Crufts-inspired training

Training your dog at an early an age as possible is key to having a well-behaved dog which you can take on daytrips out to busy parks, or to dog shows without being concerned that they might become a mischief maker! Although training is easiest when you have a young dog, the phrase ‘teaching an old dog new tricks’ doesn’t always ring true and it is never too late to start!

Training should be a fun thing to do, which will stimulate both them and you and improve your relationship. Key tips include the following…

  • Start simple and work up. Start with the basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ and keep your sessions short so neither of you start to become frustrated, bored or tired! Only try to address one command per session or it could get confusing for both of you.
  • Use positive rewards – such as treats including Hills Ideal Balance Slow Baked Dog Treats, Coachies Dog Training Treats and Dentastix which can all be found in the Treats section of our website! . Food treats are a particularly effective positive reward, though verbal communication is also essential (for example: a ‘well done!’ or ‘good boy!’ when they get it right). Equally as important is to ensure you don’t shout or punish your dog if the training isn’t going to plan.
  • Make sure you are as patient as possible; gently show your dog what you want them to do and then repeat this in a consistent manner until they are getting it right.
  • Try to train in a quiet and secluded place, away from distractions or things that may scare your pet.

Here is one example of a common command:

‘Stay’ or 'Wait'

1) Ask your dog to ‘sit’.

2) Take 1 step from them and continue to command them to ‘stay’ or 'wait'. Then silently count – this may just be to 3 initially, and as you improve up to 10.

3) Step back to your dog; praise them verbally and give them a pat, and a treat.

As he or she gets the hang of the stay command you can build it up so they ‘stay’ for a longer period of time or at a greater distance from you. Practice will make perfect!

What happens if it all seems to be going wrong?!

- If your dog gets up and runs to you, or runs off in another direction, go back to the start and repeat the process: ask them to sit again and start to step away again.

- If you build the challenge up too quickly (ie: the distance you are going or the amount of time) then it may be that you have to go back a stage and try to slowly build up again.

- If things really don’t seem to be working, persist…and if this still doesn’t work perhaps try an alternative treat or reward to see if this helps.

Good luck! We’d love to hear how you get on!

Written by our vet, Ellie

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