Play on the Same Team

Whether you're starting this book with a young puppy or an older dog with pre-established habits, think of this training adventure as a team effort. Your dog is the newest member of your team. She will learn your rules and expectations, provided that you can communicate them in a way she can understand.

Being a Captain You'd Respect

You must be the captain of your team. As the captain, you need to organize your dog's space and activities. She needs to know what she is supposed to do with herself in every situation, from where to go to the bathroom and what to chew to how to compose herself during the dinner hour and while you're entertaining company. Take a minute to think back to a team captain or coach that you admired. Now be that sort of leader for you dog. Come to your dog with a plan, communicate it consistently (i.e. where to go and what to do in all situations), and have patience for times when your dog is confused or acting up. Nobody's perfect: You're the captain so it's your job to teach and stay cool!

There are times you'll feel frustrated and maybe even angry at your dog. The hardest thing to control in fact, won't be your dog — it will be your temper. Outbursts, however, do more harm than good: they either frighten or excite a dog, with little or no long-term learning. Use the problem solving techniques listed throughout the book, consider leaving your dog on-leash when supervised to give you something to hold, or consider calmly placing her in a quiet area with a bone until you both cool off.

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