You, your dog, and the people around you will benefit significantly if you provide basic obedience training. Not only is it socially appropriate, but it is also in the interests of the dog’s welfare to ensure that they can navigate the challenges of daily life with humans.
From learning how to go to the toilet, to listening to your commands, here are our tips for essential dog training.
How to toilet train a dog
Initially, your puppy will have no control over when they go to the bathroom, so you should be prepared to deck your floors with absorbent paper that catch any mess. Puppies don’t develop the ability to control their bowel and bladder until about the age of 3 or 4 months, so it’s best to start training from this time onwards.
When you start training, restrict the area in which the puppy can roam in the house. You can do this by simply reducing the amount of paper you put on the floor and creating a barrier to make their free space smaller. The physical divide between this space and the rest of the house will gradually reinforce the idea that there is a separate area for the bathroom.
It’s important to provide your puppy with regular opportunities to go to the bathroom. Ultimately, you want them to go to the toilet outside, so start taking them outside in the same area first thing in the morning, after a nap, and when they’ve finished eating, and then once or twice every hour.
They will start to recognize the area and their own scent, which will make them more feel more relaxed and more inclined to do what they need to do. It’s also important that you remain with your dog whilst they do this, because you need to reinforce that they are there for a reason.
Because you are developing a pattern of behaviour, meal times should be consistent and regular. Avoid giving food treats as these may disrupt the urge to go to the toilet, making it more difficult to know when your dog is likely to need to go.
When your dog starts to follow the process successfully, make sure you reinforce the behaviour with a reward such as a pat on the head, small food treat, or activity they enjoy doing, like going for a walk.
How to give your dog basic obedience training
Obedience training is the process of teaching your dog to follow basic commands and certain social skills so that they can become well-behaved and pleasant to be around, for both you and your community.
As a minimum, it’s a good idea to ensure that your dog can follow these basic commands, but start with the basics first. For example, “Come” and “Sit” are probably the easiest commands to train first.
When your dog carries out your command, you should reinforce their good behaviour with a reward such as a food treat or physical contact/attention. Repetition of good behaviour and reward is key to making obedience training successful. Over time, your dog will automatically respond to your commands without needing to be rewarded. In turn, your dog should conform and your bond will be based on respect.
For further training, there are also professional classes available which are normally organized locally, depending on the degree to which you wish to train your dog. Generally, these five commands are a good basis on which to develop good behaviour in your dog.