Pets Pup­pies are best pupils

Won­der­dogs trainer of­fers up her tips for rais­ing top dogs

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Dr War­ren and her Won­der­dogs will be at Syd­ney’s Dog Lovers Show at Moore Park on Satur­day, Au­gust 6, and Sun­day, Au­gust 7. For more de­tails visit doglover­

YOU can teach an old dog new tricks, but vet and TV pre­sen­ter Dr Ka­t­rina War­ren says it’s a lot eas­ier if you start lessons early. “Don’t wait,” she says. “If it’s a puppy, get to it as soon as you bring it home.

“Positive re­in­force­ment with treats or toys when they’re young can make a world of dif­fer­ence when they’re older and it will help avoid a lot of em­bar­rass­ment when you go out with your dog.”

Dr War­ren and her team of six cho­co­late brown bor­der col­lies, known as the Won­der­dogs, have been trav­el­ling the coun­try show­ing off their fancy tricks and en­cour­ag­ing pet own­ers to give train­ing a go.

“We have the dogs hug­ging, which is a crowd favourite, riding skate­boards and gen­er­ally hav­ing fun; peo­ple are usu­ally most sur­prised about how well-be­haved they are,” she says.

Dr War­ren says all dogs can pick up skills although work­ing dogs are far more re­cep­tive to com­mands and train­ing.

“If you have a dog like an afghan, they won’t pay at­ten­tion to you – it’s in their na­ture. Peo­ple call this stub­born, but it’s how they’ve been bred,” she says.

“So many other dogs see train­ing as bond­ing time, so it’s re­ward­ing for them.”

Dr War­ren’s tips for train­ing your dog are sim­ple.

First, she says, avoid dis­trac­tions in those first few weeks, start in the house or a quiet back­yard and move to a dog park when you are ready.

You should also only teach one skill at a time as your pet might get con­fused.

“You can’t have your dog learning to sit and ride a skate­board in the same day, you need to work to­wards that,” she says.

Ka­t­rina War­ren cud­dles her Won­der­dogs. Pic­ture: Peter Kelly

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