Dog Training

It is always disappointing to see a beautiful dog left unruly and untrained. An unmanageable pet becomes a nuisance to both his owner and any visitors or fellow walkers in the vicinity. One of the most fundamental responsibilities of the master is to see that his canine companion receives the proper attention and training, so that he can be an enjoyable addition at home and outdoors.

House Breaking

Most people prefer to have their pets indoors. This requires a good amount of training and patience from the owner as they work through the process of "potty training" their indoor pet. Dogs are intelligent creatures, and are usually eager to work with their masters. If rules are held consistently and communication is effective, it should not take longer than a few weeks for a dog to learn what he is and is not allowed to do inside. Many advisors believe that you can house break a dog at any age, despite the saying that "you can't teach an old dog new tricks."

When Training Your Dog Here Are Some Guidelines That Might Be Helpful

  • Do not leave your dog unattended in an indoor room. This sets them up for failure, when there is no accountability present. If you remain with your pet, it will be easier to note if they start to stand in a posture that seems they are going to relieve themselves and you will be able to intervene before they do. Dogs are much less likely to urinate indoors if they feel they are being watched or if the attention is on them.
  • Consistently feed your dog on schedule. Arranging an eating schedule at convenient times will not only help the pet anticipate meal times, but will also regulate their metabolism. For example, if you feed your dog when you wake up in the morning, and again when you get home from work, you will be available to take him outside an hour or so after he has eaten. When your dog's eating times are solidified on a regular schedule, the consistency will reduce the chance of accidents happening.
  • Always reward your dog for good behavior. As in any training scenario, both humans and dogs perform well with incentives. Whenever your dog relieves himself in the right place, produce a treat accompanied with expressive verbal praise within a few seconds of the action so that the dog will associate it correctly. This will teach your pet that you are happy every time he goes potty outside, and he gets a treat too!
  • Do not verbally or physically punish your dog for mistakes after they have been made. When your dog does make a mess inside, it is important to remember he may not connect your frustration and "bad dog" shouting with the accident. Some believe that rubbing a dog's nose in the excrement while saying "No!" or "Bad dog!" will communicate sufficiently that the dog has done something wrong. Others believe this is unproductive and inhumane, so they attempt a "positive reinforcement" approach, which does not involve any disciplinary action.
  • Many city-dwelling dog owners also choose to combat the challenges of indoor potty training, by allocating to their dog a specific area to urinate on. Most pet shops and online stores now carry these "indoor potty patches" made out of turf. These are meant to function as washable "litter boxes" for dogs in a consistent reserved area where he may relieve himself inside an apartment or home without any unpleasant mess.

Obedience

Training a dog in its worst cases can be a tedious and a seemingly ineffective process for those who are unfamiliar with dog training, which is why the method of instruction is so important to consider. Inexperienced dog owners would be well advised to put their dog through professional training sessions or classes to ingrain them with fundamental good habits. Many trainers offer coaching in the dog's home and work with both puppies and adult dogs to understand basic commands, boundaries, and obedience to their master. Trainers can help dogs implement more complex commands as the pet grows more responsive. The trainer will also teach the owner how to maintain mastery over his pet, including how and when to "reward" good behavior or "punish" bad behavior so that the proper relationship between the human and the animal is established.

A well-trained dog is an essential aspect of dog owning, as an untrained animal is unpleasant to be around and difficult to manage. A pet with reliable behavior and obedient manners is an asset to his owner and a welcome addition on any outing.

Basic Commands

  • "Sit."
  • "Lie down."
  • "Come."
  • "Stay."

Other Commands

  • "Shake" teaches the dog to lift his paw for a human to shake.
  • "Heel" meaning the dog is to walk closely beside the owner.
  • "Drop" teaches the dog to let go of whatever he is holding in his mouth.
  • "Speak" teaches the dog to bark or make a certain howling noise on command.
  • "Stop" informs the dog to cease whatever action he is taking, whether playing tug-o'-war, or chasing something.
  • "Roll over" teaches your dog to recline on his back.
  • "Fetch" or "Go get it" will instruct a dog to retrieve something for the master. (Some trainers use the word "Release" for the same purpose).
  • "Attack" is a less common command, but is used for guard dogs to attack something or someone when instructed to do so.

Boundaries

Another important consideration for an indoor dog is to help him learn limitations and boundaries within the home. Since many pet owners prefer their puppy to stay outside of their bedrooms or off all couches and furniture, they create boundaries to help the pet understand where he is welcome to roam. By establishing "no-go" zones, your dog will soon learn to thrive only where his presence is invited.

As with all areas of training, consistency is paramount. If an area is off limits, it must remain so. Inconsistency and fluctuating rules confuse dogs, making an environment where it is easy for them to slip up and make mistakes.

Setting Boundaries

  • Employ physical barriers to the area where your dog is not allowed. Setting consistent boundaries and off-limits zones can be accomplished by blocking off the area with a wall or gate. Another variety of this tactic is to use a harmless correctional "check" for your dog. For example, as carrying a spray bottle of warm water. Whenever the dog transgresses an area, a quick splash of water on the nose/eyes will remind the pet that he is not permitted in that zone.
  • Verbally train your dog with use spoken commands such as "no" or "off" to communicate where the dog is not allowed. Like similar aspects of obedience training, giving verbal commands of "stay" "no" or "off" and be quick to reward when your pup is obedient.
  • Use "zap" collars or high-frequency sound emitters to establish limitations with your pet. This kind of training measure is particularly effective for large outside areas or joined yard boundaries. For such a purpose, the "shock" or "zap" collars give brief electric zap to the dog, reminding him not to continue further. The shock is not painful, but is just meant to function as a corrective association to train your dog where the spatial boundaries are. Though most noises emitters are inaudible to humans, they let off a high-frequency sound which is unpleasant for the dog to listen to. This useful tool has been proved helpful for correcting barking dogs as well, and can also be applied for indoor living areas as well as outdoor.

