If you're thinking of getting a puppy, start searching for a puppy socialisation class. This is a group where puppies and their owners can meet and discuss problems. The trainer will give the owners advice on how to bring up the puppy dog to be obedient and well-behaved. While the puppies play with other puppies, they are learning to respect each other and not start fights.
A good place to look for trainers in your area, is the notice board at any vet or pet shop. Trainers advertise at the places where caring dog-owners go.
It's never to late to train a dog. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks but it may take longer!
Animal behavioursists are folk who specialise in correcting problem behaviour. Some will come to your house and give advice. It's often the owner whose behaviour need modifying! Many of us tend to "spoil" our dogs by treating them as humans.
Dogs can be problematic if they are not trained. Most dogs enjoy the attention we give them in training sessions.
Training is about building up a relationship with your dog!
What is your relationship to your dog? Are you and your dog pals?
NO! You are the leader - and the relationship must be on your terms.
A dog will always try to pull his owner's strings and make the owner dance like a puppet. It should be the other way around! Give your dog love and attention only when it suits you! Call the dog to you frequently and give affection. Ignore the dog when he is behaving badly to get your attention. There is no need to bow down and worship your dog every time he rolls on his back and asks for a tummy rub. Instead, call the dog to you, and say, "Want a tummy rub? Roll over!"
Punishing the dog will not help. He does not understand. Rather try to reward good behaviour. To begin with, carry around small tidbits of food in your pocket and when you see the dog about to sit, say "SIT!" and then give the reward and lots of praise. Eventually the dog will obey for praise only.
The first two months of a dog's life is a crucial learning time. Try to spend as much time as you can with your puppy so that he bonds with you. Take leave from work. It will be worth it in the long run!
Be patient with a puppy's potty-training! The bladder and bowel control will improve with time. So will your dog's understanding of what you want him to do. Puppies need to eliminate immediately on waking up from a nap, and after meals, so take them outside as soon as they sniff the floor.
Keep the training sessions short, and repeat often. Get a puppy used to a lead by letting him run around with the lead trailing behind. Once he is used to this, start gentle short walks with the dog on your left. Tug the lead up if he pulls ahead. YOU must lead - not the dog!
Keep smiling! Make the sessions short and enjoyable.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs chapter 22 verse 6. The same goes for dogs! Start when they are young!
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