The No. 1 top tip for anyone dealing with dog behavioural issues and training is – to be PATIENT!
Training a dog should be done when you have the time and are in the right frame of mind – if you’re not you are likely to react differently towards your dog and they will only become more confused.
Dealing with behavioural issues are specific to each case and many factors can contribute to the cause and also the modification programme that is put in place, for this reason the tips in this section are based around general obedience and puppy training.
When taking a young dog for a walk and you have them off the lead try keeping them close to you with the use of praise, toys and the occasional treats, developing the idea to the pup that being close to you is positive and that you are more important than everything else around.
Socialisation is the most important part of your new pups training, up to approximately 16 weeks of age is what is known as the “critical socialisation period” in this time you want to introduce your pup to as many and varied a range of stimulus as possible. (Other dogs, people of all ages, busy places, traffic, noises, livestock etc etc) Ensuring the pup gains a positive association to aid their confidence and tolerability as they grow.
When praising your dog do so by tickling their chin rather than patting the top of the head. Have you ever noticed how they duck away or the puppy mouths at you more when you are patting them? Patting the top of the dog’s head can be seen as a challenge to many dogs and their initial reaction may be one of defence before realising you are only stroking them.
Think of your training regime as a jig-saw puzzle, piecing individual manageable chunks together to develop the desired repsonce e.g training a dog to retrive a ball.
This is broken down into 4 stages;
- The chase of the ball
- Picking the ball up
- Recall – returning to you with the ball
- Delivery of the ball to you.
These 4 stages can all be trained and developed using positive reinforcement. Ensuring each step of any training is dealt with and completed positivily and consistently you will end up with a much better trained companion.