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Training a puppy? Try house lines!

If you’re a new puppy owner, it’s important to teach your puppy the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviours in and around the house, and the earlier you start, the better! We Love Pets Reading West’s director, Amy Pearson, suggests using house lines to train your pup, here’s how they can help:

What are house lines?

A house line is a really great tool for managing your puppy around the home. It is usually a lightweight nylon line about 3-5m long that simply attaches to your pups collar or harness and trails behind them around the house. It’s important to note that the line should not have any loops on the end, to avoid the line getting caught and potentially trapping your dog, which may cause fear or stress.

What are they used for?

House lines are used to give you control over your puppy at home, in a safe, gentle, and non-confrontational way. For many puppies and dogs, “grabbing” at them or their collars to stop them from doing something inappropriate is quite a threatening approach, and is likely to worsen their behaviour. Pups are clever, and they learn to avoid this by turning it into a game of chase – and not the fun kind for you! The use of a house line allows you to prevent these reactions and stop the dog from being rewarded for unwanted behaviours, such as: jumping up at visitors, chewing inappropriate items (including furniture and family members!), barking at the window, hogging the sofa and many others.

How should I use a house line?

When your pup misbehaves, or is about to misbehave, simply step on or pick up the end of the line and call your dog towards you (in a happy voice) and ask them to do something easy that you can reward them for, like ‘sit’ or ‘down’ commands, for example. Now you can reward them for their good behaviour instead of scolding them for doing the wrong thing! If your dog is too hyper and will not respond to you, simply use the line to gently remove them from the situation. When they have had a chance to calm down you can ask your dog to do another easy task for you. Reward them with a treat, and let go of the line again. Using the house line will help your dog learn boundaries, and they’ll start to realise that there is no reward in repeating the undesired behaviours. Your dog will soon learn that some things are off limits and will stop trying reach them.

Where can I get a house line?

Your local pet store or super market should stock house lines, or short nylon leads that can be used as house lines once the looped handle is cut off. They’re also easy to find online – we recommend these from Amazon. Reinforcing positive behaviours with treats is a great way to train your pup and increase your bonding! If you’re looking for a special treat to use, check out these grain free treats from We Love Nutrition.

You can set your dog up for success by simulating a variety of situations where it has the potential to behave well, and rewarding him/her for responding correctly. The more you practise, the more likely your pup will be to repeat good behaviours and ditch the bad habits – happy training!