Teaching your dog some basic commands will help to prevent undesirable behaviours around the house, such as stealing items. Dogs commonly steal strongly scented items like shoes, children’s toys etc. Teaching your dog a leave/drop command will help in these situations. Exchange the stolen item for something more suitable for your dog.
Make sure that the dog has access to much more interesting (and safe!) chew toys, and make a big fuss of them when they decide to play with them instead.
Keep all the training sessions simple and short. Never get frustrated while training your dog, if they are not getting the command, take a step back and try again later. Always end training sessions on a positive note and go back to a command the dog knows well.
Never punish or get angry with your dog as this only teaches them that you are someone to be feared, and you could permanently destroy their trust in you. You do not need to show the dog you are the ‘boss’ or ‘pack leader - these are thoughts are from old school training methods and these theories have been disproven and shown to be ineffective. As an owner, you are there to guide your pet and encourage good behaviour by giving lots of praise when they perform desirable behaviours.
Consistency with training is also important: make sure that everyone in the family is using the same commands and that everyone is praising the dog for the same behaviour. Remember positive or negative attention is still rewarding to a dog.
The most important thing to remember when training a dog is that training should be fun and enjoyable for both you and your dog and it is a great way to bond with your dog.
For more information on training your dog, take a look at our Pet Ownership section.
Dog training classes
When looking for a training class or behaviourist it is important you choose someone that is qualified and will teach using the best and most up-to-date methods. Therefore, we recommend using a trainer who is accredited by The Association of Pet Dog Trainers, The Institute of Modern Dog Trainers or The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors. Local trainers can be found via their websites.