Behaviour training will prepare your dog for Halloween
(NC) If you plan to let the family dog participate in trick or treating this year, teaching a few basic commands will keep Halloween fun and stress-free. Trainer Julian Bronk from leading retailer, PetSmart, shares some tips to make sure your dog is well-behaved, as follows:
Inviting your Dog to the Party
If you are throwing a Halloween bash this year, keep your dog safe and happy with a few simple tricks:
• Keep him on a leash or in a crate while everyone arrives so he doesn't accidentally get out the door.
• A blanket rule of “don't feed the dog” is probably your safest bet when guests come over.
• If your dog gets nervous around crowds and noise, it is best to find a private room or crate to keep him in while you are entertaining. Using a 'Thundershirt' can also calm down a nervous dog by applying gentle pressure to the body.
• If he is a barker when the doorbell rings, some pre-training will be necessary.
The ABCs of a Well-Behaved Pet
There are three important command basics to ensure a well-behaved pet:
• Sit(so he won't jump on guests): Grab a treat and place it right at the dog's nose to get his attention. Keeping the treat right on the end of the dog's nose, slowly move it up and back over his head. As he follows the treat, his head should come up and his back end should go down, resulting in a sit. When he sits, tell him, “Good dog!” and give him the treat. When you have practiced enough that you are sure you can get him to sit, you can begin to say the word “sit” right before you put the treat at his nose and start to move it.
• Stay (so he won't run out the door): Ask your dog to sit and praise him when he does. While your dog is sitting, say “stay” and place your hand flat with your palm facing the dog. Wait 2-3 seconds, and then give your dog a treat. You can increase the time he stays by a couple of seconds every three repetitions. It's tempting to try and walk away from him while he stays, but it's best to remain right beside him until you've worked up to 30 seconds.
• Leave it (so he won't touch the candy): You'll need a large biscuit and some small, yummy treats. Put your dog on leash and place the large, boring biscuit out of reach of the dog. Allow him to attempt to get it, but do not allow him to actually put it in his mouth. When he stops trying to get it and turns away, tell him, “Good dog!” and give him a small, yummy treat. As he gets better at this exercise, you can tell him, “leave it” when he starts to go toward the large, boring biscuit.
More information on training and behaviour can be found at www.petsmart.com, or speak with a store associate.
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