Training Tips for a Happy Dog

Posted by Chewy Chews

Welcoming a new canine friend into your family is such an exciting time. The possibility of long walks, longer cuddles and a lifelong friendship is something really special. But first – training.

In order for both you and your pooch to have a relaxed, enriched life, training is key. A well-trained dog is a happy dog. One who knows what’s expected of them, meaning they stretch their paws and relax in the knowledge that they’ve been a very good boy or girl.

The Science of Dog Training

The first dog training principles were created on the basis that dogs behaved like wolves. It was assumed training should mimic the pack dynamic, with an “alpha” at the helm. Meaning you had to show your dog who was boss with tough love and some serious posturing.

But you can relax because that view is now considered outdated and been updated. For starters, modern scientists pointed out that the wolves in question were in fact captive, and very stressed! Their wild counterparts have been shown to be much less into the aggressive stuff and much more into bonding.

Plus, studies have now shown that dogs trained using a new breed of positive reinforcement perform way better at the tasks researchers put in front of them. In fact, dogs from “discipline” led schools displayed a lot more stress, had higher cortisol levels and were much less likely to try new tasks.

What is Positive Reinforcement Training?

Reinforcement, for dogs, is a reward.

Positive reinforcement works like this. Good behaviour? Reward. Bad Behaviour? Redirect to good behaviour (“sit”, “come”) then reward.

This kind of training works on the basis that admonishment really isn’t that useful, as it is still giving your dog attention. A negative reward, if you will. This kind of confusing signal can slow a dog’s progress and too much punishment can damage their confidence.

If, however, your dog is bonded with and trusts you, that’s a great thing. Just think, if there’s a scary or worrying situation guess who they will look to for guidance? You! Which is much better than them handling it alone (not fun) or running for the hills (really not fun).


So what’s a reward? Through a pooch’s eyes, a reward can be either attention or play.  Most often though, the biggest driver for dogs is food. Treats are the most magical currency to get your dog’s rapt attention.

As pet parents ourselves, we know the importance of a good treat. They are always at hand when we’re training, but after a while, we realised our dogs were getting bored with receiving the same old treats.

Plus, during our research, we couldn’t find any that ticked all our boxes. We wanted single ingredient, additive-free & grain-free natural treats. Fed up of waiting, we made them ourselves! Chewy Chews are made of 100% Australian beef, pork, chicken, goat, seafood and kangaroo meat, slowly air-dried to lock in flavour and essential nutrients. Not just healthy and nutritious, but delicious too! Making them the perfect dog treats for training, available to order online whenever you need.

We also know what it’s like to be out and about, getting your pup accustomed to the big wide world. And there’s nothing like reaching into your pocket to reward their good behaviour and realising you forgot your treat bag!

So we thought…let’s provide treat and toy vending machines across Australia, so busy pet parents will be able to easily access rewards whenever they need them. It can be a wild world out there, so we’ve got your back.

Now you’ve got your rewards sorted, here are 3 top tips for mastering positive reinforcement.


Tip 1: Clear and Simple

If your dog is new to training, regardless of their age, start with small and simple steps.

Putting it into action, here’s an example of how to use reward-based training to teach your dog a basic “come” command:

  1. Start off somewhere quiet, where there’s very little that can distract your dog, like your living room or garden.
  2. Call your dog, either by name or with “come” then back away from them. Backing away encourages your pup to chase you.
  3. Your dog is much more likely to want to come back to you if you’re being fun – so use a high voice and get excited.
  4. When your dog comes to you, reward them with lots of praise and a small treat straight away.
  5. Once your dog has got the hang of it, move further away from them before you give your “come” command. When you feel your dog is doing well, go out to a busier environment and try again.

To keep it clear and simple, phase in sounds and hand gestures that are consistent. For example “come” and a hand towards you, a flat palm for “sit” and a finger between your eyes for “look at me”. Try and get everyone in the household working off the same principles, and you should make progress in no time.

Try not to let your dog fail more than once. If they are, it means you’re going too quickly. Take a step back and make it easier for them, so that they keep scoring those wins.

Tip 2: Timing is Key

Timing is everything with this kind of training. Helping your doggo link the behaviour with the reward is the main goal. Give the reward during the behaviour or within half a second after they’ve done it.

For example, teaching “look at me” would involve the words, followed by the gesture, doing something exciting to get their attention if you need to. As soon as their eyes meet yours, reward with praise and treat and repeat. Over time you will be able to lengthen the time they hold the desired behaviour for.

Remember to also keep training sessions short. Training sessions that are too long may mean your pup loses interest or gets frustrated. If you notice yawing, barking or excessive licking, it might be time to take a break. Always end on a high, after a success.

Tip 3: Currency is King

Keep your rewards exciting. Investigate your dog’s favourite currency. Do they prefer beef, pork or chicken? If their reactions are becoming a little lacklustre, try switching flavours or introducing an entirely new one – kangaroo perhaps!

Using low-quality treats could mean spikes of energy and crashes, which isn’t conducive to a good training session. Cheap treats may also be highly fattening, and an obese pooch is a sad pooch. So stick to natural, nutritious treats like Chewy Chews and you’ll have a healthy happy pup.

We hope these tips help you feel confident to crack on with some positive training with your pup. Use these principles and you’ll be on your way to a well behaved and well-adjusted dog in no time.


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