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Published December 8th 2012
Bring out the best in your dog
How to Have a Happy Dog: Basic Training Tips for Dogs
Is your dog digging holes all over your back yard? Is it uncontrollable when you take it for a walk? Have you recently got a puppy or new dog?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, read on - you may find some answers to your problems.
A happy and well-trained dog means a happy owner, and keeping your dog happy is generally not hard. So how do we manage that?
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Plenty of vigorous exercise away from your house will give your pet a head start to happiness (and it's good for you too). Dogs are intelligent animals and love to get out, smell other animals and chase around ovals. (Do make sure other owners want to meet your animals though). You'll notice the difference after a good session when a dog will often just sprawl out and go to sleep.
A good range of dog toys in the back yard is important, especially for pups who need to chew. You don't need to leave them all out at once, I keep some in a cupboard and rotate them outside occasionally so the dog doesn't get bored.
Toys needn't be expensive and are available for only a few dollars from places like Big W, pet shops, and Cheap as Chips. Definitely cheaper than buying new shoes - and if you don't want your dog chewing your personal things NEVER let them play with them. Period.
Do buy toys that are appropriate for your dog. A lightweight fluffy or rubber toy may be grand for a pekingese or pomeranian, but won't last 10 seconds with a rottweiler or Rhodesian ridgeback. You don't want a trip to the vet because your dog has swallowed part of a toy. And I find that proper tennis balls last much longer than those made for dogs.
Whatever toys you use, observe the dog to make sure it uses them in a safe way.
Toys are essential for a dog
It's surprising how much difference some structured training can make for young dogs. It's good to do some training yourself from day 1, but even better doing it with other people and benefiting from shared knowledge.
Class training provides an opportunity to socialise with other dogs which is absolutely critical to their behaviour later in life. It also provides exercise and stimulation from being in a different environment. And equally importantly, it gives you the owner an opportunity to learn and see other animals being trained.
Get your dog to listen to you
Until recently I had two dogs that had never been to training, and had limited opportunities to socialise with other dogs when young. They were great pets and interacted well with humans, but I never could introduce them to other dogs in public without a risk of them snapping.
When one died I got a pup to keep the old girl company, but took the pup to obedience school. Not only does the young dog socialise happily with others, but now the older one has learned from the pup how to behave in public. Both dogs are just fine meeting new friends at the local oval, and I couldn't be happier as an owner.
There are dog obedience schools in all states, just Google them and try it out. You'll be glad you did.
I have a friend who took her Weimarana to classes and he is an amazing dog. So well behaved and does the cutest "tricks" such as carrying a basket for her while she harvests produce from her little garden, and fetching tools for her. On a recent visit she showed me how he plays hide and seek with various toys.
My daughter's 2 mini-doxies on the other hand........
thankfully I have a cat and I do whatever she asks.