Dog Training

Commencing Training

Puppy Preschool graduates at the Karratha Veterinary Hospital

Training patterns can commence as soon as your puppy or dog arrives home. Think about:

  • Where you want the dog to go to the toilet
  • The area you have selected for sleeping
  • What you prefer the dog to chew rather than your slippers
  • Where and when the dog will eat
  • Instilling good eating habits

 All these issues and more are taught by dog owners without the need for formal lessons. In fact, most owners do not even realise they are teaching their dogs.

No matter how old your dog is, not withstanding the obvious physical limitations of a geriatric, it can be trained. In the first 6 weeks of a dogs life, several milestones of personality and behaviour are reached. It is necessary to ensure you buy from a good breeder who takes time to socialise and sensitise the pups before you purchase your animal.

Sensitive periods for dogs must be considered especially in the first 12 months of life. Puppyhood holds lots of adventures but if a dog is severly frightened or continually admonished then this could break the dog, even turning the animal into a ‘fear biter’ to protect itself.

During these important stages of puppyhood and adolescence, a dog’s training needs to be positive in its construction, with lots of praise when  the dog is gently persuaded to perform in the correct, socially acceptable manner.  How you stage the lessons is up to you. Every experience in a dog’s life is a learning exercise – do it wisely and your dog can start learning from the moment it enters the house-hold.

Dog training is a two-part process. The owner as well as the dog needs training, so the best person to train your dog is you. Lessons can be accessed at any obedience school through either professional or weekly club sessions. The critical thing to do is train at home between any formal weekly lessons. Some dog owners mistakenly believe that the dog needs hours of labourious training, when only 10 minutes a day, 4 times a week is enough.

Every dog will vary with the amount of training they require, but the golden rule is not to bore your dog to death. Over-trained dogs bcome more like machines than dogs, losing their own identity and even some degree of dignity. Trained dogs quickly develop a sense of self-worth and responsibility. With the proper training and socialisation they can become a valuable member of the family.

Do All Dogs Need Training?

The environment you provide will be critical in the dog’s attainment of personality & position in the pack. Spoil your dog, never say no, forget to instil tolerance and patience, and you can promote the meekest animal into becoming a dominant, aggressive creature. With simple, clear rules set down by you, your dog will find order & fulfilment.

Temperment is determined by a combination of heritable and environmental circumstances. One of the aims of training is to provide an environment that nurtures positive reinforcement using gentle but persuasive methods of conditioning the dog towards desirable behaviours.

If you ever meet a well-mannered, properly trained dog, the first thing you notice is their calm, confident demeanour. A well-trained dog is far less likely to bite and would never do so without logical reason. Dogs that are trained are handled more frequently. This touch assists in bond development and makes the dog easier to handle should it ever get sick or injured.

Having learnt the basic rules of patience, tolerance and confidence, a trained dog is less likely to bark without reasonable cause. The most notable reason for dogs to enter into nuisance barking is sheer boredom, which is greatly relieved by regular obedience training.

Many dogs have completed puppy class training when the dog was a few months old. Training needs to continue throughout your dogs life; even 5 minutes a day reinforces formal training.

Put simply, a trained dog becomes a special friend, able to share many experiences with you and your family.

Toilet Training

Toilet training for inside & outside the home should commence the first day the dog is brought home. You must observe your dog carefully and know when it wants to go to the toilet. In most cases this isn’t too difficult . Puppies will want to relieve their bladders at specific times: when they wake up, after a meal and after a play. At these times you should place your pup on the area you have assigned for going to the toilet. Don’t play with the pup, just allow nature to take its course.

As the pup relieves itself use the word ‘toilet’ (or whatever verbal command you wish to use) and praise the dog as it goes to the toilet. “Good dog, toilet, good dog”.

Of course accidents will happen so be prepared. If you see it ‘assuming the position’, take it out immediately, then wait for it to relieve itself. As it does, don’t forget to praise.

For those occasions when a puddle or worse is happening on our carpet, admonish with animal with the word ‘no’ and carry it outside. If the job has already been completed on your floor then by all means grumble in front of the dog while you are cleaning up. Most people will tell you that it’s too late to admonish the dog once it has gone to the toilet inside the house, however the dog can smell the fact that it is the excrement you’re grumbling about.

When cleaning up after your dog, do not use ammonia detergents or disinfectants. These will smell similar to another animal’s urine so your dog will be tempted to compete with this smell by covering it up with another urine sample. The best agents to use are those that repel a dog; citronella-based disinfectants, eucalyptas and tree-tree oil.

Dogs can be taught to toilet in one area, especially if the smell on the ground tells them they have emptied themselves before.

Remember, the rules you must follow are consistency, persistence and  patients.