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British Family Pet Experts

TRAINING YOUR DOG


TRAINING YOUR DOG
This is the really fun and most rewarding part of owning a dog! Training your new friend needs to be high on your list of priorities.

House training

House training is really important to teach your dog where to go to the toilet – preferably not in your house! It does take time, but be patient and you’ll get there together.

When you first bring your new puppy home, put puppy mats down to teach them where they can go to the toilet. Once your puppy has received their first course of vaccinations, it’s time to introduce them to the great outdoors and to get them house-trained!

Follow the step-by-step guide below to help you on your way! Give this lots of time at the first to prevent any accidents.

Step 1: Remove all puppy training mats from inside your home

Step 2: Place one saturated puppy mat outside

Step 3: Take your puppy outside every few hours and wait until they have done their business

Step 4: Once they have done the deed, reward them with positivity and give them a well-done fuss! Or even a little treat for the good work

Step 5: And repeat! Persistence and routine is key

Did you know? Puppies sniff out the spots where they have previously urinated and use this to repeat the process in the same places.

Good cop, bad cop

The association between right and wrong should be implemented through a reward or a telling off. Reward good behaviour through positivity. Change the tone of your voice, give them some fuss or a tasty treat. Telling your dog off for bad behaviour is only effective when caught in the act and should be given out at the same time. Effective discipline can be delivered by using a firm tone of voice, or by learnt commands such as ‘no’.

Recall

Recall is really important to keep your dog safe and give you piece of mind when you’re out and about. Here’s some handy tips when you’re teaching your dog to come back to their name:

  • Never ever call your dog to show annoyance. Always be show you are absolutely delighted that he has returned!
  • Before returning, your dog must turn away from whatever he is doing. Remember that some distractions, particularly smells and sounds, are beyond our awareness AND may be more interesting than you
  • Avoid calling your dog back to ‘do nothing’
  • Teach your dog that coming back does not always mean ‘end of fun’. Call him back often when out walking; put him on the lead, then let him go free; offer him a variety of rewards when he comes back and generally motivate him to WANT to come when called
  • Try different signals as well as just calling him. A whistle can be very effective

As with all training, work slowly and steadily. Make it enjoyable and don’t get frustrated. If it’s not working, just take a break and start again later. Don’t forget that each dog is an individual and learn at different speeds.

Training tips

It’s a myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! As they’re older, your adult dog might be more interested in other activities but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy training together. Here are some tips for training your dog:

Recall: Avoid calling your dog back to ‘do nothing’ as this can be confusing
Commands: Use clear commands like ‘Sit’ ‘Lay’, and as soon as they respond appropriately, reward
Rewards: Always reward after they have done well. For example, even if your dog has been called back from wandering too far, they still came back to you! If told off, they may associate coming back as a negative thing
Signals: Try different signals as well as just calling your dog. A whistle can be very effective

Remember to keep cool, calm and avoid shouting or getting angry. Speaking clearly and firmly is always a better option!

Quick Tip Card Image

Quick Tip

Dogs will love to play with other friendly dogs and will require lots of love and attention from their owners, socialising them at an early age is very important.

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Having trouble training?

Having trouble training?

If you’re having difficulties training your dog, we recommend finding a reputable dog trainer to help you along the way! Look for their qualifications, experience and reviews. The RSCPA recommends a trainer that uses reward-based training and is a member of the Association of Pet Dog Training (APDT) to ensure that they apply the right knowledge and skills to train your dog.

 

Identifying behaviours

Socialisation

Socialisation is when a dog learns to recognise and interact with other dogs, other animals and people. This interaction helps your dog to learn the body language and communication skills of other animals or people.

Socialisation and habituation starts with the breeder. Once you own a puppy you should implement your own programme, exposing your dog to as wide a range of experiences and positive encounters as is possible. This exposure should start immediately and become diverse as soon as the puppy is fully vaccinated. It should continue ideally throughout the dog’s life but it is most important up until sexual maturity.

You can re-socialise older and adopted dogs, although you may need the help of an experienced dog trainer. Older dogs can be desensitised to unfamiliar or frightening situations gradually, but early socialisation is always best.

If your dog has previously had a bad experience, do not try and comfort the dog or react fearfully yourself. The dog may look to you for guidance so remain confident. The dog should be re-exposed to the situation gradually and possibly from a distance so it becomes desensitised to it. Always praise or reward the dog for not showing fear and not reacting to the situation. If your dog does react, reward them when they recover from the fright.

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If you should have any concerns about the health of your pet, always consult a vet.