Training Your Dog

Training your dog is a really rewarding part of dog ownership. It’s great fun when they’re a puppy, but it’s almost always possible to teach your dog some basic commands with the aid of a few well-timed treats, just don’t overdo it.

Why it's important to train your dog

You’ll feel a great sense of achievement when they master something like sit, fetch, stay and it won’t be long before you’re feeling ready to move onto more advanced commands. We recommend that if you want to take your dog training to an advanced level, you enrol for a reputable dog-training class.

If you are trying to address behavioural issues, then you should talk to an animal veterinary behaviourist in the first instance. Your vet will be able to recommend a suitably qualified behaviourist.

Dogs are intelligent and enjoy learning, your dog will relish the opportunity to please you and it is a great way to keep you both entertained.

However, if it’s just some simple commands you want them to learn, here are some tips to get started and have some fun.

Tips for simple dog training

Be patient

It may take a while for your dog to start to master even the basic commands, this is especially true if they are past the puppy stage. Dogs will learn at different rates, so it could take a while.

Avoid distractions

It's best to start in a quiet room, away from family life, TV and anything else that your dog may find interesting. The added benefit of this is once your dog has mastered their command you can proudly show-off to the rest of the family.

Timing is everything

Pick a time when your dog is likely to be more receptive, it can work well if they are a little bit hungry as they’ll want the rewards. Keep ‘training’ sessions short and sweet. Short but regular sessions will be most beneficial.

Be consistent

Training is a great way for all of the family to build their relationship with your dog. However, everybody needs to be consistent in their approach to avoid confusion. It’s probably a good idea for not too many people to be involved at the outset. It’s smart to ensure that if children are involved, they are supervised and using the same commands in the same way.

Bring treats

Treats and praise play a huge part in teaching your dog, they’ll want to please you anyway, but the treat goes a long way. Picking a favourite treat is a good route to success. A good way to think about it is ‘what gets rewarded, gets repeated’. However, treats can lead to obesity if used too frequently. You may wish to speak to your vet about using a clicker or other reward motivations.

Have fun

Use the opportunity to have some fun with your dog, yes you are trying to teach them something, but they will respond better when they are enjoying it and they’ll just be happy to be spending quality time with you.

End on a high

It’s always good to leave your dog with a good memory of the session and it will help for next time. If there is a really simple command that your dog has mastered, it’s a great option to finish up with. Happy memories for all.