It’s no secret that as Kiwis, we are pretty mad about our dogs. From farm dogs, to tiny dogs that spend their days strutting the streets of Ponsonby, there are almost 600,00 dogs registered across New Zealand. Ask any dog owner and they will tell you that training is a big part of life as a dog owner and is key if you want to have a happy, social dog.
“Without training the dog is without guidance, without structure and will respond as he sees it fit,” says Bastian Groiss, expert dog trainer at Auckland dog training school, TheK9Way. “It is not fair to expect a dog to understand our world and how to behave in it. A dog needs to be shown in a way it can understand how he is supposed to behave and how to fit into our lives. This is where training comes in.”
While training a dog is rarely easy, Groiss says that there are a few simple guidelines that will help to make your training as easy as possible.
Just as our words, tone and body language can impact on the outcome of our communication with humans, it is useful to pay close attention to the way that you are communicating with your dog. “Communication is key,” says Groiss. “Establishing clear behaviour markers is crucial for precise communication as well as learning how to use one’s body to effectively communicate.”
2. Use food as a motivator
“Use food for training and let the dog earn it, rather than handing out a bowl full of food for free,” Groiss explains. “Just five or 10 minutes a day can go a long way in shaping the behaviours you want and creates a good relationship with your dog where your dog has to earn its food. This by itself provides a lot structure, mental exercise and utilises the dog’s drive to everyone’s benefit.”