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Desensitizing shy or nervous dogs
The following is intended to be of assistance to those whose dogs, whilst not displaying overt aggression, are obviously uncomfortable with strangers; will not go forward to meet and greet and tend to take refuge either behind their owner or in a place where they feel most secure. This article is not intended to address the problem of dogs which display actual aggression towards humans. Any such aggressive tendencies, irrespective of probable cause, require consultation with an experienced trainer or a qualified behaviour consultant on a one-to-one basis in order that assessment and recommendations can be based on observation of the dog and its interactions with the people around it.
If the description of shyness/nervousness/timidity fits your dog it is very important that you do not attempt to force him to overcome his fears. Dogs have three instinctive reactions to situations in which they feel insecure or challenged: freeze, flight, or fight. Most dogs will opt to either freeze, and thus hope to go unnoticed or appear too insignificant to bother with, or to run away from a stressful situation. If freeze is not working, and they cannot run, they then have no choice but fight. A shy/nervous dog, forced to accept the attentions of a stranger, may growl, snap, or bite out of fear.
There are several reasons why a dog may exhibit shyness - lack of early and ongoing socialisation, lack of confidence due to an unpleasant experience, or genetic predisposition. The method of helping your dog which is suggested here should work for a dog of any age. This program has no set time frame for which you should aim. The rate of progress and improvement will depend on the individual dog and the degree of the problem. However, the older the dog the more ingrained the habit of distrust will be and, therefore, positive results may take longer to achieve.
First of all, take your dog to a quiet place and simply sit and watch the world go by. Find somewhere that has some pedestrian traffic but that is not as busy and frantic as a shopping centre. A quiet park that does not have children and dogs rushing about, or outside a public building such as a library, museum, government offices, etc. would be good choices. Station yourself so that people passing by will not impinge upon your dog’s comfort zone. If you see that he is at all apprehensive then increase the distance. He should be able to see people but not be worried that they might come too close.
Do not comfort him or reprimand him if he shows fear at any time. Instead you should talk to him in a perfectly normal voice - tell him a story, read aloud to him, sing a song, recite poetry or the multiplication tables - anything to let him know that you are not in the slightest bothered by strangers and that therefore there is no reason for him to be worried. It is very important at this stage not to allow anyone to approach too closely. If necessary explain that he is a dog in training. Do not be tempted to rush this stage of the program. You should carry it out over at least a week, and in as many locations as possible. Only when you are absolutely sure that your dog is quite relaxed and confident in this situation should you gradually move nearer to the pedestrian traffic
One you reach the point when people can pass fairly close by, and your dog does not display a negative reaction, give him a treat each time that he calmly accepts their presence. Do not give treats or praise if he shows any sign of nervousness as this, as well as a comforting voice, will only reinforce his notion that being scared of strangers is a correct response. Always be aware of your dog’s comfort zone and be prepared to increase the distance if he becomes stressed. Again, allow a week or two, possibly more, for him to become secure in the knowledge that passers-by are no threat.
The next step is to ask people with whom he is not acquainted to walk past him without speaking or looking at him and to drop a treat as they pass. Repeat this routine as often as possible. After a while your dog should begin to connect strangers with a gratifying, rather than a disturbing, experience.
If he accepts this strategy calmly then you can ask people he does not know to hold a treat in their hand and see if the dog will approach while they are talking to you. Again, it is important that they do not speak to your dog, make eye contact with him, or attempt to touch him. Neither should you encourage him forward. Let him make up his own mind whether or not to approach. If he does come up and take the treat then do not make a big thing of it. Ignore him and continue talking to the ‘stranger’. Give the person another treat and repeat the exercise several times. Find as many willing participants as you can. Every time your dog approaches a stranger and finds it a rewarding experience the more his confidence will grow.
