Teaching and training your dog basic commands and cues is a fun and rewarding experience for both of you. It’s important to begin training your dog at an early age to get the foundations right before your puppy grows into an adult dog. Puppy training and teaching your dog is a great way to spend time together and can also be lots of fun!
Dogs are fast learners, and with your loving guidance, training your dog how to ‘come’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and even go to the toilet will nurture your relationship as well as encourage good behaviour. Well-trained dogs are less likely to stray, and generally have more comfortable and fulfilling lives compared to their untrained counterparts.
Young puppies make eager pupils, so you can start training your dog as soon as you get them home. It’s a myth that pups need to be at least six months old before they can be properly trained – the younger they are, the easier it is to teach them. Think of them as little furry sponges, waiting to soak up all the learning you can give them!
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Here you’ll find lots of advice on the basics of dog training. For more detailed and advanced dog training advice, try contacting a professional trainer.
Clicker training uses a small plastic box (available from pet stores) that fits into the palm of your hand. Press one end with your thumb and it makes a clear double ‘click’ noise, which you can train your dog to respond to. Here’s how:
Now that you have all of the tools and rules for training your dog, you can get started!
Sitting on cue is something that we all expect our dogs to do but how many of us have spent the time training this cue so that it’s reliable?
It’s never too late to teach your dog to sit so let’s get started.
This is another basic dog command, but be careful not to confuse your dog by saying ‘down’ if you want them to get off the sofa or to stop pawing at your legs. Use ‘off’ for those times instead, and reward them when they obey you.
Teaching your dog to come when called (known as the ‘recall’) is one of the most important things your dog will ever learn. The key to success is starting early (from six to eight weeks), since young puppies love following their owners around. By six months old your dog will be more independent and the recall will be harder to teach.
Training your dog to ‘stay’ is probably one of the most challenging cues to teach – puppies hate being still! But with short, frequent practice sessions this useful exercise can be mastered.
Dog training works by rewarding good behaviour and ignoring unwanted responses – after all, your dog wants your approval. But sometimes you have to show your dog that their behaviour isn’t what you want. Rather than shouting or constantly saying ‘no’, teach your dog a ‘no’ signal that tells them to stop whatever they’re doing whenever they hear it.
Teaching and training your dog to learn the ‘no’ signal can be done with dog-training discs (unless your dog has a very nervous disposition or is easily frightened by sudden noises). These are five metal discs, a little like mini cymbals, joined together on a key fob. You can hold them silently, but at the precise moment you need to say ‘no’ they can be dropped to make a unique sound your dog isn’t likely to hear anywhere else.
The discs can also be used to teach a ‘leave it’ command.
Always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your pet’s health, as they can recommend individual advice or treatment options. For detailed behavioural advice tailored specifically for your pet, we suggest you contact a qualified pet behaviourist.
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