No matter how much we love our pet pooches, sometimes they can be a little mischievous or unaware of the appropriate way to act and need some guidance.
Teaching your pup the basic obedience commands will not only ensure your dog is better behaved, but also crucially, it builds trust and a strong bond between the two of you. Dogs are social pack animals, they put their trust in a leader and each interaction we have with our canine friends is based on that innate perception of how a pack should function and striving for the best chance of survival. Dogs are usually happier having a leader, without someone to guide their behaviour can make them anxious, and unsure of how to behave and this leads to ‘bad’ habits, so training provides important stimulation, exercise and guidance.
There are many benefits of training your dog, pack instincts guide our pups and they need to feel secure in a confident leader, as their owners this role falls to us. Teaching the basic commands, such as sit and stay, will help provide a solid foundation for your dog’s understanding of who is in charge, whilst helping you understand your dog better all while allowing you to spend some quality time together!
We’ve put together a handy guide of essential tips and tricks for helping you get started with the basics of training.
Remember patience is KEY and always have some of your dog’s favourite treats to hand to reward their hard work and good behaviour.
THE BASIC COMMANDS YOU AND YOUR DOG NEED TO MASTER
Let’s start with the basics. Here are a few core instructions to teach your furry friend.
- First, get your dog’s attention – showing a treat in your hand should do the trick
- Hold the treat directly above your pup’s nose so they can smell it, then slowly move it upwards
- Your dog should naturally sit as this is the position in which they can follow the treat and keep it in sight. Discourage jumping up for the treat
- As soon as your pup is in the correct sitting position this is when you clearly say the command ‘sit’ and of course give them the treat, while rewarding them with affection and praise
- Repeat this exercise regularly until your dog has learnt the behaviour
- Tell your dog to ‘sit’ and put their treat near to their nose then give the command ‘stay’
- Next, take a few steps away from your dog. If they stay and wait, move back over to them and give them the treat. If they move say ‘no’ and move them back to where they were and start again
- When your dog stays, and you have finished moving away, walk back over to them give the treat and lots of praise!
- Repeat this, gradually increasing the distance and time, each attempt, until your dog can stay for 30 seconds
- It is helpful whilst in the early stages of teaching this command to have your dog wearing a collar and an extra-long leash
- If you’ve taught your dog to sit and stay on demand, teaching them to come is a great way to ensure that they can be let off the lead and stay safe whilst returning when you call
- Get your pooch to sit and stay – move a couple of paces away – then say ‘come’ in an excited and positive tone with your arms open. Reward them with plenty of affection and offer a treat
- Repeat this, and as with the ‘stay’ command, increase your distance each time
- A handy hint from us; Never call your dog to come if you are going to tell them off or punish them. This means they will associate negative outcomes with coming when called, meaning they are less likely to come the next time you try
HENRY DOVE, VETERINARY EXPERT FOR CANAGAN
“Dogs can have ‘off’ days so make sure to stop and start. Ensure you work on reward for doing something well either with treats, allow play with toys or praise and fuss and make sure the training is short and sweet”.
Understanding why dogs behave in the ways that they do, that get them in trouble such as climbing on furniture, chewing and digging requires us to consider the traits that bind a pack of dogs together and the instincts which all dogs are born with. These instincts, inherited from their wolf ancestors, influence their behaviour and our pets need us to be firm and secure leaders, who they can look to for guidance.
How our behaviour can undermine or undo training
Just like us, our canine companions develop behaviour patterns and learn habits from their environment, as well as the people around them. As your dog gets older, these habits become harder to change and they can get stuck in their ways. If we let our dog constantly get away with bad behaviour this can lead to unwanted problems and behaviours.
With this in mind, it’s important to consider how your behaviour can undermine or undo all you and your furry friends hard work. This is particularly apparent in how our feeding habits affect our dog’s behaviour. Feeding your dog the correct diet is essential in ensuring a healthy, happy pooch. Although it can be hard when you get given those ‘puppy dog eyes’ when you’re eating or making food for yourself, not all human food is safe for dogs, and can also lead to begging and encourages bad habits.
Dogs are very receptive and pick up on our own behaviour, moods and emotions as well as habits and routines that we have. Dogs are highly intelligent pack animals and although they develop their own unique logic for understanding things due to their innate wolf pack genes, however, humans can also shape and influence these experiences and behviours as in modern society our domesticated pet pups are part of our family pack!
TOP TRAINING TIPS…
Before you start your dog training here are the key things to keep in mind:
- Consistency is key – it takes time! Set aside some regular time each day to practice with your dog
- Positive reinforcement – make sure you always have your dog’s favourite treats or toy with you when teaching them a new command
- Patience – never punish your dog and always reward them with plenty of affection and praise!
Taking all these handy hints and tips into consideration should help get you started on turning your four-legged friend into the star pupil and improve their behaviour in various social situations - reinforcing that strong positive, loving relationship you and your pup have.
*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health*