Tag Archive | "training"

You and Your Puppy

You and Your Puppy

Getting a new puppy is a fun and interesting time. You probably went to a breeder or pet store or maybe just saw an ad on the Internet or the newspaper, for puppies, and decided just to check it out. Before you knew it those little eyes and fluffy puppy fur had your heart melting and you were headed home with him or her in your arms. If you are like most new pet owners you had visions of playing fetch with your dog, of watching him frolic at the lake, and of cuddling up on cold nights.

However, you probably failed to realize that the behaviors you dream of in a dog do not come naturally. In fact, the more natural behaviors for most puppies include lovely little things like chewing up your favorite shoes, barking every second of the day, and peeing wherever they are when the mood strikes them. These behaviors might seem cute at first, or even manageable but, if left unchecked they can lead to a very bad adult dog.

The problem with puppies that are not trained is that they grow into untrained dogs. An untrained dog can be a nuisance. All of that cute little yipping can quickly become loud barking that keeps you and your neighbors up for nights on end. The little teeth marks in your shoes can turn into destroyed furniture and a destroyed home before you know it. Likewise, those cute little puppy poops are not so cute when the dog is 75 pounds and has the excrement to match.

Untrained dogs can also be very dangerous. All dogs can bite. It is in their nature to defend with everything they have, including their teeth. You have to teach your dog not to use their teeth so that no one winds up hurt, at least not when they are playing with them. While we all expect our dog to protect us in a worst-case scenario situation, you should train your dog to be non-confrontational. Dogs that pose a danger to the community are at risk of being put down.

In addition dogs that are problematic for any of the reasons listed above often wind up homeless. People grow tired of dogs that never grow up, and then they take those dogs to the shelter. We all know how sad life can be for a shelter dog and the end that many of those dogs meet. If you really love your new puppy and intent to have a long and happy life with it, train her. By training your dog you teach her how to live in your world and increase the likelihood that your life together will be long and happy for the both of you.

Dogs have been domesticated around the world for more the 15,000 years. Because of this long term of human companionship the puppy that you adopt today needs you. Dogs are not truly able to live by themselves in the wild. They are not adapted to living outside and foraging for food. Indeed the dog you adopt today needs you and years to please you. That desire to please their master is the reason that dogs are so easily trainable.

The dogs that we have as pets have what is called social intelligence. This enables them to read your visual and verbal cues and adapt their behavior to it. While each dog will train at a different pace and through different ways, nearly all domestic dogs are trainable.

Just like humans, dogs go through a series of cognitive development. Puppies, like babies, learn to interact with the world around them at around eight weeks of age. They will also mimic behaviors early in life, so if you have one well behaved dog your puppy can learn from it.

If this is your only canine do not worry, they will also learn by watching you. Just like parenting, dog training is something that often happens while you are paying attention to other things. So, those first few months that you have a puppy are an incredibly important time to really focus on training your dog. It can be a lot of work but in the end both you and your dog will be happier.




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Training Your Dog to Walk On a Leash

Walking Your Puppy

Teaching a dog to walk on a leash is not always an easy task. It is in the dog’s nature to want to wander off and sniff everything that comes in his path. However, this behavior is not conducive to a pleasant and athletic walk. You, his master, have to strike the balance between allowing him to explore his world and walking in a controlled way.

The first thing you will need to do is purchase an appropriate leash for your dog. Make sure that it is the right weight according to how much your dog weighs right now. Even if he will eventually be 75 pounds, he will not be able to handle a heavy leash while he is still small. The next thing to choose is a collar for walking. Some people use harnesses are leaders that attach around his head and snout. Both of these products can help you better control your dog in a humane and safe way. Choker collars are not recommended for any breed of dog, as there is significant danger of hurting the animal. If your dog is small a simple collar and your leash might be plenty. However, you will want to use the same type of device, like a harness or leader, which you will use when he is bigger.

