Blog posts tagged with ‘training’

We found 18 results tagged with 'training'.

7 Tips To Help A Rescue Dog Settle Into Their New Home

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This is an image of a dog running.

Guest blog by Richard Cross creator of The Dog Clinic which helps dog parents build a strong bond with their pet through positive training. Learn more at: www.thedogclinic.com

Adoption is a wonderful moment for any rescue dog – but it can also be a stressful time. The dog must adapt to a new home and family and may still feel somewhat stressed from shelter life.

There are many ways to help your dog settle in – here are seven of the best methods, along with tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.

Guest blog by Richard Cross creator of The Dog Clinic which helps dog parents build a strong bond with their pet through positive training. Learn more at: www.thedogclinic.com

Adoption is a wonderful moment for any rescue dog – but it can also be a stressful time. The dog must adapt to a new home and family and may still feel somewhat stressed from shelter life.

There are many ways to help your dog settle in – here are seven of the best methods, along with tips for making the transition as smooth as possible.

1. Prepare your home for the new arrival

It’s natural for your dog to feel anxious when you bring them home. Remember, they may have been in a shelter or foster care for a while, which can be a stressful environment and quite different to their new home.

Some basic preparation can help your dog to feel more relaxed. Make sure you buy a high-quality dog bed (memory foam is a great choice), plenty of fun toys and other essential items. It’s also a good idea to find a quiet space to put their bed, so your pet has a place to rest without being disturbed.

Find out which food your dog was eating at the shelter, so you can buy the same brand and type. While you may want to change their food, this can cause stomach upsets if you do so too quickly. Instead, gradually change their food over the course of a week or two, so the dog’s digestive system has time to adapt.

It’s also vital that the garden and home are secured. Check for any gaps in hedges or broken fence panels, as an adopted dog is at risk of trying to run away. Make sure any toxic plants are removed from both the garden and house.

2. Keep introductions calm

Ideally, an adopted dog should meet all members of the family before you bring them home. This includes any other dogs you have at home.

Even if your dog has already met the family, it’s important that the first interactions in the home are calm and quiet. Too much excitement can be stressful and difficult for your dog to cope with.

To avoid unnecessary anxiety, ask family members to sit down quietly. Allow the dog to approach them when they feel ready and give them space when they move away. This can be difficult for children, so try to explain why a calm introduction is important. Reward your dog with treats and praise for calm behaviour.

Note: Be extra careful when introducing your pet to other dogs. It’s best to do so in a neutral environment, such as a local park with lots of space. Allow your dogs to greet each other in their own time – don’t force interactions.

3. Pay attention to rules and advice provided by the shelter

Some dogs have behavioural issues and while these can be improved through positive training techniques, this takes time and patience. The stress of moving home can also temporarily worsen a dog’s issues.

The shelter should inform you of any behavioural issues your dog has. They may also recommend ways to handle them, including management strategies. It’s vital to take this advice seriously.

If your pet has issues with resource guarding, for example, don’t be tempted to “test” whether you can take away a toy. If you’ve been told that they are defensive around other dogs, don’t invite a friend over with their pet. Ignoring the rescue centre’s advice is a common reason for dogs being returned to the shelter.

4. Delay guests until your dog is more settled

It’s natural to want friends and family to meet your new dog. Many of them will also be desperate to say hello to your new canine companion!

Unfortunately, greeting strangers is a stressful experience for a dog, even if they might appear happy and excited at the time.

For this reason, avoid having guests until your dog is more settled in their new home. This allows the dog time to bond with their new family and learn the routine.

5. Establish a consistent routine

Dogs thrive on consistency and routine. The faster you establish this for your dog, the faster they’ll settle in.

Aside from avoiding guests, you should feed, walk and toilet your dog at roughly the same time each day. Having a consistent time to go to bed and wake up can also help your dog to settle overnight.

6. Always use positive training techniques

It’s important to develop a strong bond with your new dog. Without trust and love, it’s impossible for your pet to settle into their new home.

