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Find out more about your dogs
Dogs are social creatures, but without proper training they behave like, well, animals - soiling your floor, demolishing your belongings, barking all the time, excavating your garden, fighting other dogs and possibly even biting people.
Obedience training also tells your puppy who's in charge. Whether they sit, shake paws, roll over, give your hand a big sloppy lick or perform mesmerizing tricks, it's a sign of obedience and respect.
A clicker is a tiny box that you hold in your hand. It has a metal tongue that you push quickly to make a clicking sound. This tells your dog when he or she has does something right.
To start with, give your puppy a treat after every click. Once puppy cottons on to the fact that clicks are always followed by treats, it becomes a very enticing reward. For example, if you want to teach them to sit, just click the moment that little butt hits the floor and then deliver a scrumptious treat. With repetition, they learn that sitting earns rewards.
As you and puppy get the hang of clicking you can move onto more advanced training, such as shaping. This is where you gradually build a new behaviour by clicking and rewarding a series of small steps toward the result.
Way more fun than fishing, and you're guaranteed the catch of the day. Use a treat as a magnet to get your puppy into a desired position. Hold the lure (a small piece of tasty food) right in front of their nose and then move while they follow it.
Taking puppy off to dog training school will give them the opportunity to learn how to behave and obey you, even around exciting distractions. Instructors are there to help you when something just isn't working in your training. They'll also tell you when you're doing something wrong that might undermine pup's progress.
On top of that, puppy gets to socialize with other scallywags of all shapes, sizes and ages. Even if you have other dogs at home, your pup needs to get out and meet strangers. Regular exposure to lots of other dogs and people will help them grow up to be socially well adjusted, confident and polite members of society.
To download a fact sheet about problem behaviour, click here.
The Merck Veterinary Manual
Veterinary Partner: The Canine Behaviour Series
By: Kathy Diamond Davis, Trainer