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Dog Training is one of the most rewarding experiences a dog owner can have. It can be done at the puppy stage, mid-life or even at the older dog stage. What you are really doing is teaching a common language that you and your dog will understand. Dogs are not born understanding your verbal or physical queues. So, your objective is to get them to associate when you say a specific command or make a certain hand gesture that you want them to do something – sit or stay for example.
Puppy training tends to start you off with a clean slate, with limited learned bad or other behaviors. A new puppy can be trained relatively easily with a well thought out strategy. Once you teach your puppy a trick and reinforce it on an occasional basis, it will be like riding a bike to humans and they will retain this skill for years. In addition, you can use the base level tricks like sit, stay or come to build up from to higher level tricks like jump rope or even teach your dog to get a drink for you from the refrigerator.
So, the short answer is, YES, Dog Training does work. You should setup a well thought through strategy before dog training though, as you don’t want to correct bad mistakes and habits you taught your dog in the past.
Training your dog for a few minutes a day will pay dividends in no time. The key is to be consistent in what you do. If you have 5 minutes a day and you work on the same trick each day, your dog will get the hang of it within a week. Make sure you are using the same verbal queues or hand gestures so you are not confusing your dog with two different commands for the same thing.
If you do not have 5 minutes a day during the week, use the weekends as your dog training time. Spend some time with your dog at the park or the yard and mix in a trick or two. Make it fun for your dog as well. No one likes to be told what to do, but think of your best teacher in school. You actually enjoyed going to class and didn’t even realize you were learning.
With a new puppy, middle aged or older dog, you may find and eager, attentive learner or maybe a one that wants to slack off a bit. Either way, a little time each day, mixed in with some fun time will have you have enough time to get your dog trained.
First things first, if your dog is already jumping on everyone, you need to stop that from happening until you train them properly. This can be done by keeping them on the leash or putting them in a separate space before someone else enters the room. Only let your dog enjoy meeting other people when they have become “safe” to be around.
Now to train your dog not to bark on people. The key to this is not to give any praise (attention or loving) to your dog when they jump up on you or anyone else. You need to make sure everyone you have over is on the same page with you as well.
Now for the training. Getting your dog to sit and stay is a key command to teach your dog so they do not start running and jumping on people when they come over. You and your guest should only give attention to your dog when they are following the rules by sitting and staying. At that point you should lavish major praise on your dog and give them treats as well. Immediately stop giving them attention if they start to jump up though.
This is a simple explanation, but once you get on the training routine, you’re going to get this figured out in no time.
This is a common complaint of dog owners everywhere and it is a safety issue for your dog as well. A key item to train your dog is to always come back when called. So let’s think about this a little. If you were a dog what would you do in the following scenarios?
This human is yelling at you with an angry face and pointing to the ground. Well if it was me, I wouldn’t feel to anxious to go see that person.
How about when I remember the last time I went back to them when they called and they put me directly in a crate, scolded me or gave me no attention at all? Putting my dog cap on in this case, I would no feel compelled to return.
Now, how about I see a happy face and a nice, calm voice calling my name and I remember last time I went to this person I got a great rub down, a good boy/girl and a treat? I think you get the picture. Give your dog a reason to come back to you by building trust that you have their best interest in mind.
Understanding why your dog is pulling on the leash will help you understand how to solve your problem.
Most dogs just love to be outside and want to explore at their pace. Their pace tends to be at a much faster rate than most humans and in many instances they want to check out the bushes and other places off the path we prefer. So, there’s no need to get mad at your dog for following their natural instinct.
Now, what to do? When your dog starts to pull the leash on a walk – Stop. Don’t let your dog continue and don’t let them get to the place they were striving for. No need to be angry or yank the leash, just don’t let them go any further until the leash goes slack from your dog coming back towards you. Once your dog comes back to you, praise and reward them, then continue on your walking.
This is not a one time fix, you must be consistent, calm and patient with your dog. But, if you continue this for several days or a few weeks, your dog and you will have a much more pleasant walking experience.
If your dog goes crazy when you start to leave the house, they may have a case of Separation Anxiety. Here’s a detailed Separation Anxiety Blog Post.
It may caused by their not being used to being left alone or if there was a bad experience in their past. It tends to be a response to needing support, your support, if they feel fear or anxiety.
To deal with this, try to make it no big deal when you leave. You can try to distract your dog with a toy or some other item and while they are distracted sneak out of the house. Over time, your dog will become less and less concerned with your leaving.
Whatever you do, don’t get mad at your dog. They are going through a tough situation and you would only make it worse. The more blog post link above offers a more in-depth understanding of separation anxiety.
The first 30 days with your puppy should start before you get them home. Just like bringing a newborn baby home, you should already have things setup to a certain extent. A bed, water and food, bowls, potty pads, a leash and harness and a baby fence to limit their movement throughout your home.
Now, you should be loaded with patience. You should bring your puppy out on a regular schedule to go potty and plan to feed them twice a day. The key in this first 30-day period is to get them comfortable with your home, you and your family. Just staying together is a great thing to do.
Make sure you get all your licensing, vaccinations and any other needed items from your local vet. Now you are on you r way to a great relationship. Enjoy the ride…