Q: I recently adopted a puppy and feel it’s time to start training; however, I’ve heard all kinds of different ways to go about it. Some people say to dominate him from the word go – pin him down, eat before he does, never let him through a doorway in front of me, don’t let him pull me on a lead or play tug-of-war, as this will contribute to his aggression. What type of dog training do you recommend so my pet becomes obedient and a pleasure to be around?
A: A puppy needs to have rules, parameters and structure. Most of this will be taught at puppy socialisation classes from eight weeks of age and then basic obedience classes from six months onwards. Any dog should be taught to walk on a loose lead alongside you, without taking you for a walk. Tug-of-war is one of the games believed to create aggression between humans and dogs, but this isn’t true. When pups tug on an object competitively it doesn’t enhance aggressiveness between them. In the human-animal bond and part of being an essential assertive owner one must initiate the game and negate it in order to have a controlling influence. It makes no difference when you feed your dog in relation to your mealtimes as long as he’s not fed from the table. A very important piece of advice is to socialise