This program can also be adapted to dealing with visitors in your home. Ask the visitor to ignore the dog totally - no talking to him, looking at him, or trying to touch him. The latter is especially important if the dog has retreated to a ‘safe’ place. You, also, should ignore the dog. Your visitor can be given a tasty treat to place on the floor a little distance from where he/she is sitting. If the dog comes forward to take the treat ignore him and repeat this procedure several times. Once this step is successful then you can progress to having your visitor holding a treat to see if the dog will approach. Again, no encouraging, looking, touching. Allow your dog to proceed at his own pace, do not praise him if he takes the treat, do not reproach him if he doesn’t. Any type of pushing or persuasion will damage his fragile confidence.
Do not expect a miraculous quick fix. You require a lot of time and a great deal of patience as you will need to repeat each individual step many times before progressing to the next. It may take weeks or months before any improvement is obvious, and even then your dog may never completely overcome his wariness of unknown people. But, remember that your dog does not have to like everybody. If he wants to be everyone’s best friend that is excellent, if he doesn’t, well, that is fine too. After this program he should be a great deal less shy but you should allow him to make his own decisions about whether or not to approach people. If he still has some reservations, don’t force the issue. Just explain to people that he does not care to be fussed over and to please ignore him unless he initiates contact with them. The aim of desensitization is not to turn your dog into the life and soul of the party but to assist him to relax in the presence of strangers and to associate them with good things rather than regarding them as a source of worry and apprehension. Most importantly, by helping him overcome his shyness, his world should be a much happier and less stressful place.
| Date: 2010-05-02
How to Stop Your Dog from Barking Too Much
Tips on Solving Excessive Barking Behaviour
Sep 25, 2009 Roberta Goli
The barking dog causes frustration for owners. Discover tips on how to use food, change in routine and veterinary care to prevent problem barking.
A dog’s bark can reach 90 decibels, which is equivalent to the noise of a lawnmower. Excessive or prolonged barking can result in gradual hearing loss, but mostly it is incredibly annoying. Smaller dogs tend to have a ‘yappier’ bark, which is just as annoying if not more so, than that bark of a larger dog. Dogs bark for a number of reasons. These can include: Stress Excitement Boredom Loneliness Separation anxiety Pain or discomfort
Wild ancestors of dogs howl to communicate rather than bark and when dogs were domesticated, their way of communicating with their pack, human and canine alike, was to bark. Most dogs simply bark as a warning for the owners, for example, as a visitor approaches the property or knocks at the front door. Barking becomes a problem when: A dog barks when left outside or alone for extended periods of time. A dog barks whenever people pass the property on the street. They may not need to enter the property at all for the barking to occur. A dog begins to bark as soon as owners leave the house A dog barks continuously to get owner’s attention When owners or neighbors are losing sleep due to overnight barking.
Understanding the reason why a dog is barking excessively is the first step to solving the problem. Using Food to Prevent Excessive Barking
Most people feed their dogs once or twice a day, which is fine in most cases. But for a dog that is barking due to boredom, separation anxiety or loneliness, hiding kibble and dog treats around the house of yard can keep a dog busy for hours.
It gives them a job to do and requires the use of their brain and body to find every dog biscuit. Large raw bones are also a good distraction as they can last for hours and a dog with its mouth full cannot bark.
Using a Change of Routine to Prevent Excessive Barking
Because dogs generally have the same routine day in day out, a change of routine, such as walking or feeding dogs at a different time, can be stimulating and minimize barking. Building a wall to block the view of the street may prevent dogs barking at passers by.
Dogs that bark due to separation anxiety notice things such as owners grabbing keys and putting on shoes. Changing the routine of leaving may help reduce anxiety for these dogs, as will minimizing the fuss made over the dog before leaving the house and upon arrival home. Using Veterinary Care to Prevent Excessive Barking
If owners cannot manage the barking problem or suspect that the behaviour may be due to pain or a medical condition, veterinary care should be sought. If the barking began suddenly for a previously quiet dog, it can be as a result of illness. A veterinary check can rule out physiological problems and when barking excessively is a behavioural problem, veterinarians may prescribe medications along with training. In serious cases they can refer owners to behavioural specialists.
| Date: 2010-05-01
Poodles: Easy To Train
are not only beautiful to behold, but they also have a most endearing type of personality, which is what makes them much sought after today. As for its physical characteristics, it is a breed that has two different varieties of coats, which are the corded and curly coats, though the corded coated Poodle is pretty rarely found in the United States. Poodles also have three main sizes that are Standard, Miniature as well as Toy and thus will suit different lifestyles as well. Also, Poodles come in a variety of colors though black and also white are their most common colors.
