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A well-trained dog is a happy and calm dog, one who is confident and secure in his home. Dogs need to know their place in their family "pack" and love to please their owners. Even though dogs are best trained when they are young puppies, you can re-train new behaviours into them at any age - it will just take longer the older they are. Whether you’re teaching them an elaborate series of tricks or just the basics of obedience, here are our tips for making the most of that training time.
To avoid confusion, be consistent in what you expect from your commands. "Lie down" will always mean "lie down", and not just sitting for example. This helps your dog learn much quicker, and is best used with simple commands that are distinct from each other. This is especially true for puppies, who are already taking in plenty of new information! Consistency and repetition are key elements of training that ensure your dog understands what you expect of him, each and every time you say a command. Looking to train whilst outdoors? Be sure to find the right harness and collar to ensure they're kitted out in comfort as they learn. After a harness that helps them learn how to walk to heel? Why not opt for the Training Halter or a practical retractable lead.
Instead of punishing bad behaviour, it’s important to reward good behaviour. Shouting "no" when a dog does something unacceptable does very little to change the behaviour. Dogs don’t think like humans, and to him, that "no" could mean a variety of things. If he’s barking and you shout "no" at him, what do you want him to do instead? Should he bark louder? Maybe he should bark and jump up. Basic commands such as "sit" and "come" can all be used when your dog is doing something he shouldn’t. Then reward him for performing these behaviours, ignoring the undesirable ones.
Your dog wants nothing more than to please you, so don’t be subtle when lavishing praise for him doing something well. The more reward he gets for doing something right, the more likely he’ll be to repeat that behaviour! Why not reward them with a stimulating toy such as the Mighty Mutts Rubber Bone or Nylabone Extreme Chew Femur Beef Extra Large. If you're after something edible, be sure to treat them to something special such as the Everlasting Dog Treat.
If you want your dog to love learning something new, keep training sessions short and fun. This is especially true for puppies who have a short attention span! If your dog is struggling with a new skill, make sure to keep going back to something they’re good at - this will reduce frustration and keep them interested. If you're struggling to keep them entertained, then why not combine learning with entertainment? Items such as the JML Wobble Wag Giggle Ball are guaranteed to help leave their tails wagging for longer.
Make sure you have the basic obedience commands - sit, stay, name and come - as great fallbacks for when your dog is struggling with something new. They give structure to your training sessions and are the backbone of what they can learn. They are also great commands for calming your dog down in a variety of situations.
Looking for something that's perfect for even the most energetic of canine companions? Why not invest in agility accessories such as these Pet Agility Set Training Play Kit? Designed to help your four-legged friend stay both happy and healthy for longer, the quick and easy-to-set-up training tool is sure to help them master the skills in style.