Puppy obedience training doesn’t have to be boring. In addition to the standard basic training commands – sit, stay, down, come, heel – you and your dog can have lots of fun working on more advanced training that focuses on working your dog’s individual talents. It will also help prevent problem behaviour.
Dogs which were originally bred to do a certain kind of work are likely to be specialists in that field – for example, collies love to herd, retrievers love to retrieve, terriers love to chase and dig and hounds love to track.
The problem is that in our modern society, dogs are seldom used for the purposes for which they were originally bred. And if you fail to give your dog a suitable replacement activity, he is likely to use his natural ‘talents’ in inappropriate and undesirable ways. Collies will often resort to chasing cyclists, joggers and children. Hounds will take off into the hills as soon as they are let off the leash. Terriers are likely to dig up your yard and Retrievers may steal objects or become mouthy or possessive.
Creating Replacement Activities
Fortunately, there are lots of alternative activities available for you and your dog that both of you should find rewarding and fun and which will satisfy your dogs natural talents. They are also a great way of doing your puppy obedience training and reinforcing the bond between you. Such activities include:
Agility can pretty much be likened to show-jumping for dogs. It’s great fun and gives your dog the opportunity to really run, jump and use his mind whilst improving your general control of your dog outside and off the leash.
Although you are more likely to see collies performing in agility trials on TV, agility is suitable for – and usually enjoyed by – all breeds of dog, even small ones. The only pre-condition is that your dog has reached physical maturity so that damage to growing bones and joints is avoided. The age at which physical maturity occurs varies from breed to breed, with large breeds taking the longest to mature. You should check with your vet before enrolling in a class to ensure that your dog is fit and ready.
Dancing With Dogs
This sport is becoming increasingly popular and is generally separated into two disciplines: heelwork to music and ‘freestyle’. Again, dancing will give your dog (and you) a great physical and mental workout and improve the rapport between you. Dancing is particularly well suited to lighter and more agile breeds of dog.
Free tracking is particularly enjoyable for Retrievers and Hounds and is brilliant for owners who don’t have the time to join an organised group activity.
When you are out on your walk, lay a simple track by walking without your dog in a straight line over undisturbed ground for about 20 metres. Place something your dog really likes – a toy or some food – at the end of it and continue to walk for another 5 steps before retracing your steps back to your dog. Then encourage your dog to use his nose to find the treasure trove at the end.
Once your dog has the hang of this, you can build in more complex zig-zags into your trail to really test his nosework.
So there you have 4 puppy obedience training activities the will harness the power of your dog's natrual tallents in a positive way and avoid boredom and behavioral problems.
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Filed Under: General Dog Training