That’s why positive training is such an important technique. The basic idea is to reward the “desired” behaviour, while ignoring your dog when they do something wrong. Over time, your dog learns which behaviours are rewarding, and you don’t damage the bond you’re building by shouting or scolding.

Management is also essential when training your dog. This involves minimising the opportunities they have to perform unwanted behaviours.

Here are a few examples:

  • If your dog barks from the front window at people walking by, use a baby gate to keep them in a different room when you’re not around.
  • If your dog likes to chew shoes, put them in a cupboard and provide more appropriate chew toys.
  • If your dog tries to take food off the table, put them in their crate (assuming  your dog been properly introduced to a crate) or in a different room during meal times.

While this might seem like avoiding the problem, management is a great way to prevent behaviours from becoming habits

7. Be patient

It can take months for a rescue dog to feel fully settled into their new home, especially if they’ve had negative experiences in the past. Be patient during the settling in period, as becoming frustrated will just make life more difficult for your dog.

It’s also important to remember that all dogs are different. Some might want to explore their new home and investigate their new family members. Others may just want to lay down and sleep. Whatever your dog’s personality, the key is to provide a relaxed, loving and calm environment.

Gaining the trust of a rescue dog requires patience and a lot of love – but it’s worth the effort.

Summary

While adopting a rescue dog is an exciting time, it’s important to remember that your new family member is likely to be stressed, anxious and unsettled.

You can help them to settle in by creating a calm and comfortable environment. Treating them with kindness, patience and consistency will also help you build a strong bond and partnership with them.

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Fun home activities with pets

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This is a close up of a cat

Prioritise play

With social restrictions starting to ease, you’re probably feeling a bit less cooped up in general.  However, many of us continue to work from home – often with pets by our sides – and some fun home activity ideas might be just the ticket to break up the daily routine.  They might also come in handy when the next cold, rainy day rolls around!

Read on for some fun home activities you can play with your pet!

Prioritise play

With social restrictions starting to ease, you’re probably feeling a bit less cooped up in general.  However, many of us continue to work from home – often with pets by our sides – and some fun home activity ideas might be just the ticket to break up the daily routine.  They might also come in handy when the next cold, rainy day rolls around!

By setting aside time for fun, you’ll develop an even deeper bond with your pet.

Pets of all ages need some play time to keep them happy and healthy, and this is especially true for indoor cats.  Play helps a pet condition their muscles and joints which supports physical health.  It also provides much needed mental stimulation helping to keep their mind sharp. 

Pets who are bored tend to make their own ‘fun’ and this might lead to destructive or other undesirable behaviour. 

Here’s some fun home activities you can enjoy together:

Great playtime ideas for cats

By stimulating their hunting instinct, your cat will happily swop snooze time for playtime.

• Playful cats adore anything that you can make move, twitch or disappear out of sight! 

• Toys with feathers or anything on a string will bring out your cat's natural hunting instincts.

Be sure to let your cat catch their 'prey' now and then, otherwise playtime will lead to a build-up of frustration.  This can be an issue particularly with laser style cat toys.  To combat this, ensure your play session ends by allowing your cat to hunt and catch an actual, physical toy. 

• Other toys a cat will love include catnip mice and sacks, bouncy balls and balls filled with toys.

• Treat dispensing toys are great and can also be used by cats.  Be sure to account for this food in your cat's daily ration and let your cat 'play' for their meal. 

• Consider cutting a hole in a cardboard box and see how your cat enjoys playing and hiding in it.

• A cardboard tube will give you and your cat endless entertainment, especially if something pops out of the end!

Go on a treasure hunt

Who can resist a hunt for tasty treats?  Hide kibble and treats around your house or yard and let your pet use their superior sniffer to find them. Start off with easy to find hiding spots and slowly build-up the complexity as your pet gets the hang of things. Treats with a stronger aroma will be easier to find.

This is a great way to help a timid pet gain confidence or build focus in a pet who finds it hard to concentrate on a task.

Finding the tasty titbit is often reward enough, but if you also give praise, your pet will be even more motivated.  You might like to incorporate a timer so that your pet can try to beat their personal bests!

