DOOG is super excited to have recently partnered with media vet Dr Katrina Warren who is our guest blogger this month.
The past few months have seen a big spike in pet ownership in Australia with many people welcoming a furry friend to the family and lots of these have been puppies and adopted dogs.
Training your new pet can start the moment you bring them home and remember, you always want to set them up for success. This means rewarding them for any behaviours that you want them to repeat, ideally with a treat. To do this properly it's important to have treats on hand at all times. For example, if they go to the toilet outside or come to you when called, reward them immediately when they do.
The easiest way to have ready access to treats so you can reward behaviour is to use a treat pouch- this will allow you to free up both your hands but have treats accessible for a quick reward. While you can always shove treats into your pocket or carry then around in a bag, this is usually fiddly and messy!
I encourage new puppy owners to purchase a treat pouch as a training essential and to wear it throughout the day when you are home with your pup or out and about with them. Pop it on when you get up in the morning and that way you’ll have treats on hand to reward appropriate toileting, sitting nicely or calm behaviour around new sounds like a hairdryer or vacuum.
For adult dogs, wearing a treat pouch at home can be very helpful for solving problem behaviours like jumping up or barking at the door bell. Ask your dog for an alternative behaviour such as sitting, in return for a tasty treat. Use lots of rewards while your dog is in the sit position with all four feet on the ground. Do not allow visitors to engage with your dog until they are behaving appropriately. The goal is to teach them they will get rewarded for this calm behaviour but not for jumping up. Timing is everything here so having ready access to treats is important.
When using food treats, you can use a proportion of your dog’s everyday dry food if there are no distractions like children, other pets and noises. However, if there are distractions or you are teaching something new, you will need ‘high value treats’ – treats that smell delicious and motivate your puppy or dog.
Don’t fall into the trap of just bringing the out treat pouch for training sessions as some dogs may learn do the requested behaviours only when it is present. Wearing it throughout the day will help prevent this as they will receive treats at unpredictable times through the day.
The DOOG treat pouch is so simple to use – it comes in a range of fun colours and pattern, has an adjustable waist band and has a separate compartment for keys and phone if I leave the house. The feature I love the most is the easily removable and washable inner lining.