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Training to Find Your Dog's True Potential

At PURINA, we believe that dogs are capable of a lot more than one might think. That’s why we’re always looking for new ways to train pets to unlock their true potential. Whether it’s training in athleticism, problem solving or even being a helpful companion for people in need, we see dogs doing new things every day.

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

The behaviorists at PURINA believe positive reinforcement is not only the best technique for establishing a good relationship with your dog while training, but that it’s also the most effective. Positive reinforcement consists of associating a reward with a desired behaviour. If you use positive reinforcement during training, your dog will learn to associate training time and behaving well with praise, affection or treats. Some forms of punishment training may lead to stress and anxiety for dogs and may weaken the relationship you have with your dog.

Training Tips

Mostly, you will need a bit of patience and a willing pet. You will also need a small, tasty treat to reward your dog and a quiet room with no distractions to enable you and your dog to concentrate. It can be very helpful to join a training class for guidance, support and socialisation or work from a reputable dog-training book that uses a positive reinforcement method. Ensure you have suitable training aids or equipment to hand, such as clicker, harness, lead and so on. Once your dog is performing a certain task reliably, you can start to ask him to do this in a ‘real’ situation. You can train a dog to perform almost any task with clear, concise commands and a suitable reward.

TRAINING RULES

  • Keep training sessions short and sweet. It’s better to do six five-minute sessions than one half-hour stint each day – young puppies often lose concentration easily.
  • Only train when you are in a good mood, or you may take your stress out on your pet.
  • Always end training sessions on a positive note with an exercise you know your dog can do easily, so you finish with the taste of success.
  • At first, train with no distractions. Establish what you are trying to teach in a quiet environment and only add distractions later, so that your dog learns to respond in a range of environments.
  • Training must always be reward-based – treats, toys, games and cuddles. Negative, compulsive, punishing techniques are cruel and don’t work. Never use a choke or check chain as you can injure your dog’s neck very easily. If you need more physical control, fit a head collar.
  • Training your dog is an excellent way for you to bond with him and ensure a strong and healthy relationship.

TREATS

Treats can help you use positive reinforcement to train your dog. Just make sure treats never comprise more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

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