Video: Separation Anxiety in Dogs

One of the most common problems a canine behaviorist handles is separation anxiety. It is easy to become frustrated when your dog has separation anxiety, and that frustration can be sensed by your dog making the situation that much more difficult.

SEPARATION ANXIETY

What is separation anxiety, exactly? Separation anxiety is often thought to be simply as a dog who becomes upset when their guardian leaves the house. This is not always the case, though. A dog can experience separation anxiety, in severe cases, by their guardian just leaving the room.

SYMPTOMS OF SEPARATION ANXIETY

Separation anxiety has a variety of symptoms but most commonly involves:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Excessive vocalization (whining, barking, howling)
  • Chewing items in the house
  • Urinating/defecating in the house
  • Scratching the walls and floor in an attempt to escape
  • Depression-like behavior
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Training Tips: 22 Great Ideas To Help You Train Your Dog in 2020

Training your dog should be fun! But it can also be quite challenging. Especially if your dog is young, bouncy and strong!

I’ve selected some helpful tips for you below.

I’d like to help as many people as I can and so I’ve also set up regular tips by email which will answer many of your questions.

Okay! Now for some tips you can start working on right away.

Sometimes the simplest tip can make the biggest difference to the pleasure you get from training your dog.

Here are some of my favorites, together with a few important rules that will help you have more fun with your Labrador.

#1 Build a dog training habit

Training a dog takes time and needs to be done regularly.

Like any other demand on your time, you are most likely to stick with it, if you make your dog training sessions a daily habit.

Habits are hard to make, but hard to break. So making good habits is always worthwhile.

Motivating yourself

Pick a time to start when your motivation is high!  A New Year, a new month, a birthday.. these are often powerful motivators for us.

Rewarding your dog is good, but you need to reward yourself after each training session too – spend five minutes doing something YOU really enjoy.

#2 Getting started

Link your dog training sessions to something else you do every day. Sessions don’t need to be long, especially in the beginning.

Getting the habit going should be your priority. And experts reckon it takes from 30 to 60 days of daily commitment to get a habit well established.

Five minutes training after the school run each day, or when you get home from work, will work wonders if you do it religiously every day.

Later, when the habit is well established you can skip a day if you need to, or train for longer if you want to. But in the beginning, aim for short sessions every day.

#3 Choose the right rewards

Choosing the right treat for the skill you are training today, is critical.  And your ability to make the right choice will improve with practice.

The most important factors which will influence your choice will be

• Preference
• Distractions
• Hunger

Each of these factors work together and against each other.  If your dog prefers roast chicken to sausage,  you may still find training with sausage is effective, until you increase the distractions around him.

Then you may need to switch to chicken for a while.

Unless of course he is very hungry indeed, in which case sausage may work just fine!

Special or unusual foods often make better training treats.  If your dog gets kibble for every meal, kibble is not going to cut the mustard.

Not unless he hasn’t eaten for 48 hours.

While it makes sense not to try and train a dog that has just ‘stuffed his face’ we don’t want to starve our dogs. So when distractions are increased, we may need to offer better treats for a while.

#4 Learn to use an event marker

An event marker is one of the most useful dog training tools you will ever possess.

This is because it is so easy to reward the dog at the wrong time and reinforce the wrong behavior, and an event marker avoids this problem completely.

Your event marker makes a distinctive sound that lets the dog know exactly what the reward is for. The most common event marker is a clicker, but you can also use a word.

Using an event marker is a skill.  It does not come naturally and you will need to improve your timing and co-ordination.

You can practice by watching a TV programme and ‘marking’ a specific type of behavior,  such as an arm lift or a smile.  Practice on your kids, or your cat!

Just don’t use it around your dog, until you have mastered the skill of clicking when you observe a change in behavior, with a reasonable level of competence.

It won’t take you long, and you will continue to improve after you have started training your dog.

#5 Start easy

It ought to go without saying that easy tasks need to be learned before hard ones.

The reason many people fail with this, is because they don’t realize what is easy for a dog and what is hard.

It’s common for people to think a dog is being naughty if he obeys the word sit in your back yard, but won’t obey the word sit at the dog park. The truth of course is that sit is much harder for your dog where there are distractions.

The right short term goal is one that stretches your dog just a little, but that is attainable within a training session or two.

#6 Pick the right goals for your dog

Modern dog training methods focus on training good behaviors IN rather than training bad behaviors OUT.

Thus we train dogs to SIT to be petted rather than trying to STOP them jumping up.

This makes sense because there are often many different ways for a dog to be bad, and usually just one way for him to be good.

Whatever you are trying to teach make it easy for yourself and figure out what that ONE way is.

Decide what you want the dog TO DO, not which of the many alternatives you don’t want him to do.

#7 Sandwich the hard stuff!

Sandwiches are very important in dog training, though maybe not the sort of sandwiches you had in mind.

Memory is a funny thing.  We tend to remember things best if they happened at the beginning or the end of a particular event or time period.

Sandwiches can help you to keep your Labrador’s confidence high, whilst ‘stretching’ him just a little bit more each time you train.   And no,  we are not talking about edible sandwiches here!

This is about sandwiching the hard tasks between two easy ones.

Each time you challenge your dog,  it is a really good idea to ‘sandwich’  the most challenging or stretching thing you ask him to do,  in between two simpler versions of the same task.

Yesterday your dog sat perfectly still for 10 seconds,  ten yards away from you. Today you want him to sit for 15 seconds at the same distance.  Here is what I would do.
• Sit 1: 6 seconds
• Sit 2: 15 seconds
• Sit 3: 3 seconds

The sandwich ensures that the dog begins and ends with success. It gives him confidence and helps him to remain stoic about the extra time you have added on in the middle.

I use sandwiches a lot in dog training. They are a great way to ‘set the dog up to win’.

#8 Avoid punishing your dog

Several studies have shown that punishment, even mild punishment, interferes with learning.

It causes some dogs to shut down so they cannot learn and appear increasingly stupid.

And it causes some dogs to become ‘hard’ so that increasingly harsh punishments are required to get the same results.

Using punishment also impedes your ability to become more skilled in positive reinforcement training – and thus increases the likelihood that you will resort to punishment in the future.

Most worryingly, punishments of any kind have been shown to increase the risk of a dog becoming aggressive.

A punishment is anything that diminishes behavior – you don’t need to frighten or hurt your dog to be punishing him. It really is an outdated dog training tool and best avoided.

#9 Teach your dog to work for food

There are lots of ways to reward a dog without food, from affection to games and access to activities that are intrinsically attractive to most dogs such as hunting scent.

Food however, is supremely useful, especially in early training.

If you dismiss the use of food you are doing the equivalent of trying to train a dog with one hand tied behind your back.

Some dogs that have not been used to food rewards, ignore them to begin with.

But you can teach any dog the useful skill of working for edible rewards. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity with your dog.

#10 Manage your dog outdoors

Some dogs can become a problem outdoors if they are not properly supervised.

There are dogs that can just be allowed to trot along on a walk, without any intervention from their owner, and that never become a problem.

dog-training-tips-outdoorsBut for many young dogs, a certain amount of management on a walk, can make the difference between a dog that is a pleasure, and a dog that is a nightmare on walks.

Running off, pestering other people and chasing wildlife are common activities in young labradors that are not well supervised outside.

Managing your dog means engaging him in games, and activities at intervals during the walk to keep him focused on you and responsive to you.

#11 Do the recall challenge test!

Recall is so important and recall outdoors can be very challenging.

One thing that can really help you, is teaching your dog how to recall away from really tasty or attractive things, at home where you can control the outcome.

Try this recall challenge test

Place some tasty treats in a bowl.  Little lumps of meat or cheese is fine,  or you can use pieces of your dog’s kibble.

Let the dog see what is in the bowl, but don’t give it to him.

Now place the bowl on a raised work surface where the dog can see but not reach it.

Whilst the bowl has his full attention,  walk to the other side of the room and give a single recall command.

What does your dog do?

Does he rush to you and then back to the bowl again? If so, perfect.

Go with him to the bowl, give his a piece of the food from the bowl and congratulate yourself.

Your dog has already learned to look to you for the good things in life.  This is a great basis for training and teamwork.


Time to teach?

Many dogs however, will simply be unable to tear themselves away from the bowl, and will gaze lovingly at it whilst trying to ‘wish’ the contents into their tummies.

Some will bounce up and down in the hopes of defeating gravity.

These dogs have not yet grasped the idea that they can get you to help them.

