3 tips to train an adult dog

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

22 Sep 2016 By Leanne Philpott Comments

If your puppy training sort of fell by the wayside and despite the good intentions your dog has grown happy but not as obedient as you’d like, don’t fear. With the right actions and behaviour dogs at any age can learn to behave. Throw in a few top tips from one of our favourite vets, Dr Katrina Warren, and you’ll have yourself a very obedient bow wow.

dr katrina warren dog training tips

Here are three common doggy behaviour problems and how to solve them:

  1. Digging

Digging is natural for dogs so changing an instinctive behaviour takes a lot of patience. You may need to keep your dog inside when you go out to limit his opportunity to dig. Newly turned soil is irresistible to many dogs, and it is unlikely you could stop yours digging in it if they are left alone in the garden. Give your dog plenty of exercise and lots of toys, preferably with food hidden in them, to keep them amused. Digging can be a sign of boredom, so make sure he has lots to interest him when you are not home. Working breeds such as border collies and kelpies are more likely to get bored and find an outlet for their energy.

dog digging

  1. Jumping on people

When he was little, everyone was probably entranced by the cute little puppy who jumped up at them, laughing and wagging his teeny tail. Now he's a bigger dog, no-one wants his dirty paw marks all over their clothes. But his behaviour is not his fault, because your loving attention has trained him to think that jumping up is a fun and rewarding thing to do.

Now you have to do the opposite from what you did when he was little. Instead of making eye contact and touching him when he jumps up, do the opposite. Turn around and stand still completely ignoring him. Wait until he has all four feet on the ground and then give him a little treat. Keep on doing this, and it will take many, many times, and he will eventually learn that he only gets a treat and your attention when he is sitting. As before, there is no point in shouting and pushing, because to a dog this is still attention and will only confuse him about what you want him to do.

dog jumping up

  1. Barking

Firstly, find out what your dog is barking at.  As dogs usually bark the most right after their owners leave home for the day, give your dog something to do every time you leave the house, like a chew toy stuffed with food

Dogs left outside are exposed to many more disturbances than indoor dogs and their barks are more easily heard by the neighbourhood.  Ideally leave your dog inside preferably in a room away from the street with a radio or TV playing to mask the sound of outside noise. Reward your dog often for quiet behaviour – if he starts barking, use a word like ‘quiet’ and reward only once your dog stops barking.

dog barking

Additional tips on how to raise a healthy dog can be downloaded from the PAW by Blackmores website.

22 Sep 2016 By Leanne Philpott Comments

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