It’s important that our dogs obey basic requests such as ‘come’, ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, for this ensures their own safety and makes it easy to navigate public spaces with them. However, training a dog by using cruel and abusive methods is both counterproductive and illegal. While some professional trainers beat dogs, others may cause fear and pain by using choke collars (that can cause blindness or even death). As a rule, never allow a trainer to take your pet out of sight, as this makes them vulnerable to ill-treatment. Training your pet yourself, using reward-based methods is ideal. And when they are going through a naughty phase, or when they’re teething or being toilet-trained, a patient and compassionate approach is important. Nivedita Kumar, canine behaviour consultant and founder of Confident Dogs believes that most actions performed by dogs are normal behaviour. She believes punishment is never the answer, and that the only way to train your four-legged friend is through reward-based methods. “Reward-based methods are effective in the long run. It means any method that uses food, toys, play or petting to motivate a dog to perform a desirable action,” she says. “The best way to teach a dog a desirable action is to start associating positive after-effects for that action. For example, if we would like her to sit and wait for food rather than jump and push, we have to make her realise that every time she sits, the food is handed to her.” Nivedita concludes that the biggest advantage of reward-based training is that it’s a great way to bond with your dog – the results are reliable, and you are assured that the relationship between you and your pet is built on trust and love.