The kind, fair and effective way
Training can be started at any age, the sooner the better. You can start simple training with your puppy as soon as he or she has settled into his/her new home. Older dogs are also receptive to training, although some may be less keen or quick to learn than a younger dog.
Done properly, training should be fun, both for you and your dog, as well as exercising his brain and reinforcing the good relationship between you.
In order to be effective and to gain the best results, all training should be based around positive rewards. Positive reward training works because if you reward your dog with something he wants as soon as he does what you ask, he is far more likely to do it again. Rewards can be anything that your dog or puppy really wants and could include; food treats, a favourite toy, playing a certain game or petting. If you are using food treats, you will need to reduce the size of your dog’s normal meals or use his whole meal divided up into smaller portions, to prevent your dog putting on weight. Always combine the giving of a reward with verbal praise such as “Good dog”.
When teaching a new command, you will need to reward your dog every time that he does what you ask correctly. Once he has the hang of the command, however, it is a good idea to change the way you reward by only giving the reward every now and then, because this will make your dog try harder for his reward. Always verbally praise your dog each time, even if he is not being rewarded with a treat.
Why punishment doesn’t work
Punishment should never be used in training. If you punish your dog, it will only teach him to be scared of you and may eventually teach him to be aggressive. He will mistrust you and your relationship may break down.
If your dog is being what you consider to be disobedient or naughty the best thing to do is to have a ‘time out’. You must completely ignore him (and that includes looking at him) or shut him out of the room for 5-10 minutes. This works because dogs crave attention and being part of the pack and so removing this is something that your dog understands far better than being shouted at or hit.
The basic commands
The five basic commands you will need to teach your dog in order to obtain a good degree of control are;
Sit, down, stay, come and heel (for walking nicely on the lead)
This is our guide to training in a kind and effective way.