At home training tips to support pets in lockdown
As much-needed professional training services remain on hold during lockdown, pet owners can help their pets navigate isolation as they wait to return to puppy or training school using several at home training techniques.
To ensure pets of all ages, from young puppies to elderly cats, are receiving proper training that is required to support good behaviour, PETstock dog trainer Tina Button has compiled some helpful tips.
Test their skills with common verbal cues and hand signals to see if or what they respond to. Find out what motivates them most and use it as their reward, such as food, a toy, pats or praises.
Teaching basic commands
There has never been a better time to train your pet or teach them a new trick such as to roll over, fetch, shake a paw, find an object or person, or any basic exercises such as sit, drop, stay. Food and clickers or marker words can be used to train your dog.
A short session is a good session
Keep training sessions short and sharp to maintain engagement and improve results, any longer than five minutes and your pet may lose interest. It’s important to have a regular training schedule to promote good behaviour as well as provide bonding and enrichment for your pet. Many short sessions and finishing on a win. Always be clear, consistent and concise with your commands to avoid confusing them.
Use enrichment toys
When you’re not actively training your pet, an easy and effective way of keeping them active and mentally stimulated is through enrichment toys. Lick mats, Kong wobblers, puzzle toys and cat wands, are a great way to keep your pet mentally stimulated and entertained for hours.
Create an agility course
Whether your pet is a dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig, a home-made agility course is a fun way to challenge their mind and body. This could include using an ottoman as a step, shoes as hurdles or socks to create a maze for smaller pets. Use basics commands such as “jump”, “stay” or “go” during the course to reinforce commands needed out of the home. Before doing intense physical exercise, ensure your pet is fit and healthy. Have your vet check them out if you are unsure.
When training your pet, try not to lose your temper, raise your voice or punish your pet for bad behaviour as this can exacerbate the problem even more or cause fear and anxiety, which could lead to further issues. If you are having a bad day, give your pet enrichment toys to entertain themselves and train them when you are relaxed.
For puppies currently unable to attend puppy school, it’s critical that they receive exposure to the environment. Socialisation with other animals is only a small part of the process. It’s important that your pet is exposed to different sounds, smells and sights. Take some treats with you when you have your pet with you, if they exhibit calm behaviour reinforce this with yummy soft treats that are high in value
Source: Press release from PETstock
Photo credit: PETstock
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