Do you dream of having the perfect pooch? A pup who’s a pleasure to walk? A dog who does the right thing? Millions of us share our lives, homes and hearts with dogs, and I think it’s fair to say that nailing down some basic training is essential if we want to live harmoniously with man’s best friend. When we welcome our dogs into our homes (quite often as teeny weeny puppies), we all strive to develop a loving bond with them. One of the ways to ensure a thriving, happy relationship with our furry friend is to put in place some boundaries and expectations from the start. It’s a bit like having kids – we all want to raise a nice, polite member of society (and preferably one that won’t wee on the sofa).
So where do you start? Just Google ‘dog training advice’ and you’ll soon realise that there are hundreds of differing (and often conflicting) approaches to training your pup. It can seem like an overwhelming task and sometimes hard to know where to start, but a common principal is that dogs suffer less anxiety, learn more quickly and are generally happier when they know their place in the pack, which essentially means learning that you are the boss. Now this doesn’t mean we need to teach them through fear or punishment, far from it! The most successful training methods have been shown to stem from firm but fair boundaries and a respectful and loving relationship. It’s really important to show our dogs that good things happen when they behave as we’d like, so use rewards for positive behavior rather than punishment for undesirable acts. The carrot and not the stick.
Start by imagining life with your dog, is jumping on the sofa a no no? Or do you want a pup that will snuggle there with you as you watch TV? Do you want your pooch to learn lots of tricks and commands? Or is it just important to you that they come when you call and don’t chase the local wildlife? Have your desired outcomes in mind and be consistent in what behaviour you will and won’t allow.
Constantly changing the goalposts is confusing and unfair to your new friend.
Some of your basic training will cover toileting outside, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘leave it’, and the extremely important recall. You will be able to find tips and tricks for teaching all of this and more, and if you put some time into doing your research, you’ll soon find training principles that you feel comfortable with. There are hundreds of websites and YouTube videos with dog trainers offering help and advice, so have a good look through and see what inspires you.
Dog ownership comes with so many rewards, and also a responsibility to raise a well behaved, contented and trustworthy pup, who knows his boundaries and expectations, after all, you’re the boss.
If you have any questions or would just to chat through your worries we’re here for you (and we do love making new furry friends) so do not hesitate to get in touch.