Dogs - Basic Manners
When owning a dog it is important to remember that they have come to live with you and not the other way around. You’re the boss, head of the family, leader of the pack! With that in mind every dog should be trained to some sort of standards, let's call them manners.
A dog with good manners will benefit you when taking your dog to the park or out in public and especially when at home. You want your dog to behave so give it the best chance by installing the following basic manners.
Start Young! Puppies Must Know Their Place.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks! Some people say but we don’t believe this, one thing is for certain teaching a younger dog is easier than teaching an older dog. Every dog learns at their own pace and much like us has good days and bad days with the lessons we want them to learn. Remember to keep the training fun, have lots of treats at the ready, praise your dog when they do what you are asking them to do and exercise as much patience as possible.
Teaching your dog their Name, to Come, Sit and Stay
When you have decided on a name for your dog then you can start to teach them their chosen name. When you have your dog’s attention it is pretty simple, with some dog treats in your hand say your dog’s name to them. When they acknowledge their name give your dog a treat and praise them. Wait a few seconds and then repeat. Practice this for up to 5 minutes several times a day.
Teaching your dog to come. Start at home or in a safe enclosed garden with your dog on its leash. Using either treats or your dog's favourite toy and lots of praise, start by calling your dog ‘Rocky come’ and with encouragement and gently pulling the their leash pulling them towards you and when your dog gets to you give them a treat and lots of praise. Gradually increase the distance and work toward removing their leash, staying within the confines of your house or safe enclosed garden until your trust in each other has been gained.
Training your dog to sit is one of the easiest tricks you can teach them. You can either wait for them to sit naturally and say the word ‘sit’ give them a treat with lots of praise and repeat. Or, with your dog focused on you, hold a treat on your hand slightly in front of their nose slowly moving the treat back to the top of their head. They will naturally follow the treat and when leaning their head back to follow the treat your dog will sit down, when they sit down say ‘sit’ and give them their treat with lots of praise. Practice makes perfect.
Stay, usually goes hand in hand with training your dog to sit and to come. Using a hand signal is a good idea here, hold you hand out flat and say ‘stay’ firmly. If your dog moves, which they will, take them back to the position you told them to stay at and try again.
If you have a dog that likes to jump up at people, just remember not everyone enjoys having a dog lavish attention on them. Personally, we love it. But, if you would prefer your dog not to jump up at people then you must break that habit. The best way to do this is by getting everyone in your household and your visitors too, to turn their backs and fold their arms whilst telling your dog ‘NO’. By doing this they become very boring to your dog and they will get the message the jumping up doesn’t lead to more fun.
It is important to socialise your dog from a young age to avoid future issues. Ensure you socialise your dog in a calm environment, with their lead on and exposure them to other dogs as much as possible from a young age. If your dog doesn’t like other dogs, chances are they were not socialised enough as a young pup. If that is the case don’t force your dog into a situation where other dogs will be near them until you have dealt with their behaviour. It will be important to make meeting other dogs a positive experience. Use treats as a award you good behaviour displayed around other dogs. When out walking and another dog is coming near, stay calm, continue feeding your pup as you both inch closer to the other dog, as long as you remain calm you dog will hopefully remain calm too, or at the very least sensible! If your dog reacts negatively, don’t punish them. Just repeat this training each time you see another dog on your walks. You need to be consistent and aim for walking right past another dog without your dog caring. If all else fails, call on the experience of a qualified Dog Behaviourist.
Walking on a lead
Your dog should walk on the lead in a calm and controlled manner and should not be pulling you, or taking you for the walk! When your dog is still a puppy you can teach them this by pulling them back whenever they walk ahead of you and saying ‘NO’. Remember lots of praise and treats for walking well and the behaviour you want. Always start their lead training either in the house or in a secure garden and walk up to taking them outside. For more on training your dog to walk nicely on a lead see our latest blog >insert link to blog<
Once your pup has mastered the above you can start to advance their training with Lie down, Leave it and Drop it.
To teach your pup to Lie down you will need Sit for this. When you dog is fully focused on you and ready for their lesson of the day, get your dog in the sit position and with a treat in your hand, your palm down start to lower your hand slowly and say ‘lie down’. Your dog should follow the treat down, but you may need to gently lift their front paws and then place them down in the lay down position. Once the dog is in the lay down position give them their treat and lots of praise. Repeat several times until your dog is performing lie down on their own. Continue practicing lie down with your pup with treat until they are confidently performing this trick for you, you can slowly reduce the amount of treats given but always offer lots of praise when you dog follows your instruction.
To teach your dog ‘leave it’ you will again need lots of treats. Position your dog in either the sit or lie down position. Ensure they are fully focused on you and then place a treat on the floor, just in front of them. At this stage you will need to protect the treat with your flat hand and every time your dog goes near the treat or touches your hand give the command ‘leave it’ they should tire of not being able to get near the treat and wait. At this point remove your hand to show them the treat, if your dog goes near it say ‘leave it’ and cover it with your hand. Work towards having the treat in full display in front of your dog with them leaving it on command. Now this is very important, when your dog it leaving the treat, praise them and give them a treat but never the treat that you place in front of them.
Drop it is one of the most important commands in your dog’s skill set. If your dog gets hold of something important or dangerous to them you need them to listen to you and follow your instructions. To teach your dog to ‘drop it’ you will need the dog's favourite toy or a ball. Give your chosen object to your dog and let them play for a minute or two, then call your dog back and take the toy out of your dog's mouth and say ‘drop it’ then throw the toy again and repeat the training process. Throwing the toy is an important part of the training process as this is their reward for giving you the toy to the ‘drop it’ command. Once your dog starts to understand what is required they should drop the toy on command, remember to reward your dog with lots of praise and throw the toy again to continue the fun playtime and training session.