Featuring Glenbrook Night Glow
Training will enrich your relationship with your dog and make them a pleasure to be around. I know that getting a new puppy can be a stressful time and I personally recommend utilising a dog trainer to help you achieve a well balanced dog. One trainer, which I have used to assist me with my dogs is George Leeman from True Dog Training. He will help you with every aspect of puppy and older dog training. George will provide you with hands on practical training and information needed to stop you worrying and start enjoying your life with you dog. I can only speak highly of the program George uses and his methods and ability to connect with dogs is exceptional.
General Training Tips
- Training sessions should only be 5 to 10 minutes as many dogs have short attention spans. They should be repeated regularly and performed in an area free from distractions.
- Food can be used as motivation and reward. This food should be in small pieces, be highly palatable, and be a special treat the dogs really enjoys and only receives at training sessions.
- Train in an area free from distractions. Your dog needs to focus on you only.
- Training should be enjoyable for all so praise and reward desired behaviour, ignore negative behaviour. Punishing your dog will probably teach him to be afraid of you.
- Patience is essential in training. If you’re feeling angry, unwell or frustrated, don’t train. Dogs are sensitive to emotions and will pick up on your emotions and may misunderstand your instruction.
- Always use a happy friendly voice. Never yell.
This is the most commonly taught trick and one which helps control unwanted behaviour such as jumping. Sit is the basis for further training.
- Position your dog facing you with his rear close to a wall or fence as the dog cannot move backwards.
- Focus the dogs attention on the reward in your hand, by allowing the dog to smell or lick it.
- With the dog concentrating on your hand, and the treat a couple of centimetres away from the your dog, slowly move the food in a backwards motion close to the nose up and over the dog’s head towards the back of its neck.
- Most dogs will rock backwards as they follow the treat in your hand with their head, and automatically sit. As they do this, say “SIT”.
- You can even give a gentle push on your dog’s rear to reinforce the sit.
- Reward instantly with the food and praise.
- Repeat the procedure at least a dozen times to reinforce the behaviour.
This is possibly the most useful command. A dog in drop finds it hard to bark, hard to dominate you or even show aggression to other dogs. It lowers the dog’s height and renders it somewhat submissive.
- To teach this training tip, your dog should has mastered the sit command.
- With the dog steady in the sit position hold your hand with the reward slightly below your dog’s nose.
- As your dog reaches for the food, slowly move your hand with the treat straight down and then forward along the ground.
- Most dogs will go down and crawl forward on their front legs to take the reward which is now at ground level.
- As your dog goes down, command “Drop”, praise and reward him with the treat. Never give him the treat if he is standing. If he keeps standing, ignore and repeat the exercise ensuring that your hand isn’t too high or too low and that you are not moving too quickly or too slowly.
- As he gets the idea, start moving the treat down at an oblique angle to the ground and don’t forget to command “Drop”.
- Some dogs will have trouble with drop, and stand up as they come forward. You will need to continue with the "Sit" training until the dog becomes steadier before moving on.
- After some practice, you’ll soon be able to remove the hand movement altogether and command “Down” and your dog will instantly drop down.
- Food rewards should be hidden out of sight.
- Initially, have your dog on a training lead.
- The dog must be steady in either the sit or drop position, facing you.
- Stand on the lead, take one step back and issue the command “Stay” and at the same time give the hand signal for “Stay” which is usually a downward motion of the hand held open palm towards the dog.
- Wait 5 seconds, and as long as the dog is steady, step forward again, praise and reward the dog.
- From then on it is simply a matter of lengthening the time and distance.
- The dog should only be rewarded on return.
- As training progresses, you can remove the lead and the distance.
- Eventually, you should be able to move out of sight for a short period of time and return and your dog should be in the same position.
- This is the opposite of stay, and the dogs “Come” on command.
- It is a very useful command as many owners have trouble with their dogs not responding when called and such behavior can be a major cause of frustration.
- Firstly, if your dog is running around doing his own thing, don't stand there calling his name repeatedly. If the last time this happened the dog was running away as you called, the dog now thinks that calling his name and running away are synonymous.
- Start with the dog in the “Stay” position, move away a few metres, maintain eye contact, then use an excited tone, “Come” and wave the arms in a flinging open gesture.
- Reward the dog immediately on its arrival.
- Using a long lead attach it to the dogs collar. Pick an area free from distractions. Allow the dog to run to the end of the leash, then call your dog by it’s name immediately followed by the command “Come” and pull in the lead.
- When your dog is at your feet, command it to sit. Immediately praise and reward the dog, and remember, practice makes perfect.
- The best time to start training is as soon as you get the pup, (usually 8 weeks of age). However, training not in a formal way, but in a very relaxed and happy positive form.
- Lead training should commence each day at the same time for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute in duration. What I normally do is tie a long light lead, approximately 2 metres, on the pup's collar and with plenty of verbal encouragement have the puppy drag the lead around. (It must be noted that the lead must never be left on while the pup is left unsupervised).
- As the pup is following you around use his name as often as possible. Every now and again pick up the lead and let the pup feel a slight tension on the lead. This should be increased ever so slightly over a 7 day period. After 7 days the pup should be walking on your left side very happily for about 2 to 3 minutes per day.
- In the backyard, place a lead on your dog and praise him. Do this several times until he gets used to the feel of the lead attached to his collar. I highly recommend a soft slip lead rather than a collar. A collar moves around the dog's neck and gives the dog mixed messages, whilst a slip lead tightens and releases to give instanst messages to your dog.
