Dog Training

Obedience training a puppy or dog

Dog and puppy obedience

If you’ve just welcomed a new puppy or dog into your home, you’re no doubt very excited right now! However, there might well be a few nerves mixed in with that excitement. How are you going to teach your furry friend new things and make sure they’re a well-mannered pet? Relax though, we’ve got lots of great dog obedience training tips right here.

Why obedience matters

Obedience exercises are important for all dogs. How are you going to take your dog for a walk if they don’t come back when you call them, for example? How will you get them to sit and stay when they’re asked to? However, the benefits of obedience training go beyond getting your dog to behave nicely. Training also provides both mental stimulation and physical exercise.

The top tips for obedience training

To make obedience training a success, it’s important to bear in mind the key principles of dog training. There is lots more detail about these in Dog training tips to make life easier but here’s a quick summary:

Positive reinforcement

Most trainers and vets agree that positive reinforcement works best when training dogs. Simply put that’s rewarding the good behaviour and ignoring, or redirecting, the bad.

Avoid punishing your dog

Again, the general consensus is that punishing your dog won’t work and could make your dog scared of you.

Keep sessions short and sweet

Training sessions should be fun for both you and your dog and are best kept fairly short.

Use treats

Treats can really help with training and a lot of dogs are very motivated by food! The PEDIGREE™ Tasty Mini range are the perfect training treats and come in three great flavours: Beef & Cheese, Beef & Poultry and Chicken & Duck.

Minimise distractions

When you first start training your puppy or dog, you’ll have a greater chance of success if you do it somewhere quiet and free of distractions. After all, you want your furry friend’s full attention!

Be clear and consistent

It’s really important your dog has a clear understanding of what is and isn’t allowed. This means all the humans in the household have to stick to the same set of house rules. If you don’t let your dog on the sofa, for example, and your partner does, the result will be one very confused pooch!

Be patient

Your dog is a unique individual with a unique temperament and will learn things in their own time. With this in mind, try not to worry if they seem to take longer than you expected to ‘get’ certain bits of their obedience training.

Is my dog too old for obedience training?

It’s never too late to train a dog whether you’re adopting one from a shelter or just looking to brush up on a few things with a resident older pooch. You’ll probably find your dog has a longer attention span than most puppies too. Can you teach an old dog new tricks is packed with helpful advice.

Is my puppy too young for obedience training?

The advice used to be that you shouldn’t start trying to train a puppy until they are at least six months old, but many trainers and vets now believe you can start much earlier, at around two months old. As responsible breeders won’t take a puppy from their mum before this age, this means you can start training pretty much straightaway.

What kit do I need for obedience training?

You don’t need lots of expensive kit to train your dog and these basic items should be fine:

  • A collar

  • A standard lead

  • A long-line lead

  • A front clip harness

  • Treats

  • A clicker if you’re clicker training

Is clicker training a good way to teach obedience?

Clicker training is a popular training method which uses a small plastic box that you click whenever your dog performs the behaviour you’re asking of them. The click is immediately followed by a reward so your furry friend learns good behaviour equals good things. Want to know more? Check out How to clicker train a dog.

Are obedience classes worth it?

If you have the budget, a good dog obedience school can definitely help you train your puppy or dog. Of course though, not all dog obedience classes are created equal, so it’s important to do your research to find a good one. As well as looking at online reviews, it’s worth asking your vet and local dog owners for recommendations.

What do I do if my dog won’t listen?

When your dog doesn’t listen to you it can be very frustrating and even dangerous. Is your dog getting enough physical exercise and mental stimulation? Might they be stressed? Are you or other members of your household being inconsistent about what the rules are? If none of these things seem to be the problem, it’s worth a chat with your vet.

Don’t forget about socialisation

There’s much more to being a ‘good dog’ than doing what you’re asked, important though that is. You want your puppy or dog to get along well with other dogs and humans and cope with a wide range of different situations. Socialisation: Taking on the world one paw at a time has lots of great tips.

Want more training advice? Check out How to teach your dog to sit and How to get your dog to come when they’re called.