One of the important steps to ensuring that your walk is pleasant is to try to get your dog to do his ‘number two’ business before you leave your home. If he learns that the walk is the time to go to the potty then you will almost always be stuck carrying around a bag of his waste on your walks. He should learn to potty in a specified spot in your yard. Of course, to be on the safe side you should always carry a bag with you for picking up any potential dog droppings.

The part of the training process is time consuming and requires a great deal of patience. Do not expect your first walk to be a long one, distance wise at least. Think of it as a training session that requires lots of stopping and starting to get it right.

  • Choose a side that you want your dog to walk on. He should always walk on the side that you choose, either right or left, Keep in mind that this behavior will stay with him so make sure that you are comfortable with the position of the leash and your arms.
  • Take a few steps with your dog, when he begins to pull stop and make him sit. Reward him with praise for sitting and then start again.
  • Each time he begins to pull on the leash, repeat the stop and sit pattern. This might mean you only manage to take a few steps before you have to stop and begin again.
  • Allow your dog to veer off the path, as long as he does not pull and smell things. He or she will also occasionally mark with their urine, this is normal behavior, allow them to do it as long as it does not become constant.
  • When your dog stays with you, at your side and keeping pace reward him with praise and a treat. Remember he wants to please you; he just has to be taught how to do that.
  • When you come upon other people or dogs your puppy may experience anxiety, which will cause him to pull or bark. Reassure him with affection that he is ok and that you are there with him. If he gets too excited have him sit and wait for people to pass.
  • Children are always especially interested in puppies and it is in your best interest to teach your dog how to interact with them. But, you have to be in control of the situation. If you are comfortable with it you may allow others to pet your dog, but make him sit and behave while they do it.
  • You should walk your dog at least twice a day, if not more while he is young. This will help him get used to walking and allow him to burn energy.

As your dog gets older you may consider allowing him to walk off leash. Do this with great care, especially when cars are around. Even the most well trained dog is still an animal and as such, is unpredictable. You would not want anything bad to happen to your dog because he was off leash in an unsafe area.

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Barking and Your Puppy

Dogs like to bark, it makes them feel powerful and in control of their surroundings. However, barking can be a nuisance that you need to control in order to keep a happy dog and household. By training your dog to ‘speak’ on command he will be less likely to do it without being instructed to do so. Barking is your dogs’ warning system, so when he barks when he wants in or to warn you, praise him for one bark. This should teach him that barking once gets your affection but barking excessively only gets him ignored.

Dogs should not be left outside unattended. While a lot of people see nothing wrong with leaving a dog in a fenced yard while they are at work or away from the house, it is not the best choice for your dog. Your domesticated dog needs you, when you are not around he will feel anxious which will cause him to bark excessively. He might even exhibit other behaviors like digging or finding ways to escape your yard. A dog that is comfortable and loved is not left outside unattended.

One of the easy ways to manage your dogs barking is to understand why he does it. Many people experience the problem of their dog barking whenever someone walks by the front window of their home. Dogs do this because they are territorial, when they bark at people walking by their intention is to scare them away. Any person who is just walking by your house will continue their walk because; obviously they are not scared of a dog that is inside the house. Your dog does not understand this concept. He thinks that because the person continued to walk, that he must have scared them away. This enforces his idea that the barking works, so he will continue to do it.

The best way to manage this behavior is to teach your puppy that his barking, in fact, does not work. You will need to enlist the help of some friends who are not familiar with your dog to teach him not to bark. Have those people walk by your house when the dog is looking. When he starts barking they should stop and continue standing in front of your house. The dog will quickly realize that his barking did not work, but also that someone on the sidewalk is not a threat.

Training a dog not to bark can be tricky, since dogs are also a good warning system should someone come into our home uninvited. There is a fine line between teaching your dog to behave and still allowing him to be protective of you and your home. When the puppy exhibits behaviors that are meant to protect you and your family, or his pack, reward him with praise. He should learn the difference between this and unwanted behavior fairly quickly.

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