Training a new dog takes a lot of time and dedication, especially if you have a puppy. In the beginning, it can seem like an overwhelming amount of work. Just remember to be patient with your dog and take things step by step. In this blog, we are sharing basic tips to get you started.
Establishing your boundaries early and keeping them consistent will save you a lot of time down the line. Draw the line at the beginning so your dog doesn’t get confused when the rules change. If you don’t want your dog in the lounge room, on the couch or sleeping in the bed, reinforce that behaviour early on.
Every moment with your new dog is a learning opportunity. If you regularly use command words over time they will get familiar with them. The most useful ones to practise will be ‘come,’ ‘sit,’ ‘stay’ and ‘heel.’ It is also important not to make training sessions too long. Your dog can only concentrate for so long, so stay with short bursts (eg. 5-10 minutes).
A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. Your dog wants to do the right thing but they won’t know unless you show them. If you give them too much attention when they behave badly this can sometimes lead to bad habits. It can also distress your dog if you tell them off without showing them what the right thing to do is. So when your puppy or dog does the right thing, be encouraging and praise them or give them a little treat.
It may seem counterproductive but you’re better off ignoring bad behaviours. If your dog barks to get your attention and you tell them ‘no,’ you are teaching them that barking gets attention and they will continue acting up. It can be useful to ignore them until they stop or show disinterest, then give them attention.
If your dog loves digging up plants, and no amount of ‘no’ will get them to stop, try giving them something else to do. Instead of telling them off, get them a toy to play with. Toys that allow you to place food inside can be very useful for this purpose.
Also, if your dog won’t listen to you because they are distracted, take them away from whatever is grabbing their attention.
If you need a little helping hand Vets in Endeavour Hills offers behavioural consultations and puppy pre-school. Enrolling your dog in school will give you the base skills to successfully train your dog with kindness. Give us a call on (03) 9700 2264.