How to teach a dog manners

There’s nothing better than being able to take your dog along when you head out for a coffee or bite to eat, but it’s important to teach a dog manners for these social environments to help keep it relaxing for both you and other diners.

Whether you have a puppy or are training an older dog, I have a few techniques to help teach a dog manners, even if your dog is a little bit reactive at times.

1. On your mat

Firstly, teach your dog ‘on your mat or bed’ at home and take one along. Place training is really useful for many situations. When they are learning you simply lure them over to their bed with a treat, and mark as soon as they hit the spot, then you can start to shape and put it on cue.

2. Look at me – focus game

If you have a reactive dog, then you can use the ‘Look at Me’ when another dog, or person, approaches to distract them and bring their attention back to you, rewarding calm behaviour.

3. Don’t encourage them

Don’t pick up little dogs on your lap if a big dog walks past, as they then tend to react more, and often aggressively, as they are in a bit of a power position.

4. Keep them occupied to avoid boredom

Keep them occupied as well. Take along their favourite toy or a long lasting chew like the Vitapet Lamb Ears to keep them busy.

But remember treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s total daily calorie intake.

5. Address problem behaviour as early as possible

Teach your puppy ’the cafe latte’ as soon as possible, having them at your feet and ignoring attention seeking behaviour like barking or whining at you, and always using positive reinforcement when they are displaying calm behaviour.

It is important to ensure you are not reinforcing unwanted behaviour in your dog either, so read more about that HERE.

For more training tips and tricks, you can check out the pages on our website, or also visit Vitapet Central.


About the Author: Lara Shannon is a NDTF certified dog behaviourist and trainer, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training and boarding business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of Eat, Play, Love Your Dog.

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