It’s time to teach your dog that you are the provider of all good things.
You can ‘capture’ or ‘shape’  this new skill.

Capturing

After giving your single recall command, you can wait the dog out. Stay where you are and wait for him to give up his futile quest for the food.

You can encourage him to you with squeaky noises if you wish, but don’t repeat your recall.

When he eventually comes to you, tell him ‘GOOD’ and immediately go with him to the bowl and give him a piece of the food.

Repeat the process until he is rushing to you each time you call.  Give him a piece of food each time.

Shaping

If you wish, you can ‘shape’ the recall away from the food.  Instead of waiting for the dog to come right to you, you can reward him for just glancing in your direction.

When he is repeatedly looking at you to earn his reward, you can ask him to turn towards you, then eventually to take a step towards you, and so on.

Finish up with asking for a full recall before he gets his reward.

Expanding the concept

Recalling away from a ‘nice thing’ is so important that it is worth spending some time on this useful concept.

You can teach your dog to recall away from people, and even other dogs, all in the comfort of your home.

It is a good idea to do this before taking these exercises outdoors.

You can find many examples of these, and other recall exercises in my book  Total Recall

#12 Train for distractions

Don’t assume your dog will generalize what he learns at home, to the very different situations he encounters in new locations. He won’t.

Retrain all the skills your dog has learned at home, in each new environment he encounters.

Proof his recall, his loose leash walking, and other basis skills, against the presence of other dogs and people.

The time spent on this stage of training is worth its weight in gold.

#13 Use a training lead

We couldn’t make a collection of modern dog training tips without including the all important training lead or line.

When you first train your dog in the presence of distractions you need to prevent him helping himself to rewards – such as playing with other dogs – if he doesn’t obey you.

The training lead is your friend, because it helps you prevent the dog grabbing these ‘rewards’ after being naughty. It puts you where you should be, in charge of all rewards.

The best way to do this, is to have your dog drag a training line until you are confident he has understood your commands apply when there are ‘other dogs around’ or when he is ‘on the beach’ or ‘at the dog park’.

The new biothane training lines are light, tangle resistant, and easy to clean.

Always attach your dogs training lead to a well made harness.

#14 Fake it till you make it

How do you teach your dog not to jump at old ladies, steal ice creams from children, or not to run off every time he sees another dog in the distance?

It is not as if these things happen every single day. So how to you train for them?

The answer is you need to fake it!

Setting up fake training scenarios at home and in public places is a vital part of successful dog training. And it requires two things:

  • A friend
  • A training lead

You will need a friend, or friends to help you set up your fake scenarios. You cannot do this on your own.

If your dog behaves badly when other people are around, you can use a friend to set up the kinds of situations where he goes wrong, in easy stages, so that he can learn how to cope. I will give you an example in a moment.

If your dog behaves badly around other dogs, you will need a friend with a dog, so that you can practice how to behave near other dogs.

Using a training lead is a great way to prevent your dog helping himself to rewards after he has been ‘bad’.

The kinds of rewards that dogs commonly take for themselves are ‘games with other dogs’, ‘running up’ to strangers and ‘jumping’ on them, joining in children’s games uninvited, chasing leaves, and so on.

Anything that your dog enjoys doing can be used by him, as a reward.

An example of a fake it till you make it!

Here is an example of a fake scenario to help a dog that will not walk nicely on a lead past other dogs.

You cannot attempt this until your dog will walk nicely on the lead at home and where there are no other dogs around.

You will need a friend with a dog that will sit and stay calm whilst on a lead.

If your friend is training her dog too, you can take turns to be ‘the distraction dog’.

If you have a large garden you can do this at home, otherwise you will need to go to an open space early in the morning or when the weather is bad, in order to avoid other people distracting your dog.

Seated distraction dog

Ask your friend to sit her dog next to her, and 20 to 30 feet away from you. This is the seated distraction dog.

Now you need to behave as though the other dog is not there. And to practice lead walking up and down, well away from your friend and her dog. Do not approach them. If you are training with treats use some very tasty and special ones here.

Walk in a neat circle or square, walk up and down an imaginary line, stop and start, ask your dog to sit every now and then. Keep him focused and concentrating on you.

When he is successful and only then, you can move 10 feet nearer to your friend and repeat. Gradually work your way nearer until your dog can heel in a square around and close to your friend.

Now move right back to thirty feet away.

Moving distraction dog

This time, have your friend walk her own dog around in a small area 30 feet away, whilst you do the same with your dog. Each dog must focus on his own handler, and not on the other dog.

Gradually, as the dogs succeed, bring them closer together until eventually you can have one dog making a small circle inside the circle made by the larger dog. Have the two dogs moving in opposite directions so they have to walk past facing each other.

Vary the drills and keep practicing. Try walking up and down an imaginary line with you and your dog on one side, and your friend and her dog on the other.

Reduce the space between the dogs until they almost brush past one another without breaking focus on their handlers.

Taking your time

Getting to this point takes time. Depending on the dogs it will take several sessions.

These kinds of exercises can also be practiced in a good training class. Check out the APDT website for training sessions in your area.

Diluting distractions

You can see that the principle here is to ‘dilute’ the power of the distraction to begin with. Often diluting a distraction means moving it further away, or moving your dog further away from it.

Remember, no dog is going to cope with huge distractions without this kind of preparation. You have to fake it, to make it!

#15 Film yourself

It is often impossible to spot flaws in your own performance or to figure out what you are doing wrong, without some kind of feedback or perspective.

The advent of smartphone have transformed this aspect of dog training, because a great way to get this feedback and perspective is to film yourself.

You can easily do this with a smart phone and a gadget for steadying it. I use a GorillaPod, which can act as a miniature tripod or be wrapped around a branch or rail.

#16 Plan for problems

This is about anticipating trouble. Because trouble WILL happen.

Don’t assume you have a field or the beach to yourself just because it is early in the morning.

Do assume another dog will come bowling up at any minute to interrupt you and PLAN what you are going to do when he does.

Don’t go out without your ‘training lead’ or any of the rewards you need to have ready when your dog is successful.

Be prepared for every eventuality!

#17 Drop your standards

“What’s that?” you say. “DROP your standards!” “Have you gone mad?”.

Nope, I haven’t gone mad. Dropping standards, or lowering the demands you make on the dog during training is very important at certain times.

You do it whenever you add or increase a second factor of difficulty. Here’s an example:

You want your dog to sit and stay when you walk ten yards away from him.

Assuming you have already taught your dog to sit and stay AT YOUR SIDE for two minutes (some people unwittingly skip this bit) the next task is adding distance.

Moving away from your dog makes the sit stay harder for him.

So you need to make the duration of the task much easier to begin with – forget two minutes – make it ten seconds. Or less.

Build up duration back up at ten yards. When you increase distance again, drop the duration again.

If you add a third factor of difficulty – other dogs for example – drop the duration AND the distance.

#18 Find a positive trainer

It is entirely possible to train a dog yourself without ever visiting a professional dog trainer or attending a puppy class.

find-the-right-trainerIn fact, if you can’t find the right class or the right trainer you are probably better off figuring things out for yourself. Or taking one of our online training courses.

An old fashioned, punitive trainer can do untold harm to a puppy.

Having said that, help from a good positive reinforcement trainer is invaluable and will make training your dog much easier.

#19 Find the right information

This tip is not quite so important, because you are here, after all! There is a mountain of information on this website to help you.

Of course, we are not the only source of great dog training tips and information around. So it can be useful to know when the information you have found is going to help you and your dog.

There are a few clues that you have landed on the wrong kind of page.

If you are reading about the need to ‘dominate’ your dog or be the ‘pack leader’ you have probably landed on a website with outdated dog training information on it.

‘Correcting’ a dog is simply a euphemism for mild punishment, and ‘respect’ is often a euphemism for fear. Anyone states that you need to show your dog who is the boss, is probably not very knowledgeable, or has not kept up with their professional development as a dog trainer.

This kind of information is becoming less common, but you are bound to come across it from time to time.

#20 Join a support network

There are some excellent support networks online.

The Labrador Site has a forum where many Labrador owners give up their time to help others with dog training and behavior issues.

The Dogsnet Training Center also has a private forum for training course students where you can get help from me and my team.

A listening ear and advice from others who have been where you are now can go a long way.

#21 Practice, practice, and don’t give up

Dogs only learn through the consequences of their actions and typically need to repeat those actions and experience those consequences several (sometimes many) times in order to learn from them.

Sometimes we forget that we need to practice to get good at something.

If you want your dog to be good at recalling from other dogs, he needs to practice recalling away from other dogs.

