Dog training tips - do’s and dont’s30 March 2023
Welcome to Teach My Doggy, puppy school for the absowoofly pawsome! Each week, with the help of “Pawfessor Charles” we will be teaching you some new commands and tricks to try with your dog. We’re starting with basic commands and working our way up to some challenging tricks.
Stay tuned as we share more tips and tricks, helping you make the most of your training your dog in the comfort of your own home!
See you next week for How to Sit.
Dogs bring so much happiness and joy, but our adorable fuzzy friends can sometimes be a handful. Here are 9 tricks and tips on how to train your dog, owned or borrowed, to solve common canine quirks.
Tip 1: Don’t encourage jumping up
Some dogs are so excited to meet you that they will jump up to say hello. When this happens, turn away and wait until they’re a bit calmer before returning their greeting. Rewarding jumping up behaviour with an equally excited greeting can encourage it and many owners try hard to train their dogs out of this habit.
Tip 2: Let the dog make the first move
Like us, some dogs have an acute sense of ‘Stranger Danger’. Upon first meeting, let them sniff your hand or come up to you before attempting to pet them. But don't just push your hand into a dog's face, just make it available to them to come towards.
Tip 3: Avoid immediate eye contact
Many dogs find this confrontational or threatening, so try not to stare directly into your new friend’s eyes when first meeting.
Tip 4: Teach Your Dog to Not Pull on the Lead
Many dogs are great at walking on the lead, but for those who like to pull, a good technique is the ‘About Face’. To learn more, watch the video.
Tip 5: Learn your dog’s sweet spot
Most dogs have a ‘sweet spot’ at the base of their tail and, once they have made your acquaintance, will appreciate a good scratch here. This is a great way to become friends, fast.
Tip 6: Get to their level
Smaller dog breeds will appreciate you sitting down or squatting down and getting down to their level. Try not to hunch over them, as this can be a little intimidating for the pooch, a side-on approach can feel less threatning.
Tip 7: Use one command at a time
When training or giving commands, simplicity and clarity are key. Make sure to give an instruction only once. If you are continually giving a command many times in a row (‘Sit! Fido, sit! Sit! Sit!’) you can actually train the dog not to respond when they are first asked, but to wait for the repeats. If the dog doesn’t respond to the first command, show them the correct response without verbally repeating it. Use positive reinforcement if necessary, such as pulling a treat from in front of the nose to above the head and towards the tail to encourage them to lower into a ‘sit’.
Tip 8: Steer clear of the face at first
Some dogs do not appreciate being patted around the face by someone they have just met, sometimes it's just their preference and with some they may have had sore ears or mouths in the past with bad memories of being touched in this area. When you are at a point where the dog is ready for you to touch their face (they will quite often indicate this with a nudge), a good technique is to pat under the jaw instead of above the head, as a hand descending suddenly from the sky can give some dogs a fright. This is a great behaviour to pass onto kids - never try to pat a strange dog’s head.
Tip 9: Make sure your dog has enough stimulation.
Some dogs just love to be busy all the time, but your schedules don’t always match up. When you don’t have time for your usual long walk or play session at the moment, give them a Kong toy filled with dog-friendly peanut butter or wet food. They’ll spend ages entertaining themselves and licking up every last bit. Make sure to take the Kong filling out of the dog’s daily food allowance to ensure they are not enjoying too many extra calories, and that the Kong is the correct size for your dog. Another way to get your dog extra physical and mental stimulation, is by finding a local dog borrower, which is a local dog-lover who would love to spend some time with your dog!
The big 3: key training tips
If you want a happy and friendly dog that you can take anywhere and meet anyone, then early socialisation is the key. Gradually introduce your dog to a wide variety of people, children and animals so they can confidently make new friends. A variety of people helps too, from those with beards and glasses, to people with crutches and wheelchairs, even workers in high-vis vests, gradually socialising your pooch with a wide array of different folk, can really help them be more social and relaxed with new people. Again this is where a local borrower can help!
Also, allow your dog to sniff out new experiences and places. From learning new sights and sounds to traveling in cars, trains and buses, a comfortable dog is a relaxed dog. Even before they've finished their vaccination course and they're able to be mixing with other dogs, carrying them around and getting them used to people and noises, can be really useful!
Dogs love praise, attention, and of course, treats, so being committed and consistent with your training will lead to a happier, better behaved dog.
Training sessions should be fun and short enough so your dog doesn’t get bored. Use rewards to help your dog link good behaviour with something nice. This encourages them to behave well again and again.
If dogs don’t have enough to occupy themselves, they may get bored, so use games or toys when you take your dog for walks, to provide extra exercise and distraction.
If your dog is really energetic you can also look for activity clubs in your area and try out agility, flyball or obedience training to make full use of that pawsome mental and physical energy.
BorrowMyDoggy connects dog owners with local dog-lovers for walks, sitting and holiday care.
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