Introduction to Training
Training your Murray is an important part of building a great relationship with your dog as well as ensuring that it fits into your family and community.
Understand your breed
As the Murray has until recently mainly been used for the purpose of hunting, many of those instincts are most likely to still be naturally a part of the puppy or dog that you may have brought home, expecting it to fit into the norms of close living society.
It is no accident that Murray’s have been selected for protection and hunting in the years past, it is because they are strongly loyal and want to be of service to their pack leader. It’s easy to get caught up in the cute curls and endearing looks that they give you, but if a Murray is left without a leader, they will take on that role themselves – unfortunately humans usually see this as bad behaviour.
Murrays are an active and intelligent breed that take well to training and socialisation. Providing variety in the training and socialisation process keeps them from becoming bored and makes things a bit more interesting for the owner as well. As a breed that likes to please, the Murray trains quickly but requires constant and consistent reinforcement to hone the skills – repetition, repetition, repetition!!!
Now as you look around the internet you will find a myriad of different training options that all look great, but what should you look out for?
We recommend that you look for a training method that trains you as much as the dog so that you understand your role as the leader of the pack and therefore you can communicate with the dog in a way that it understands its place and function in your household.
Training methods vary and therefore have different outcomes. Training a dog to make good decisions on its own by taking cues from its environment creates a different outcome to dogs who are taught to behave only under instruction. Whilst both of these methods may be delivered in a gentle way and each can be successful, the differences in the training methods will begin to show when you or your dog are in situations where there are increased distractions or stresses. These distractions and stresses may range from being tempted by a low flying bird while offlead at the dog park to being alone at home and having a person and dog walk past the fence. A dog that can make a good decision on its own based on its training and looking for clues in the environment will usually be more resilient, calmer and more predictable when faced with a temptation or stress.
Some great information from online trainers who take the approach of getting you to teach your dog to make good decisions can be gained from:
- The Dog Training Secret – Chet Womac
- The Dog Listener – Jan Fennell and Tony Knight
We have included an introductory video from The Dog Training Secret at the bottom of this page.
If you are a current financial member of the Association, more detailed training information and videos are now available when you login to your account. Go to the Members Only menu once you have logged on.
When to start training
When you bring your puppy home, it is important to be consistent. It is recommended that you discuss a few ground rules with the family, especially the kids, if you have a preference for your puppy to not be on furniture or in rooms with carpet for instance. It will be confusing if one family member allows behaviour that another member reprimands the dog for doing. Consider starting with the highest level of rules for your dog that you think you may want going forward - it is easier to allow the dog on the couch at a later stage, but more difficult to remove them once they think it is their right to be there.
Obedience training should start from the day you get home, after all, your dog will be looking to you for leadership - have you taken a course in Canine? If your new dog is a puppy between 8 and 16 weeks this is the optimum time to start to teach it the skills you want it to have so that when it grows up the things that were once cute, like jumping up on your leg, are now not so cute as 20-30kg comes crashing at you in a burst of excitement.
Think about the way you want your fully grown dog to act. Eg.
You enter your house
Dog jumps up all over you and visitors
Dog sits, stays calm and waits to be patted
Only greet the puppy or dog once it is calm and/or sitting down. This may take up to 5 minutes but will get faster with practice.
Eating your meals
Dog is begging for food under the table
Dog goes to its place e.g mat or crate and patiently waits until the higher pack is fed
Always eat something before feeding your puppy.
Feeding your dog
No manners, eating while still dishing out the food or snapping if the food is taken away.
Waits for permission to eat.
Meal can be removed without incident.
Gesture eating – i.e. pretending to eat from puppy’s bowl to establish your pack dominance.
Have your puppy sit and wait for a command before eating.
You sit down to watch tv
Dog jumps up on couch
Sit in dog bed
Train your puppy to go to its place eg. dog bed, mat or crate
People walk past your house
Barking and running along the fence line
Ignore it or give 1 warning bark to alert you
Socialisation and training so that new events do not create overstimulation.
Learning the Basics
The video below is by Chet Womac of TheDogTrainingSecret.com
He talks about the philosophy and benefits of training a dog so that it can make its own decisions.
We recommend that you watch this video through a few times focussing on the philosophy underlying the training method before trying it out on your dog.
New Puppy Challenge
The Registrar, Ken Jelbart, likes to set a challenge to owners of Murray pups to be undertaken within 72 hours. All you need is the video above, a puppy and some time.
Step 1: Before you start training your pup, watch the above video three times, paying attention to the training methodology.
Step 2: Prepare some yummy treats to be used only as rewards
Challenge: To have the dog automatically go to its mat, sit on command and come on call in 3 days.
No luring allowed - this means no guiding the activity with the food reward. Take note how the reward is provided after the behaviour is done correctly.
No touching the dog to put it into the correct position.
No verbal commands, for the mat or sit activities should be used until the dog has learnt the behaviour
Tips to improve your training time for any age dog:
- You are training yourself first and the dog second. "As you improve, so will your dog" Paul O'Kane, Working Dog trainer
- You need to work at the pace of the dog, take note in the video above of how a training session finishes, but then restarts because the dog shows an indication that it is ready to learn more. This will differ depending on the nature and age of the dog.
- Dog's read your body language, so if you are tense while you are training, then this may be impacting the results with your dog training.
Murrays are a special breed due to their intelligence, versatility and loyalty. They are closely connected to their original hunting dog heritage due to the small population of the breed. It is important to keep this in mind when training and also when assessing problems or difficulties you may be experiencing with your dog or training.
Greg Prince, a renowned and revered Australian Dog Trainer, set down 4 rules for dog training. They are:
- Show the dog what to do, not tell
- Have correct body language
- Make sure instruction is clear
- Whether the dog did it right or wrong, it is never the dog's fault.
If you are a current financial member, more detailed training information and videos are now in the members area.
For non-members, feel free to join us by heading to the Membership page and selecting the best membership option for you.