There’s no way around this.

obedience-among-other-dogsPracticing desirable behaviors using fake set-ups like the one described above, is an essential part of any dog training program.

Fake training scenarios help you to practice recall,  heel and other basic commands in at home and in public, in a way that you can control.

This enables you to ‘proof’ your dog’s commands against the distractions which will inevitably arise in the real world.

Don’t give up because it is sometimes difficult to find people to help you do this. Be persistent. This is what separates well-behaved dogs from naughty ones.

Find ways to practice and pester people to help you.

It’s important. Especially when it comes to recall. Your dog’s life could depend on it.

#22 Enjoy your dog training

My final tip is to take deliberate steps to ensure you are having fun.

If you are not enjoying training your dog you MUST take action!

This is because your dog will know and because you simply won’t stick at it if it isn’t fun.

If you are not enjoying it, try something different

  • Check you are using the right methods
  • Try a different skill
  • Teach a silly trick
  • Watch a youtube training video
  • Just take your dog for a walk and start training again tomorrow
  • Make your lessons easier for the dog
  • Train at a different time of day
  • Join an online course
  • Read a good training book
  • Start over with puppy stuff
  • Join a forum or find a trainer

Just don’t try to battle on alone.

This also applies to classes – don’t keep going if it isn’t fun. Modern dog training is a pleasurable experience. There will be ups and downs, but generally speaking you and your dog should be enjoying yourselves.

If you are not, then get some help – joining the forum would be a good first step.

How about you?

Do you have any dog training tips to share with other readers? Drop your comments into the box below.

About Pippa

Dog Training Tips was brought to you by Pippa Mattinson.


Pippa is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and creator of the Dogsnet Online Training Program.

You can get regular training tips from Pippa by email, using the box below

Source

Dog Training – Obedience Training for Dogs

Many people can’t imagine life without dogs. We admire and adore them for their loyalty, unconditional affection, playful exuberance and zest for life. Nevertheless, dogs and people are very different animals. Although officially “man’s best friend,” dogs have some innocent but irksome tendencies-like jumping up to greet, barking, digging and chewing-that can make it downright difficult to live with them! To make the most of your relationship with your dog, you need to teach her some important skills that will help her live harmoniously in a human household.

Learning how to train your dog will improve your life and hers, enhance the bond between you, and ensure her safety-and it can be a lot of fun. Dogs are usually eager to learn, and the key to success is good communication. Your dog needs to understand how you’d like her to behave and why it’s in her best interest to comply with your wishes.

How Should You Do It?

If you ask around, you’ll get all kinds of advice about training your dog. Some people will tell you that the key is to use a “firm hand”-to make sure your dog doesn’t think she can get away with naughty behavior. Some people argue that you should only use rewards in dog training and avoid punishing your dog in any way. Some people insist that all you have to do is “be the alpha dog,” assert your status as the dominant leader of your “pack.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the glut of differing opinions out there.

Regardless of which method and techniques you use, effective dog training boils down to one thing-controlling the consequences of your dog’s behavior. If you want to influence the way your dog behaves, you need to:

  1. Reward behaviors you like.
  2. Make sure behaviors you don’t like aren’t rewarded.

Understand How Your Dog Learns

One of the most frequent complaints of pet parents is that their dogs “just won’t listen.” But put yourself in your dog’s shoes for a moment. If someone was constantly chattering away in a foreign language that you’d never heard before, how long would you pay attention? Probably not for very long-because you simply wouldn’t be able to understand what the foreign speaker was trying to communicate.

Continued

To communicate clearly and consistently with your dog, you need to understand how she learns. Dogs learn through the immediate consequences of their behavior. The nature of those consequences determines how they’ll behave in the future. Dogs, like other animals (people included), work to get good things and avoid bad things in life. If a behavior results in something rewarding-like food, a good belly rub, playtime with dog buddies or a game of fetch with her pet parent-your dog will do that behavior more often. On the other hand, if a behavior results in an unpleasant consequence-like being ignored or losing things she finds rewarding-she’ll do that behavior less often.

If You Like the Behavior, Reward It

Some training methods use punishment, like leash corrections and scolding, to discourage dogs from doing everything except what you want them to do. Other methods cut right to the chase and focus on teaching dogs what you do want them to do. While both tactics can work, the latter is usually the more effective approach, and it’s also much more enjoyable for you and your dog. For example, you can easily use treats, games and praise to teach your dog to sit when people approach during walks in the neighborhood. If your dog is sitting, she won’t be dragging you toward the people, jumping up when they get close enough, mouthing on their arms and legs, and so on. That’s pretty efficient training-no pain or intimidation needed. Alternatively, you could grab your dog’s leash and jerk her to the ground every time she jumps up to greet people, and you’d most likely get the same effect in the end-no more jumping up. But consider the possible fallout:

  • Your dog might decide that people are scary since she gets hurt whenever she tries to greet them-and she might try to drive them away by growling or barking the next time they approach.
  • Your dog might decide that YOU are scary since you hurt her whenever she tries to greet people.

Continued

If you can teach your dog polite manners without hurting or frightening her, why not do it? Rather than punishing her for all the things you don’t want her to do, concentrate on teaching your dog what you do want her to do. When your dog does something you like, convince her to do it again by rewarding her with something she loves. You’ll get the job done without damaging the relationship between you and your best friend.

If You Don’t Like the Behavior, Take Rewards Away

The most important part of training your dog is teaching her that it pays to do things you like. But your dog also needs to learn that it doesn’t pay to do things you don’t like. Fortunately, discouraging unwanted behavior doesn’t have to involve pain or intimidation. You just need to make sure that behavior you dislike doesn’t get rewarded. Most of the time, dog motivations aren’t mysterious. They simply do what works! Dogs jump up on people, for example, because people pay attention to them as a result. They can learn not to jump up if we ignore them when they jump up instead. It can be as simple as turning away or staring at the sky when your dog jumps up to greet or play with you. As soon as she sits, you can give her the attention she craves. If you stick to this plan, your dog will learn two things at once. Doing something you like (sitting) reliably works to earn what she wants (attention), and doing things you don’t like (jumping up) always results in the loss of what she wants.

Control Consequences Effectively

As you teach your dog what you do and don’t want her to do, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Consequences must be immediate Dogs live in the present. Unlike us, they can’t make connections between events and experiences that are separated in time. For your dog to connect something she does with the consequences of that behavior, the consequences must be immediate. If you want to discourage your dog from doing something, you have to catch her with her paw in the proverbial cookie jar. For example, if your dog gets too rough during play and mouths your arm, try saying “OUCH!” right at the moment you feel her teeth touch your skin. Then abruptly end playtime. The message is immediate and clear: Mouthing on people results in no more fun. Rewards for good behavior must come right after that behavior has happened, too. Say a child in a classroom answers a teacher’s question correctly, gets up from his desk, sharpens his pencil and then punches another kid in the arm on the way back to his seat. Then the teacher says, “Good job, Billy!” and offers him a piece of candy. What did Billy get the candy for? Timing is crucial. So be prepared to reward your dog with treats, praise, petting and play the instant she does something you like.
  • Consequences must be consistent When training your dog, you-and everyone else who interacts with her-should respond the same way to things she does every time she does them. For example, if you sometimes pet your dog when she jumps up to greet you but sometimes yell at her instead, she’s bound to get confused. How can she know when it’s okay to jump up and when it’s not?

Continued

Be a Good Leader

Some people believe that the only way to transform a disobedient dog into a well-behaved one is to dominate her and show her who’s boss. However, the “alpha dog” concept in dog training is based more on myth than on animal science. More importantly, it leads misguided pet parents to use training techniques that aren’t safe, like the “alpha roll.” Dogs who are forcibly rolled onto their backs and held down can become frightened and confused, and they’re sometimes driven to bite in self defense.

Keep in mind that ditching the “alpha dog” concept doesn’t mean you have to let your dog do anything she likes. It’s fine to be the boss and make the rules-but you can do that without unnecessary conflict. Be a benevolent boss, not a bully. Good leadership isn’t about dominance and power struggles. It’s about controlling your dog’s behavior by controlling her access to things she wants. YOU have the opposable thumbs that open cans of dog food, turn doorknobs and throw tennis balls! Use them to your best advantage. If your dog wants to go out, ask her to sit before you open the door. When she wants dinner, ask her to lie down to earn it. Does she want to go for a walk? If she’s jumping up on you with excitement, wait calmly until she sits. Then clip on the leash and take your walk. Your dog will happily work for everything she loves in life. She can learn to do what you want in order to earn what she wants.

