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Dog training from world-leading experts

Embark on the rewarding journey of dog training with our expert guide, crafted to provide you with essential strategies for training a dog, whether you're a first-time pet owner or looking to enhance your puppy training skills.

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Strelka LTD, trading as Fluffy, Firm Reference No. 986188, is an appointed representative of Innovative Risk Labs Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Firm Reference No. 609155.

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How do you start training a dog?

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Establish Trust and Bonding

Before diving into the technicalities of dog training, building a strong bond with your dog is crucial. Spend quality time with your pet to develop trust and understanding.

Create a Training-Friendly Environment

Choose a quiet and distraction-free zone for training your dog. A calm environment helps your dog focus better on the training commands.

Start with Basic Commands

Begin with simple commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'come', and 'heel'. Consistency is key in dog training. Use clear and consistent words or signals for each command.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Reinforce good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime. Positive reinforcement enhances learning and builds a positive association with the training process.

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Keep Training Sessions Short & Fun

Dogs, especially puppies, have short attention spans. Keep your training sessions brief (5-10 minutes) and engaging to maintain their interest and motivation.

Patience and Consistency

Remember that training a dog or puppy requires patience and persistence. Every dog learns at their own pace, so it’s important to be patient and consistent with your training routine.

Practise
Socialisation

Socialise your dog with other dogs and people. This part of puppy training is critical for their development and helps prevent behavioral issues.

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What are the 7 most important dog commands?

1. Sit

This basic command helps in managing your dog's behavior in various situations. Teaching your dog to sit is fundamental in puppy training and helps in controlling their impulsiveness.

5. Leave It

This command helps in preventing your dog from picking up or eating things that could be harmful to them. 'Leave it' is an important aspect of training a puppy, especially when they're curious and tend to explore with their mouths.

2. Stay

The 'stay' command is crucial for preventing your dog from getting into dangerous situations. It teaches them self-control and patience, and is a vital part of training a dog to be calm and composed.

6. Drop It

Similar to 'leave it', the 'drop it' command ensures your dog releases anything they shouldn’t have in their mouth. It’s crucial for their safety, especially if they grab something potentially dangerous.

3. Come

This command is a lifesaver in many situations. It's essential for recalling your dog if they slip away from their leash or get distracted in a public area. Mastering the 'come' command is a cornerstone in dog training.

4. Heel

Teaching your dog to heel keeps them from pulling on the leash during walks. It's especially important for maintaining control in crowded or high-traffic areas.

7. No

This universal command is used to stop a dog from doing something undesirable. It’s a fundamental part of dog training that establishes boundaries and proper behavior.

What is basic dog training?

Basic dog training involves teaching your dog fundamental commands and behaviors that are essential for their safety, obedience, and socialization. It's a crucial part of responsible pet ownership and forms the foundation of a well-behaved and disciplined dog. Here's an overview of what basic dog training entails:

  1. Understanding Dog Behavior: Before you start training, it's important to understand typical dog behaviors and body language. This knowledge helps in effectively communicating with your pet and addressing their needs.

  2. Teaching Basic Commands: The core of basic dog training includes teaching commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'come', 'heel', 'leave it', 'drop it', and 'no'. These commands are crucial for managing your dog's behavior and ensuring their safety.

  3. House Training: An essential part of training a puppy is house training, which includes teaching them where and when to relieve themselves. Consistency and patience are key in this process.

  4. Crate Training: Crate training is teaching your dog to accept a crate or cage as a safe and familiar place. This is beneficial for various reasons, including travel, safety, and as a part of house training.

  5. Leash Training: Leash training involves teaching your dog to walk calmly on a leash without pulling or becoming overexcited. This is essential for safe and enjoyable walks.

  6. Socialization: Exposing your dog to different environments, people, and other animals is crucial for their development. Socialization helps prevent fearfulness and aggression in dogs.

Dog Training

What are the types of dog training?

1. Obedience Training

This is the most common type of training, focusing on teaching dogs basic commands like 'sit', 'stay', 'come', and 'heel'. Obedience training is essential for every dog, ensuring they respond properly to their owner's instructions.

2. Behavioral Training

This type addresses specific behavioral issues such as barking, chewing, jumping, and aggression. Behavioral training is vital for correcting unwanted behaviors and helping your dog become a well-mannered pet.

3. Puppy Training

Tailored for younger dogs, puppy training covers basic obedience but also focuses on socialization, potty training, and crate training. Training a puppy early on is crucial for their development and future behavior.

4. Agility Training

Agility training is designed for dogs who participate in dog sports. It includes courses that require dogs to jump hurdles, run through tunnels, and navigate various obstacles. This type of training is great for keeping your dog fit and mentally stimulated.

Dos and don'ts of dog training

Dos

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Always use positive reinforcement like treats, praise, and affection to reward your dog for good behavior.

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Consistency is key in commands, rules, and routines. Changing these frequently can confuse your dog.

