Start as you mean to go on!
Setting your dog up for success is an essential element to producing an obedient, happy, healthy dog, who fits in well with your lifestyle.
It is essential to integrate his training in to your every day life, from DAY ONE.
Establish a routine …
- Always let him out into the garden on awakening to relieve himself. If you do not have the luxury of a garden, then I am afraid, the alternative must be an early morning stroll, before breakfast.
- Decide whether he has his breakfast before you, or has to wait until after his morning walk. He will adapt quickly to your routine and will not pester you as you are rushing around the home, frantically getting ready for work, IF he knows what to expect and when. Ask your dog to sit and wait whilst you prepare his food.
- Be calm with him as you leave the house, get into the habit of going in and out of the door quietly and without fuss. Leave him with a Kong and other suitable toys, if he is going to be alone for more than a few minutes. Your dog will learn, there are times when you leave the house and he is not invited. As this becomes routine, he will generally settle down before you leave, confident in the knowledge, you will return.
- If you don’t want a dog who sleeps on the sofa, please do not allow him to climb up on to the chairs as a puppy. Having a full grown dog, who has just come in, from a walk in the rain, rush over to join your nearest and dearest on the sofa isn’t quite as endearing, as snuggling up with the small bundle of fluff you brought in to your home only months before! Remember they are only puppies for a very short time, you have to live with the adult version for the next 10 years or more.
- If you want to limit your dog to the ground floor of the house, do not allow your children to lure your new pet up the stairs “just until he gets used to being with us” or “just for tonight, please MUM!” . It is so much harder to break the cycle, than to set clear boundaries from the offset. Use a stair gate if necessary, as with children, it will not need to be there forever, just until he learns the house rules.
- When you are mopping the floor or indeed vacuuming the carpets, get your dog in the habit of going to his bed. If this is done routinely, he will head quietly for his bed the moment he spots you with the mop bucket or vacuum cleaner.
- Do not feed your dog from the dining room table, or feed him from your plates the moment the family has finished the meal. This will start your dog begging and you will have a drooling dog hovering over you, every time a member of the family has a meal or a snack. Instead, place the leftovers in his bowl and give these to him as part of his supper or as a welcome treat later in the day.
- Regularly, pick up and move your dogs lead, during the course of the day. Teaching him that the sound of the lead does not always mean a walk is imminent. This will prevent him screaming around your sitting room, knocking over the flower vase as he rushes past you, to the door. The same should apply to your walking boots and coat, you do not want the sight of these to send your dog into a whirling dervish. Always ask your dog to sit before the lead is clipped on. Teaching your dog to wait calmly from a young age, will put both you and the dog in the right frame of mind to enjoy your walks, rather than you dreading the moment you even think about taking him out of the door.
- Once you have the lead on, open the door. If your dog pulls your arm off, dragging you with him as he heads for the street in anticipation of what’s to come, turn right round and walk back in through the door. Do this every time he pulls you, out of your door. He will learn, unless he walks calmly through the door, he will not progress any further than the porchway or the garden gate. Not another step until, he learns some manners. This may not happen the first time you wish to proceed or even the 10th but he will realise, in order to have some fun, he must first stop and listen to you. This is the first important step to having a dog, who walks on a loose lead when out in public.
- Routinely teach your dog to sit or go to his bed when visitors arrive. Avoid having your visitors make a fuss over an excitable dog on arrival but to wait until everyone one is through the door and seated. He may then, quietly greet the guests but only if he keeps all four feet on the floor.
- Always make sure your dog has his evening walk. Exercise is the key to a well trained dog, who can be enjoyed by all the family. Reward his patience with a little of your time. Like children, dogs like to play, love to be outdoors and it is vital they are socialised, if they are to be accepted by your family members, friends and the wider community.