Ask your vet about accredited local training classes for dogs and their owners – the saying goes ‘train the owner – train the dog’ and is normally rather accurate! You could also contact the Kennel Club for information on ‘Good Dog Citizenship’.The key to proper training is positive reinforcement - treats and limited praise are vital, as too is patience! Here are some tips to help you:
- Training needs to be consistent otherwise your dog will just end up getting confused.
- Try to use the same phrases, body language and tone of voice.
- Do not demand too much from your dog too early. It is much better to reward lots of small achievements rather than setting the target too high.
- As soon as your dog responds in the correct way to your command, say “good” and reward with a treat and lots of praise.
- Slowly you will be able to expect more from your dog. As soon as your dog shows any sign of understanding, reward him/her with a treat, these can be reduced later on, but always give your dog plenty of praise.
- It is advised to begin training in a quiet place, free from distractions. Only when your dog is fully competent should you attempt train him/her in a busier environment.
- Do not forget to teach your dog a ‘release’ command. This is important so that your dog knows when the trick is over and he/she can relax. Try using words such as, ‘OK’, or, ‘Free’.
- The PHC does not believe in harsh punishment, a view upheld by all good dog trainers.