Training New Skills

It’s easy to reward good behavior if you focus on teaching your dog to do specific things you like. Dogs can learn an impressive array of obedience skills and entertaining tricks. Deciding what you’d like your dog to learn will depend on your interests and lifestyle. If you want your dog to behave politely, you can focus on skills like sit, down, wait at doors, leave it, come when called and stay. If you want to enhance your enjoyment of outings with your dog, you can train her to walk politely on leash, without pulling. If you have a high-energy dog and would like outlets for her exuberance, you can teach her how to play fetch, play tug-of-war or participate in dog sports, such as agility, rally obedience, freestyle and flyball. If you’d like to impress your friends or just spend some quality time with your dog, you can take her to clicker training or trick-training classes. The possibilities are endless! Please see the following articles to find out more about what you and your dog can learn to do together: Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump Up on People, Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called, Teaching Your Dog Not to Pull on Leash, Teaching Your Dog to Play Tug-of-War, and Teaching Your Dog to Play Fetch.

Continued

Training Tips

After you decide on some new skills you’d like to teach your dog, you’ll be ready to start training. To maximize her learning potential and make sure you both enjoy the training experience, keep the following basic tips in mind:

  • When teaching new skills, keep training sessions short and sweet Like kids, dogs don’t have long attention spans. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but an ideal average training session should last 15 minutes or less. Within that session, you can work on one skill or switch between a few different skills. To keep things interesting, try doing 5 to 15 repetitions of one behavior and then doing 5 to 15 repetitions of another behavior. You can also practice new skills and keep old ones polished by doing single repetitions at convenient times throughout the day. For example, before giving your dog a tasty new chew bone, ask her to sit or lie down to earn it.
  • Quit while you’re ahead End training sessions on a good note, with a skill you know your dog can do well, and be sure to stop before either one of you gets tired, bored or frustrated.
  • For dogs, English is a second language Dogs aren’t born understanding English. They can learn the significance of specific words, like “sit” and “walk” and “treat,” but when humans bury those familiar words in complex sentences, dogs sometimes have difficulty understanding. They can also get confused when people use different words for the same thing. For example, some people will confuse their dogs by saying, “Fluffy, down!” one day and “Sit down, Fluffy!” another day. Then they wonder why Fluffy doesn’t respond the same way every time. When teaching your dog a cue or command, decide on just one word or phrase, and make sure you and your family use it clearly and consistently.
  • Take baby steps Dogs, just like people, learn best when new tasks are broken down into small steps. For example, you can’t go out and line dance unless you learn all of the individual steps first! When teaching your dog a new skill, begin with an easy first step and increase difficulty gradually. If you’re training your dog to stay, start by asking her to stay for just 3 seconds. After some practice, try increasing the duration of her stay to 8 seconds. When your dog has mastered an 8-second stay, make things a little harder by increasing the time to 15 seconds. Over the next week or two, continue to gradually increase the duration of the stay from 15 seconds to 30 seconds to a minute to a few minutes, etc. By training systematically and increasing difficulty slowly, you’ll help your dog learn faster in the long run.
  • Work on only one part of a skill at a time Many of the skills we want our dogs to learn are complex. For instance, if you want to train a solid sit-stay, you’ll need to work on teaching your dog that she should stay in a sitting position until you release her (duration), she should stay while you move away from her (distance), and she should stay while distracting things are going on around her (distraction). You’ll probably both get frustrated if you try to teach her all of these things at the same time. Instead, start with just one part of the skill and, when your dog has mastered that, add another part. For example, you can work on duration first. When your dog can sit-stay for a few minutes in a quiet place with no distractions while you stand right next to her, start training her to stay while you move away from her. While you focus on that new part of the skill, go back to asking your dog to stay for just a few seconds again. When your dog can stay while you move around the room, slowly build up the duration of the stay again. Then you can add the next part-training in a more distracting environment. Again, when you make the skill harder by adding distraction, make the other parts-duration and distance-easier for a little while. If you work on all the parts of a complex skill separately before putting them together, you’ll set your dog up to succeed.
  • If you run into trouble, go back a few steps If you’re training your dog to do something new and you stop making progress, you may have increased the difficulty of the skill too quickly. Similarly, if you’re practicing a behavior your dog hasn’t performed in a while and she seems a little rusty, she may need some help remembering what you want her to do. If you run into training challenges like these, just refresh your dog’s memory by making the skill a little easier for a few repetitions. Go back to a step that you know your dog can successfully perform, and practice that for a while before trying to increase difficulty again.
  • Practice everywhere, with everyone If you learn that two plus two equals four in a classroom, you’ll take that information with you wherever you go. Dogs, however, learn very specifically and don’t automatically apply their knowledge in different situations and places as well as people do. If you teach your dog to sit on cue in your kitchen, you’ll have a beautifully kitchen-trained dog. But she might not understand what you mean when you ask her to sit in other locations. If you want your dog to perform new skills everywhere, you’ll need to practice them in multiple places-your home, your yard, out on walks, at friends’ houses, at the park and anywhere else you take your dog.
  • Use real rewards Be sure to reward your dog with things she truly finds rewarding. Some dogs will happily work for dry kibble when training in your living room but ignore it if you’re training in the park. Because the park’s a more distracting environment, paying attention there is a harder job for your dog. Pay her accordingly by using a reward worth working for, like small pieces of chicken or cheese, or a chance to run off-leash at the dog park with her buddies. Also keep in mind that what your dog considers rewarding at any given time may change. If she’s just eaten a big meal, a scratch behind the ears or a game of tug might be most rewarding. If she hasn’t eaten in a while, she’ll probably work enthusiastically for tasty treats.
  • Be patient Training your dog will take time and effort-but it can be a great deal of fun for you and for her. And your hard work will pay off. With patience and persistence, you and your dog can accomplish great things.

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An Ounce of Prevention

If your toddler was repeatedly sticking her fingers into open electrical outlets, what would you do? Would you sit her down and try to explain why that’s not a good idea? Would you smack her every time she did it? Nope, you’d probably buy some outlet covers. Voilà! Problem solved. Prevention is sometimes the best solution. When training a dog, the easiest way to deal with a behavior problem might be to simply prevent the undesired behavior from happening. If your dog raids the kitchen trash can, you could spend weeks training a perfect down-stay in another room-or you could move the trash can to a place where your dog can’t get to it. Prevention is also important if you’re trying to train your dog to do one thing instead of another. For example, if you want to house train your dog, she’ll learn fastest if you use a crate to prevent her from making mistakes inside while you focus on training her to eliminate outside.

Let Your Dog Be a Dog

Many behavior problems can be prevented by providing “legal,” acceptable ways for your dog to express her natural impulses. There are some things that dogs just need to do. So rather than trying to get your dog to stop doing things like chewing, mouthing and roughhousing altogether, channel these urges in the right direction. Increased physical activity and mental enrichment are excellent complements to training. Please see our articles, Enriching Your Dog’s Life, Exercise for Dogs and How to Stuff a KONG® Toy, to learn more.

Finding Help and More Information

If you’d like to learn how to train your dog or if your dog has a behavior problem you’d like to resolve, don’t hesitate get help from a qualified professional trainer or behaviorist. To learn more about locating the right expert for you and your dog, please see our article, Finding Professional Help. Many Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDTs) and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs or ACAABs) offer telephone consultations, in-home private consultations and training sessions, and group classes.

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There are also a number of excellent books and DVDs to explore. Here are some of our favorites:

  • The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller (and other books by her)
  • Dog Talk: What Your Dog Wants You to Know by Amber Drake
  • Maran Illustrated Dog Training
  • Dog-Friendly Dog Training by Andrea Arden
  • The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
  • How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks by Ian Dunbar, PhD
  • Take a Bow-Wow! video series by Virginia Broitman and Sherri Lippman
  • New Puppy, Now What? DVD by Victoria Schade
  • Clicker Magic DVD by Karen Pryor

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5 Simple Commands You Should Teach Your Puppy

Contents

  1. How To Teach A Dog To Come
  2. How To Teach a Dog Loose Leash Walking
  3. How To Teach a Dog To Sit
  4. How To Teach a Dog To Stay
  5. How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

Getting Started

To start off on the right foot (and paw!) with your pup, he’ll need to know what you expect from him. This will make him feel secure in his ability to meet the goals laid out for him going forward.

