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Dogs like to please. Many dog owners and trainers tend to ignore good behaviour and spend too much time addressing the bad habits of their dog. We increase the likelihood of good behaviour by using positive rewards, and repetition until it becomes part of the dog’s nature. The value of a ‘good reward’ can be clearly seen in the training of Police Sniffer Dogs.

They are required to work for a 45 minute sniffing session and are happy to perform knowing a reward will be given at the end; a reward that is often as simple as time playing with a tennis ball. By encouraging your dog to like certain toys, you create a great tool for exercising, training, rewarding, and even capturing your dogs’ attention in difficult situations- particularly if shyness, aggression, or compulsive behaviour is a problem.


Dogs learn by associating behaviour with its consequences. This process is affected by time; the quicker we respond to the dogs’ behaviour, the faster the dog understands what is expected. React as quickly as possible when rewarding, encouraging or disciplining your dog.


Use rewards wisely, by associating them with the desired behaviour. Rewards can be anything from a good word and a pat, to food, or time with a ball.


A tired dog is a calmer dog, and much easier to handle. You should exercise your dog on a daily basis. When exercising or training a dog, you can attach words to a number of actions or objects- all dogs are capable of learning a significant number of words, names and commands. You should never use physical punishment as a response to disobedience; it is cruel, and will diminish your ability to control your dog from a distance when off the lead. Sometimes a sharp “no”, or simply ignoring your dog will be enough of a rebuke.


Teaching your dog commands with a whistle can be very useful. For example- if your dog runs that little bit too far, a whistle can be used to communicate with your dog over long distances. In an emergency, other people could help you to communicate with your dog by using a similar whistle- (strangers calling a dogs’ name doesn’t always get a response, especially when the dog is stressed). Try to find a unique whistle, as you don’t want your dog to respond to every whistle it hears.

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