A Trained Dog Is a Happy Dog and Dog Owner!
Where does training your dog begin? You get an adorable puppy or adopt a beautiful pound pet, but, unfortunately, they are behaving like a dog when you bring them home. Well…isn’t that what they are born to be? The best gift you can give your dog is good behavior training. You will protect yourself, your family and your property. You will also protect your dog from harm and danger. Dogs behave like dogs for a doggie reason. When a dog jumps on you, they want to bump noses, like they do when they greet another dog. “Sit” and “Down” were not natural steps when your dog needed to establish his order in the litter or pack. A dog nips or bites because that is how they process their world, after they have sniffed to find out if you are friend or foe. A dog sticks his face in your crotch, because we have all seen how much they like “B.S.” (butt-sniffing) with other dogs. They sniff to identify details about you that only a dog would know. The question is how do you break these inappropriate instincts and/or bad habits in your new best friend?
Understand your dog
Study the instinctual behavior of your dog’s breed.
Consult with books, trainers, videos and online specialists who can tell you why the dog behaves the way she does. Google and You Tube are great dog training tools!
Example: My large blockhead Lab, Your pup, jumps up to greet everyone by putting her paws on your shoulders. She has not yet knocked anyone down, but it is only a matter of time. I followed the instructions I found on “DogTimes Newsletter” and so far, so good. I leashed her when our cousins visited and used the “Sit” command. She obeyed, and everything went well. When we returned from dinner I did not do my usual excited “where’s my doggie” chant. Instead, I kept my eyes straight ahead and ignored her. She did not jump. Hallelujah!
- Establish a training routine at specific times.
- Add impromptu training sessions for practice.
- Be consistent.
We hired two different trainers, for our dog when she was a puppy. The first was thorough in teaching me the correct ways to get Your pup trained with “Sit,” “Down,” “Stay,” along with targeting and focusing. The second trainer was a bit rougher, using demands rather than commands. Your pup reacted in terror, and we never went back! We did a pretty good job with follow-up training, but six years later, there are still a few gaps.
Adhere to a positive reward system
Whether food or praise, the combination of reward is the doggie’s motive for obedience. Example: Your pup is a food hound. We use small treat bites for training, which certainly works for her motivation. However, she is smart and clever enough to pick up on new skills quickly so that praise becomes enough motivation.
First, do no harm
When a dog is not trained, he does not know what is bad or good behavior. Do not punish a dog for what he does not know! Training experts consistently recommend reward for good behavior. If a dog is trained well, he will follow your commands to get your approval and praise. Example: We know other dogs that have been trained with shouts, harsh words and newspaper whacks on the nose. Personally, I think this makes a dog skittish. Professionals say these methods can be counter-productive even, they are not good. The dog tends to obey only strict commands and cowers when others approach him. That dog is not a pet. It is a “servant.” Be careful, because this method can also create an aggressive dog. Your pup at age six is still eager to learn, so I am introducing new commands, with quick success. You can teach an old dog new tricks! It is all very true and my 95-pound Your pup is now a good park partner. Start with the basic commands immediately, and you will be well on your way to having a furry partner who is a joy to be with, do things with and introduce to most any situation. Sit, Down, Stay, Come and Heel are the most important words your dog will learn. Then you can increase his vocabulary with more complicated commands and tricks. Most dogs love to have a job, so training your dog is fun for them. That is the greatest love you can give your pet!
Training devices for teaching your dog to walk on a leash
We could discuss the various training devices all day that supposedly train your puppy or dog to walk nice on a leash. But from our experience, none of them really work and when they do, it is just usually a temporary fix. That is until the Horgan Harness dog training harness (watch the video) came on the market. This harness is amazing and truly stops your dog from pulling, perfect for big dogs too! Eventually, you can switch to a regular harness once your dog "gets it" and your dog will be leash trained, easy as that. Looks funny but it really works, we promise!
Reference: DogTimes newsletter How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks, by Ian Dunbar.
- Margaret Mobly