How to train your dog right?
It’s a good question, but most likely we will never find a correct or unambiguous answer.
We have often told people that Epe is our family’s first dog and that it was always clear to us that we wanted our dog to be part of our family. We just had no idea how to be successful in training the dog.
The help we got from Kennel Bellasheim and its breeder Merja Kuusisto-Kallioinen was priceless during the first six months. We had to contact her for advice almost every week. You might think that all you need is common sense, but we did not have any when getting started with Epe’s training. The puppy months blurred our heads. Without Merja’s advice, we would not have been able to house-train Epe as quickly as we did. The little guy learned to pee and poop outside in less than a week because we always gave him treats when he was done. And if an accident happened, we quickly cleaned up the mess without making a big deal out of it. Spanish waterdogs are often timid and, without Merja’s advice, we would not have paid enough attention to this. We put a lot of effort into socializing our dog and regularly spent time around other people and in noisy urban environments, making sure that he got used to all the hustle and bustle. We always had treats with us, of course. One of the most valuable pieces of advice we got was this: Consider in advance what kind of an adult dog you want and treat your puppy accordingly from day one. We actually made a list.
- Outi and Sami’s bedroom is off limits (which is why we had to jump over a 0.5-meter board for six months to get into the room).
- He is allowed in Siiri’s room in the daytime but not during the night. The door to Siiri’s room is closed at night.
- He is allowed on the couch.
- He has to make eye contact with us to get permission for eating his food, getting out of the car, coming inside etc.
- He is not allowed to leave our yard and must be able to stay there without being on a leash.
- No running wild indoors.
Without Merja’s advice, we never would have realized the importance of reward-based training. We did attend a puppy training class where we were instructed to have about 200 treats with us each time. It felt totally absurd at first. We didn’t realize that we could continue rewarding the puppy while training everyday skills at home. It seems that the puppy stage took up a lot of brain capacity because afterwards many things seemed obvious.
Epe has always been excited about other dogs – not so much playing with them but sniffing at them. When surrounded by various stimulating things in a training situation, it is difficult to get the puppy’s attention. We always catch Epe’s attention with sausages. Thanks to Epe’s love of sausages and the disgusting slime, we came up with an idea for a product that could help an owner reward their dog without having their fingers and pockets covered in sticky slime. We felt that rewarding your dog with soft treats should be quick and easy. This is why we developed Train’N’Treat. The name itself obviously refers to training and rewarding.
The question in the heading – “How to train your dog right?” – is a sensitive issue. We have been successful through reward-based training and hope that our product finds its way into many homes to make communication between dogs and their owners smoother. Many of our customers have told us that their dog suddenly starts listening when they take out their Train’N’Treat.
Enjoy the spring!
Outi, Sami and Epe