HOW TO TRAIN YOUR ADULT DOG
Unless he's a large or giant breed, his puppy days are behind him. But that doesn't mean his training or socialisation is at an end.
Pulling on the lead
When he was a nipper it was cute that he rushed to get out on his walks. Now he’s bigger, it feels like he could compete in truck pulling contests. If you’re having problems with a boisterous young adult pulling on his lead, why not try the following:
- Firstly, patience is king. The moment he starts to pull, even if you’ve yet to leave home – stop. He needs to learn that pulling gets him nowhere.
- Once he stops and the lead slackens, praise him and start walking.
- If / when he starts to pull again, quickly turn around 180 degrees and start walking in the opposite direction. If he starts to pull again, make another turn.
- Continue until he gets the message, or take him home and try again later.
- If you need more help from a trainer, talk to your vet or your local kennel club.
Scent marking indoors
Mature dogs often want to mark everything in sight. Females do it too. In the wild a dog uses its super-strength sense of smell to recognise the sex of an individual dog, and even which direction it was travelling, just from a quick whiff of urine – great for alerting the pack to strangers. But if he’s marking indoors, what’s he trying to tell you?
- If it happens when he’s left on his own, being ignored or when friends visit, he may be feeling anxious. He marks to settle himself. Try recapping his people socialisation skills.
- If he thinks he’s kingpin it could be a display of dominance. As his pack leader, take control of the situation and enforce your leadership through training. Go back to your housetraining structure and be consistent.
- You might also consider neutering if you haven’t already done so. An unneutered dog has a hormonal desire to leave his scent here, there and everywhere. Talk to your vet.
Amusing in a film, embarrassing in real life. Mounting can mean a number of things, not just sexual, from testing your authority to trying to displace anxiety. Here's how to deal with the issue:
- Start keeping your dog on a short lead, both indoors and out. When you see mounting happening, give the lead a short, hard tug to put your dog back on four legs.
- Don’t make eye contact – you don’t want to turn discipline into a game.
- Using your firm disciplinarian voice, say ‘stop!’ then give your dog time out with no attention for 15 minutes.
- Repeat as necessary.
Introducing a new baby
So your puppy turned into a dog and now you want another little one, only this time of the human kind? Here's how to set up for the day when baby and dog get to meet-and-greet for the very first time:
- While pregnant, work on your ‘sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘wait’ commands.
- To reduce turmoil, consider who else can take on dog walking duties when the baby arrives, if only for the first few weeks.
- When the baby’s born, bring back an item of clothing or a blanket that’s been near the baby and place it in your dog’s bed or crate. This will help him familiarise with the smell of your new arrival.
- When at last they meet, make sure two people are there – one to hold the dog, the other to hold the baby. This allows your dog to get used to being close to the baby while you’re still in control of his actions. Make sure your dog has been walked first so he’s not overexcited.
- Never leave your baby and your dog unattended and watch your words. ‘Good boy/girl’ may have to change to ‘Good dog’, to avoid your pet getting confused. Unless of course they’re both being good at exactly the same time – lucky you!