The foundation of dog training should be based on positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a dog (or person!) a reward to encourage the behavior you want, like getting a pay check for going to work. The idea is not to bribe the behavior but to train it using something your dog values.  Avoid using punishment such as leash corrections or yelling. Punishment can cause a dog to become confused and unsure about what is being asked of him.  It is important to remember that we can’t expect dogs to know what they don’t know – just like you wouldn’t expect a 2-year-old child to know how to tie his shoes. Patience will go a long way in helping your new puppy learn how to behave.

Reinforcement can be anything your dog likes. Most people use small pieces of a “high value” food for training treats — something special — such as dried liver or even just their kibble. Lavish praise or the chance to play with a favorite toy can also be used as a reward. Dogs must be taught to like praise. If you give the dog a treat while saying “Good dog!” in a happy voice, he will learn that praise is a good thing and can be a reward. Some dogs also enjoy petting. Food is often the most convenient way to reinforce behavior.

Puppies can begin very simple training starting as soon as they come home, usually around 8 weeks old. Always keep training sessions brief — just 5 to 10 minutes —and always end on a positive note. If your puppy is having trouble learning a new behavior, end the session by reviewing something he already knows and give him plenty of praise and a big reward for his success. If your puppy gets bored or frustrated, it will ultimately be counterproductive to learning.

How To Teach A Dog To Come

teach dog to come

teach dog to come

You’ll want to begin training a recall (come when called) in a quiet area and indoors. Sit with your puppy and say his name or the word “come.” Each time you say “come/name,” give your puppy a treat. He doesn’t have to do anything yet! Just repeat the word and give a treat. Easy!

Next, drop a treat on the floor near you. As soon as your puppy finishes the treat on the ground, say his name again. When he looks up, give him another treat. Repeat this a couple of times until you can begin tossing the treat a little further away, and he can turn around to face you when you say his name. Avoid repeating your puppy’s name; saying it too often when he doesn’t respond makes it easier for him to ignore it. Instead, move closer to your puppy and go back to a step where he can be successful at responding to his name the first time.

Once your puppy can turn around to face you, begin adding movement and making the game more fun! Toss a treat on the ground and take a few quick steps away while calling your puppy’s name. They should run after you because chase is fun! When they catch you, give them a lot of praise, treats or play with a tug toy. Coming to you should be fun! Continue building on these games with longer distances and in other locations. When training outside (always in a safe, enclosed area), it may be helpful to keep your puppy on a long leash at first.

When your puppy comes to you, don’t reach out and grab him. This can be confusing or frightening for some dogs. If your puppy is timid, kneel and face them sideways and offer him treats as you reach for the collar. Never call your dog to punish! This will only teach him that you are unpredictable, and it is a good idea to avoid you. Always reward your dog heavily for responding to his or her name, even if they have been up to mischief!

Further Reading

How To Teach a Dog Loose Leash Walking

teach a dog to heel

teach a dog to heel

In competition obedience training, “heel” means the dog is walking on your left side with his head even with your knee while you hold the leash loosely. Puppy training can be a little more relaxed with the goal being that they walk politely on a loose leash without pulling. Some trainers prefer to say “let’s go” or “forward” instead of “heel” when they train this easy way of walking together.

Whatever cue you choose, be consistent and always use the same word. Whether your puppy walks on your left side or your right side is completely up to you. But be consistent about where you want them so they don’t get confused and learn to zig zag in front of you.

First, make sure your puppy is comfortable wearing a leash. This can feel strange at first, and some puppies may bite the leash. Give your puppy treats as you put the leash on each time. Then, stand next to your puppy with the leash in a loose loop and give him several treats in a row for standing or sitting next to your leg. Take one step forward and encourage him to follow by giving another treat as he catches up.

Continue giving treats to your puppy at the level of your knee or hip as you walk forward. When he runs in front of you, simply turn the opposite direction, call him to you, and reward him in place. Then continue. Gradually begin giving treats further apart (from every step to every other step, every third step, and so on).

Eventually your dog will walk happily at your side whenever he’s on his leash. Allow your dog plenty of time to sniff and “smell the roses” on your walks. When they’ve had their sniffing time, give the cue “Let’s Go!” in a happy voice and reward them for coming back into position and walking with you.

How To Teach a Dog To Sit

teach dog to sit

teach dog to sit

There are two different methods for showing your puppy what “sit” means.

The first method is called capturing. Stand in front of your puppy holding some of his dog food or treats. Wait for him to sit – say “yes” and give him a treat. Then step backwards or sideways to encourage him to stand and wait for him to sit. Give another treat as soon as they sit. After a few repetitions, you can begin saying “sit” right as he begins to sit.

The next option is called luring. Get down in front of your puppy, holding a treat as a lure. Put the treat right in front of the pup’s nose, then slowly lift the food above his head. He will probably sit as he lifts his head to nibble at the treat. Allow him to eat the treat when his bottom touches the ground. Repeat one or two times with the food lure, then remove the food and use just your empty hand, but continue to reward the puppy after he sits. Once he understands the hand signal to sit, you can begin saying “sit” right before you give the hand signal.

Never physically put your puppy into the sitting position; this can be confusing or upsetting to some dogs.

Further Reading

How To Teach a Dog To Stay

A puppy who knows the “stay” cue will remain sitting until you ask him to get up by giving another cue, called the “release word.” Staying in place is a duration behavior. The goal is to teach your dog to remain sitting until the release cue is given, then begin adding distance.

First, teach the release word. Choose which word you will use, such as “OK” or “free.” Stand with your puppy in a sit or a stand, toss a treat on the floor, and say your word as he steps forward to get the treat. Repeat this a couple of times until you can say the word first and then toss the treat AFTER he begins to move. This teaches the dog that the release cue means to move your feet.

When your dog knows the release cue and how to sit on cue, put him in a sit, turn and face him, and give him a treat. Pause, and give him another treat for staying in a sit, then release him. Gradually increase the time you wait between treats (it can help to sing the ABC’s in your head and work your way up the alphabet).  If your dog gets up before the release cue, that’s ok! It just means he isn’t ready to sit for that long so you can make it easier by going back to a shorter time.

Once your dog can stay in a sit for several seconds, you can begin adding distance. Place him in a sit and say “stay,” take one step back, then step back to the pup, give a treat, and your release word. Continue building in steps, keeping it easy enough that your dog can stay successful. Practice both facing him and walking away with your back turned (which is more realistic).

Once your dog can stay, you can gradually increase the distance. This is also true for the “sit.” The more solidly he learns it, the longer he can remain sitting. The key is to not expect too much, too soon. Training goals are achieved in increments, so you may need to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. To make sure the training “sticks,” sessions should be short and successful.

Further Reading

How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

down step 2

down step 2teach dog to go down step 1teach dog to go down step 1
“Down” can be taught very similarly to “sit.” You can wait for your dog to lie down (beginning in a boring, small room such as a bathroom can help) and capture the behavior by reinforcing your dog with a treat when he lies down, giving him his release cue to stand back up (and encouragement with a lure if needed) and then waiting for him to lie down again. When he is quickly lying down after standing up, you can begin saying “down” right before he does so.

You can also lure a down from a sit or stand by holding a treat in your hand to the dog’s nose and slowly bringing it to the floor. Give the treat when the dog’s elbows touch the floor to start. After a few practices, begin bringing your empty hand to the floor and giving the treat AFTER he lies down. When he can reliably follow your hand signal, begin saying “down” as you move your hand.

Just like with sitting, never use force to put your dog into a down.

And Remember …

Keep training sessions short and fun. End each session on a positive note. If you feel your dog is having a difficult time learning or being “stubborn,” evaluate the speed of your training and the value of your rewards. Do you need to slow down and make the steps easier, or does your dog need a bigger paycheck for a harder exercise?

The “Basic 5” commands will give your puppy a strong foundation for any future training.

And just think, if you and your puppy continue to work hard—and have fun—at training, someday you may become obedience champs!

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10 Best Training Tips

Ok, he’s finally home. Training needs to begin immediately, considering the new pattern on the rug, not to mention the dog’s breakfast he’s made of your new Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals. But where should you start?

Whether you train your new puppy or dog yourself, take classes, or hire a private trainer, some basic training tips should be tackled right out of the gate. These top 10 tips from professional dog trainers at the top of their game will help get you going.

Aside: When your puppy is old enough, think about getting him or her neutered or spayed, likewise if you adopt a dog. A neutered or spayed dog is more docile, less aggressive, and may be more open to successful training.

