Puppies are capable of learning simple commands from a very young age but don’t try to give your puppy a meaningful training session if he is tired, highly excited or busy exploring. You need his full attention, otherwise you’re wasting your time. You can build up to training sessions in more distracting environments once your puppy is reliably responding to your commands at home.
When it comes to house training, you don’t have to be a scientist to work out what goes in must come out. If you feed your puppy a quality, balanced dog food and stick to regular meal times (3 times a day for young puppies, dropping down to twice a day for older dogs), then your puppy is more likely to have regular toileting habits – which means you’ll have more of an idea of what time to take him out. If, on the other hand, you offer your puppy constant treats and tidbits and feed him at different times of the day, you can expect your puppy to need to toilet at any time of day too.
With your dog sitting at your side, set off and give the command “heel” (so that your dog is aware you are about to move). If the dog gets ahead, stop and encourage it back to your side with a titbit. Repeat. To begin with, stop every three to four paces to praise your dog and give a titbit. Do not use your voice unless your dog is at your side. You can also practise this off-lead in a secure area – this makes you work really hard at keeping your dog with you, rather than relying on the lead.
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Slip collars (commonly called choke chain or check chains) are made of metal links or rolled material such as nylon or leather. A metal ring is at each end. Historically, slip collars have been used as a matter of course, mostly in North America and the UK. In the last few decades use of these collars has declined. Correctly used, the collar should make a quick clicking not zipping sound when quickly snapped and released to startle or get the attention of the dog and indicate to the handler that the technique was a swift jerk not a choke. The idea is not to strangle the dog, though this can happen if the collar is improperly used.
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When you arrive to class we ask that you keep your distance from other owners and dogs, we will guide you over to your personal ‘pod’ which will be a small area reserved for you and your dog. This will give your dogs the best chance to feel comfortable and calm at the start of class. Once everyone has settled in their own areas your coach will start the class, there will be some time set aside for practical training and discussing key messages. In puppy classes there will also be some time scheduled for socialising with other class members.
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Many owners appear disappointed that their young puppy will not toilet when out on a walk, yet relieves itself the second it gets back home. This is because the puppy has been taught to toilet only at home (hopefully in its garden), and being creatures of habit, they often wait until they have returned home before evacuating their bladder and/ or bowels.
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