Enrolling your dog in a training class will help build strong, respectful relationships between your dog and your family. Most trainers use positive reinforcement training methods and offer a fun setting for you and your dog to bond, learn and acclimate to the world that lies beyond your backyard.
The benefits of training are endless. Training provides much-needed mental and physical exercise. It helps to socialize dogs with other dogs, strangers, car rides and new experiences. In addition, training offers effective ways to teach basic commands like "come." It teaches loose-leash walking and name recognition. Lastly, it helps to problem solve issues like house training, chewing, jumping up and barking.
Basic Obedience Training Concepts:
Basic obedience training is all about directing your dog’s choices about what to chew on, what to lie on and where to use the bathroom. The more time you have to spend with your dog to direct his choices, the easier and faster the training process.
It is important that you are consistent, both with the language you use and your reaction to his behaviors. Your reaction, both verbal and physical -- to a wrong choice should be the same each time he offers this behavior. For example, if your puppy puts his paws on people and you want to train him not to, every time he puts his paws on you, use the off command and then direct him to sit instead. Give lots of praise when he sits. In this way, you’ve told him what displeases you (his feet on you) and also told him how he can please you (by sitting). If you allow him to put his feet on you sometimes, but reprimand him at other times, he may never understand what it is you’re trying to communicate.
- Common Training Terms -
Encouragements and Reprimands:
Put your bottom on the floor. This is an encouragement. Be sure to deliver it in a positive tone and offer lots of praise when you are teaching it.
Stay where I put you until I call for you to come. This should never be a reprimand. Usually follows a sit command. For safety reasons, sit, stay, and come are commands that your dog needs to follow instantly, so he shouldn’t associate them with your displeasure.
Come directly to me. This should never be a reprimand. Your dog should never feel hesitant to come to you for fear that you are displeased.
Keep your paws on the floor. It is usually a reprimand. Use this command when you want your dog to get off the furniture, off the bed, or off you.
Lay down. Do not use down when you mean off. This can be either an encouragement or a reprimand depending on the situation and your tone of voice.
- Drop It
Let me have the object you have in your mouth. Usually a reprimand.
- Take It
Take this object into your mouth. Usually follows drop it as an alternative to what he had in his mouth previously. For example, if your dog has a shoe in his mouth, say drop it and then offer him a chew toy, saying "take it" with encouragement.
- Leave It
Leave that alone. This is a reprimand. Follow it with come or take it (with an alternative object) and lots of praise.
- Get Busy or Go Potty
Please do your business quickly. This command is always an encouragement.
- Good Boy/Girl
You did just what I wanted you to do. Good job!
Top Tips for a Harmonious Household:
- Socialize your puppy with other friendly, vaccinated dogs until it can attend puppy class.
- Invest in some really good, interactive dog toys for your puppy to play with and chew. The "Kong" is ideal. This rubber toy can be filled with yummy food treats, which your puppy has to work on to get out.
- Dogs learn by finding out what gets rewarded and what does not! Laughter, attention and eye contact are No. 1 rewards on most dogs' lists. Even negative attention - shouting or spanking - is better than no attention to most dogs. Ignoring is one of the most effective ways to eliminate an unwanted behavior.
- Many people think their dogs feels guilty when it has done something they didn't want it to do. This is because the owner misinterprets the dog's body language as, "knowing he's done wrong." Hanging the head, folding the ears back, tucking the tail under the body and licking the lips are all signs that a dog is showing fear or anxiety - not that it is feeling guilty.
- Prevent fear of thunderstorms and other loud noises by having a party! Food treats, laughter and fun games with your puppy during the noise will help to give it a positive, fun association. "Yippee" a thunderstorm!
- Playing with your dog is vitally important to build your relationship. Play with your puppy often, especially as a reward for good behavior.
Behavior Issues: PDF files
If you're having difficulties with your pet, see the list of topics below for information and advice.
Dog Behavior Tips:
Cat Behavior Tips:
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