The bond between a pet and its owner is very strong and provides huge rewards.
Along with the rewards comes the responsibility of caring for a living creature that depends upon you for all its needs. Caring for your pet's needs means providing a good diet and regular exercise, as well as mental stimulation. It also means making sure your pet has the basic social skills which make it an acceptable member of the family.
A good relationship is based on communication and the relationship with a pet is no exception. Pets cannot talk and do not naturally understand words. However, cats and dogs are very good at picking up body language and with training can learn the meaning of many of our words. The key to communicating with your pet is reading their body language and learning to use your body language to talk to them.
What is basic training?
When should I start training?
Puppies learn very quickly so it is important to begin showing them the house rules as soon as you get them home. Decide what the house rules are (dogs allowed/not allowed on the sofa, upstairs etc) and stick to them - it is not fair to a dog to allow them to do things as a puppy (such as sit on the sofa) that you will expect them not to do when they are an adult. Never punish your puppy - they are just doing whatever comes naturally, they do not know right from wrong, you must teach them what you want. Reward your puppy for the behaviour you do want and either ignore or redirect any behaviour you don't want. The key to successful dog training is consistency - say what you mean and mean what you say!
How do I start training?
The best way to teach your puppy is by the use of food rewards. Most dogs learn to respond to hand signals and body language more quickly than words so it can help to teach them initially using both. The best way to teach basic commands is to lure your puppy into position with a food reward and then say the command you want to teach, praise and reward him. For example: if you want the puppy to sit bring a piece of food from the puppy's nose up over his head - his head will come up and his bottom will normally go down into a sit. Say 'sit', praise him and give him the treat. With lots of repetition it will not be long before your puppy associates the action with the command (and with the reward!).
How do I house train my dog?
What other things can I teach a puppy?
Try to expose your puppy to as many different experiences as you can at a young age - a well socialised puppy is more likely to become a well-adjusted dog. Puppies need to meet lots of different people - both in your home and out and about, visit many different places - towns, countryside, parks, learn to socialise with different types and breeds of dogs.