Top 10 training tips

  1. Choose your dog’s name wisely and be respectful of it. Of course you’ll want to pick a name for your new puppy or dog that you love, but for the purposes of training it also helps to consider a short name ending with a strong consonant. This allows you to say his name so that he can always hear it clearly. A strong ending (i.e. Jasper, Jack, Ginger) perks up puppy ears—especially when you place a strong emphasize at the end.If he’s an older dog, he’s probably used to his name; however, changing it isn’t out of the question. If he’s from a shelter, they may neglect to tell you that he has a temporary name assigned to him by staff. If he’s from a breeder, he’ll come to you with a long name, which you may want to shorten, or change. And if he’s coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may represent a fresh start. But we’re lucky: dogs are extremely adaptable. And soon enough, if you use it consistently, he will respond to his new name.

    New name or old, as much as possible, associate it with pleasant, fun things, rather than negative. The goal is for him to think of his name the same way he thinks of other great stuff in his life, like “walk,” “cookie,” or “dinner!”

  2. Decide on the “house rules.” Before he comes home, decide what he can and can’t do. Is he allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off limits? Will he have his own chair at your dining table? If the rules are settled on early, you can avoid confusion for both of you.
  3. Set up his private den. He needs “a room of his own.” From the earliest possible moment give your pup or dog his own, private sleeping place that’s not used by anyone else in the family, or another pet. He’ll benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of his den. Reward him if he remains relaxed and quiet. His den, which is often a crate, will also be a valuable tool for housetraining.
  4. Help him relax when he comes home. When your puppy gets home, give him a warm hot water bottle and put a ticking clock near his sleeping area. This imitates the heat and heartbeat of his litter mates and will soothe him in his new environment. This may be even more important for a new dog from a busy, loud shelter who’s had a rough time early on. Whatever you can do to help him get comfortable in his new home will be good for both of you.
  5. Teach him to come when called. Come Jasper! Good boy! Teaching him to come is the command to be mastered first and foremost. And since he’ll be coming to you, your alpha status will be reinforced. Get on his level and tell him to come using his name. When he does, make a big deal using positive reinforcement. Then try it when he’s busy with something interesting. You’ll really see the benefits of perfecting this command early as he gets older.
  6. Reward his good behavior. Reward your puppy or dog’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use treats, toys, love, or heaps of praise. Let him know when’s he’s getting it right. Likewise, never reward bad behaviour; it’ll only confuse him.
  7. Take care of the jump up. Puppies love to jump up in greeting. Don’t reprimand him, just ignore his behavior and wait ’til he settles down before giving positive reinforcement. Never encourage jumping behavior by patting or praising your dog when he’s in a “jumping up” position. Turn your back on him and pay him no attention.
  8. Teach him on “dog time.” Puppies and dogs live in the moment. Two minutes after they’ve done something, it’s forgotten about. When he’s doing something bad, try your chosen training technique right away so he has a chance to make the association between the behavior and the correction. Consistent repetition will reinforce what’s he’s learned.
  9. Discourage him from biting or nipping. Instead of scolding him, a great way to put off your mouthy canine is to pretend that you’re in great pain when he’s biting or nipping you. He’ll be so surprised he’s likely to stop immediately. If this doesn’t work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or pant leg. The swap trick also works when he’s into your favorite shoes. He’ll prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, break up the biting behavior, and then just ignore him.
  10. End training sessions on a positive note. Excellent boy! Good job, Jasper! He’s worked hard to please you throughout the training. Leave him with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, or five minutes of play. This guarantees he’ll show up at his next class with his tail wagging—ready to work!

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This Step-by-Step Guide Can Help You Completely Train Your Dog

Are you ready to start training your dog or puppy? Proper training and socialization are among your dog’s basic needs. It’s important to start training your dog as soon as possible.

At first, dog training can seem pretty overwhelming, especially if this is your first dog. The truth is that training your dog is a very big project. If you take it step by step, you will find the task to be far less daunting. Here is some information to help get you started:

  • Start a Dog Obedience Program: Learn how to set a basic foundation before you begin to train your dog.
  • Train Your Dog Using Games: Training your dog should be fun! Everyone knows it’s easier to learn when you are having a good time, so try implementing some games into your dog training regimen.
  • Six Weeks to a Well-Trained Dog: Using this schedule as a guide, you can teach your dog the basics in about six weeks.
  • Positive Reinforcement: There are many different ways to train a dog, but most dog professionals agree that the positive way is the best for both the dog and trainer.

Watch Now: How to Train Your Dog With Positive Reinforcement

Need help with dog training? Consider getting help from a dog trainer. Try group classes and/or private lessons, and check here for tips on affordable dog training.

Unless you plan to keep your dog outdoors–and few of us do because it’s not recommended–you’ll need to teach your dog where to eliminate. Therefore, house training (also called housebreaking or potty training) is one of the first things you need to work on with your dog. Crate training can be a very helpful part of the training process. This includes house training as well as many other areas of training:

  • Crate Training Dogs and Puppies: Here are the basics of training your dog or puppy to accept and even enjoy the crate. Not only will it help with housebreaking, but it will also give your dog a place of his own.
  • How to House Train your Dog: When it comes down to it, house training is not that complicated, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy. Consistency and diligence are key during the housebreaking process.
  • Submissive/Excitement Urination in Dogs: If your dog is still having accidents in the house, it may be more than a simple housebreaking issue. Your dog might urinate out of excitement or to express submissive behavior.

Every dog needs to learn to walk on a leash. Besides the fact that most areas have leash laws, there will be times when keeping your dog on a leash is for his own safety. Learn how to introduce your dog or puppy to the leash, then teach him how to walk properly on the leash, even beside you on a bike. A loose leash walk teaches your dog not to pull or lunge when on ​the leash, making the experience more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Black lab puppy on a leash, watching his owner Chalabala / Twenty20

Socialization means training your puppy or adult dog to accept new people, animals, and various places by exposing him to these things. Socialized dogs are less likely to develop behavior problems and are generally more welcomed by others. Socialization can also help prevent the development of fears and phobias.

Clicker training, a common form of positive reinforcement, is a simple and effective dog training method. Although it is still fine to train your dog without clicker training, many people find it helpful. With clicker training, you can easily and effectively teach your dog all kinds of basic and advanced commands and tricks. It’s fast and easy to learn how to clicker train your dog

There are some basic dog training commands and dog tricks that every dog should know like come, speak, drop it, stay, back up, etc. Basic commands give your dog structure. In addition, they can help you overcome common dog behavior problems and will help keep your dog safe.

How to Train Your Dog to Stay

What’s more fun than showing off your dog’s cool tricks?! Dog tricks are a great way to take your dog training to the next level and give your dog some mental stimulation.

dog training treats lukajani / E+ / Getty Images

Proofing is the last step in training your dog to do any new behavior. Learn how to proof behaviors so your dog will be as obedient at the park or a friend’s house is he is in your own living room.

Remember, just because you have reached the final stages of training, it doesn’t mean that behavior problems won’t crop up. Learn about the most common dog behavior problems and how to deal with them. These guides will help you navigate this part of the training process:

  • Proofing Behaviors: Practice behaviors in a variety of situations with different levels of distraction. Without proofing, your dog may behave well in your living room, but seem to forget all his training when he is outside the house.
  • Teach Your Dog Self-Control: This method teaches your dog that nothing in life is free, but that he needs to earn things like food and attention through obedience.
  • Common Dog Behavior Problems: Understanding potential behavior issues can help you detect and address them before things get out of control.
  • Dog Behavior Management Versus Dog Training: While dog behavior management and dog training are two different things, they are not mutually exclusive. Behavior management is an important part of any dog training program.

Once your dog has mastered all the basics, you can consider moving on to more advanced tricks. These activities will help keep your dog active, fit and mentally stimulated. Plus, they will help strengthen the bond you share with your canine companion.

Remember that training is an ongoing process. You will never be completely finished. It is important to keep working on obedience training throughout the life of your dog. People who learn a language at a young age but stop speaking that language may forget much of it as they grow older. The same goes for your dog: use it or lose it. Running through even the most basic tricks and commands will help them stay fresh in your dog’s mind. Plus, it’s a great way to spend time with your dog.

Australian Shephard on agility course Terralyx/ Twenty20

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Puppy Training Schedule: What to Teach Puppies, and When

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

We always anticipate the joys of all that’s good about owning a puppy.

But often it doesn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. Puppies are delightful bundles of energy and curiosity…. but they can also be exasperating and frustrating.

If you respond properly to the challenges of bringing a new puppy into your home, the adjustment period will be shorter and less stressful for both of you.

