Whatever type of dog you go for, training is a must. There are different types of training, and the type of training that you choose will often depend on what you hope to achieve with your dog. As with humans, the optimal time for training a dog is when they are young.

You can begin teaching a puppy basic commands almost as soon as you take them home from the breeder. When training puppies you should only train them for a minute or so at a time, they don’t have the ability to concentrate for very long. Little and often is the way to go. As they get older you can increase the length of your sessions. If you get an older dog it’s still possible to train them, although they may take a little more time to change their habits.

The Benefits

There are many benefits to training your dog. The first is obvious: a well-behaved dog is much nicer to have around the house. You can get your dog to do what they’re told with the minimum amount of fuss and your dog knows what’s expected of them and gets a sense of achievement by responding to a command correctly. Training your dog is socially responsible, because well-behaved dogs don’t bother people when out in public places. In Ireland dogs are required to be under the control of their owner at all times, so if you intend to take your dog off lead it is imperative that your dog responds to you. Training can help deepen the bond between you and your dog. Many owners count time spent training as quality time. Taking the time to train your dog and get them to respond to you will result in you both having a closer relationship, which can only be a good thing.

Training Aids

There are many books and internet resources available for training, but you may prefer to bring your dog to a class. The benefits of training your dog in a class environment is that there is a certain degree of socialisation involved too. If you plan on showing your dog or entering them in field competitions, then some specialist training will be necessary. If classes aren’t your thing you can enlist the help of a trainer who can work with you and your dog individually. On this site, you may be interested in examining our list of upcoming training events. You can find more specialised clubs that can offer advice on training your dog here.

Basic Training

Before you take your puppy out

Introduce your puppy to his collar and lead. Start with a light collar and let him get used to wearing it on its own. Don’t buckle it too tightly – just enough to stop it slipping over his head. First accustom him to the lead rather than trying to make him walk with it on.

Taking your puppy out

The lead is essential for keeping your puppy under control in public places and for the basic training every young dog MUST be given. Coax him to follow you by praise but if he tries to get away just hold the lead until he realises there is no escape. An extending lead is a useful adjunct to training on open ground.

Once your dog has got used to his collar and has been persuaded by gentle manipulation of the lead that he cannot win a tug-of-war either by pulling ahead or hanging back, you can begin the basic training, designed to turn him into a quiet, obedient, social animal.

The basic rules

Training should be done by all members of the household, but make sure that the approach is consistent. Reward him with a show of affection and by stroking him when he does well. Do not punish a dog for not obeying a command. Simply withhold the reward of he will associate the command with punishment. Keep the lessons short-five minutes is enough and at regular times. Make it FUN for the dog to learn.

Use short words of command with vowels that sound clearly different. The first four essentials are HEEL – SIT – COME – DOWN. Training a dog needs patience and self control, but the bond of affection between you and your pet and his eagerness to please should overcome all difficulties.

The Irish Kennel holds Training Classes at the National Show Centre, Cloghran, Co Dublin. Click here for details.