Training tips for dogs Bring out the best in your best friend
Just like you, your dog has a few basic needs that should be met to help him be at his best. These include a balanced diet, good sleep routine, plenty of exercise and enough time to play and socialise. Here are our top tips to make this happen.
When it’s time to eat
Does your dog not finish his food? First check if you may be feeding him too much – you can ask your vet or the local pet shop for help. To encourage him not to be fussy, remove his bowl as soon as he walks away from it. Don’t leave food out all day for him to graze on. A good way of building his self-control is to ask your dog to sit and wait before placing the food in front of him. Place the bowl on the floor but don’t let go. If he doesn’t wait, take the bowl off the floor immediately and keep doing this until he understands he must sit still in order to get his food.
When it’s time to sleep
Some dogs can have an energy boost after eating, so if you feed your dog late at night, he might be too energetic to settle down and sleep. Try feeding your furry friend long before bedtime.
Dogs are creatures of habit. If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, kennel or other small spaces, he might find it hard to sleep in an open room. But if you prefer the latter, show your dog where you want him to sleep and make it the only confortable place available to him.. Just be patient – he’ll soon get used to his new sleeping arrangements.
If you want to teach your dog to sleep in a crate, put special treats in the back and lead him to it. Keep the door open so he can walk in and out as he pleases. Only close the door when he has comfortably settled down. Make sure you always say ‘kennel’ or ‘bedtime’ in a positive tone, so your dog won’t read it as a punishment.
Another point to keep in mind, is that all dogs need at least 40 minutes of aerobic exercise a day. If your dog paces the room at night, he might need to get rid of excess energy.
When it’s time to exerciseTaking your dog for a daily walk is not only good for their health, but it’s great for you too. Teaching your dog to come back when he is called is the most important skill for a nice walk. This means your dog can run loose in safe areas, e.g. in the local park. When he comes back, give him juicy treats and lots of attention. Call him back many times during your walk, and let him go again back to play so he learns it’s fun to come back and not the end of the walk.
When it’s time to play and socialise
To keep your dog’s toys interesting and have a little more control over him, put his toys somewhere he can’t get to. When it’s playtime, don’t let him to behave in ways you wouldn’t normally allow – like jumping up. Not only is this confusing, but it might also encourage him to carry on when the game is over.
Playtime is exciting for you both, but try not to raise your voice – this might over-excite him and lead to the game getting out of control. If this starts happening, end the game immediately and put the toy away.
Your dog is a pack animal, so he naturally needs to socialise with you, other people and dogs. To help your dog mingle and develop his social skills, work out a few different walking routes and regularly invite your friends over.