Create a digging pit

Digging is a normal, instinctive behaviour for many breeds of dog. Problems arise when a dog digs in an area we don’t think is suitable but makes perfect sense to them (“Not the rose garden!”)

Help your dog know where they can get their paws dirty by choosing an area of the yard where it’s acceptable to dig.  Make this area attractive to your dog by burying treats and toys for them to discover.  Use lots of praise and reward when your dog digs in their new pit.

You can also use a portable child’s sand pit, which is great if you’re a bit pushed for space.

If your dog digs elsewhere, encourage them to move to the designated digging pit and reward with treats and praise. You can also make other areas unattractive for your pet by blocking access or fencing the area off (even just temporarily) while your dog gets the hang of things.

Play hide and seek

A favourite for many, is the classic game of hide and seek.  It’s also a great way to practice the ‘stay’ and ‘come’ commands.

Tell your dog to ‘stay’ and then go find a hiding place. Once you’re well hidden, call your dog to ‘come’.  Wait patiently for your dog to follow their nose all the way to you.  Once you’ve been found, let them know they’ve been a very clever dog! 

Choose hiding spots with increasing levels of difficulty.  This is another great game where you can incorporate a timer which adds a whole new element.

Make some frozen treats

Food motivated pets will love these home-made ‘petsicles’!  Spoon out canned food into ice cube trays and freeze.  You could also use canned tuna and mix in a blender before freezing.

Alternatively, stuff a Kong toy with yummy treats, seal up with peanut butter and pop in your freezer.  Once frozen, you’ve created a boredom buster that will last for hours!   These are also great for keeping pets entertained during warmer weather.

Ideas for creating fun at home activities with pets are only limited to your imagination.  Be safe, tap into your pet’s instincts and interests and you’ll be on your way to unstoppable fun!

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Preventing boredom in dogs

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This is an image of a dog with a ball

Home alone

Many dogs are left alone for hours every day.  This can lead to boredom which is often the root of many behavioural problems.  Let’s take a look at how you can keep your dog occupied when you’re not there.

Home alone

Many dogs are left alone for hours every day.  This can lead to boredom which is often the root of many behavioural problems. 

Dogs are intelligent creatures and therefore require mental stimulation.  Left alone with nothing to do, a dog will create its own entertainment.  This could include such behaviours as barking at birds and clouds, running in circles, pulling clothes off the line or digging holes in the garden.  In extreme cases, some dogs will even resort to self-mutilation.

How can I keep my dog occupied when I'm not there?

The key lies in 'environmental enrichment'.  This means to make your dog's environment more interesting and complex, and is a strategy used in zoos and wildlife parks around the world.

Exercise

Dogs need daily exercise and ideally they should leave your property every day.  Taking your dog on a walk has many health benefits for both of you.  Try to vary your walks so that your dog gets to experience new sights, smells and interactions.

Find a safe off-leash area where your dog can let off some steam.  For high energy dogs consider dog sports such as Agility or Flyball.

A happily tired out dog is more likely to rest when you’re not home, rather than seek out mischief.

Toys

Have a collection of safe and fun dog toys and rotate them daily (yes, every day!) so they maintain their novelty factor and stay interesting for your dog.  Select toys that are appropriate for your dog’s level of destructiveness.  Always supervise your dog when first playing with a new toy to see if there is any potential risk of the toy becoming dangerous.  Inspect toys regularly for signs of wear, and replace any that are damaged. 

Make feeding time last longer

In the wild, an animal spends a significant proportion of their time seeking out their next meal.  When your pet can rely on you to meet their nutritional needs, they’re left with a fair bit of time on their paws.  So rather than feeding your dog from a bowl, scatter their dry kibble around the backyard.  It will take them ages to sniff out every piece.

Stuff a ‘Kong’ toy with yummy treats or put some kibble in a treat ball or ‘Buster Cube’.  Your dog will need to use their brain to work out how to get those treats.

Provide your dog with a raw bone and smoked pigs ears a couple of times each week to chew on.                            

You could also

Create a digging pit using a child’s sand pit.  Try hiding toys and treats in it for your dog to find as buried treasure.