Chewing

Dogs have a tendency to chew or suck on different articles of cloth, wood, rubber or plastic, for a variety of reasons. Many believe that puppies that have anxiety, or were weaned too early, or who have had a nutrient-weak diet may chew for longer periods of time than dogs that have a balanced diet and were weaned at an appropriate age. Chewing is a perfectly normal experience for dogs, since it soothes teething pain, and helps dogs exercise their jaws and clean their teeth.

Puppies experience a teething period of several months, which requires a certain amount of chewing and gnawing to relieve the agitation they feel during this process. However, once the season of teething has passed, many dog breeds continue to having varying intervals of chewing in their adult years. Gnawing and chewing help your pet to ward off boredom and maintain oral health, and should not be discouraged but properly directed.

The best way to keep your dog from chewing on household items, or things like shoes and children's toys, is to provide a dog-suited alternative. From leather ropes, to rawhide bones, pig ears, rubber balls among other edible goodies, there are numerous options at your disposal. For dogs who need extra convincing, pet-owners can purchase tasty flavors to spray on the toy in order to attract attention. For hunting and tracking breeds, there are chew toys that taste like smoked meat, pheasant meat, or water fowl.

Chewing Tips

  • Create a "yes" environment by puppy-proofing your house. If you have particularly nice furniture in one room, or have toy-ridden children's play area where there might be many plastic or rubber items your dog would be drawn to; make those rooms off limits to your puppy. Instead encourage your dog to stay in the "safe" areas where he will be free to roam, romp and chew puppy-designated toys to his heart's content.
  • Use positive distractions by giving your puppy ample toys, bones, and scrumptiously flavored chews to "feast" upon instead. It will be much easier for your pooch to forget about that dry wooden couch leg, when he has a juicy bacon-flavored bone to gnaw on.
  • Train your dog on what he is able to chew, and what is off limits. If your dog lunges for your leather shoes the moment you kick them off, simply say "no" and remove the shoe from his mouth. Immediately provide him an alternative chew toy or bone, while petting and encouraging him. This will help train your dog on what is acceptable to chew, as well as offer positive reinforcement.
  • If your puppy simply will not leave something alone, there are also chew-deterrent sprays you can purchase. By consistently spraying the object of temptation with the harmless liquid of unpalatable flavor, your dog will voluntarily avoid it altogether.
  • An initial solution is to take your dog for a vigorous walk. He may simply be bored, or have an excess of energy to burn, both of which an hour of exercise would remedy.

Barking

All dogs, large and small, bark for a variety of reasons. Canine companions bark when they are excited; they bark socially when they meet other dogs, or when they are chasing or playing. Sometimes dogs bark in response to a command they have been given, or when the dog wants to alert the owner that something is wrong or unfamiliar, or that there is a stranger approaching. Many dog owners like to teach their pets to "speak" on cue, and others prefer to eliminate the "woofing" altogether. While there is nothing more unpleasant than the incessant yapping of your next door neighbor's pesky Chihuahua at all hours of the day, barking it s a natural warning system and happy expression of healthy dogs.

By monitoring your pet and employing some basic training measures, a dog may learn good habits about barking, so that the sound is neither relentless nor without purpose. Proper barking behavior etiquette for a dog comes with consistent responses and positive reinforcement. According the Humane Society of the United States, there are many useful and simple tactics which will help train your dog about barking.

Helpful Barking Tips

  • Make note of the time and circumstances when your dog barks. Is there a consistent trigger? For example, does he bark every time someone walks on the street by your house, or every time your phone rings? Does he usually bark at a certain time of day? Being aware of the patterns associated with your dog's barking tendencies will inform you about what is going on in his experience. Perhaps your dog barks 30 minutes before you feed him, meaning he may just be hungry or need your attention; or perhaps your dog only barks when approached by small dogs. Note these points, and think about how you could better manage things to help avoid the triggers.
  • Help strengthen your dog's self-control by making him more acquainted to the stimulus. For example, if the pup is inclined to bark at small dogs, try enlisting the help of a friend who owns a little dog. Bring the animal into semi-close proximity, and when your pet would be inclined to bark, feed him a delicious treat instead. Repeat this process on a regular basis so that the dog becomes desensitized to the trigger while gaining positive associations about it. Using this kind of exchange will cause your dog's propensity to bark to be lessened.
  • If and when your dog seems to be barking for no apparent reason, do not respond by yelling at your dog. The additional loud noise will only confuse him, and make the situation more frustrating.
  • Focus on teaching your dog better behaviors. When he barks, disengage by turning your back on him or leaving him alone. Ignoring the dog while he is barking may require patience and time, but will certainly let him know that his noisy method of communication is ineffective. When the barking has ceased, congratulate him and feed him a treat. This will help translate to your pet that the absence of barking results in a reward.
  • Another option is to employ the reverse control tactic, by teaching the dog the "speak" command. When the dog barks a few times, feed him a treat. Once the dog is well-practiced in this prompt, then teach him the "Quiet" or "Enough" command.
  • A final method of training is to ask your dog to do something incompatible with barking, once he begins. This could include immediately playing catch with him, and throwing a ball that he has to carry in his mouth. Another approach would be to take a treat to his bed and command him to lie down before offering the reward. This action if repeated consistently, will distract your pup with the treat (incentive), and will incline him to go wait on his bed in hopes of a reward in future incidents.

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