Dog Owner's Guide

Playtime and training your dog

Training

Responsible dog owners should take up dog training to know how to handle their dogs well. The most basic training that dogs need is obedience training. Enrolling your dog in an obedience class can be a fulfilling and fun experience for both you and your dog. A well-behaved dog is an absolute joy to be around with and can be allowed a greater amount of freedom than an untrained dog. Giving your dog obedience training can also greatly strengthen your relationship with your dog and make living together more enjoyable.

Types of obedience training

Basic
Basic training is for beginner level puppies or dogs that are being trained for the first time. Basic training sets the foundation for more advanced training. Dogs will be taught fundamentals like sitting, staying and coming to their owners on command. It is also an excellent way for puppies to learn how to socialise with other dogs and people in an appropriate way. Puppies that are not socialised from a young age often grow up to be unfriendly and timid around other dogs and people.

Intermediate
This level will be suitable for older dogs that have had basic dog training, either through a training class or by their owners at home. At this level, your dog will learn how to walk beside you, fetch something on command and not pull on their leash during walks.

Advanced
Although some owners may be tempted to place their dogs in advanced classes immediately, it is always advisable for dogs to complete basic and intermediate training first. The advanced level will concentrate more on hand and verbal signals for fetching, staying, sitting and walking at heel. Training your dog to effectively respond to your verbal or hand signals will be a great step forward in the relationship between your dog and you. You will find it much easier to take your dog out for walks and socialising with other dogs and people will be a breeze.

However, in order for your dog to reach this level, you will need to be very patient during training. Positive encouragement is the best way to show your dog that he is doing the right thing. Shouting or hitting your dog will only make your dog fear you and be less willing to follow your instructions.

Playtime

Playtime is essential for any dog. Many owners still confuse playtime with simply taking their dogs for a walk, but playtime is actually off-leash exercise. This does not include running or jogging alongside an owner. Dogs need to be given time and the freedom to explore in a safe environment. If your dog knows basic commands such as sit, stay and comes to you on command, off-leash playtime will be easy.

Different dogs prefer different activities during their playtime so you will need to observe your dog to get an idea of what he likes. Some dogs love socialising and playing with other dogs, while others may prefer retrieving Frisbees or tennis balls. Older dogs may prefer to simply walk around and investigate the area.

Swimming is also a good way for your dog to exercise and a day at the beach can be lots of fun for you and your dog. However, not all breeds of dogs like swimming, so do not try to force your dog to swim if he shows signs of unwillingness. This will worsen his fear of water.

Keep a time limit for every play session, or else playtime will lose its appeal. Puppies should not be over-exercised as their bodies are still developing. Remember to end every playtime on a positive note by praising your dog.

Dogs that have sufficient playtime and exercise are less likely to become bored and start exhibiting bad behaviour around the house. Playtime can also be extremely beneficial mentally and physically for owners as well, as it relieves stress and requires owners to exercise as well. The more time you spend with your dog, the more you will be able to understand and appreciate him.