Another facet to the personality of a Poodle is its ability to pick up things very fast and a Poodle is also famous for being energetic and sometimes will even be termed as a clownish dog because of its natural ability to perform tricks. Poodles are also intelligent to a remarkable extent and there are even some people that opine that Poodles are in fact able to reason for themselves and they can also attune them to whichever environment they encounter. What’s more, a Poodle is also a very versatile creature and though originally bred to retrieve game, it is now famous for being a family pet dog.
Poodles love the company of humans and they are particularly good even in the company of children. And because they also instinctively have both the characteristics of a hunting dog as too very well developed retrieving instincts, they are well suited to acting as watchdogs, particularly in the case of the Standard Poodle. Nevertheless, even the Miniature as well as Toy versions are effective watchdogs and will readily warn you about the presence of strangers.
However, because they are small in size, they do not make good guard dogs, though their personality is one of boldness as well as confidence and they will also not easily back down from other animals or even from strangers. When it concerns letting the Poodle loose in the company of children, it is better to err on the side of safety and thus ensure that he is supervised because often children won’t know how to handle this small bundle of joy and thus may ill-treat him which would make the Poodle lose his trust in children and thus he won’t relish the company of small children and may soon become unpredictable around them.
You can expect to be pleasantly surprised to learn that despite their small size Poodles are really quite strong physically and thus should be kept leashed to prevent any accidents from taking place. However, because of their remarkable intelligence they can read what their owners want from them and thus will act accordingly. Having been originally bred as hunting dogs, Poodles are good swimmers and are also very fond of water and thus love their baths and won’t mind being given a bath regularly.
Another feature about the breed is that a Poodle has hair that grows much like human hair grows and it continues growing, unlike other dogs whose hair stops growing when they have reached a certain length. Also, Poodles love to be taken for rides in a car and will jump at any opportunity to be on the road. He is also very easily trained and is a friendly soul that has a sweet disposition as well.
Lisa Collins has always showered oodles of love for all kinds of small dogs and with years of experience in raising them, has developed strong affinity for many dog breeds. A Poodle loves to hog your attention and can also perform many cute tricks that ensure that they get plenty loads of affection. If you have a desire to know all that there is to know about the personality of Poodles, you need to read this article for it has some relevant Poodle information that will help you understand what makes the Poodle tick.
| Date: 2010-05-01
Dogs Will Be Dogs
(Dogs behave as they are wont to do, and therein lies the rub.)
by Norma Bennett Woolf
This article first appeared in the March/April 2004 issue.
There is Nothing Like a Puppy
About six million puppies are born each year, and the vast majority find their way into a home. Each puppy is a new beginning for a family or an individual owner—a joy to behold and love and teach.
A puppy is a genetic package loaded with behavior traits that took thousands of years to refine. Like a human baby, he learns his limits and his powers as he grows; unlike a human baby, he explores his environment and learns his lessons at a more primitive level—with tooth and paw—that he cannot outgrow. A puppy can become a well-mannered dog, but he can never learn to say "please” and "thank you,” clean up his room or build a tower of blocks. A puppy is limited by his canine heritage, but his limitations can be channeled through training and accommodated by owners who understand why he does what he does.
Dogs are social animals. They need the company of other beings in order to develop to their full potential. Man brought dogs into his family circle, and dogs have come to need the company of man to survive.
Dog behavior is governed by hunting style, digestive system and reproductive needs and is geared towards participation in a social group. Some dog fanciers describe this behavior in terms used by biologists to explain wolf interactions—they toss around terms such as ~"pack dynamics”~ and "~dominance hierarchy”~ to explain how dogs see the world.
