Lessons to Learn from Our Dogs

There are lessons you can learn from your dog and the process of training him that have wider application than just to dog training. What you have learned in training your dog can be applied in your relationships with humans. Developing a good relationship, be it with a dog or with another person, involves similar skills. Dogs offer good examples for us. Everyone who owns a dog knows how pleasing it is to be greeted by their dog when they return home. Their dog doesn't complain about what...

Electronic Shock Collars

These collars are used to punish dogs. Don't be misled by descriptions that the collars work by administering stimulation to your dog. They give your dog a shock. As I wrote in the first chapter of this book, punishment has many disadvantages. There are two types of problems that I hear from people who try them. The first is that if a dog doesn't know what to do to stop the punishment, he will become frightened and depressed from a sense of helplessness. The pain may increase anxiety and...

Stand Stay for Petting and Grooming

Once your dog knows the stand command, it is time to add the stay to the stand. Have two pieces of food in your right hand. Kneel beside him, especially if he is small. Use one piece of food to lure him into a standing position. Give him one treat. Keep him standing, and place the second treat an arm's length away as you tell him to stay. When he has stayed for a second, pick up the food and give it to him while he is staying. Praise and release. This is just like the way you taught him to do a...

Reading Your

Our dogs speak eloquently to us in a language of their own, a nonverbal language of body and face movements. You need to listen with your eyes to read your dog's body language. Understanding this language is essential for two-way communication, and therefore necessary to train your dog and to have a good relationship. A good way to learn about dog body language is to observe dogs communicating with each other. Give your dog the opportunity to socialize with other dogs, and watch how they...

Giving Your Dog More Freedom

One of the most common mistakes people make when housebreaking their dogs is giving them too much freedom too soon. If your 7- to 12-week-old puppy is having more than one accident every three days, you are giving him too much freedom. The same holds true for a three- to five-month-old puppy who is having more than one accident a week, and for a dog over five months old who is having any accidents. A good time to give your dog more freedom is right after you have taken him out and seen him...

Normal Aggressive Response to Rude Dogs

If another dog is bothering them, they can't tell them to back off, so they tell them by lunging and snapping at them. Some dogs are more intolerant of other dogs' obnoxious behavior than other dogs. That's okay. Don't punish your dog. It's your job to protect your dog from rude and obnoxious dogs. Rude dogs are ones who run up to your dog, get in his face, and maybe jump on him. They are overly friendly and rough. My husband and I have just added an...

Finding a Place to Exercise Off Leash

Off-leash exercise is the most relaxing kind of exercise for a dog. Free from restraint, a dog can really be a dog. You can enjoy the beauty and expression of their movements. However, finding a place you can safely and legally do this is difficult. Finding a good place often requires some detective work. Ask other dog owners where they exercise their dogs. A farmer might give you permission to use his fields when the crops aren't growing. If you have a friend who is a realtor, he may be able...

Down Stay Away from Home

It is easy to take your dog places with you if he can be put on a down-stay anywhere. You have practiced a down-stay at home with distractions, so this week try it somewhere away from home. A park or a friend's house would be perfect. Do you take your kids to baseball or soccer practice Take your dog along and make him do a down-stay. Again, be stubborn. He probably won't cooperate at first, so just keep putting him down until he relaxes and stays. It is not unreasonable to ask him to do a...

Health Problems

If you are having problems housebreaking your dog, it is imperative that you make sure he does not have a health problem. The most common is a bladder infection. Male or female dogs can have this problem, and the symptoms are easy to overlook. Bladder infections are more common in young puppies, whose immune systems are not mature enough to combat infections. And don't be fooled by the fact that your puppy has had a veterinary examination when he got his shots. The veterinarian cannot tell if...

Assertive and Passive Dogs

If you have a dog who is somewhat of a problem child, chances are that you have an assertive dog. Assertive dogs are those who actively try to get their own way. Because of this, they are more difficult to handle than a passive dog who is willing to be a follower. The passive dog does not take the initiative. He is not a creative thinker, as the assertive dog is. Assertive dogs are the ones who learn to ask to go out to relieve themselves, while passive dogs do not. They bark to make sure you...

Destructive Chewing and Separation Anxiety

Let's get one thing straight from the start Dogs do not destroy things out of spite. Most of the time they do so to relieve tension caused by stress. Just as people sometimes smoke, eat, drink, or take drugs to cope with tension, dogs chew. The solution lies in relieving your dog's tension and unhappiness, and if that is not possible, in confining him to prevent further damage to your possessions and to himself. You will notice that there is no mention of punishment for destructive chewing. The...

