1. Turn your puppy into a happy, well rounded and confident dog!
One of the most important things you can do to help your puppy grow up to be a friendly confident dog is to socialize them from as young as possible. This means, giving your pup careful and positive exposure to all things they might encounter as an adult dog. To teach your dog to be more aware of their surroundings and to feel comfortable. If you don’t teach a dog these things when they are young, they can potentially become fearful or anxious later in life and may even show signs of aggression towards other dogs or people. So, the more time you invest teaching your dog to live successfully in a human world the more you will avoid problem behaviours that come from lack of understanding.
Finding a good puppy class is a great start for this, not only will it give you knowledge into the world of dog training, but it’s also a great way to start the socialisation process with your dog. A well-socialised dog also means you will be able to get out and about more together. Being able to include your dog in your daily activities will make you all happier and give your dog a more enriched life.
2. Create and strengthen the bond between you and your dog
Training your dog builds up a language of communication between you and your dog that promotes security and comfort. Positive reinforcement training, which rewards and motivates a dog for good behaviour, allows you to foster a relationship with your dog based on mutual trust and respect. The theory of being a Pack leader or being dominant over our dogs has been debunked by science (we will go into more detail on this in a later post). So ultimately, you want to form a partnership with your dog and positive training is a great way to get started on your journey to forming this special relationship.
3. Teaching your dog basic skills is SO important for everyone’s safety
Teaching your dog to come when called could literally save their life. i.e. if they are running off towards a busy road. Teaching your dog to “leave it” if you see a snake, a pufferfish, snail bate, chocolate, or any other thing that might be potentially poisonous or dangerous for your dog. A well-trained dog, under supervision, is also safer to have around family and friends. Basic training is also important for the safety of other people and important for kids if you’re raising a puppy in home full of children. Using a dogs skills to redirect them before something potentially dangerous happens too is a wonderful tool. For example, a crawling baby approaching a resting dog, we can call the dog over to us before the baby has a chance to climb on the dog. Skills can also be helpful when your dog is feeling lost or uncertain. For example, visitors arrive and your dog just loses it and can’t calm down, teaching them to station on their mat can really help them to settle.
4. Reduce problem behaviours
This is an obvious one – of course people turn to dog training once a problem has already arisen. We need to remember from the start that there is more to a dog’s well-being than physical health, your dog’s behaviour will ultimately influence the quality of life for everyone in the family for years to come. So, wanting to reduce any problem behaviours is only natural. Problem behaviours develop because somewhere along the way, they have been reinforced. For example, a dog owner may not understand why their fully-grown dog is jumping up when they walk in the door. Little did they realise, that when this dog was an adorable tiny puppy, they were most likely (without even realising it) positively reinforcing this behaviour with love and affection. With my future posts, I hope that I will stress to you guys how important it is to get on top of positive reinforcement training as early on as possible to help set you and your dog up for a successful and rewarding life together. In saying this, don’t forget that training is only one piece of the puzzle. In order to reduce “unwanted” behaviours, we also must ensure we are meeting all the of individual dogs needs.
5. Training should be fun and a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated
Training should be fun for both you and your dog. It gives your dog something to do in their day and it gets them working their brain. Whether you are training at home or have joined a puppy class, the exercises you do should be fun and engaging. Enjoy it and don’t take it too seriously. As soon as you or your dog starts to get frustrated or is ignoring you, stop your training session and try again the next day. We want to try and end training session on a high!
Training your dog is important for both you and your dog. The effort you put in early on will be rewarded with a well-balanced and happy dog. If you have any questions, please feel free to get in touch.
If you haven’t already had a read of my latest articles, here are some links for you from my series on positive reinforcement training and how amazing it really is…
- Let’s Be Empowered by Positive Reinforcement Training
- A simple way to manage your dogs undesirable behaviours
- Making your dog’s days more exciting through Enrichment. Here’s how…
- Ten Ways to Encourage the Behaviours we want to see in our dogs
Ps. This article was also featured on DOGSHARE. Make sure to check out this amazing community of dog owners and dog lovers.