Play hide and seek by hiding treats around the garden for your pooch to find.

If you don’t have time to walk your dog, consider employing a professional dog walker.

Investigate local doggy day care centres, where your dog can spend some quality time playing and socialising.

 

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Socialising your puppy

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This is an image of two puppies playing

Positive socialisation practices are critical for your puppy

Dogs that are under socialised may become shy, fearful and sometimes even aggressive.  They may not develop the appropriate canine body language necessary to interact well with other dogs or know how to behave appropriately around people.  In contrast, puppies that have been well socialised generally grow into happy, confident dogs.   

Positive socialisation practices are critical for your puppy

Dogs that are under socialised may become shy, fearful and sometimes even aggressive.  They may not develop the appropriate canine body language necessary to interact well with other dogs or know how to behave appropriately around people. 

In contrast, puppies that have been well socialised generally grow into happy, confident dogs.   

The socialisation period

Puppies go through various developmental stages on their way to adulthood.  The ‘socialisation period’ lasts from around 3 to 12 weeks of age, and during this time, puppies are more sensitive to socialisation.  The experiences your puppy encounters during this stage, negative or positive, can have a profound effect on their behaviour later in life.

While the socialisation period is a critical developmental stage for your puppy, socialisation should also continue throughout your dog's life.                                       

Positive socialisation

Socialising your puppy involves introducing them to a whole range of new experiences including meeting different types of people, dogs, other animals, places, smells and noises.  It’s important that these interactions are a positive experience for your puppy.  Introduce them to new situations gently and reward them for calm behaviour. 

Puppy School training classes are a great way to start socialising and training your puppy.  Here you can get good advice on basic training, puppies can meet a wide range of other puppies of all shapes and sizes, as well as different people. 

Tips for choosing a Puppy School class

Puppy classes should be well structured and organised and not just a free play session for puppies, as this can frighten young or less confident puppies.  Off-lead play should be carefully managed and supervised with just a few puppies off lead for short periods.  The trainer should use positive reinforcement training methods.  In addition, class sizes should be limited to no more than 10 puppies.

Veterinarians can often recommend where to find good puppy classes, and a local veterinary clinic may well run one.

                                          

Socialising with other animals       

Remember that socialisation is not simply a matter of letting your puppy play with other dogs.

It’s very important that you select the dogs that you allow your puppy to interact with and supervise play sessions making sure all dogs involved are behaving appropriately.  As your puppy’s guardian you must make sure there is no bullying occurring either by your puppy or to them.  If either situation is occurring, simply end the play session and try again another day.  

Until your puppy is fully protected by vaccination, they should only mix with dogs whose vaccinations are fully up to date and should not be taken to parks or areas where other dogs have toileted.                                                                                                           

Introduce your puppy to other animals such as cats at an early age.  To a small puppy, an adult cat may be terrifying, so supervise these meetings to make sure they are positive encounters for both your puppy and the other animal.

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Basic puppy training

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Sit, stay and come

Puppies sure are on a steep learning curve, especially in their first few months.  How’s your puppy going with the three key commands of sit, stay and come?      

                                                                                                                           

Sit, stay and come

Puppies sure are on a steep learning curve, especially in their first few months. 

How’s your puppy going with the three key commands of sit, stay and come?

Positive reinforcement

Puppy training should be based on a positive reward based training method.  This gentle method of training is effective with all breeds of dog. Punishing your puppy with harsh reprimands if they misbehave is not necessary.  

The key to your puppy learning desirable behaviour is to ignore the alternative undesirable behaviour.  By rewarding desirable ‘good dog’ conduct, your puppy will offer these behaviours more often.  Likewise not rewarding poor behaviour will encourage it to cease.

