March is usually the time for Crufts but this year we will have to wait…
Training a dog is the best way to make sure both a dog and its human can be happy and healthy together. If you have a Dog Dad in your life (or if you are one yourself!) why not make this Father’s Day the best one yet by giving them the gift of dog training know-how?
Making sure a dog is obedient and well-trained is an important task for any responsible pet owner. What’s more, knowing that you have successfully trained your dog is one of the most rewarding parts of dog ownership. It will help you build a good relationship with your dog, and is an excellent way to strengthen your bond. All dogs can benefit from learning a few basic commands, whether they’re puppies or distinguished seniors.
The most vital tasks include teaching your dog how to behave appropriately, walk properly on-leash and return when they hear their name. Done right, training really doesn’t have to be that difficult. If you want to improve your bond with your dog and build on their training, there are plenty of humane ways to do this.
We all know a Dog Dad who’s relationship with their furry companion comes a little closer to father-son than owner-pet. Maybe you even know someone who is receiving or adopting a new
dog soon. Whatever the situation, why not step up your Father’s Day gift game this year by replacing the standard socks or tie with a jump start in their dog training?
With a little research and guidance you can help your friend, husband or father to train their own dog, or you can contact a dog trainer or puppy training school on their behalf. More advanced methods such as clicker training are best carried out in dog training classes with professional trainers, but the basics of dog training can be picked up from guides like The Essential Guide to Dog Training from Perfect Pets.
Training can also help you get on top of behavioural issues like phobias, anxiety, aggression and destructiveness, and you can get specialist support in this by contacting a qualified behaviourist.
Of course, while training can be effective at any age, starting out on the right foot by training your dog as a puppy is ideal. It’s much better to prevent behaviour problems early on than to have to deal with them later.
If you (or the Dog Dad in your life) are worried you won’t be able to train the dog independently, dog training instructors are available who can teach owners how to train their own pets. If you’re only hoping to achieve basics like “sit” and “stay”, though, all you need is a good set of instructions and a little perseverance.
Why Train My Dog?
Teaching your dog to remain safe and under control, basic obedience commands like sitting, waiting and coming back when called can give them the freedom to do the things they like to do – like coming with you to meet friends and family or exploring independently. It’s also a great way to stop them from getting bored, as dogs are intelligent animals who love to learn.
How Does a Dog Learn?
Reward-based training is widely accepted as the best way to help your dog learn.
Rewarding your dog when they do what you want is the best way to teach them which behaviours you consider positive. You can learn all about this rewards-based dog training in The Essential Guide to Dog Training from Perfect-Pets books. This method is both more effective and more humane than types of training which involve punishments. Setting your dog up to succeed in this way will make training enjoyable for both animal and owner.
Both dogs and owners can be endangered by training techniques that are unpleasant to the dog. Your connection with your pet can be damaged by punishment, and it can cause fear, anxiety and aggression. If you have concerns about your dog’s behaviour or progress, you can always talk to your vet about classes.
Today, there are hundreds of great puzzle and enrichment toys for dogs on the market. It’s best to avoid increasing frustration by making the puzzles too tricky at first, but you can get your dog to become very invested in their puzzles by using the toys to dispense some meals. Finding out what your dog’s favourite things are is a key part of rewards-based training – what treats, toys and activities do they really like?
Small pieces of cheese or meat often go down very well. Your dog will enjoy learning and training all the more if you give them a reward they really want.
Top Tips for Training
The following tips will make training go more smoothly, but this list is far from exhaustive! If you’re training a dog for the first time, we recommend you invest in a good dog-training guide to help you.
- Decide on the house rules and follow them consistently to avoid confusion.
- Set up a private den – giving your dog their own space will put them at ease and make housetraining easier.
- Help your dog relax – a calm environment will make training easier.
- Teach your pup to come when called – this is the most important skill so it should be the first thing they learn.
- Distractions are not the dog trainer’s friends, so always start lessons for new tricks in a quiet room in your house.
- Don’t worry if your dog doesn’t pick things up straight away – be patient and trust they will learn at their own pace.
- Make sure your sessions end positively by finishing with something your dog already knows.
- Keep your dog from getting overwhelmed by breaking training up into short but regular sessions.
- Reward good behaviour to make learning fun.
- Reward-based training generally involves ignoring any ‘unwanted’ behaviour. This includes avoiding eye contact with your dog and only rewarding it with attention or treats when all four paws are on the ground. If a dog is not rewarded for certain behaviour, then they tend to stop doing it.
- All dogs should progress to transition classes and adult training classes so that socialisation and education continues for life.
- Choose your dog’s name wisely – strong, easily-recognised names will make it much easier to train them.
If you want to give the gift of dog training to the Dog Dad in your life, help them out by teaching these tricks and give them a good dog training guide that they can follow. For example, The Essential Guide to Dog Training from Perfect Pets explains rewards-based techniques that will build and strengthen the owner-pet bond. It’s also a great side-gift if you’re getting your father or husband a puppy this Father’s Day!