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Dogs have short attention spans. Keep training sessions brief (5-10 minutes) and fun to maintain their interest.

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Training takes time. Understand that progress may be gradual and that each dog learns at their own pace.

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Expose your dog to different environments, people, and other animals to ensure they are well-adjusted.

Don'ts

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Physical punishment can lead to fear, aggression, and a breakdown of trust between you and your dog.

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Don't yell or use harsh discipline. This can scare or confuse your dog. Use a firm, calm voice for commands.

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Trying to teach too much too quickly can overwhelm your dog.

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Don't ignore problematic behaviors. Addressing behavioral issues early on is crucial.

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Don't neglect daily exercise. Regular exercise is essential for your dog’s physical and mental well-being and can aid in training.

Dog Dressed as Butterfly

How do dogs learn?

strong, harmonious relationship with your pet. Dogs, much like humans, learn through a combination of observation, experience, and teaching. Here’s a closer look at the key ways dogs learn:

  1. Associative Learning: Dogs primarily learn through associative learning, where they form associations between events. The most common forms are classical conditioning (think of Pavlov’s dogs learning to associate a bell with food) and operant conditioning (where dogs learn to associate their behavior with consequences, either rewards or corrections).

  2. Positive Reinforcement: This is a part of operant conditioning. Dogs learn to repeat behaviors that result in positive outcomes. For instance, if a dog sits when asked and receives a treat, they are more likely to repeat the action in the future.

  3. Observational Learning: Dogs can learn by watching other dogs or even humans. For example, a dog may learn to perform a trick or navigate an obstacle by watching another dog.

  4. Trial and Error Learning: Dogs often learn through experimenting with different behaviors and remembering the outcomes. This method is particularly evident in puppy training, where puppies try various behaviors to see which ones yield rewards.

  5. Shaping: This involves gradually teaching a new behavior through reinforcement of progressively closer approximations of the desired behavior. It’s like building complex behaviors step by step.

  6. Habituation: Dogs learn to become accustomed to stimuli that are neither harmful nor beneficial. For example, they may become habituated to the sound of traffic, ignoring it over time.

  7. Social Learning: Dogs are social animals and can learn from social interactions with other dogs and humans. This can include learning acceptable social behaviors and hierarchies.

What are the most common behavioural concerns of dog owners?

1. Aggression

4. Fussy eaters

7. Persistent following

10. Destructive behaviour

2. Pulling on the lead

5. Toileting in the house

8 Running away

11. Hyperactivity

3. Constant barking

6. Jumping

9. Ignoring requests

12. Separation anxiety

How much is dog training?

The cost of dog training can vary widely depending on several factors, including the type of training, the trainer's experience and qualifications, the location, and the duration of the training program. Here's a general breakdown of the potential costs:

  1. Group Training Classes: These are often the most affordable option. Prices can range from £50 to £200 for a series of weekly classes, typically spanning 4-8 weeks. Group classes are great for basic obedience and socialization.

  2. Private Lessons: More personalized and focused, private lessons can range from £30 to £100 per hour, depending on the trainer's expertise and location. Some trainers offer packages that can reduce the per-session cost.

  3. Board and Train Programs: These intensive programs, where the dog stays with the trainer for a period of time, can range from £500 to £2,500 or more for a few weeks of training. This option is often used for more advanced training or specific behavioral issues.

  4. Online Training Programs: With the rise of digital platforms, online dog training has become a popular and often more affordable option. Costs can range from free DIY resources to structured courses priced between £30 to £300.

  5. Specialized Training: Training for specific skills like service dog training, agility, or protection can be more expensive, sometimes costing several thousand dollars, depending on the complexity and duration of the training.

  6. Puppy Classes: These are usually slightly cheaper than adult dog training classes, averaging around £50 to £150 for a course.

  7. Behavioral Consultations: For addressing specific behavioral issues, consultations can range from £75 to £250 per session.

Dog Walker
Dog and Its Owner

How many hours do you train a dog?

The amount of time spent on dog training can vary depending on the dog's age, breed, temperament, and the specific training goals. However, there are general guidelines that can help ensure the training is effective without overwhelming your dog.

Puppies

  • Duration: Puppies have short attention spans. Training sessions should last about 5 to 10 minutes.

  • Frequency: Several short sessions throughout the day are better than one long session. Aim for 3-5 short sessions daily.

Adult Dogs

  • Duration: For adult dogs, training sessions can be slightly longer, around 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Frequency: 2-3 times a day is usually sufficient, depending on the training goals and the dog's attention span.

Can I train my dog myself?

