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Claire says: "The responsibility of owning a dog increases every year; it is not acceptable to allow dogs to roam or to jump up or bark excessively and there are legal implications for those that do. [Since] in the UK and US over half of homes have dogs... it still remains necessary to spend time training our puppies and dogs so that we maximise their potential and so that we can safely enjoy every moment we have with them."
Of course, young dogs (like Chloe Everton's adorable puppy Teddington pictured here on the left) are easier to train since they have yet to develop any unwanted behaviour habits. But its important to remember that dogs of all ages can be trained since learning continues to occur throughout their lives.
Claire's first tip:
Find a training class that avoids aversive methods and book in early. No matter what they claim, it has been scientifically proven that dogs trained using kind, reward-based methods are more responsive and obedient to their owners and your dog should never be afraid in class.
Using equipment such as a harness or head-collar can also help to make a dog much easier to control as well as helping to change bad habits. Any equipment like this should be introduced slowly and carefully so that your dog feels totally comfortable.
To reduce the strain on your animal (and your arms), try the Rok Stretch Dog Lead pictured here on the left. Featuring a solid rubber core and a non-stretch padded handle, this lead gives you total control whilst gently discharging the reverberations felt when the animal pulls. Perfect for everyone!
Spend time finding out what your dog likes best (treats, toys or praise) and use those to encourage all the behaviours and actions you would like him or her to repeat. Dogs are not born knowing what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour to humans so we need to teach them.
Follow your instincts: if an instructor does something with your dog that feels wrong, please query them. If the answer still doesn’t make complete sense, then don’t allow it. Since the dog training industry is as yet unregulated, it means that anyone - even those with minimal training - can advertise as experts. Get a second opinion before any lasting damage is done.
Punishment is hard to get right and typically creates more problems for the animal than those you started with. Using rewards does not mean your dog will become spoiled - as long as you use them carefully. Offer rewards for good responses and once the action occurs reliably, you can begin to fade them out.
Don't worry that you will be stuck using rewards forever; but equally if you do continue, that isn't a terrible thing. After all, we all expect our wages to continue no matter how well we do our jobs(!) If you're looking for something to treat train your pet with, try these delicious Pet Munchies pictured on the left available right here at QVC!
For anxious animals troubled by noise, cars or travel, thunder or fireworks you can also try the Thundershirt Anxiety Treatment vest pictured on the left.
And remember, if you really find yourself struggling, you can always contact your vet to help with hehavioural or training problems. They should refer you to a specialist in your area, who can help you to rediscover the enjoyment of training and playing with your dog.
Of course, with all the training in the world it's still good to take steps to keep your dog (and your household) in order in any way possible, and nothing is more useful for keeping your kitchen clean and your pets happy than the Neater Feeder pictured here on the left.
Yet remember, whichever methods you use to train your pooch, undeniably the dog-human bond is amazing and with time and patience, they really are so much more than ‘just’ a pet!
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