Dog training in the form of basic obedience is the foundation of problem solving for your dog. In order for your dog to have a safe, happy, and productive life, your dog must first learn to sit, stay, and come when called. Proper obedience training will help your dog learn to refrain from bad habits such as incessant barking, biting, chewing, fighting, and never eliminating in your home.
The two most common misconceptions about dog training are the dominance issue and the dog’s age. It is not necessary for you to be the ‘alpha dog’ in order to teach basic cooperation and respect. Even though such so- called expert, as Cesar Millan uses the “alpha dog technique”, I highly advise not to use this method, because it will lead to long term problems down the road.
Always use positive reinforcement, through kindness and support rather than through fear (negative reinforcement). Another common dog training misconception is the old adage, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks.” That is simply not true. Dogs of any age can and will learn when taught in the appropriate manner.
How do I find a good dog training program? A good place to start is with a professional dog trainer or a well established dog obedience school. You and your dog can become educated on the basics together with the trainer, but do most of your practicing at home with your pet.
After your dog learns the basic commands, come, stay and heal are learned, the training can move to places such as the park, the car and other populated areas in your community. Don’t forget, you must be sure your dog will obey your commands everywhere, not just at home.
Always keep the lessons short and positive. Try to incorporate the dog training in all you and your dog’s daily activities. For example: if your dog follows you into the kitchen to watch you make breakfast, ask him to sit while you cook. While your dog is sitting, give praise “what a good dog” and when you are finished eating breakfast give your dog a healthy treat. Training should become your dog’s favorite activity. The key is praise, using an encouraging and soft tone of voice. When reprimanding your dog for doing something bad, use a stern and powerful tone.
Don’t forget to give praise for behaving throughout the day or your dog will only concentrate on the negative aspects of training. Dog training can be both simple and fun if done correctly and consistently. The three steps are catching the dog in a questionable act, reprimand positively and redirect his energy into an acceptable activity.
Don’t nag your dog and never hit your dog. Above all, give your dog praise all the time, when your dog is lying on the floor, greeting you at the door and riding in the car. If you follow these simple instructions you and your dog will have a happy life together.
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