Rewards

For early puppy training, food treats are generally the most motivating and convenient reward.  However, as the desired behaviour is learned, the use of food treats should be phased out and replaced with other forms of reward.  This can include offering praise, patting or playing with a toy, as well as 'life-rewards' which are things your puppy enjoys in their daily life such as games, trips to places they like, extra walks etc

Remember that food treats should not make up more than 10% of your puppy’s daily food intake and chocolate should not be used as a treat for your dog.  If you need to do a lot of food reward training, which is common in the early days with your puppy, consider using a portion of your puppy’s main meal dry kibble for training.  That way they are receiving complete and balanced nutrition, and you can reduce their main meal volume accordingly to avoid over-feeding. 

‘Sit’ Command

Hold a food treat in your hand and place your hand in front of your puppy’s nose.  Gradually move your hand upwards.  Your puppy will follow the food treat causing their head to move upwards and their backside to move towards the floor.  Just before your puppy’s rear touches the floor, say ‘sit’.  At the moment their rear touches the floor, praise and reward.  Repeat over several training sessions.

The next step is to fade out the food lure.  Say ‘sit’ and use the same hand signal as in step one but do not have food in your hand.  When your puppy sits, then you can praise and reward them with a treat.

‘Stay’ Command

Begin with your puppy sitting in front of you.  Say ‘stay’ and wait 2 to 3 seconds.  If your puppy does not move, praise and reward them.  If your puppy moves, simply turn away and do not offer a reward.  Now ask your puppy to ‘stay’ and take one small step sideways.  If your puppy remains still, offer praise and reward them.  Gradually increase the distance you move away from your puppy.

‘Come’ Command

Show your puppy that you have their favourite treat or toy.  Call your puppy’s name followed by the word ‘come’ in an enthusiastic tone.  Step backwards.  As your puppy comes towards you, praise and reward them.  If there are others in the household, practice calling the puppy between you.  Never ever call your puppy to you and punish them.  This will make them less likely to come to you the next time you call.

Everyone learns best when they're having fun, so keep your practice sessions short and enjoyable.

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Puppy spending time alone

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

Home alone

All puppies have to get used to spending some time by themselves.  Help your puppy learn that their time alone can be a positive thing, through training and a little planning. 

Home alone

All puppies have to get used to spending some time by themselves.  Help your puppy learn that their time alone can be a positive thing, through training and a little planning. 

Start small

You should begin by leaving your puppy alone in a room for a couple of minutes and gradually increase the amount of time.  The time alone should be a positive thing, so providing suitable play toys in your absence will help to keep them occupied.  Having your puppy crate trained means that you have a safe refuge for these short periods of confinement, as well as a place where your puppy feels relaxed.            

              

Leaving the house

Start leaving the house for short periods and gradually increase the amount of time your puppy is left. The length of time alone should be varied so your puppy learns that you leaving doesn’t always mean you will be gone for a long time.  

When leaving them alone it's important not to make lots of fuss saying goodbye; it's better to simply leave as if nothing is happening.  On returning, it can help to ignore your puppy for a few minutes so they are not rewarded for any over-excitable behaviour.

If your puppy has had an accident and messed in the house you should simply clean it up as if nothing has happened, and never punish them for it.  It may also help to leave a radio on whilst out, so your puppy has some background distractions and the home is not so quiet.  This will also drown out any noises coming from outside that your puppy may react to.

Boredom busters

Toys that provide mental stimulation such as chew toys and those that dispense kibble as a reward for puzzle solving, help keep boredom at bay.  Remember to rotate toys on a daily basis so that they maintain their novelty factor. 

Consider other ways for your pup to stay entertained, such as creating a digging area using a child’s sand pit.  This can also teach a puppy where the ‘approved’ digging location is and help save your garden.

 

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How to stop your puppy 'jumping up'

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

Jumping up

While we all love coming home to an affectionate puppy or dog, it’s important to avoid inadvertently encouraging ‘jumping up’ behaviour.  Your cute (and small-ish) puppy will grow, and you might not want to see this behaviour when they reach adulthood.

Jumping up

While we all love coming home to an affectionate puppy or dog, it’s important to avoid inadvertently encouraging ‘jumping up’ behaviour.  Your cute (and small-ish) puppy will grow, and you might not want to see this behaviour when they reach adulthood.