Absolutely, you can train your dog yourself! Many dog owners successfully train their pets at home. Training your dog can be a highly rewarding experience and can strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Here are some tips and considerations for self-training your dog:

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  • Is pet insurance worth it?
    Pet insurance is a valuable safety net, covering unexpected medical expenses. It provides peace of mind, ensuring your pet gets necessary care. It's especially beneficial for pets prone to health issues or accidents.
  • What is the cost of pet insurance?
    The cost depends on factors like your pet's age, breed, and coverage level. Basic plans are more budget-friendly but offer limited coverage. Premium plans cost more but provide comprehensive protection.
  • What pet insurance do vets recommend?
    Vets typically recommend comprehensive policies covering accidents, illnesses, and routine care. They suggest looking for plans with good coverage for chronic conditions. It's also advised to check for policies with minimal exclusions.
  • What does pet insurance cover?
    Accidents: Injuries and emergency treatments. Illnesses: From minor sickness to chronic diseases. Routine Care: Some policies include wellness visits and vaccinations.
  • Pros and cons of pet insurance
    Pros: Financial safety net for unexpected costs. Access to necessary treatments. Peace of mind for pet owners. Cons: Monthly premiums can add up. Exclusions like pre-existing conditions. Potential deductibles and co-pays.
  • Who has the best pet insurance?
    The best pet insurance varies based on individual needs. It's recommended to compare policies for coverage, exclusions, and customer reviews. Look for a balance of cost, coverage, and customer service reputation.
  • Which pet insurance that covers everything?
    No pet insurance covers 'everything,' but comprehensive plans come closest. They typically cover accidents, illnesses, and some wellness procedures. Always check for exclusions like pre-existing conditions and routine care limits.
  • How much is a vet visit for a dog without insurance?
    Costs can range widely, from basic consultation fees to hundreds for complex treatments. Emergency visits or surgeries without insurance can be particularly costly. Prices vary based on the procedure and location of the clinic.
  • What is a good annual limit for pet insurance UK?
    A good annual limit depends on your pet's potential health needs. In the UK, limits typically range from £1,000 to over £15,000. Higher limits offer more coverage but come with higher premiums.
  • Do vets charge more if you have insurance?
    Vets generally charge the same rates regardless of insurance status. Insurance helps owners afford more comprehensive care. It's more about coverage than cost differential at the vet.
  • What’s third party liability pet insurance?
    This covers costs if your pet causes injury to a person or damage to property. It's particularly important for dog owners. This insurance is a safeguard against legal liabilities.
  • How do vaccinations affect pet insurance?
    Keeping vaccinations up to date can lower pet insurance premiums. It reflects responsible pet ownership and preventive health care. Some insurers require up-to-date vaccinations for coverage.
  • What’s co-insurance or co-payment?
    Co-insurance is the percentage of a claim you pay after the excess is deducted. It's a way to share the cost of care between the insurer and the pet owner. Higher co-insurance can mean lower premiums.
  • Why are pedigree animals more expensive to insure?
    Pedigree pets often have a higher risk of inherited health conditions. They may also have higher value, increasing insurance costs. Insurers consider these factors when determining premiums.
  • Does my address matter for my pet insurance price?
    Yes, your location can affect insurance costs. Areas with higher vet fees typically have higher premiums. The risk of theft or straying can also vary by location.
  • Will property be covered if my pet damages it?
    Pet insurance usually doesn't cover damage to your own property. Third-party liability can cover damage your pet causes to others' property. Check your policy for specific exclusions.
  • Does pet insurance cover ‘cherry eye’ in dogs?
    Many insurers cover ‘cherry eye’ treatment if it's not pre-existing. Coverage depends on the specific policy and insurer. Always check for breed-specific condition exclusions.
  • Does pet insurance cover BOAS surgery?
    Coverage for BOAS (Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome) surgery varies. Some insurers cover it if it’s not a pre-existing condition. It's important to check your policy's specifics.
  • How does my pet’s age affect pet insurance?
    Older pets often have higher insurance premiums. They are more likely to develop health issues. Age can also affect the availability of certain coverages.
  • Do I need to pay an excess for pet insurance?
    Most pet insurance policies require paying an excess. The excess is the amount paid out-of-pocket before insurance covers the rest. Choosing a higher excess can lower premiums.
  • Does pet insurance include kennel or cattery fees?
    Some policies cover kennel or cattery fees if the owner is hospitalised. This coverage is typically part of a more comprehensive plan. Always check the policy details for such benefits.
  • Can I get cover that starts immediately?
    Some insurers offer immediate cover for accidents. Illness coverage often has a waiting period. Check with your insurer for specific start times of coverage.
  • Is it better to pay for insurance annually or monthly?
    Paying annually can sometimes offer a discount. Monthly payments provide easier budgeting. Compare options to see which suits your financial situation best.
  • What should I do if my pet goes missing?
    Notify your insurer as many provide assistance for lost pets. Check if your policy includes advertising or reward costs. Also, inform local vets and animal shelters.
  • Will pet insurance cover life-threatening injuries or illness?
    Most pet insurance policies cover life-threatening conditions. This includes emergency surgeries and critical care. Check your policy for any limitations or exclusions.
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