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Behaviour & Training

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Training to Find Your Dog's True Potential

Training to Find Your Dog's True Potential

At Purina, we believe that dogs are capable of a lot more than one might think. That’s why we’re always looking for new ways to train pets to unlock their true potential. Whether it’s training in athleticism, problem solving or even being a helpful companion for people in need, we see dogs doing new things every day.


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The Power of Positive Reinforcement

The Power of Positive Reinforcement

The behaviourists at Purina believe positive reinforcement is not only the best technique for establishing a good relationship with your dog while training, but that it’s also the most effective. Positive reinforcement consists of associating a reward with a desired behavior. If you use positive reinforcement during training, your dog will learn to associate training time and behaving well with praise, affection or treats. Some forms of punishment training may lead to stress and anxiety for dogs and may weaken the relationship you have with your dog.


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Basic Training for Your Dog

Basic Training for Your Dog

LEASH TRAINING

As you walk your dog, train him to walk at your side. It’s important to control him so that he won’t jump on children, other dogs or adults, frightening or possibly injuring them. Begin walking with your dog on soft surfaces, such as dirt, sand or grass. If you walk your dog in forests during the summer, check his eyes, hair, coat and feet for seeds, dirt and seeds.

CRATE TRAINING

Crate training is not a way of putting your dog or puppy in a “cage” or “jail”, and you are not being cruel if you follow these tips. Dogs feel secure in smaller, enclosed spaces, which are like the dens that wild animals use. Dog crates make excellent dens.


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Choose a crate appropriate for the size of your dog

Choose a crate appropriate for the size of your dog

1. Choose a crate appropriate for the size of your dog. He should have enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably, but you don’t want a crate that is too big. His crate should be for sleeping or for a safe place to be when you can’t supervise him if he is still a puppy. If you have a large breed puppy, you may have to buy two differently sized crates or purchase a crate with a divider that you can move as he grows.

2. Let your dog get used to the crate first before shutting him in. Put comfy bedding, treats and toys into the crate to encourage your dog to enter the crate but never force them to use it. When your dog is happy being in the crate, gradually increase the time he spends in the crate before you let him out. Dont leave your puppy in the crate unsupervised for prolonged periods of time.

3. Make sure you take your dog or puppy outdoors to go to the bathroom on a regular schedule and especially prior to being left for longer periods of time. Always take your dog outside on a leash, to the same area in your backyard each time, to toilet. Do this so that you can praise him when his job is finished. This will take the guesswork out of his visits to the backyard.


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Basic Commands

Basic Commands

“COME”

Always encourage your puppy to “come” by first saying his name and using enthusiastic praise and lots of encouragement. Try to avoid calling him in a threatening tone, as he may associate this with being scolded.

If he begins to ignore you and act as if he does not hear you, attach a long leash to his collar so that you can pull him toward you after you give him one command to “come.” This way you are not repeating the command and your dog will learn to come when he is called.

“HEEL”

Begin your walk by telling your dog to “heel”; use his name first to get his attention and be very enthusiastic as you give the command. Do not forget to talk to him so that he pays attention to you and praise him when he is in the correct heel position. (Correct heel position: the dog should be on your left, and his right shoulder should be in line with your left hip.)


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"OFF" AND "SIT"

"OFF" AND "SIT"

“OFF” AND “SIT”

Dogs jump up on people for one reason: to get attention. Teach your puppy or dog to “sit” for attention or praise of any kind. When he jumps on you, use a lowered tone of voice and lean towards the dog, saying “off.” He will have no choice but to back away from you. When he does, tell him to “sit” so that he firmly plants his bottom on the ground. Offer him calm praise for obeying you. Soon all you will have to say to your dog is “sit,” and he will comply readily because he knows he will be rewarded.

TREATS

Treats can help you use positive reinforcement to train your dog. Just make sure treats never comprise more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. Learn more about treats and nutrition.