Some pet owners describe dog behavior in terms of human conduct and emotions. They say that Fluffy acts out of love or concern, that Rascal soiled the rug out of spite, that Ranger barks at the mailman because he hates the mailman, or that Mickey cringes because he is afraid of being smacked.
It doesn’t matter if owners consider their dogs as wolf cousins or furry children as long as the relationship is smooth and the adaptations are made as a matter of course. However, if Fido’s natural tendencies are unacceptable in any way, remedies depend on understanding how and why the behavior exists so that it can be modified.
Dogs are better at adapting than owners are. Within limits, dogs can modify their behavior for good or ill to cope with human idiosyncrasies while still meeting their own need for social acceptance. Doggy adaptations that result in inappropriate expression of natural behavior can block or tear the human-animal bond if owners view those adaptations in human terms. For example, dogs naturally explore with their mouths and chew to satisfy a biological need—but chewing on family body parts and possessions is unacceptable. Acknowledging that a pup is following the genetic behavior blueprint common to all dogs is more conducive to developing a solution than falling into the all-too-human trap of labeling her as spiteful, angry, mean or stupid.
Dogs are Predators
They have the eyes, teeth, digestive systems, feet, ears, and structure of predators. Even though pet dogs no longer hunt their dinner, they are still capable of predatory behavior towards wild critters, other pets, and even babies and small children. Owners who understand that predation is natural for dogs can prevent problems by supervising dogs with other pets and children, at least until they understand the attitudes and behavior of each particular dog in each circumstance.
Dogs are Basically Clean Animals
Dogs are basically clean animals, although they do enjoy a romp or roll in some pretty disgusting dead stuff or a swim in a fetid pond on occasion. Most dogs are relatively easy to house-train because they learn quickly not to soil their living space. Dogs that have trouble with house-training may have already adapted to living in dirt because they have nowhere else to urinate or defecate except their crates or cages.
Dogs Like to be Busy
Although they sleep most of the day, dogs enjoy activity with their families. Long walks, games, tricks and training for competition in Agility, Obedience, Tracking, Herding, Lure Coursing, Go-to-Ground and other events keep a dog’s mind and body in good shape. Dogs that don’t get this stimulation will make up their own games and events such as "ha, ha, you can’t catch me,~” "~I can leap the fence in a single bound,”~ "~the back yard looks much better with all these holes,” or ~"wanna bet I can’t reach the chicken you’re thawing for dinner?”
They dig to find moles, mice and rabbits that tunnel or nest underground. They dig to make a nice cool sleeping spot in summer, to escape from the yard for a neighborhood foray, or to mimic owners who work in the garden. Some owners give dogs their own digging places so the family pooch can indulge his bent for excavation without uprooting the entire yard or garden.
Dogs are Territorial
We like this adaptation when Fido barks to warn us of approaching strangers, but really hate it when he goes overboard with a frenzy of noise. (The neighbors hate it too!) Unfortunately, with people living close together in cities and suburbs, this adaptation is often difficult to correct. No-bark collars (both electronic and herbal) work in many cases, but the instinct is strong and the dogs may need frequent reinforcement of the lesson. (Some breeds of dogs—including Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs, some terriers, and Norwegian Elkhounds, for example—tend to bark more than others, so potential buyers should take this characteristic into consideration when looking for a pet.)
Dogs have a social hierarchy that is easily transferred from the litter or pack to the human family when owners understand the dynamics of canine communication and community interaction.
Dogs communicate with body language and vocalization. A barking dog with hackles up, body erect, ears forward, and tail wagging stiffly at half-mast is telling interlopers to keep their distance. A whining dog with ears pinned back, tail down and slightly wagging, and body cowering sends a different message. Although both are saying "~don’t tread on my space,~” the former dog is doing so with authority and the latter with a plea to be left alone.
Dog owners who learn to read and understand the body postures and vocalizations of their pets can adapt their own actions and training methods accordingly.
Words such as "~dominant”~ and "submissive” can be helpful in reading and understanding dog behavior, but they can be overused—in part because circumstances can dictate whether a particular dog will act in a dominant fashion or react in a submissive mode. This dichotomy in behavior is often seen when a dog bullies or ignores one or more family members and is calm, cool and collected with others.
