Puppy playing during training on the carpet - Knose

Play-based dog training for beginners

Klarisse Galido - Editor in chief of Knose Pet Insurance

Curated by

Klarisse Galido

As the content curator of Knose, Klarisse is all about blending vet advice, practical pet tips, and stories from the pet-loving community. Her passion for pets brings to life the everyday joys and challenges of pet ownership.

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Play-based training is an effective and enjoyable method to teach dogs new behaviours. Dogs have a natural instinct to play, so they respond better this way. An added benefit is that you both get to enjoy while you bond with your furry best friend. And while puppies are safer trained at home, Australia is filled with great outdoor spaces for dogs to run free.

However, while play-based dog training can enrich training sessions with fun and excitement, it also introduces physical risks that could lead to injuries.

Puppy playing during training on the carpet - Knose
Play-based dog training is not only more successful, but also better for your dog’s mental health.

The benefits of play-based dog training

Modern dog training techniques encourage positive reinforcement with play. A Times article on the science of dog training cited a study that backed this up. They found that dogs that went to positive training schools performed better in tasks. Meanwhile, dogs trained with negative reinforcement not only performed worse, but also displayed significantly more signs of stress.

Here are some advantages of using play in your dog training sessions:

  • Enhanced Learning Experience: Dogs are more likely to engage with and enjoy training sessions that involve play. This not only makes the sessions more enjoyable but also increases the likelihood of successful learning outcomes.
  • Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Incorporating play into training helps reduce stress and anxiety in dogs, creating a more relaxed environment that is conducive to learning.
  • Stronger Bonds: Play fosters stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. This improved relationship can lead to better communication and more effective training sessions.
  • Better social skills: Play-based dog training encourages dogs to be more sociable. Not only does it encourage positive communication with you, but also other humans and dogs. This is especially useful when you go to a dog-friendly cafe or meet someone with another dog.
Black labrador playing on the beach sand - Knose
Great fun comes great risks so we have to remember that our dogs can get hurt anytime.

Common risks associated with play in training

Like other methods, play-based dog training comes with its set of challenges. Physical injuries are the most common, where a simple misstep while playing can lead to sprains or even fractures. 

Overexertion is another risk, especially in young or very active dogs who may not know their own limits. Naturally, dogs can’t tell seasons apart. And during summers, dogs can push themselves too hard during play, leading to exhaustion or heat-related illnesses. 

Additionally, without proper oversight, playful behaviours can develop into problematic habits. Playing with your dog can lead to excessive biting or jumping even outside of training sessions. There’s also the risk of behavioural misunderstandings. 

If the dog training is not correctly structured, both you and your dog can end up seriously hurt. That’s why pet owners should be educated before they start their dog’s training journey. It’s better to learn about the common mistakes to avoid and some dog training myths to debunk.

Ensure your pet’s protection during play-based dog training

Integrating play into your dog training sessions is highly beneficial but comes with inherent risks. Create a protection plan, in case the unexpected happens. That’s why it’s better to have a financial plan in place for veterinary care and emergencies.

As responsible pet owners, reach out to your local vet and dog trainers if you feel that you have questions or concerns. This allows you to get ahead of unforeseeable incidents. That’s why it’s better to have a financial plan in place for veterinary care and emergencies.

Lastly, don’t forget to dog-proof your home in Australia. Just like babies, dogs can be prone to hitting objects. It’s all part of being a dog, so just make sure to cover sharp corners like that of tables and chairs; always put away sharp objects; set up a surveillance camera to if you need to check on your dog from afar; and install a doggie door so your pet always has access to your backyard.

There are lots of things to consider when training your dog, and it’s definitely not all fun and games. But with the right measures, you can give your pet the best care – a mix of fun and discipline with play-based dog training. Good luck and happy training!

Post by Sofia Francheska Insua in collaboration with Knose Pet Insurance

Sofia is a fulltime mom to her rescue senior dog, Baebae, a 16-year old Japanese Spitz. She learned a lot about pet care through her volunteer work with PETA, assisting in medical missions for pets, stray cats, and stray dogs. While her passion leads her to strongly advocate for volunteering as a way to help animals, she also contributes insights and tips for pet owners seeking to provide proper pet care.

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