Proper training becomes even more important when you own a big breed of dog. Your cute puppy will quickly grow into a heavy object and a powerful force, so instilling good behaviour from a young age is the ideal way to ensure future harmony.
Of course, with professional behaviour training you can still teach a fully grown large dog to be a safe and compliant companion.
You do have a responsibility as a large dog’s owner to make sure that his nature is moulded so that he won’t intimidate people and other dogs.
In the long run, giving dogs proper training from early on is important for their mental stimulation and hence their happiness. But it also means you’ll be able to take your dog to more places, and meet new people and other dogs without the worry of aggression or bad behaviour.
Consistent training will produce a more well-rounded, happier pet and a better quality of life, not only for your dog but for your family and friends.
A few training tips
It’s critical that your big dog learn to sit and stay. Uncontrolled, a big, hairy beast can wreak havoc around a table of wine glasses or unwittingly terrorise strangers. Make your dog sit and stay at every feeding time, and stretch the staying period to reinforce the behaviour.
Don’t be intimidated by your dog’s size and strength. If you have a confident presence and deliver consistent, firm commands your dog will understand who’s in charge. You control the food and you make the rules.
A reliable sit command will help you keep your dog out of trouble in social situations and the occasional dog park kerfuffle, and it’s crucial for activities like bathing, where you definitely don’t want to be trying to restrain 40kg of unruly muscle in soapy water.
And remember, even large breeds respond better to positive reinforcement. Don’t make the mistake of punishing your dog for bad behaviour – it’s much more effective to reward her for good behaviour. If you give in to aggression, you increase the chances that your dog will do the same later in life.
An important training focus for your big breed is ‘settling’. When people arrive at your house, you don’t want your dog to become over-excited or aggressive and jump on your guests. Don’t get flustered. Just reinforce a different behavior: for instance, teach your dog to sit when people come to the door. You might even train them to ‘shake hands’ with new arrivals, and use this to do away with the boisterous ‘welcome’.
One of the main teaching exercises we conduct at DogTech© behavioural classes is walking on a lead without pulling – a hugely important skill with a big, powerful dog.
Dogs have an instinct to pull against a restraining force, and you have to avoid rewarding that behaviour by allowing them to pull you to a destination.
Initially, keep a treat in one hand near your dog’s nose when you go for a walk. If they start to pull, you’ll command them to sit, and reward the sitting. When they walk in the correct position beside you without pulling, you’ll reward that, too. By rewarding sitting and heeling this way, you can overcome dog walking problems. You’ll enjoy your outings so much more!
For more information about dog training classes or our one-on-one in-home training for your big, beautiful friend, contact DogTech© here. We’re in Sydney, Adelaide and Goulburn Valley and we’re adding locations all the time.