IW puppies should be confident in all situations and are easy to train in basic behaviors like house training. Walking on a lead without pulling should be practiced while the pup is young and (relatively) small. Some owners use training aids such as head collars or harnesses when the puppy ages. If you use a training aid, ensure you know how to use it for success in training so that you don’t hurt your dog.
Positive reinforcement training is the most effective way to train Wolfhounds. They do not respond well to harsh corrections, often simply “shutting down.” Despite their size, they are very sensitive dogs.
Some IW owners train their dogs for official obedience, rally, and agility events. It is said that you need a good sense of humor to do advanced training with an Irish Wolfhound! Irish Wolfhounds are not thought of as traditional obedience dogs. They don’t sit instantly on command (but think how long it takes for the signal to go from their ears all the way to their back ends). They get bored with repetition and start making up variants on the training commands, usually when you’ve taken them into an obedience ring. But with patience and lots of positive reinforcement, anything is possible — even with a Wolfhound.
When you bring a puppy home, there are many things he/she needs to learn to be a good member of your household. Things that come to mind immediately are, of course, potty training and walking nicely on leash. There are many other behaviours that you should also consider, as they will be helpful throughout your dog’s life.
- Nail Trims
- Checking teeth and mouth
- General handling of your dog by you and by strangers
Additional Useful Behaviours
- Recall training — teaching the dog to come on command
- Sit — teaching the dog to sit on command
- Walking or heeling — teaching the dog to walk on or off the lead
- Stay — teaching the dog not to stray on command
- Sociability training — teaching the dog not to be aggressive to humans, other dogs, or animals
Training is a game we play with our dogs. Keep it fun, and you and your dog will enjoy the lifelong benefits of working together as a team.
Training begins the minute you pick up your puppy and continues throughout life. Make sure that what you are teaching is actually what you want your pet to have learned when they are no longer a puppy. Praise good behaviour. If your dog is laying quietly on the dog bed, compliment his/her proper conduct. Small things go a long way.
Training is teaching your dog to learn, and helping it understand the world as a whole and what life with humans is all about. It is not about commands; it is about a relationship and a bond that will enrich both your life and your pet’s.
This link will take you to a fantastic online training school, which outlines these and many more skills that you can learn with your dog: