Dog training is an area that seems to cause stress for a lot of dog owners, but it really doesn’t have to. Approached with the right attitude and tools, training your dog can be some of the most fun and entertaining time you get to spend together and it’s a great way to bond.
Why is training necessary?
We’ve all seen and heard them – dogs hurtling down the street dragging their flustered owners behind them, or barking uncontrollably through the night. These animals aren’t badly behaved by nature – they just need some simple guidelines in place to understand what is and isn’t acceptable.
Basic training teaches your dog manners and reinforces your position as both the carer and voice of authority. It’s important that training begins early in your dog’s life to establish boundaries and good behaviours early on.
Sadly, many dogs are surrendered to shelters or abandoned by their owners simply because they haven’t been trained property and are deemed as ‘problem dogs’ with unsociable behaviours when with a little guidance and training early on this often could have been prevented.
Behavioural and obedience training
Behavioural training focuses on forming good habits, preventing bad habits and teaching your pet how to interact with other dogs. Obedience training teaches your dog basic commands like ‘stay’, ‘sit’, ‘come’ or ‘heel’. The two key ingredients for any successful training program are clear, repeated commands and, of course, rewards for good behaviour.
If you feel that your own training attempts aren’t getting the results they should, you might want to try joining a class (also a great way for your dog to socialise). You could enlist the help of a training professional for one-on-one training if you think your dog has particular obedience/behavioural problems or you could try a dog training manual.
Product Tip: Medibank’s Gold Paw cover pays Routine Care benefits towards obedience training and behavioural therapy. Find out more
This may come as a surprise to some, but when you are walking your dog on a leash they’re actually supposed to walk along beside you, not out in front of you leading the way! A short leash is a good place to start. If your dog does start to tug on the leash and move ahead, stop walking and wait for your dog to either stop or sit. Praise your dog then take a couple of small steps backwards and wait for them to move back towards you. Repeat this process as you need to.
General training tips
- Focus on the fun element and try not to get impatient or raise your voice. Keep it measured at all times and firm.
- Be consistent with your own ‘in-house’ rules.
- Never use negative reinforcement.
- Reward your dog with treats or cuddles when they respond correctly to your command.
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