Top Tips for Training Your Dog from Hollyoak Vets
A well behaved dog is a joy to have around. While a badly behaved one is simply a nightmare – and can be dangerous.
To ensure good behaviour throughout its life, training should start as early as possible.
It’s really worth taking your dog or puppy to training classes and we can put you in touch with local clubs, so do call us for advice and recommendations.
Meanwhile here are some useful guidelines –
First of all, remember that dogs are naturally pack animals.
The leader of the pack, the “alpha male”, eats first and decides when and what the other pack members eat. As members of a pack, dogs also thrive on company and dislike being ignored or isolated.
It is important to ensure that you are the alpha male/female in your pup’s eyes. Only give treats when they have been earned, don’t feed your pup from your plate – and dictate which areas are ‘out-of bounds’.
Puppies learn by the responses they get from you. So always reward good behaviour and discourage inappropriate behaviour.
You can reward good behaviour with spoken words – ‘Good dog’, or physical contact eg patting and stroking, or with treats – toys or biscuits.
To discourage inappropriate behaviour, simply ignore your pup – they hate this.
Or you can scold – say NO in a firm manner – or use Time out’ – isolating a pup from the family group is the harshest punishment of all.
There are 2 golden rules:
- Respond immediately
- Respond consistently
Chewing valuable objects should be discouraged by saying NO in a stern voice.
Remove the object and replace it with a toy, but be very careful not to reward unwanted behaviour.
Puppies should be let out at least every 2 hours.
They should be rewarded for toileting outside, but ignored when they foul inside.
Expect accidents in the first few weeks!
This is normal canine behaviour, but it is obviously important to teach pups that it is unacceptable.
So don’t encourage this game.
If you are bitten, simulate pack behaviour by saying ‘OW’ in a loud voice. Most pups will then normally loosen their grip. If this doesn’t work, you may have to isolate your puppy for a short while.
At the start of every dog’s life there is a uniquely sensitive period in which they can absorb new experiences without fear. So it is very important to introduce puppies to the outside world as early as possible.
After about 14 weeks of age they start to become more wary of new things. So, one week after the second vaccination (11 weeks old if started at 8 weeks), encourage your puppy to meet healthy dogs and other people. Get him used to new sights and sounds such as cars, children, bikes, pushchairs etc. Before vaccination pups can be carried outside to allow this from as early as possible.
Handling your dog
It’s very important to let your pup simply get used to being handled. Every day try opening his mouth, touching the face, gums and teeth, and feel her ears, paws and claws.
This will reduce the stress of being examined and treated in the future.
It will also help you to recognise what is normal for your dog and to pick up problems early.
We will discuss any issues with your dog’s behaviour at your regular reviews, but meanwhile, please do talk to us if you have any concerns or would like some help and ideas with training – just Call us on 01223 232 111 to book an appointment.