Disney Studios may know how to train a dragon, but for the rest of us mere mortals, training a new canine addition to the family comes with a few lessons.
Trainers and behavioural consultants shared the Top 10 tips which they say, would not enhance your life as owner, but create a happy dog.
- Do not just give Jack any old chew, but make him/her work for it by putting treats in a food puzzle. Ensure the treat is beneficial not only for his mind, but teeth and body too.
- Your dog needs routines. It makes them feel safe and leads to eager expectation. Feed Jack at the same time every day and do walks twice daily and plan for some playtime in the evening. It also relaxes the owner.
- When out walking in a fenced off area, allow the dog to play off leash. In dog parks where others dog owners take their pets, a harness or long lines are ideal. Long lines are sold are various lengths to keep a boisterous animal under control.
Consider walking your dog on a front-clip or multi-attachment harness (with clip options on either the chest and back or both) in lieu of a normal collar. It is more comfortable and places less stress on the dog’s neck and airway and also increases control.
- Every week or two, change Jack’s toys. Pets get bored of the same old toys, but keeping them away is the same as “out of sight out of mind” and when you bring it out again, your pet will consider it is a brand new toy.
- Too often owners only address the bad behaviour, but never reward good behaviours. Consider ways of rewarding GOOD DOG behaviour such as waiting at the door and not just dashing out once it is opened. Teach a pup from a young age to await instructions by making eye contact and not darting off on a leash. Dogs can also be trained to avoid unnecessary barking. All these deserve a special reward and Jack will want to be a good dog.
- Always reinforce good behaviour which would lead to a peaceful and quiet life with our pets.
- Respect the breed. All are not created equal. Some dogs are naturally obedient while other, more independent breeds need a different approach. If you want a quiet dog to suit your coach potato lifestyle, you cannot go wrong with a Bulldog or a Basset Hound. These types would love the couch even more than you do. If you need a running partner, a Golden Retriever, Jack Russell or Fox Terrier would be ideal for an active lifestyle.
- Every dog is an individual with huge differences in personality and by doing your homework properly before buying or adopting, both your family and your pet would be happier for it. There are also breeds which are ideal for families with small or young children.
- Create a total fear-free area in your house, a special peaceful place where Jack can lay his head with all his favourite toys and comfortable bedding. Diluted lavender and chamomile scents also calm dogs down. This should become Jack’s comfort zone when he wants to relax after company time is over or during fireworks and thunderstorms.
- Handling, grooming and health care should not be stressful for dogs or their owners. You will soon learn which veterinarians, groomers and trainers do not instill fear in your fur child.