Be consistent 

Now is the time to be consistent in the way you respond to your puppy’s behaviour.  If you praise and give attention to your puppy when they jump up, they’re being reinforced to offering you this behaviour.  They will not understand why you are reacting differently when they become a bigger dog.

How do I train my puppy not to 'jump up'?

Reward your puppy for an alternative behaviour such as sitting or having all four paws on the floor.  If your puppy jumps on you, immediately turn away.  Do not look at or speak to your dog.  When they get down and have all paws on the ground, immediately praise and reward. 

Consistently practice this over and over so that your puppy learns the connection between having all paws on the ground and a reward.  Ensure this is consistently applied by all family, friends and visitors. Set your puppy up for success!  Anticipate jumping up and instead ask for the alternative behaviour.  Your puppy will learn that they don’t need to jump up.  Instead, if they are calm and sit, they will get your attention.

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Biting and scratching in kittens

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This is an image of two kittens playing.

Natural born hunter

Kittens begin to develop play behaviour at an early age, and this includes mastering the use of their sharp teeth and claws!  Here we take a look at the basis for these play behaviours, and what you can do if your kitten’s play is a little overzealous!

Natural born hunter

Kittens begin to develop play behaviour at an early age, and this includes mastering the use of their sharp teeth and claws! 

Young kittens love to stalk, chase and pounce.  They also wrestle, bite and scratch their littermates and mother - all in the name of fun.  This behaviour is helping the kitten learn the hunting behaviours that used to be essential for survival.  Luckily, your kitten can now depend on you for their next meal, but their instincts run deep!  In fact, your kitten's instinct to hunt is so strong that they'll do it even when they aren’t hungry. 

Bite inhibition

Kittens learn to inhibit any overly aggressive behaviour while they are still with their littermates and mother.  If play is too rough, a sibling or mum will let the offending kitten know by way of a growl or a well-placed swipe, and play might stop.  Through this process, kittens learn to control aggressive behaviour.

Proper socialisation

Socialisation helps a kitten learn how to interact appropriately with humans and other animals.  Kittens who are poorly socialised or handled roughly by people may develop behaviours that are aggressive and don’t learn to control their biting intensity.

Help!  My kitten is biting and scratching me

While your kitten is young, all those little bites and scratches are really just playfulness.  But if you find your kitten is coming on a bit too strong, try interrupting the game and ignoring them for a while. 

If your kitten bites you, make a short sharp yelping sound.  At the same time withdraw your attention from your kitten and ignore it.  This shows your kitten that when they bite, the fun and play stops.  When your kitten is calm, gently praise and reward them. 

Make sure that you are consistent in how you interact with your kitten.  Don't allow your kitten to play roughly with you so that you aren't encouraging biting and scratching behaviour.  

Be mindful of the signals you (and others) send if you do play wrestle with your kitten.  Don't let them nip or scratch you just because they're cute and small.  They will grow and get bigger and stronger!  It’s a good idea to encourage your kitten to wrestle with a toy, rather than you. 

Thankfully, most kittens grow out of the aggressive stage and develop into lovely natured cats, more interested to smooch than to bite you.

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Treating your puppy

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This is an image of a puppy running.

Treats

Who doesn't love a tasty treat from time to time?  Pet food treats come in a wide range of formats and flavours and are generally designed to satisfy one of 3 key need states.  Here we look at how to use treats wisely.

Treats

Who doesn't love a tasty treat from time to time? 

Pet food treats come in a wide range of formats and flavours and are generally designed to satisfy one of 3 key need states: to reward/bond, to occupy and for functional health.

Types of treats

Treats provide an important mechanism for strengthening the bond you share with your pet and are frequently used as a motivating tool for training.  Certain treats are designed to be longer lasting to help keep a pet entertained for a period of time.  In addition, some treats have positive effects in areas such as oral health and joint health.

How can I use treats wisely?

Treats are particularly useful for training, but due to the risks of overfeeding and nutritional imbalances, their use should be controlled.  As a general rule, no more than 10% of the calories in your puppy’s diet should come from dog treats.  Keep a close eye on how many treats your puppy is getting, and how often they are getting them. 

