The Ins and Outs of Training Your Dog

Training your dog is an important part of good dog ownership for many reasons.  The most obvious reason is that you will enjoy your pet a lot more if he is well behaved.  A less obvious reason, but still very important, is how others respond to your dog.  Whether you have guests coming into your home or you are out walking the dog in public, you want your dog to be friendly and gentle with others.  It’s not just that you want other people to like your dog but there is also the liability that you can incur should your dog misbehave.  Your dog will also be a much happier animal because he or she will know how to gain your approval.

A large part of how to approach training your dog is to know what to expect from the breed you have chosen.  Too often, people will buy a dog for the wrong reasons and then wonder why it doesn’t behave as they expect it to.  One example of this is the Dalmatian.  Dalmatians are very active dogs and not very good with children, as a rule. However, many people ran out and bought one after the movie, ’101 Dalmatians’ came out because of the way the Dalmatian was portrayed in that movie.  Unfortunately, this resulted in large numbers of unhappy dog owners and many animals being deposited in shelters unnecessarily.

The first step in training your dog should be to get to know his/her unique personality.  While some breeds have a tendency towards specific traits, as mentioned above, each animal will have their own temperament.  If you pay attention to that, it will help guide you in the best ways to train your animal.  A very laid back, easy going animal will not need the same approach that a boisterous, more aggressive animal might.  Your approach to training should take the dog’s personality traits into account.

The younger you start training your pet, the easier it will be to teach them what you expect from them.  Just remember that a puppy is just like having a toddler – they will forget and be naughty without having any intention to do so.  The key is consistency at any stage of the dog’s life but especially when still a pup.  Keep in mind what you are teaching your animal at all times because too often, owners actually teach a dog bad habits.  Have you ever seen people give their dog old shoes to chew on?  Then they wonder why their dog chews on any shoe they find.  Your dog may be smart but remember, your dog is still a dog and doesn’t have the rational ability we humans have (and many humans lack that as well!).

Often times, a dog can be well-behaved overall but has a problem area that you’d like to improve.  Chewing things that they shouldn’t is one common behavioral issue that people want to change. Obviously, scolding your dog when you see this behavior is one way to handle it but it’s also a good idea to just put things away so that he can’t access them.  Once a dog has a habit, it’s very difficult to break it.  Put shoes away safely in your room or closet and keep the door closed.  Another very common problem is that of excessive barking but there is now a fairly easy solution for this issue.

The hardest part about training a dog not to bark is that it’s not a behavior that you would normally want totally stopped.  After all, it’s very handy if the dog wakes you in the night, barking at that guy trying to get in your window or back door!  Barking is also instinctive with dogs, which makes it a behavior that is very difficult to eliminate or even curb with standard training techniques.  Some people have used shock collars to curb excessive barking but many consider that to be inhumane.  Recently, a new product called Bark Off has been getting a lot of positive feedback from both dog owners and trainers.  This product emits a sound that is too high of a frequency for humans to detect but it will get your dog’s attention immediately. Bark Off has proven to be an effective tool for teaching a dog the difference between a good time to bark and a bad time, and puts you in control of this behavior.

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