If you do not respond properly….. well, unfortunately that’s why so many teenage dogs are turned over to rescue groups and animal shelters.

Starting at 7 weeks old….

Training a puppy by teaching feeding routines

Routines are reassuring to puppies. For example, his food and water bowls should stay in one place.

Teach your puppy the daily routines that will govern his life.

  • Where his food and water dishes are located.
  • What times of day he will eat.
  • Where his bed is.
  • What time he goes to bed.
  • What time he will be taken out in the morning.
  • Where he should go to the bathroom.
  • Where his grooming spot is (for brushing, trimming, nail clipping, teeth cleaning).

Be consistent, consistent, consistent.

Dogs thrive on sameness, routines that are familiar, predictable, repeated. As much as possible, do the same things with your puppy every day – the same things in the same order, using the same words.

For example… here’s a good mealtime routine:

  1. Cue your pup when you’re ready to prepare his meal. “Are you hungry? Want your food?” Exaggerate the key words.
  2. Have him come with you to the kitchen. Get his bowl from the same cupboard and set it on the same counter every time. He should be right there watching you. You want him to see that YOU are the source of his food.
  3. If he’s acting excitable, don’t put his food down, else he’ll learn that excitable behavior makes the food appear! If he’s racing around, barking, or jumping, he should be on leash so you can stop those behaviors. Puppy sitting before meal“Sit” before meals encourages calmness and patience – two valuable traits that will make other training much easier.
  4. When he is calm, the bowl is ready to go down. If he already knows how to sit, have him sit first – it’s a subtle and gentle leadership thing. Then say “Okay!” and place the bowl on the floor, in the same spot every time. “Here’s your food.”
  5. If you have multiple dogs, each should have his own eating spot away from the others. Place the bowls down in the same order each time, saying the dog’s name as his bowl goes down. “Buffy… here’s your food. Kelly… food.”
  6. During mealtime, don’t let kids or other pets approach any dog who is eating. If one of your dogs is not well-behaved enough to obey this rule, he should be dragging his leash so you can get hold of him. If necessary, feed the dogs in separate crates or separate rooms. Bullying or stealing food is completely unacceptable in a multi-dog household.
  7. If a pup walks away from his bowl, pick it up. If there is still food left, make a mental or written note, as it could suggest illness.
  8. After 10 minutes, all the bowls should be picked up to avoid picky eating habits or food guarding habits to develop.
  9. The final part of the routine is a potty break immediately after every meal. If you’re still housebreaking, take the pup out on leash. If he’s already 100% housebroken and eliminates reliably when you send him out himself, that’s fine. In either case, announce the potty break: “Do you need to go OUT? Time to go OUT.”

As you can see, you’re not only showing your puppy what YOU will do as part of the routine, you’re also showing him what you expect HIM to do as his part of the routine.

Once your pup learns the routine for, say, meal time, if you do your part every time, he will do his part every time. Automatically. Day in and day out.

The trick is to make sure the routines your puppy is learning are good  ones that lead to good  behavior.

Because if he learns bad  routines, he will repeat them just as readily.

Most behavior problems in dogs are caused by the owner (inadvertently) teaching the pup bad routines.

Good routines should cover as many of the 24 hours in your pup’s day as possible. You want a good routine for meal time, potty breaks, grooming, play time, bed time, getting up in the morning, and so on. I recommend the best routines in my Respect Training For Puppies.

The easiest way to raise and train your puppy is to establish choreographed routines – same things, same order, same words – with yourself as the director, the one in charge. Create good routines, stick to them, and your pup’s behavior will be predictable and good.

More  to teach your puppy starting at 7 weeks old

Along with establishing good routines….

Training a puppy by teaching household rules

Teach Puppy which behaviors are allowed in your house and which behaviors aren’t. This particular behavior would be a “No.”

  • Teach your puppy that “No” or “AH-AH” means “Stop doing that behavior.”
  • Teach your puppy that “Yes” or “Good” means “I like that behavior.”
  • Begin a proven housebreaking program where your puppy can only go to the bathroom in the right place.At 2-3 months old, puppies are infants and won’t have reliable control of their bladder for several months. (Tiny breeds are notoriously difficult to housebreak and take even longer.)

    Still, housebreaking begins the day you bring your puppy home.

    Establish the right pattern from the very beginning and Puppy will be housebroken as soon as his internal organs can cooperate.

    But if you do it wrong, housebreaking will become a nightmare. And sadly, many owners don’t realize they’re doing something wrong until Puppy’s “accidents” have become a bad habit…. and bad habits are hard to undo. So you want to establish the right pattern from the very beginning.

    There are several methods of housebreaking, including using a crate, an exercise pen (“ex-pen”), a doggy door leading into a small potty yard, or a litter box (for tiny breeds).

    You’ll find detailed housebreaking directions in my puppy training book (see bottom of page) – and yes, I cover each one of those housebreaking methods so you can choose which one works best for your pup and your lifestyle.

  • Teach your puppy to go into his crate or pen and to stay quietly when the door is closed. Crate training a puppyA crate protects your puppy from household dangers and is an invaluable aid in housebreaking.

    Your puppy’s crate is his safe and secure den.

    Some people mistakenly refer to a crate as “doggie jail” but that is not the way Puppy will view his crate.

    Oh, at first he might be unhappy to have his movements curtailed, but it won’t be long at all before he goes into the crate on his own, to take a nap or just to get away from household activity.

    For a new puppy, a crate helps with housebreaking and provides a safe den for sleeping.

    When your puppy is used to his crate, it will be easy to take him visiting, or for trips in the car, or to the vet.

    When we watch TV, we sit in our favorite chairs and our dogs typically choose to lie down in their crates (doors open), watching the same shows we watch (sort of).

    Pups who are not yet housebroken should NOT be loose in your house. Unless you are interacting closely with him, your pup should be in a crate or pen, or connected to you via a leash.

    The #1 mistake owners make with a puppy is giving him too much freedom in the house, too soon. Loose pups either get hurt or develop bad habits. For their own safety and to prevent future behavior problems, your puppy should not be loose in your house.

Starting at 8 weeks old….

Teach everything above (routines, housebreaking, crate training, Good, No), plus…

  • Teach your puppy to be calm indoors. Pups who are allowed to be excitable indoors are far more likely to have behavior problems. Don’t allow running around the house, rushing the doorbell, attacking the vacuum cleaner, or lots of rough play, barking, or jumping.
  • Teach your puppy to take food and toys gently from your hand. Don’t let him have anything if he grabs at it.
  • Teach your puppy NOT to mouth or nip at anyone’s hands or feet. Training a puppy by teaching him gentlenessTeach your puppy to be gentle when interacting with people. He must not nip or chew on people’s hands.

    Puppy’s mother (and siblings) began teaching gentleness by firmly correcting Puppy when he played too roughly.

    Your job is to take over from where they left off and teach Puppy how to restrain himself when he plays with humans.

    Remember, you must be the one who sets the limits of ALL good and bad behavior.

  • Teach your puppy NOT to jump on anyone, including yourself.
  • Teach your puppy to give or drop whatever is in his mouth when told.
  • Teach your puppy to stay still (more or less!) and not fuss when you’re brushing him, bathing him, clipping his nails, or brushing his teeth. Teach him to accept handling of any part of his body. Training a puppy by teaching him to accept handlingStart handling your puppy immediately so he learns to accept anything you need to do with him.

    Your puppy must accept YOU as the leader in your family. Being the leader simply means you are the one who decides what is okay for Puppy to do and what isn’t okay.

    For example…. brushing, bathing, clipping nails, cleaning teeth, giving a pill, putting on a collar or harness.

    These are all times when YOU – not Puppy – have to be the one to decide what is necessary. Puppy should stand quietly for anything you need to do with him.

  • Teach your puppy to respect the other pets in your family. He may not take anything away from another pet. He should “take turns” for treats and attention. No bickering, pestering, pushiness, or jealousy.

Starting at 10 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

Training an older puppy

Older puppies are ready to start learning more advanced words after they are obeying basics such as “No.” Don’t jump ahead!

  • Teach your puppy to walk on the leash without pulling. If your pup is currently pulling on the leash, don’t take him for any more walks until you’ve first taught him to stop pulling inside your own home and yard.
  • Teach your puppy to wait at open doors and gates until you give permission to go through.
  • Teach your puppy to come every time you call. For now, that might mean keeping him on a leash in the house and a long cord in the yard, so you can make sure he comes.
  • Teach your puppy to be quiet. Lots of barking makes dogs more excitable. Don’t allow barking at harmless things such as your neighbor or your neighbor’s dog. Certainly your pup can bark to alert you to something, but he should stop barking when told. He should be quiet when left home alone.

