By Aaron D’silva*

Train your pet like a professional with these tips. Bringing home a dog is the most joyous experience in the world. Your loyal four-legged friend will offer you heaps of comfort, love, laughter and companionship along with a little bit of mischief, if not trained early on. Once you bring home this little fluffy friend, you will become his everything throughout their lifespan (10-15 years). They will look up to you as their pack leader and will rely on you for everything, and it is important to know that they are your responsibility now. Your dog will need plenty of quality time with you to thrive, your maid or caretaker alone would not suffice. Training and walking your dog everyday is of utmost importance to keep unwanted behaviour in check and to avoid boredom.

So when should you start training your puppy? Tip 1 – Start Young Practice simple obedience commands like sit, stay and toilet training using positive reinforcements like treats and food. Start as young as 6-7 weeks old. Also, set house rules early on and give your pup their own space and toys. Tip 2 – Use Positive Reinforcements only (Treats & Praises) When training your pup, your voice and your body language are enough, to get your point across. Never, we repeat, never attempt to hit your puppy or use force to discipline as this could lead to aggression and result in bigger problems down the line. Whenever your pup does something right or obeys your command, be sure to shower them with praises.

Tip 3 – Socialise your dog with other doggies & humans Socialise your dog with other dogs and people, while doing this, make sure that you are continually reading their body language to pick up on stress signals. These stress signals may include excessive panting, backing away in defence, tail tucked between the hind legs.

Tip 4 – Exercise and walk them regularly Dogs are intelligent & sociable pack animals; they love to be outdoors and around people and they are easily bored too. Bored dogs often get into trouble. By exercising them both physically and mentally, you will eliminate boredom and thence unwanted destructive behaviour also.

Tip 5 – Get them the treats they love Every dog is different, and so are their needs and preferences. While some like soft and chewy treats others like slightly hard and crunchy ones. Look out for what your little one likes.

Tip 6 – Tell your dog what you want them to do Say your dog greets a guest by jumping on them, so you tell your dog “NO” and there is nothing wrong with that. However, we recommend that instead of telling your dog what he must not do, tell him what he ought to do to avoid confusion. In this case, ask him to “sit.”

Tip 7 – Age and breed-appropriate diet Just like us, our dogs too need a wholesome, balanced meal. Feed them a high-quality protein diet and combine it with potatoes, carrots and pumpkin (also great for skin and coat). When it comes to choosing a brand of dog food, get only the age and breed specific food. The combination of nutrients in puppy food is going to be very different from the adult dog food. Also, the food made for an energetic maxi breed like a Golden Retriever will be very different from the food made for a mini breed like a Shih Tzu. Always recommend your veterinarian before making a switch in your little one’s meal.

Tip 8 – Freedom Allow your dog to earn their freedom across your house to avoid unwanted chewing, destructive behaviour and house training accidents. Keep the doors shut to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to prevent your little one to explore.

Tip 9 – Grooming All dogs need grooming, and grooming them will be an enjoyable experience for you and your pet if you make them accustomed to the process. Make them feel comfortable with all grooming equipment like different brushes, combs, clippers and sprays by making the entire process positive for them. Your dog senses your mood and energy, make sure that you don not groom them with force and agitation, instead gently and with love. Grooming and bathing should be a relaxing and unwinding session for the two of you, so enjoy every bit of it.

Tip 10 – Consistency is the name of the game Since our beloved four-legged friends are animals of habit, practice training and exercise your command queues with them every day in different scenarios and locations. Just like us, they too have the tendency to forget.

* A certified Animal Communicator & Canine Behaviourist(11 years). Through his training, he endeavours to strengthen the bond pet parents share with their pets, to help build a deeper connection between the two. For any training or behavioural issues, with your dog, you can always write to at