To teach a puppy to walk to heel when on the lead, walk close to a wall or bank, with the puppy on your left, close against it. Every time the puppy gets ahead, give the lead a gentle tug back and say “Heel”. If the puppy persists, use a twig to gently tap the nose or the chest when the dog is in front. Using the twig like a windscreen wiper in front of the walking puppy will deter further pulling. Once the dog is walking steadily to heel on the lead, the exercise can be repeated off the lead to teach the dog to walk to heel without it. Never take a dog near traffic without a lead, however well trained.

A gently administered nudge with the knee against the chest will knock a jumping dog off balance. This, coupled with “Down”, will teach a dog not to jump up. “Wait” is a useful command to stop a dog pushing through a door or gateway — a maddening and potentially dangerous habit — and also to stop a greedy dog falling upon the food bowl before it hits the ground, spilling the contents. To teach this, hold the dog back with your hand while saying “wait”, and then gradually remove your hand.

If the Border is to be shown, do not teach “Sit”, because the dog must stand in the ring. To teach a dog to sit on command, press the rear-end down and push back against the chest with the other hand while saying “Sit”. Barking without a good reason should he curbed right from the start. A well-rinsed out washing liquid bottle filled with water will act as a water-pistol. A squirt into the face of a barking dog, with the command “No”, soon gets results.

Train the puppy to be left alone, without yelling, from an early age. A dog cannot always be in close attendance and must be able to be left quietly alone. A bone or a hoof to chew will serve as a comforter. The puppy can be left in a cage to start with, then progressing to being left with the cage door propped open. and finally being left with a bed to go in and out of at will. Accustom the youngster to being tied up near you when you are working in the house or garden. In an emergency a dog may have to be tied up somewhere out of harm’s way. If the dog may have to go to boarding kennels from time to time, it is a good idea to start this when the dog is young and lot too set in routine. A few days is enough of a start.

(an extract from “Border Terriers Today” by kind permission of Anne Roslin-Williams)