Basic dog training is essential for every pet pooch, regardless of their breed. We’re not talking about anything too complicated or involved, just teaching some of the basic behaviours every dog should be able to master — sitting and staying, coming when called, not pulling on lead and greeting visitors in a calm and relaxed fashion.
But if you want to teach your dog everything they need to know about being a polite and well-behaved member of the family, you’ll need to make sure you have a few essential dog training products ready to go.
5 dog training essentials
- If you want to control your dog, you’ll need to get him a collar or harness. There’s a huge range of options to choose from, and selecting the right option will depend on your pooch. A simple but stylish fabric collar could be perfect for your pooch, while other owners might prefer the extra control (and lack of choking) provided by a doggy harness. There are even special head collars available to help stop energetic dogs pulling on the lead —and hopefully save you some shoulder pain in the process! Just make sure the collar you choose fits properly and remember to attach an ID tag so your dog can make it home again if he ever gets lost.
- Next on the list of essential dog training products is a lead. In fact, a leash is one of the most important dog training tools at your disposal, so choosing the right lead for your dog is critical. There are short leads, long leads, retractable leads, nylon leads, leather leads and much more, all in every colour of the rainbow. Make sure the lead you choose is durable, easy to keep a hold of, and just the right length for your needs.
- Rewards-based training methods produce the best results when training your dog. Instead of reinforcing negative behaviours through punishment and fear, positive reinforcement training methods allow you to reward your dog whenever she does the right thing. So whether you’re training a basic ‘sit’ or something more complex like ‘roll over’ you’ll need to have a good supply of your dog’s favourite treats ready to go. Liver treats can be great for food-driven breeds like Labradors, while other dogs will love nothing better than to be rewarded with a play with their favourite dog toys.
- Dog training can be a tricky business, especially if you’ve got a strong-willed, independent or just plain cheeky canine companion, so sometimes you need a little help to produce the desired training results. There’s a huge range of dog training books and DVDs available to provide simple, useful advice on how to train your dog. Stock up on these and you’ll be well on your way to training even the naughtiest of dogs.
- And the fifth essential item you need when training your dog? Patience! Okay, so technically it’s not a product you can buy, but patience is paramount when training your dog. Getting angry or frustrated won’t help the situation in any way; all that’s going to do is confuse or frighten your dog. Take a calm and relaxed approach to training instead, remembering to keep your cool even when nothing goes as planned. With a slow and steady approach, your dog will soon be sitting, staying, coming when called, and doing everything else expected of a well-behaved pooch.
Dog training tips
Dog training can be frustrating and stressful, so keep these simple tips in mind to get the best possible results:
- Use a positive, rewards-based method
- Stay calm and never lose your cool with your dog
- Train in short, sharp bursts. You don’t want your dog’s attention to waver, so keep your training sessions to manageable time frames
- Start with the basic commands like sit, stay, drop and come. Make sure you can rely on your dog to perform those behaviours in all sorts of situations and with all manner of distractions
- When training complex behaviours and tricks, for example roll over, break them down into separate skills and gradually work up to producing the entire trick
- Start training as soon as you can and before your puppy can learn any bad behaviours
- Enjoy! Dog training is a whole lot of fun if you approach it the right way, and there’s no better opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time with your four-legged friend.