When bringing a new pup into your home, the best approach to raising a well-mannered and happy dog is to shape their behaviour from the day you get them.
This simply means positively showing them the correct way to behave rather than disciplining the undesirable behaviours. If you are bringing home an adolescent or adult dog or feel there are better ways your existing dog can behave, some of these tips will still apply.
Top training tips
- Exposure to other dogs of all ages, sizes and sex during their critical socialisation period of 8-16 weeks old and onwards is valuable. Ensure this occurs in a safe area, with well-mannered dogs you are familiar with and those comfortable to interact back. The experience should be fun and constructive
- Help your pet become comfortable with different sounds and objects such as vacuums and mops, fireworks, and construction noise and reward calm behaviour with treats or toys
- Implement and stick to rules and boundaries. Consistency, consistency, consistency!
- Reward good behaviour at any time, not just in training sessions. For example, if your dog is easily excitable, calmly praise and reward them for quietly resting
- Be the best thing in their world. Having a genuine bond with your dog will help with training, on and off lead walks, and their overall happiness
- Learning never ends. Continue teaching your dog new skills, behaviours and tricks throughout their life. Age is just a number and a dog are never too old to learn new tricks
- Mental stimulation and physical exercise are a must. Varied walks like a sniffari (allowing your dog to sniff and explore without being rushed), training walks, paced walk, running or hiking all help develop and support a healthy brain and body
- Make grooming, hygiene, and health checks a positive experience from day one to get them used to being handled all over.
Our four-legged companions can do incredible things. Developing clear communication early on as well as continuing to reinforce positive behaviour will reap lifelong benefits for your relationship and bond.