TRAINING YOUR DALMATIAN
While breed temperament can often be described in a general sense, every dog also has their own individual personality. Dalmatians are generally described as intelligent, independent and fairly dominant dogs. Intelligence does not equal ease of training, however - smart dogs often have their own agenda and require motivational, positive training from the owner.
Training is not merely teaching your Dalmatian to walk to heel. It is teaching both of you how to trust and protect each other, and for the Dalmatian to accept you as the pack leader so that they always look to your response in any given situation.
Dalmatians have a natural sense of pack hierarchy. This is important to note, since the Dalmatian will tend to dominate if it does not know who the pack leader is. Therefore a Dalmatian needs to know its human family is its pack, and that every member of the family are dominant to him/herself.
With an average working dog intelligence, the Dalmatian will enjoy obedience training and excels at agility classes. But their favourite question is often ‘why?’, so training needs to be always approached with enthusiasm and an open mind. Dalmatians, as with all dogs, respond to positive rewards rather than negative reinforcement.
We recommend investing in a good quality harness and short lead. Extender leads do have a place, but are not the best for training. Choker chains, or similar are best avoided. The best harness for Dalmatians, as they can be quite powerful and difficult to handle is the Gentle Leader Easy Walking Harness™, or similar. The lead attaches to the harness at the sternum of the dog and can be super effective in controlling a wilful Dalmatian. Many of our foster Dalmatians have been re-trained using this harness.
Intensive and extensive early training can result in a Dalmatian that excels not only in basic obedience, but lifelong socialisation skills. Without training, the Dalmatian has a propensity to be timid or high-strung. Training must be done with firmness, fairness, consistency, reward, and patience. There are many options available for dog training, from puppy classes at the local park or vet to professional one-on-one sessions - and more than one may be required as Dalmatians are very head strong and can take up to 4 years to achieve that “aha” moment!
A trained Dalmatian is a joy to own and excel at competitive obedience, agility, and sports, or just to have at your side.