Many people tend to rush into "obedience" training when they first get their dog. Our recommendation is to focus on what your goals are with your dog.
Think about how you want to integrate your dog into your life. What are the activities that you may want to do with your dog in the future?
Are you one to go outdoors, park visits or hikes? Or are you one who likes to go to cafes?
Or maybe you like to hang out with your friends in their homes? Don't forget the times when you have to leave your dog alone at home too! Unfortunately in this side of the Asian region, most places are still not dog friendly and we have to train our dogs for that.
Our goal is to help owners prepare for a lifetime with their dog. You will learn all the basic obedience when training with us, but we focus on integrating those commands and skills into your lifestyle with your dog.
We want training to be part of your life and not a "chore" that becomes tedious for you.
Don't underestimate the importance of handling your dog. There will be times when your dog is unwell and has to go to the vet. Ensure that you get your dog used to being touched all around it's body. We want to prepare it for times when it is unwell and has to sit through being handled by a stranger.
So start with times when your dog is well and give them positive experiences of being handled by different people.
Sometimes we lift the dog, so the dog gets used to being carried for an inspection by the vet in the future.
If you have kids or anticipate kids around your dog, then ensure that you get your dog used to the high energy that comes along with kids. Remember to give your dog some calm time away to decompress when you notice signs of the dog not wanting to interact eg running to you, hiding in a corner or under a chair.
Start them young and make it into a game where your dog understands that touch with a new person is not a scary thing.
This is where crate training or place training is useful. It allows the dog to go to it's safe place to relax and it is a clear signal that the kids and your guests can understand that it is time to leave your dog alone.
There will also be times when you need to leave your dog alone at home. Start with leaving your dog in that space when you are home, to get them used to settling down there on their own.
Build up the duration by running quick errands. Before you leave your dog, ensure that the dog is mentally and physically fulfilled. If your dog does not have access to a toilet in it's safe place, clear out it's bowels before you head out.
Having that on/off switch for your dog is important.
One of the common things that clients often say is that their dog is unable to settle down when they have guests over.
Set the right foundation by getting your dog used to some basic habits that you can apply on a daily basis.
Settle your dog down during meal times daily or when you are watching tv. A house line at home is a great habit to get our dog used to. Remember never to leave your dog unattended with a leash on.
This way, when guests come over, they are just an added distraction and they will eventually learn how to settle better as they have the muscle memory from the habits that you have built daily with them.
The other common thing that happens is a dog that rushes out the door to greet people, regardless of whether that person might want to be greeted by an overly enthusiastic dog.
Another good habit is to set thresholds at doorways for your dog. Always ensure the dog learns how to wait before being invited through doorways. This is especially important for your house door and your main gate to leave your home.
We also recommend this habit at lift doors too. To ensure safety, you do not want your dog rushing in and out of lift doors. Practice this when it isn't peak rush hour so you can take your time inviting your dog in/out of the lift. Sometimes, you could even try stopping on a random floor to teach your dog to wait for the door to open and close.
Don't Forget to HAVE FUN
Creating a strong bond with your dog is important.
We often end up playing with our dogs indoors - it's crazy hot in Singapore!
Don't forget to play outdoors with your dog too. This creates core memories with your dog that you can be fun outdoors too.
Playing outdoors with your dog sets the memory that you are as interesting to play with outdoors as the other dogs around them.
This would definitely help when you are working on your dog's recall around other dogs in the future.
Giving your dog structure and boundaries is a really good thing. Just think of it as teaching your dog good "manners" from the start. Build good habits from the start, instead of redirecting or having to correct behaviours you don't want.
Start with the habits that you want to achieve, incorporating it into your daily routine to build strong muscle memory with your dog.
We eventually layer in the distractions like guests and kids that your dog may encounter.
Find a suitable trainer that works with you and is able to communicate clearly with you. Finding the right trainer is very much like finding a suitable therapist!