We love to pamper our pets with treats and toys, but that’s not enough to keep them happy. We should spend quality time with them. Training them for various things can be a best way to keep them busy, active and content
Dogs love human company and enjoy interacting with their pet parents. Training does not necessarily mean
Sit, Down, Stay and all the other Obedience Commands. Training can be fun for the pet and pet parent too. Here is a list of simple things to keep your pet busy and hence happy.
Apart from your pet’s natural urge to express himself you can also teach him to alert with a bark when the need be.
Method: Find out what excites your pet i.e. toy, treat, leash (possibility of going out for a walk), doorbell ringing, etc. Tease him with a toy, treat or your action and encourage any sound. Praise him well with a toy or a treat at this stage, praise him if he makes any sound. Continue to do so until he starts giving you a solid bark. Please remember not to promote any wrong behaviour while making him excited.
These boredom-blaster toys are very useful and come in different sizes and shapes. You can stuff your pet’s favourite treats or any other food which he enjoys. Kong toys help keep pets busy and away from any destructive activities in the house.
Get daily newspaper
Newspaper can be a fascinating object for many pets. If your pet loves to fetch his toys, you can teach him to fetch the daily newspaper. Give him lots of praise and offer him his favourite treat every time he fetches the newspaper for you instead of making a mess with it. Such simple acts can be very interesting for the pet parent and rewarding for the pet too. Please note that pets love to shred the paper so roll the paper and put a rubber band on it to make it easier for your pet to hold.
Kids & pets
Pets and kids can be great friends and every pet parent must take efforts to socialise their pets with kids in the neighbourhood. In fact, you will be surprised that all the kids in the neighbourhood will know you because of your little darling.
Fetching dog bowl
Pets love food, make it even more fun for them by teaching them to bring their own food bowl before their meal time.
Method: Use a plastic or metal food bowl which is not too heavy for pets to pick. Start by keeping the bowl in a particular place before every meal. Use small portions of his meal to encourage him to pick it up. Initially you can even throw it and ask him to fetch it as he would normally do with his toys. Flip it on the other side if you feel your pet is finding it difficult to pick it up from ground for a better grip.
Pets love to go out for walks or to play. Most of them get very excited at the sight of their leash or understand the words ‘Chalo’, ‘Leash’, ‘Walk’, ‘Let’s Go’ etc. You can train your pet to bring his own leash every time he goes for a walk.
Method: Start by keeping the leash at a particular place, closer to the door if possible. Encourage your pet to go out with you and start by throwing the leash for him to fetch it before you open the door. Once he starts enjoying this game of fetch, you can encourage him to fetch it on his own from a particular place.
Attach a long cloth or rope to the door handle and teach your pet to pull it for opening or closing doors. It’s easy to teach and fun for the dogs.
Method: Teach your pet to tug on a rope or his cloth tug toy. Encourage him to play tug near the door which you ideally want him to open. Get him really excited about tugging game. Now you can attach a small rope to that tug toy or attach the rope to the door handle. Encourage your pet to tug on it while it’s attached to the door. Try to make him stand in front of the door so when he pulls/tugs, the door starts to open. Encourage and praise any right behaviour towards the final goal.
Most of the pets love car rides. Teach them to enjoy their rides and behave well in the car. Pets can be great companions and stress busters during long drives.
Tips to follow while training your pooch
- Always remember to make it all as a game for your pet. Do it with lot of enthusiasm and energy.
- Find out what motivates your pet i.e. treats, toys (balls/squeaky/ring/tug toy, etc) or your company.
- Divide the final action in small parts and encourage your pet to learn it in steps.
- Do not over expect things from them.
- Always remember to praise (verbal and pats) at the right time.
- If your pet is finding it difficult to perform something, do not lose your patience. Give him a ‘time out’ and then practice after sometime later.
- While training your pet remember to teach him the action first. Once he learns it then put a ‘command word’ to it. Do not use the ‘command’ unless he knows the meaning of it.
(Pooja Sathe-Gawande is a qualified professional, trained at Northern Centre for Canine Behaviour and Training, UK.)