Dominant behaviors can include food and toy guarding, leg-humping, pawing for attention, blocking doorways, ignoring commands, growling, pushing, staring, biting, and other challenges.
Submissive behaviors can include cringing, leaning, pawing for attention, licking, growling, biting, running away, urinating and other attempts to avoid challenges or to respond defensively to perceived challenges.
Some dogs of either type are aloof with strangers and new situations; they may take time to scope things out before their personality type asserts itself. Socialization—a combination of obedience training for good manners, trick training and game-playing for fun, and opportunities to meet people and experience new situations—is critical with these dogs so they don’t overreact when faced with change or challenges.
Like human children, puppies are still experimenting with various personas and learning their boundaries; those who integrate puppy needs with guidance (chew this toy, not that chair; pee outside, not on the rug) will have a head start towards forging a strong bond.
The best beginning for a puppy of any breed or mix is enrollment in a good puppy kindergarten or Conformation class as soon as he is fully protected by vaccinations. Shy puppies can learn to accept new situations, bold puppies can enjoy the interactions, and owners can brag about puppy accomplishments, commiserate about training problems, and ask questions about basic care and behavior.
© Copyright 2000 by Canis Major Publications. Reprinted with permission.
| Date: 2010-05-01
Simple Rules to Dog Training Basics
You may already be aware that the most effective and simple rule to teaching your pet dog training basics is by using positive reinforcement.
This means you should not hit and yell at your dog when she does not respond in the correct manner. Instead you should only ignore her when she does wrong and praise her when she does right.
She will realize that certain movements give her attention and others do not. She then will cease to doing the things that does not get her attention and continue to do the things that gives her all the attention she desires.
This is one of the main objectives to getting your dog to respond quickly and easily.
Consistency is the other and probably the most important rule. Choose your command words for your puppy to respond to and always utilize those exact words.
For instance, you should use one command word during your teachings and allow her to compute what it is you are saying.
As you know, animals do not speak English, or any other language, however, they do understand the sound that is being said on a consistent basis.
This is why you should never alter the command words.
If "sit” is the command word for your dog to sit, you may cause much confusion if you change that.
For that reason, try not to get angry and yell other terms like "sit down” or something else. Always say "sit” in a cool and calm tone. Then you can give her a reward when she finally sits on her own.
When teaching your dog training basics you must also be consistent with giving her rewards when she responds correctly. Choose a reward that you are sure your dog will respond to and enjoy.
Say "sit” and then wait for her to sit on her own. No matter when she sits on her own, even if it is twenty minutes later, say the word "sit” again and then give her the treat.
Try not to force her butt down to show her sit. Even though this is effective, it somewhat shows control and discipline instead of training.
The way to discipline in dog training basics is when she does not respond correctly, you do not give her a treat or any other type of attention. Ignoring your dog is discipline enough.
Remember your pet always wants your attention good or bad. Yelling and anger, although negative, is still enough attention for them. They rather have that then nothing at all.
Therefore, if she does not sit, then take your eyes off of her and turn your head. Sooner or later she will sit down anyway and after she does, you can present her with the treat. This will demonstrate to her that the sound "sit” means for her to do as she just did.
Just keep in mind you should reward her immediately after she sits. You should even repeat the word after she does it.
This is why I believe teaching your dog to sit is the easiest of any training method as it is something that they do naturally.
Once you master this the other methods should come easy.
| Date: 2010-05-01
How To Train Your Puppy To Stop Jumping
Many new puppy owners find it cute when their puppy plays and jumps on them, but as the puppy grows, jumping up becomes less cute and more annoying. The best way to stop an undesirable behavior in your dog is not to encourage it in the first place. However, if your puppy is already jumping up, some techniques might help you correct his behavior. Positive reinforcement and consistency are imperative when retraining unwanted behavior.
Train the "Sit" command to assist you in teaching your dog to stop jumping. Correcting his jumping habit will be more effective when you replace that activity with the desirable one. Once your dog understands what to do when you command him to sit, you can begin retraining his jumping.
