Okay, so you made the biggest and greatest decision of your life

Okay, so you made the biggest and greatest decision of your life. You bought a puppy. Oh so cute and those early months were they not wonderful and pure delight? We will ignore the little accidents on the carpet, everyone makes mistakes sometimes!

Remember when all your family and friends laughed when that cute bundle of fluff played around. How it was so sweet when the puppy pulled at your trouser leg or untied your shoe laces, in order to get you to play. And it was so easy to outsmart or outrun him in the park.

A year later, what has gone wrong? I hear you ask. Now you still have a pet playing the same games with you and your house. But that little bundle of fluff is now fully grown, you are now the one being outsmarted and outrun. Suddenly you have realised your dog is the one in control. The adorable tricks that your puppy performed when so young are no longer acceptable in an adult dog.

You have a problem on your hands. You love your dog – but how did he get so impossible?

Time for training and not only for the dog but for you too, it is so easy to place all of the blame on your dog. However when we start to look at what it is we do and say, the signs for change are there.

Many problems can be overcome by not shouting at our pets. The first reaction we have whenever our animals do anything we disagree with, is to yell their name. This in fact just confuses them. Take barking, if your dog has started barking for any reason and you want him to stop. All too often the owner will yell, the more the dog barks, the more the owner yells back. The two become one, each displaying exactly the same trait, impossible situation.

The first lesson we really should learn is to teach our dog their name. I know that sounds crazy, after all we gave the puppy a name and have probably been ‘shouting’ it for months! Exactly. Imagine repeating a family name, with no reason behind it. The one difference here is that your family member will eventually say “Well what do you want?”

But your dog cannot talk, so hearing his name being called endlessly means nothing to him and they learn to ignore it. So start to command your dog, teach him, call his name, and then direct him. Use sit or come or treat. A reason for his being called.

Once he begins to realise that his name is being used for a reason, training opens up to a lot of possibilities. The barking control can start with the ‘come’ command. When he is ready, introduce the word quiet.

Of course never forget to reward all training sessions, a treat can work wonders. Do not however expect big changes overnight. Gain his confidence, praise the small progress made day by day. By setting aside a short amount of time every day for training, your dog will come to enjoy his lessons. Treat them as a game.

Before long you will have an animal you can be really proud of and he will truly look up to you as ‘Master’.

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