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postheadericon Using reward-based training, the whole family can be involved as the methods are fun and easy

Using reward-based training, the whole family can be involved as the methods are fun and easy. Follow these simple principles of reward-based training. These are the golden rules for teaching your dog.

Start now The best age to start training is now. However young your puppy is, however old your dog is, it is never too early or too late.

Learn from your dog Training should be a two-way communication. You must be willing to learn from your dog. The more you learn about him, the easier training will become.

Have short sessions Do not expect your dog to concentrate for long. Like us, the more difficult something is, the shorter the time he can concentrate. At first, aim for sessions of between half a minute and two minutes. As you and your dog begin to understand each other better, the time can be extended so long as you are both enjoying it. Lots of short sessions throughout each day will help your dog learn much more quickly than one long session where you both become tired, confused and bored.

Have fun Dogs are like us in that they learn best when something is enjoyable. Make sessions fun and rewarding, and you and your dog will want to learn together. If you start, then realise that you or your dog is simply not in ‘the mood’, expect less and end the session early.

A stressed dog will not learn If your dog is feeling anxious, he will not be able to learn. especially if you are expecting too much of him. If he is in an environment that worries him, such as close to a bouncy dog, heavy traffic or too many people, he may find it difficult to cope with.

Begin and end on a good note As your training sessions become a little longer, always start with something familiar to your dog, to help him settle. Similarly, do something easy or enjoyable before finishing a session.

All the family should be involved In the days of old, only one person was advised to train a dog to avoid confusion. However, we need a pet dog to respond to all members of the family. Therefore, everyone should be involved to whatever extent is appropriate, under close supervision when necessary. If someone in the family is not involved with training the dog, do not be surprised if the dog does not respond to them.

Be consistent Dogs cannot learn what we want if we do not teach them. If we vary the words we use, and different people have different expectations, our dog will simply become confused and disinclined to play this training game with us. He will begin to make his own decisions or try to guess what we want. We owe it to him to make it as easy as possible for him to understand.

Teach – do not expect him to know Dogs do not understand English, therefore they cannot know what we mean unless we have taught them. If you feel that you have taught something and your dog is still not responding as he should, instead of blaming him for being naughty, ask yourself how you can teach him more effectively He obviously has not learned what you wanted, so start again to help him.

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