- Start walking and when your dog starts pulling on the stop, say nothing, wait until the lead becomes loose. When he looks at you, praise the dog, reward with a treat and then start walking again. Try walking backwards to encourage your dog or use a squeaky toy to get their attention and keep intetest in the training.
- Repeat this process each time he pulls. Make sure you praise your dog enthusiastically whenever he walks well. He’ll soon learn that he won’t be going anywhere while pulling on his lead.
- Crate training is a new concept for many, but is a very effective training tool for adult dogs and puppies. It may take a little time and effort to train your dog to use the crate, but it can prove useful in a variety of situations. For instance, if you have a new dog or puppy, a crate is a fantastic way of teaching it the boundaries of the house and keeping it safe. When you’re travelling in the car, visiting the vet or any other time you may need to confine your dog (eg. after surgery or if it has been injured), it’s much easier and safer if your dog has been trained to enjoy being in a crate.
How big should my crate be and what type should I get?
- A crate should be big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down. Cockers require a medium size crate, I reccomend a sturdy wire crate avaliable from Vebo Pet Supplies. Consider attaching a pen to the crate which will give your puppy a safe bed plus an area in which to play and toilet. Check out Vebo pet supplies.
- A crate is intended to be a ‘safe haven’ or ‘security blanket’ for the dog. By nature, dogs like small, enclosed spaces, especially when they are feeling a little bit unsure. By providing your dog with an area where it can ‘escape’ and know it won’t be bothered, it can readily seek out this area when it needs a bit of a break or time-out. It is very important to remember that your crate should be associated only with something pleasant and training should always move at your dog’s pace. Always vary the length of time that your dog will spend in its crate, especially during training. This will prevent your dog from ‘expecting’ to be let out at a particular time and reduce any issues such as whining or scratching at the crate door.
How do I Introduce my dog to the crate?
- Place the crate in a central part of the household (living room, TV room, etc). Make the crate inviting and comfortable for your dog. Usually, dogs will go over and investigate. When your dog goes near the crate, reward it by throwing a food treat into the crate or near its entrance. Repeat this every time the dog goes near the crate. If the dog settles down inside the crate, reward this behaviour either with your voice or with food rewards. You want the dog to view the crate as a wonderful place to be, full of goodies and fun. You don’t want to shut the door of the crate just yet. Your dog needs to understand that it can come and go as it pleases, therefore reinforcing it as a good place to be.
- Begin giving your dog its regular meals in the crate. Place the bowl inside the crate and encourage the dog to enter. If your dog readily enters the crate at dinner time, start asking it to go in and then place the food inside the crate.
- As the dog becomes more comfortable eating in the crate, you can introduce closing the door. Start by closing the door as your dog eats its meal. Make sure you open it before the dog finishes its meal. As you progress, gradually leave the door closed for a few minutes at a time. Soon you should have a dog that will happily stay in its crate after a meal. If the dog whines; ignore the behaviour and try to reward it or let it out as soon as it is quiet. Next time, make sure the dog is in the crate for a slightly longer period of time.
Now increase the length of time spent in the crate.
- Once your dog is happy in the crate for about 10 – 15 minutes after finishing its meal, you can start to confine it to the crate for longer periods. Get the dog into the crate using a command such as “crate” or “bed”. As the dog enters the crate, give it a treat, praise it and close the door. Quietly sit nearby for a few minutes and reward the dog for remaining calm and happy. You might even want to open the door and give the dog a rewarding treat-dispensing toy such as a Kong. Continue with your daily activities and return regularly to reward the dog, either verbally or with a food treat, for its calm behaviour inside the crate.
- Start with short sessions and gradually increase the length of time that you leave the dog inside the crate. This may take several days or weeks.
Crating your dog at night.
- Once your dog is happy spending time in its crate with you around, you can introduce it to crating at night. Make sure your dog has toys or treat-dispensing toys with it to initially settle it into the routine. Keep the crate in a familiar, central area so the dog feels comfortable and settled. With young puppies or older dogs you may need to take them out for toilet breaks during the night. By making the crate a ‘fun’ and enjoyable place to be, night time crating should be an easy transition.
- Too much time in the crate. Be careful that your puppy doesn’t spend too much time in its crate. While it is a fantastic tool for toilet training puppies and preventing destruction, a dog of any age should not spend all day in a crate while you are at work and again when you go to bed. This can affect your dog’s muscle development and condition. Young puppies shouldn’t spend more than 2-3 hours in the crate without a toilet break as they cannot last that long without relieving themselves.
- Whining. If your dog begins whining in its crate, the best thing to do is ignore it. For a young puppy, whining may occur because it needs to relieve itself, so quietly take it out to the toilet on a lead, making sure not to play with it. Place it back into its crate once it has gone to the toilet. Remember that any sort of interaction, positive or negative, will be a ‘reward’ to the dog, so ignoring the whining is best. However, make sure that you reward the dog appropriately when it has settled and is quiet. Using a towel or sheet to cover the crate if the whining persists can also help settle the dog.
By following these steps, you can train your dog to not only love its crate, but also see it as a safe haven. Your dog’s crate can be a place to escape for a much-needed rest, a break from kids or other dogs, and even a portable home that will always be familiar no matter where you are.