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Training and Exercise for Dogs

How should a dog be trained and exercised?

a) Training.

Dogs should be trained so that they are well behaved members of the household who know the boundaries of what they are allowed to do. A properly trained dog is a happier dog, and is easier to have in the house.

Basic training

Training can start from a very early age, and even young puppies can be taught to ‘sit’ for a few moments before eating their dinner. You don’t need to teach your dog to do fancy tricks, but you should make sure that he understands  some basic commands. A dog can be trained by using a simple standard word as the command, and by giving a reward whenever the dog carries out the command. The reward can just be plenty of praise, but sometimes a little treat (such as a biscuit) does a lot to increase the dog’s interest.’

COME’ or ‘THE DOG’S NAME”.

It is very important that your dog comes to you at once when you want him to. This is known as “recall”.

One of the earliest commands you should teach him is to respond immediately when you call him. He should stop whatever he is doing and run up to you. If you reward him every time he does this, he will soon learn to do it all the time.

‘SIT!’

Start by gently pushing his bottom to the ground as you say the word ‘sit’.  Give him a reward as soon as he reaches the sitting position. He will soon learn to sit without you touching him.

‘STAY!’

Hold your finger up to your dog when he is in the sitting position, and repeat the word ‘stay’, in a deep, slow voice. Most dogs will soon learn to stay sitting for several minutes. Finally, tell your dog to ‘Come on then!’ and he will rush happily towards you for his reward.

‘LIE DOWN!’

Gently push your dog into the lying position, while repeating the words ‘lie down’. Give him a reward when he is lying still.

‘WALK TO HEEL’.

You should hold the dog on a short lead, walking on your left side, just behind you, with his nose at the level of your knees. Repeat the words ‘walk to heel’ or just ‘heel’. Every time he tries to rush in front of you,  gently pull him back into position and repeat the words. Once he has walked to heel for about ten metres , stop and reward him.

Some dogs are very excitable and difficult to train. It is useful to go to regular dog training classes with a professional dog trainer until you have mastered the standard commands. The person who runs the classes will have lots of experience of training dogs, and will be able to give you helpful advice. Dog training classes can often be started when the puppy is only four months old but contact your local trainer to find out what they recommend.

b) Exercise.

The simple rule is that every dog should be walked for about twenty minutes twice a day. When you are walking the dog, you can help the dog get even more exercise by going to an open space where you can play together. Many dogs love chasing things, like balls or ‘Frisbees’. Do not throw wooden sticks for your dog as these can cause serious injuries to the mouth and throat.

If you are worried about your pet's health, visit the Petfix DIY Triage Checker or Ask a Vet. If it is urgent take your pet to your vet immediately.