It’s likely in the early days of puppy training that you’ll use food treats as rewards a lot.  Consider using part of your puppy’s daily dry food allowance as treats.

Get the timing right

When using food treats as training rewards, timing is crucial.  Only offer a treat when your puppy responds correctly to your training command and is calm.  That way you’ll avoid inadvertently rewarding any over-excited behaviour.

Stick to pet treats

Treats designed specifically for dogs and puppies are best.  Chocolate and foods containing xylitol (a sugar substitute) are just a couple of examples of human treats that are highly toxic to pets.

Consider life rewards

Whilst food treats can be very effective for a puppy when learning a new behaviour, you should introduce other rewards that your puppy responds to.  A ‘life reward’ is anything that your dog desires in their day to day life.

Consider the following life rewards:

• A tickle on the belly

• Verbal praise

• Playing a game of tug 

• A pat on the head

• Playing with a toy

Life rewards teach your puppy that it’s important and worthwhile to listen to you, even in the absence of food.

By using food treats, in conjunction with life rewards, you'll keep training fun and interesting for your puppy while helping build reliability in their behaviour.

 

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Toilet training? Help is at hand!

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Puppy 03 puppy feeding time from Advancepet on Vimeo.

Toilet training

Toilet training your puppy is a process that will require time and patience.  Like all training, this should be based on a positive reward based training method.  Remember that every puppy is unique, so they all learn at their own pace.  Supervision and regular trips to the toilet area are key when it comes to successful toilet training.  Ideally, you want to avoid mistakes from happening in the first place.  Here we discuss our tips for toilet training success.

Toilet training 

Toilet training your puppy is a process that will require time and patience.  Like all training, this should be based on a positive reward based training method.  Remember that every puppy is unique, so they all learn at their own pace.

Your puppy has a small bladder and bowel so they will need to be taken outdoors to toilet regularly, otherwise accidents will happen!  Supervision and regular trips to the toilet area are key when it comes to successful toilet training.  Ideally, you want to avoid mistakes from happening in the first place.  Here we discuss our tips for toilet training success.

Regular toilet trips

To set your puppy up for success, take them out every hour during the day as well as anytime you see signs they may need to go.  These include sniffing, walking away or in circles, scratching at the floor, waiting by the door or being restless.  When your puppy relieves themselves in their toilet spot be sure to praise and reward them.  Young puppies will need to be taken outdoors to toilet at least every 2 to 3 hours during the night so set your alarm for the next few weeks!

If accidents happen

If you catch your puppy in the process of toileting inside, calmly pick them up and carry them outside.  

Never ever punish your puppy for toileting inside as this will only confuse your puppy and delay the process of toilet training.  These puppies tend to toilet out of sight of their owner for fear of being punished, for example, under the sofa, behind the TV, in another room etc.

Even in the rain

Teach your puppy that it's possible to go to the toilet outside when it's raining or the grass is wet! This means that initially you will have to take your puppy outside in the rain and wait until they go to the toilet.  Praise and reward for a job well done!

When you're out

If you need to leave your puppy alone while you're at work, confine them to an area such as the laundry or kitchen.  You can also create a suitable space using a puppy play pen.  Provide some comfortable bedding or use their crate leaving the door open, fresh water and a range of chew toys. 

Create a toileting area away from the puppy’s bed, as puppies naturally want to toilet away from their sleeping area.  Use whatever surface your puppy will be toileting on long-term.  For puppies that are likely to toilet on grass, use a litter tray containing turf.  For puppies that will live in a more urban environment, you could use a litter tray containing concrete tiles.  Materials such as newspaper or commercial pee pads can be used in a pinch, but they have the disadvantage of not helping the puppy develop a preference for the surface they will eventually be toileting on.  If you can use that type of surface now, you can help your puppy make the connection.

Consistency is key

Ensure that every member of the household is consistent when toilet training.  This will help your puppy learn faster.  Remember to be patient, and if you can maintain a good sense of humour during this period, that's an advantage!

Follow these tips and your puppy will be well on their way to being toilet trained.

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