8 Helpful Training Tips from Our Vet

Do you love your fur-friend but can often find they can be a bit of a pain in the neck?  These tips can help turn your troublesome pet into the best dog ever, saving you that pain.

1. Decide on Your House Rules

Before bringing your fur-friend home, you need to decide what they can and can't do. Are they allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off limits? Will he have they have their own chair at the dining table? If you settle these types of rules early on, you can avoid confusion for both of you – plus you won’t give in so easy to those puppy dog eyes!

2. Take Some Classes

Dog training is not just about training your pup, it can also be about training you.  A number of dog trainers see owners who think they are doing the right thing, or don't realize they are doing the wrong thing. Taking classes will ultimately help both you and your fur-friends and in the long term, be a time of bonding.

3. Reward - Don't Intimidate

At times it seems faster to have strict rules to get rid of bad behavior, but that doesn't help the dog know how to behave in the future and has lots of potentially harmful side effects. Rewarding good behavior encourages more of it, and helps your dog identify what behavior gets them treats.

4. Train with High Value Treats

High value treats are foods your dog craves and, to them, are worth more than any other distractions. Once introduced to these high value foods, you’ll find even your most finicky pooch will start to focus and listen more. It’s important to only train with these special treats as it will keep the excitement and desire of the specific treat.  

5. Start Slowly & Be Patient

We bet you didn't learn appropriate behavior in a week, and your dog won't either -- but you should still be seeing progress each training session. If your dog isn't getting it, lower the degree of difficulty by making the environment less distracting or the exercise easier. One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is thinking their dog knows more than it does. Start from scratch and then build on previous lessons.

6. Know When to Get Professional Help

Sometimes, you’ve given your best and your dog still won’t listen, this is when you admit defeat and get a professional. If a dog is aggressive, professional help will identify the roots of behavior and get them on the right track. The best places to start looking are local dog trainers or puppy schools within your area.

7. Be Consistent

If you use "off" and your partner uses "down" to persuade your pup off the couch, it's going to eventually confuse everyone including your fur-friend. Figure out short, direct commands and make sure everyone in the family uses them for the same thing. Eventually your dog will catch on to the command, making life easier for everyone.

8. (Most Importantly) Have Fun!

You and your dog should be looking forward to training sessions. It’s good to have the dogs doing a lot of things simultaneously, so they don’t get bored. – Don’t be afraid to mix things up to keep you both engaged.

If you’d like more vet approved pet health advice, sign up to our monthly newsletter here, or visit www.vetshopaustralia.com.au/Pet-Health.

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