22 Jan Top Tips for Having a Happy & Well-Behaved Dog
Here’s our top dog training tips:
- Never shout at, hit, yank, push or pull your dog.
- Training must be fun! If you are not enjoying it then neither is your dog … he should see it as a game.
- Make sure you always have your dog’s attention before you ask for any command. If he is not looking at you then there is a high chance that he is not listening to you.
- Vary the commands you are practising, never expect your dog to repeat the same exercise more than a few times in a row.
- Use toys as well as food rewards in your training. Vary the toys, types of treats and the delivery of the reward during a training session … keep him guessing! Remember that once your dog has learnt a behaviour there is no need to reward every time; instead save your rewards for his best attempts. Grade your rewards so he gets the high-value titbits for putting in extra effort.
- Practise your training out on a walk. You cannot expect your dog to perform perfectly in a public situation if you only practise in the security of your back garden. Also appreciate that dogs learn by situational learning, so your dog may see “sit” indoors as a completely different behaviour to “sit” in the park.
- If you are not in the mood to train, don’t train! Your dog will pick up on your negative mood and won’t respond as you hope, causing a vicious circle and resulting in a frustrating training session.
- Always end each training session on a positive note and before your dog gets tired and de-motivated.
- Lower your expectations in environments with lots of distractions.
- Remember that any attention your dog receives from you is reward; so, what you may see as a scolding, your dog may see as a game! Try to ignore unwanted behaviours and only give your dog attention when he is offering a behaviour you like.
- Make sure your dog is receiving an adequate amount of mental and physical stimulation. Mental stimulation involves your dog using his brain, e.g. using food dispensing toys, playing, training, searching for food etc … the list is endless.
- Practise, practise, practise! You cannot expect your dog to learn a behaviour after just a few repetitions, you must carry out a small amount of training each day for the rest of your dog’s life to keep the behaviours fluent.