Starting at 12 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

  • Teach your puppy to Sit and then to stay sitting until you cue him to get up.
  • Teach your puppy to go to his dog bed when told, and to stay there until given permission to get up. This valuable exercise teaches calmness, impulse control, and physical and mental relaxation. Every pup should be able to do it.

Starting at 16 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

  • Teach your puppy to go for a structured walk where he stays close beside you and pays close attention to you, instead of being distracted by everything else.
  • Teach your puppy to greet people and other animals politely, or else ignore them. Don’t allow him to act excitably, aggressively, or fearfully toward people or other dogs.

Respectful dogs understand and do what you say

Before they’re 6 months old, my pups know how to do everything in the lists above. They pay close attention to me and do whatever I ask of them.

If you’re unsure about how to teach everything on my lists, it’s all covered in my puppy training book, Respect Training For Puppies (30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy).

Is your pup a little older?

You might be thinking, “But my pup’s already 6 months old… what do I do now?”

Simple. Start at the very beginning, as though your 6 month old pup was only 7 weeks old. Start by establishing the routines that will govern everything in your pup’s life. Start with housebreaking. Start with crate training. Start with “Good” and “No”.

And if your pup is 12 months old? 18 months old? Or even older than that?

Older puppy

When I foster an older puppy, I train him exactly as I would a younger pup – I start at the very beginning, with the basics.

You might think a training schedule would be different for a much older puppy…. but it isn’t.

Whether your puppy is 3 months old, 6 months old, or 18 months old, the order of training should start with the same words and respect training I’ve been talking about.

Namely…. daily routines, praise and correction words, crate training, housebreaking, acceptance of being handled, gentleness, and household rules.

So if your older puppy (or adult dog) is still mouthing on your hands, or barking back at you when you tell him to do something, or if he doesn’t stop whatever he’s doing when you say, “No”, you need to double down on those basics.

Then you can move on to more advanced stuff.

“But how?”  you want to know. “How  do I train my puppy?”

Shiba Inu pup learning to be calm and patient

It’s best to get this right the first time around, because Puppy won’t ever be the same age again.

You get only one chance to teach all the right habits to a “clean slate” puppy. If you try to train your puppy without help, you will probably have to re-do the lessons, only this time with an older puppy with bad habits.

But what kind of help?

You don’t need to sign up for an obedience class or “puppy socialization” class to get help training and socializing your puppy. Those classes can be overwhelming for a puppy. Gentle pups can get over-run by bullies, which can completely ruin your pup’s temperament. And excitable puppies just get more excitable in those classes.

I don’t recommend taking a puppy to any group class. I don’t even take my own pups to such classes. The risk is too great.

Instead, teach your puppy at home. I’ll help you. My puppy training book is called Respect Training for Puppies: 30 Seconds to a Calm, Polite, Well-Behaved Puppy.

I’ll show you my proven step-by-step training method for teaching your puppy all the words he needs to know, plus consistent household rules and routines, housebreaking, crate training, acceptance of being handled, calmness, gentleness, and general obedience training.

My training method is:

  1. BASED ON LEADERSHIP AND RESPECT, which means you and your family are the leaders in your household and your pup is the follower. Dogs LOVE to be followers when you show them that you’re a confident, consistent leader who makes all the decisions.
  2. BALANCED, which means positive reinforcement (praise and rewards) for good behaviors, and corrections for bad behaviors.I don’t teach or recommend so-called “purely positive” methods that allow misbehaving pups to continue misbehaving, instead of teaching them which behaviors are and are not allowed. “Purely positive” is fine for teaching tricks and high-level competition exercises, but NOT for teaching the solid good behaviors that all family dogs need to know, and NOT for stopping behavior problems such as barking, jumping, chewing, nipping, chasing, etc.

puppy training bookIf you want your puppy to be a good family dog, teach him with a balanced training method based on respect and leadership. It’s the perfect match for how your pup thinks and learns. Check out Respect Training For Puppies.

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NEW BOOK RELEASE: “She Chose Me;” The Heart Wrenching Tale of a Woman and Her Dog with Cancer

EverPup Daily Supplement for Dogs

Add Years to Your Dog’s Life with This Top-Notch Supplement!

“Invisible enemies” is a term that’s used by Dr. Dressler; the world cancer veterinarian. Invisible enemies are everywhere; enemies to both us and our dogs. These enemies include chemicals, pollutants, and toxins continuously surrounding us in our daily lives.

We know this may sound a bit ‘silly,’ but if you take a look at the research, many of our dogs’ health conditions could be prevented by taking simple steps.

Examples of Invisible Enemies to Dogs

The most simple example is cigarette smoke.

Cigarettes are not good for us, right? And, there are a ton of studies which found secondhand smoke can be nearly as toxic.

Well, studies have also found cigarette smoke can cause cancer in dogs, especially if they have long muzzles (bloodhounds, collies, greyhounds, poodles, etc).

weed-killing chemicals and our dogs

Another common invisible enemy includes lawn chemicals and fertilizers. These are definitely invisible enemies; more than likely enemies you’d never even think of walking out your door.

If you spray your yard with weed killer, like Round-Up, do your best to keep your dog away from those areas.

If you live in the city, or take your dog to the dog park, the likelihood of exposing your dog to chemicals is high. One way to reduce your dog’s exposure is to wash your dog’s feet with soap and water after visiting these areas.

WHat does everpup have to do with it?

EverPup
Delicious Defense–tasty support from the invisible enemies linked to modern living
Restoration and Revitalization–help your dog to experience overall rejuvenation
DNA Protection–promotes normal cellular health with apoptogens from Mother Nature
Puppy-like Mobility–can aid normal mobility with Glucosamine
Metabolic Makeover–supports normal blood sugar with help from nature
Happy Poops–the best prebiotics and probiotics help keep your dog’s digestive tract happy (and you, by extension)
Immune Support–support normal immunity with ingredients directly from nature
Soft & Shiny Coat–you’ll be proud of your dog’s beauty when you’re out and about

Dr. Dressler invented EverPup in an effort to reduce your dog’s bodily reactions to these invisible enemies; and/or to help him fight them.

EverPup was designed to boost your dog’s immune system, repair DNA, keep her organs healthy, and provide any vitamins and minerals that may be missing from her diet.

everpup’s 30-day challenge

try it today

Click here to try your first jar of EverPup today.

Thundershirt for Dogs

Dog Thundershirts and Why You Need One

If you haven’t met me personally, let me tell ya, I do not like to recommend anything that I don’t know 100% works.

Also, as a Canine Behaviorist who works with all types of anxiety day in and day out, I was a bit skeptical of the thundershirt at first. The company had some proving to do to me before I would recommend their product to my clients.

Here’s what I found out: For many dogs with anxiety it helps tremendously. Plus, it’s definitely worth a try before you put your dog on any sort of medication.

I also like the Thundershirt company because it’s reasonably priced. Most items like this have jacked up their prices because once they have built a clientele, they know their product will be purchased. Thundershirt has impressed me because they haven’t done this; even knowing their product is top-notch.

why is it called a thundershirt for dogs?

Think about this for a minute and it will hit you. We often think about things in such a complicated way that we don’t see the simplicity.

It’s called a Thundershirt for dogs because it was originally designed for dogs who were afraid of thunderstorms. It wasn’t until after the development researchers realized it could be used for a number of other reasons including:

  • Thunder
  • Fireworks
  • Separation anxiety
  • Travel
  • Vet visits
  • Problem barking
  • Reactivity

the thundershirt for dogs: how & statistics

The design of the Thundershirt applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling an infant. They feel as if they were being held.

When you’re scared or stressed, does your significant other, a friend, or a family member, hugging you help you to calm down? It’s a similar concept here.

The ThunderShirt produces a dramatic calming effect for over 80% of dogs.

The facts

The fact is that I can’t tell you 100% the Thundershirt will work for your dog with anxiety. But, I can say it has worked on many of my clients who were considering medication for their dogs. And, since it’s not expensive, it’s worth a shot.

Similar to us, every dog has her own preferences, likes, and dislikes. Something that helps one person or one dog may not help another. It’s all trial and error when it comes down to anxiety sometimes.

If you want to learn more about the Thundershirt you can click here.

If you do end up purchasing a Thundershirt, or already have one but haven’t shared your testimonial, I would love you to click ‘Contact’ on this site to send it or post in the comments below.

Talk soon!

Amber