Basic training principles

Training your dog requires a good deal of persistence.

Here are some dog training tips to help guide you.

Sunday morning class

Get your dog's full attention

Before you can start the actual physical process of training your dog, you must first ensure that you have his full and undivided attention. This is vitally important.

Be generous with your praise and rewards

Always praise your dog a lot when she/he succeeds in mastering a new behaviour. For quicker results, tasty food treats and/or toys can be used as a reward. see high value treats

Clear signals and tone of voice

Always use the same "cue" for a specific task you require of your dog. Don’t confuse your dog by using different cues for the same behaviour. Hand cues should be used at the same time as the voice cue to help your dog understand.

The tone of your voice is very important and should be "happy" and encouraging.


Timing is critical to successful training. Praise your dog whenever he/she is doing something right. The praise or reward must happen immediately or your dog will not know which action earned the reward.

Be consistent

Every interaction with your dog is a learning experience, not just what you do in class, so consistency is very important for successful training.

Once you’ve established a rule such as not jumping up on people or coming when called, you must, enforce it consistently. If the dog learns that he/she can get away with it now and then, your previous efforts will go down the drain.

Do not give a cue you can't enforce as you just end up 'training' the dog that he/she doesn't have to obey.

Consistency doesn't just mean every time. It also means by everyone. Your dog will find it hard to learn if some members of the household do one thing, whilst others do another.

Find time to play with your dog

There is nothing a dog (particularly a youngster) enjoys more than playing with you and it is an excellent way of building a bond between you. Any such understanding that is built in this way is in itself an extremely useful aid to your future dog training and obedience regime.

See more on the importance of play and why games and dog toys are important

A little bit of training every day

Try not to rush your efforts. Take it one day and one cue at a time and, in particular, never give up on teaching that one cue until you are absolutely sure your dog understands exactly what is required of him/her.

Be patient, take one step at a time, and never try to push your training program along too quickly.

Training should be fun for both you and our dog. If either of you aren't in the mood, don't train.

Short sessions of 5-10 minutes work best. Daily or even twice daily sessions will give the best results. You can practice in your kitchen, backyard or include a session at the start of your daily walk, followed by the usual more relaxed walk. Try to train in different locations to give variety and allow your dog to generalise, although when starting out keep distractions to a minimum..

Be patient

If your dog seems to be learning too slowly, or does not seem to be able to understand what it is you require, never lose your patience or temper. Keep calm, and move along at a pace your dog can handle, even if you believe that she/he should be making much swifter progress.

Training should be fun

Training is a time to help build a positive relationship with your dog.

If either you or your dog aren't in the mood then don't train.


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