The Essentials Of Basic Training

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Teaching a young pup good manners - to come, stay, sit wait and lie down can be either amazingly easy or infuriatingly difficult. Whichever it is is up to you. Your pup’s behaviour will always be consistent. It will respond in just a few possible ways and always for only a few possible reasons. Inevitably, we’re the inconsistent ones so remember to follow these guidelines when training your dog.

  • Set aside time each day for short active training sessions, two minutes maximum, and always end with fun, even if it’s been frustrating for you.
  • Start in quiet places where you have most control, for example a hallway with few distractions.
  • Train your dog when its mind and yours are both alert.
  • Plan ahead. Everyone in the house should use the same specific words combined with specific hand or body signals as commands. Write these down and post them for everyone to see and remember.
  • Be realistic. You’re training a dog, a vibrant, sociable and very trainable species but it’s not a human.
  • Be consistent with your commands. Always use the same word. For example, when training your dog to “Come”, don’t vary with different words such as “here” and "c’mere". Always use the same word.
  • Make sure your dog comes right up to you so you don’t have to reach out to give the food reward.
  • Use theatrical body language as well as words and combine these with rewards. Good timing is vital.
  • Don’t ask your dog to do something you can’t ensure it’ll do.
  • Train by increments. Avoid leaps from one level to a much higher one.
  • Keep lessons short and enjoyable. If it’s not enjoying itself forget about training. The opposite applies too. If it’s over-the-top with energy, let it use up some of that energy first. Once that’s out of its system it’ll concentrate more on what you’re doing with it.
  • Don’t get flustered. Avoid repeatedly shouting a command. It only confuses your dog. If training is not going well, stop. Think about what you’re doing. The problem is with you, not with your dog.
  • Always finish on a positive note. These short episodes each day should be fun for both of you. Play with your pup but don’t save the most powerful reward for the end of the session. If you do, unwittingly you’re training your pup to want the session to end so it can get hold of the potent reward.
  • Forget about trying to train several dogs at once. It’s virtually impossible. If you have two pups, keep one out of earshot while you train, reward or discipline the other.
  • Continue using the play pen when someone’s not there to monitor your pup.
  • Don’t be bashful about asking us for help. Our veterinary nurses are excellent for sound advice.

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