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The 10 commandments for responsible dog ownership

10 ways to have a pooch to be proud of. Others will thank you for your excellent training too!

  1. Always train with kindness and love. Remember that your dog is a sensitive being, capable of feeling love and pain, happiness, and sadness. Training with kindness and love instead of force, punishment, and fear will allow your dog to behave and perform cues because he wants to instead of performing for fear of being punished.
  2. Be patient. Whether you’re just getting started or working on complex behaviours, your dog is going to make mistakes. Whoever said “patience is a virtue” very well could have been talking about dog training! If, during training, you find yourself (or your dog) becoming frustrated, take a break. Training is a marathon, not a sprint – no need to rush!
  3. Be consistent. Consistency is absolutely essential in training a well-behaved dog. Be clear and consistent in the rules you want your dog to follow and make sure everyone in the home follows those same rules. For example, if you don’t want your dog to beg at the dinner table, make sure no one in the home slips him food from their plate. Inconsistency is confusing for your dog.
  4. Master recall training. Excellent recall is vital to keeping your dog safe. If you can nail this, then not only will you enjoy a stronger bond with your pet, but you can also avert potential crisis and accidents before they happen. Start with a recall lead and lots of treats and praise in the garden.
  5. Teach good manners. By taking the time to train your dog not to jump up you can avoid some seriously awkward exchanges. After all, not everyone likes dogs and your furry companion bounding up to someone may be causing genuine fear, panic or at the very least, a dry cleaning bill!
  6. Nurture a social butterfly. Whether you are introducing a puppy to new sounds and smells or a nervous rescue not to fear other dogs, it is always worth taking the gradual steps to widen their experiences – you’ll enjoy a well-adjusted and happy pet as a result!
  7. Safety First. Muzzles are, sadly, still experiencing a stigma but there is simply no knowing if and when your dog may need one. Perhaps they are nervous at the vet? Maybe they will start to terrorise the local wildlife? Whatever the reason, it is wise to acclimatise your dog to a muzzle, for safety’s sake. Don’t be tempted by Sock/fabric muzzles though, they do not allow your dog to pant properly and are extremely inhumane. A basket style muzzle such as a Baskerville, plenty of peanut butter, praise and time will do the trick!
  8. Walking nicely on the lead. Many dogs simply can NOT wait to get to the park but pulling on the lead from a traditional collar has been proven to cause significant damage to their delicate throat area. Check out our “Pulling on the lead” article to learn more and head to our Halti page to see what no-pull solutions we have for you.
  9. Don’t forget mental exercise too! All dog owners will know the post-walk snooze. Your tuckered out pooch may be resting their body but are you keeping their mind sharp and alert? Invest in toys such as Kong or PupPod to keep their brains entertained too!
  10. Keep training fun! As long as you and your dog are happy, enjoying your time together, and making progress, you’re doing it right! Choose higher value rewards, like freeze-dried meaty treats instead of boring old biscuits or end training sessions with a fun game of fetch or a walk to the park. If you’re having fun, too, your dog will sense your level of excitement and feed off of it. A happy dog that’s having fun will learn faster and look forward to your next training session together!

Dr Roger Mugford ~ Animal Psychologist and Company Founder

Dr Roger is widely acknowledged as being Britain’s leading animal psychologist, with his methodologies used by veterinary surgeons throughout the UK.