Start at the front door. This is a likely spot where your puppy will jump as you return home from work or an outing. Jumping is often his way of greeting you, so the entrance to your home is an optimal place to begin.
Enter your home normally, but if your puppy jumps up to greet you, immediately turn and walk away, saying nothing. Your puppy may be confused by your behavior and may run around in front of you and try jumping again. If so, repeat the procedure, saying nothing and walking in the other direction.
Approach your puppy as soon as he stops attempting to jump and instruct him to sit. When he complies, praise him and give him a treat. Repeat this exercise frequently to reinforce the desired behavior.
Encourage your puppy not to jump on visitors by using the same technique and adding a long leash. Hook the leash to your puppy's collar as soon as you know a visitor is approaching. When your puppy runs to greet the visitor, step on the leash, bringing him to a stop.
Instruct your puppy to sit, and reward him with a treat and praise when he complies. Enlist the assistance of your visitor by requesting that he or she give your puppy a treat when he sits on command.
Repeat these exercises as often as possible. Consistency is the key to retraining any unwanted behavior. Keep a few treats handy in a container by the door.
| Date: 2010-04-30
About Professional Puppy Training
Professional puppy training is a great tool that can help pet owner's better train their beloved pets. A well-trained puppy is a well-trained dog, and this is important for the happiness of both the dog and the human. There are many types of puppy training to choose from, allowing everyone to choose what works best for him and his puppy.
Professional puppy training is quite popular and involves a professional in training your dog to do the things you would like it to do. Professional trainers can be identified by a certification. Many trainers don't have any official certification but have the experience and references to support their techniques.
There are different types of professional puppy training options. One of the more popular ones involves the dog and its owner going to see a professional once a week. This type of puppy training involves the trainer guiding both the dog and the owner and can be quite effective for most. Another type of professional puppy training involves the trainer coming to the dog owner's home. This allows for the dog and the owner to take direction in their own home or space. This can be effective if there are behaviors around the home that need to be changed. Many people opt to send their puppy to a professional puppy training school. This usually involves the puppy going to the school for some time on its own. During its stay, the puppy will undergo intense training and will be returned to its owner with new knowledge and abilities.
How long the training takes will depend not only on the puppy but also on the training program. In many cases, the puppy and its owner will need to visit the trainer once a week for several weeks until all tasks have been mastered. Puppies that are sent to a school to be trained will often stay from 1 to 3 weeks. How quickly the puppy responds is often what dictates the time frame involved in working with a professional puppy trainer.
The purpose of using a professional puppy training service of any type is to have a better behaved pet. Many times, the professional puppy training can help owners learn how to control their active or large breed. Others use a professional puppy training service to help prepare their puppy for a life in competition.
Using a professional puppy training service is beneficial because the owner can learn the most efficient and effective way to train her puppy to behave appropriately. Instead of trying and failing, the trainer can set up both the puppy and the owner to succeed for the long term, not just the short term.
| Date: 2010-04-30
What Is Dog Clicker Training?
Dog clicker training uses the same techniques used with training dolphins and sea mammals. The dolphins learn that the sound of a whistle means a food or toy reward. In the same way, a dog associates the sound of a click with a reward. Small, plastic clickers are used instead of words because the click sound is consistent.
The first dog trainer to popularize clicker training in dogs was former dolphin trainer Karen Pryor, in her book "Don't Shoot the Dog! The New Art of Teaching and Training" (1999).
Initially, treats used are small, cubed low calorie food treats, although commercial training treats are now made. As the dog progresses in training, favourite toys can be used as rewards.
Getting the dog to understand that click equals a treat is called "priming." This is simply clicking and then immediately giving a dog a treat until the dog looks expectantly for a treat at the sound of a click.
When the dog learns to associate the sound of the click with a treat, the trainer introduces a simple trick that the dog already knows. The trainer says the command and, when the dog performs, he clicks and gives the dog a treat.
