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 dogs 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 and bring you closer together.
With this in mind, Pedigree has identified a few, basic training tips to help get you get the upper paw.
You’re the boss
If you give your dog free reign of your house, 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 can pick up on feelings of anxiety or hysteria, so always using a calm, firm voice.
If you let your dogs onto 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 and it’ll be easier for your dog to understand each person.
Don’t tell your dog off 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 R’s of training – Repeat, Reward and Reinforce.
- Repeating the lesson or action you are trying to achieve, 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. Note that it won’t work as effectively straight after a meal.
- Make sure the treat is healthy and that you’re using just enough to keep your dog motivated. The new Tasty Bites Chewy Cubes (Available for Adults and Puppies) and Rodeo Tasty Chewy Twists are the perfect treat to reward your dog as they are packed with all the flavours and nutrients your dog needs in a treat.
- Use to 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.
Remember, just because you are seeing results doesn’t mean you won’t experience behaviour problems, so remain consistent and pick up some Pedigree Treats, which are available at all major retailers nationwide, to make your basic training a breeze.