising the dog need to agree on what’s allowed and what isn’t – and then they all need to stick to it. Be consistent with your commands, too. You’ll have more success with one simple command, like “No” than with a mixture of “Don’t do that!”, “Stop it!” and “Oi!”. Get everyone to stick to the same commands.
Don’t punish after the event
If you arrive home one day to find your slippers in tatters, it’s too late to reprimand your dog. Dogs can’t associate something they did earlier with being told off. Reprimanding your dog only works if you catch him in the act.
Repeat, reward and reinforce
- Remember the three Rs: Repeating the lesson or action, helps your dog learn what you’re looking for. Rewarding your dog for good behaviour over and over again is the key to a happy, obedient dog. By rewards, we don’t just mean treats. Use a combination of treats, verbal praise and stroking. Here are some hints to help you to use rewards:
- Reward your dog as soon as they obey so they associate the reward with the right action. A food reward should be something really tempting.
- Make sure the treat is healthy and that you’re using just enough to keep your dog motivated.
- Let your dog know which action you’re rewarding, then gradually shift to verbal praise and stroking. You want your dog to be motivated by praise and love, as well as food. Reinforcing the lesson at regular intervals allows for consistency and means your dog won’t forget what he’s learnt. Remain consistent and pick up those treats.