Breaking a trick or behavior down into steps and clicking and rewarding the dog for doing each step is called "shaping."
| Date: 2010-04-30
How To Begin Puppy Training
The best time to begin training your puppy is at the very beginning. It is easier to learn the right way to do things the first time than to have to unlearn bad habits first. The best time to begin training your puppy is at the very beginning. It is easier to learn the right way to do things the first time than to have to unlearn bad habits first. The first thing you will need to do after buying your puppy is to take it home. The safest way to carry your puppy is by using either a harness that attaches to the seatbelt or to use a dog carrier. A puppy who is unused to those devices might feel uncomfortable at first, and cry, or express a desire to sit on your lap. This is a dangerous practice and should not be encouraged. Use the doggy seatbelt or car seat in the beginning and your pup will soon get used to it. When you reach home, the all-important puppy house training should begin.
Fortunately, in most breeds there is an inborn instinct to eliminate away from where they live. Even the youngest of pups will often take some steps away from its mother before doing its business. Dogs are creatures of habit so as soon as you get home, begin taking the puppy to a spot where you want it to eliminate. Give it some time to walk around and explore its new environment. When it does its business, praise it for doing the right thing. Eliminating outside can be frightening at first, because that is when a dog is at his most vulnerable. To a puppy who is used to being inside, the great outdoors can be overwhelming at first, so don’t be surprised if it runs for cover. Gently take your puppy back to the right place, and reassure it that you are there for it. Take it back to the same place frequently, and give it time to sniff around.
When it smells the odor of its last elimination, it will feel inspired to repeat its earlier performance. Again, supply plenty of praise. Do not punish you pup for making mistakes. That will only make it afraid of you. Pushing the dog’s face into its feces is a dangerous practice. It can make it impossible for the animal to breath or cause an infection. When it has an accident, clean up the urine, or pick up the feces and take it outside, showing the dog where to put it. (After your demonstration, of course, you will want to throw the waste away). The use of dog repellants is not recommended because they can cause nausea and vomiting. When walking your dog you will want to use a leash to keep it safe.
This puppy training should begin with a six feet long leash attached to a collar or harness. The use of a choke collar is discouraged, because it causes discomfort. You should be able to get two fingers between your puppy’s neck and the collar. The width of the leash depends upon the size of the dog. A small breed such as a shih-tzu or Chihuahua can probably use the narrowest leash your neighborhood pet supply store has to offer. A German shepherd or a Great Dane would obviously need a much thicker one. First attach the leash to the puppy’s collar (choke collars are not necessary) and have the puppy stand to your left. Say "Sit,” and gently push down the puppy’s rear end until it is sitting. Reward the puppy with praise or a treat when it is sitting. The next command to teach is "down”, and it is taught in the same way. Say the command and pull the puppy’s front paws until it is in a "Sphinx” position.
Reward with a treat or praise. This is puppy training is especially good for large breeds, since it can be used when smaller dogs are around to reassure them that your large dog will not harm them. To teach the pup to walk with a leash, say "Come on.” Then gently pull the dog along, on your left side. Reward the puppy with praise or a treat when he does walks along beside you without pulling. This kind of leash walking can be used where there is a good amount of room around. When you are walking your dog in a crowded place, such as an outdoor fair, you will want your pet to know "heel.” Say the command and gently pull the puppy next to your heel. Reward the dog when it obeys.
The last command on our agenda is "stay,” which is useful when you have guests over who are afraid of dogs, or if you want to open the door to bring in the groceries and don’t want your dog to run off. Give the command and then walk off a few feet. If the dog tries to follow you, put the puppy back to the same place, give the command again, and walk off a few feet. Start by staying away only a few seconds, return, and give the dog a reward. Gradually increase the time as the dog learns. Remember, puppy training should be a good experience for both of you, because you will be this puppy’s caregiver for the rest of its life and it will be your companion and friend. When you are both comfortable with the basics, you might want to teach your new friend some tricks. That puppy training will be the subject of future articles. Have fun. Lea Mullins tells us about how to begin puppy training.
| Date: 2010-04-28