Aggressive or Passive Defense Reactions

Whether or not a dog tends to bite when he is frightened or stressed is an inherited behavior. While all dogs can bite if severely stressed, some dogs resort to biting more quickly than others. These are dogs with aggressive defense reactions. The different types of defense reactions are easy to observe in my obedience classes during the class in which we teach toenail clipping because so many dogs are frightened or stressed by this procedure. A big male Golden Retriever may be totally...

Dogs Are Our Mirrors

Often the first awareness I have of being in a particular mood is when it is reflected in my dog. Her behavior reflects my tension or my relaxation, my anxiety or my peacefulness, my depression or my happiness. When I am in a bad mood, I often find her hiding in her crate, avoiding me. Seeing this makes me feel terrible. I can then put things in perspective and relax, much to the relief of the rest of my family. My dog, acting as a mirror, has helped me to see myself. Dogs act as mirrors in...

Realistic Expectations

I want to give you some idea of what you can realistically expect when housebreaking your dog. How fast this program can work depends on many factors. An excitable puppy will take longer than a laid-back one. Housebreaking in a busy household in which chaos rules is harder than in a quiet one on a regular schedule. And an older dog with a well-established habit of relieving himself inside will take longer than a puppy or an older dog who has been previously kept outside. If you start with a 7-...

Special Activities for Special Breeds

Lure coursing, herding tests, and AKC hunting tests are all examples of dog sports that are based on the job for which breeds were developed. Earthdog tests allow small terriers and Dachshunds the opportunity to find rats in a cage underground. Man's competitive nature led to the design of ways to test these skills. Such tests are also a means to identify and measure these instinctive behaviors so they can be preserved in breeding programs, since most dogs no longer have the opportunity to...

Clickers

Metal Cricket For Dog Training

A clicker is a little mechanical device that makes a clicking noise when you push it. It is becoming a popular tool for positive reinforcement training. Your dog is taught to associate the sound of the clicker with treats, and then the unique sound of the clicker clearly tells your dog when he is right. In technical terms, the clicker is a conditioned reinforcer, a sound previously meaningless to your dog that becomes meaningful when associated with food or some other reward. (Also see chapter...

The Magic of Training the Positive

The magic of training with positive reinforcement and living with your dog in a positive way is the special relationship you develop with your dog. The communication is two-way, rather than the one-way communication of traditional force training. It is always exciting for me to watch a puppy who is just starting training discover this two-way communication. It can happen in a puppy as young as nine weeks. I start by using a treat to teach the puppy to sit. After a couple of repetitions, the...

Behaviors Related to Breed

Most breeds were developed to do a specific job. An important part in understanding your dog is to research what job he was bred for and recognize how that affects his behavior as your pet. Although few purebred dogs are still performing whatever job they were bred to do, the behaviors remain. To confuse the issue, these behaviors remain in varying strength. An infamous example is the Irish Setter, who has been bred for beauty for so long that some have lost their ability to find birds....

Independent or Dependent

Dogs vary in how dependent they are on their human owners. Dogs are social animals, as are their wild counterparts, wolves. It is a dog's ability to form social attachments that makes him so desirable as a companion. All dogs need social contact to be happy, but some dogs are more stressed when denied that contact than others. A gauge of a dog's independence is how he reacts to being left alone. The dependent dog is highly stressed in this situation and sometimes exhibits behavior problems such...

Puppy Temperament Tests Social Attraction

Have someone place the puppy on the floor approximately four feet from the tester, who is kneeling on the floor. The tester coaxes the puppy to him with his voice and body motions. A. Puppy runs to tester with tail up, jumps up. B. Puppy takes a few seconds to look around, then comes to tester, tail up. C. Puppy comes hesitantly, tail down. D. Puppy will not come at all remains frozen in place. E. Puppy wanders off to explore room, ignoring tester. A. This puppy is bold and confident. He likes...

Joining a Dog Club

A good way to get involved in activities with your dog, meet a wide variety of people, and further your knowledge about dogs is to join a dog club. Most clubs are affiliated with the American Kennel Club and are involved in holding shows and matches. There are at least a few in every state, but sometimes these clubs can be difficult to locate. Because they are nonprofit organizations run by volunteers, most cannot afford a listing in the phone book. A list of AKC dog clubs is available on the...

The Disadvantages of Using Force to Train Your

What happens if you don't use positive reinforcement to train your dog You'll have to rely more on force, which has many disadvantages. Not the least of these is that people dislike using force on their dogs. It is unfortunate that some dogs never get trained because owners who have been exposed to training based mainly on force, and don't like it, ultimately give up on dog training altogether, wrongly assuming that all training is done the same way. Their dogs are then doomed to live in a...

Confinement and Using a Crate

Greyhound Dog And Trainer Photo

Confinement is necessary to prevent accidents when you cannot watch your dog and to encourage him to control his bladder and bowels. Most dogs will instinctively not relieve themselves when confined in a small enough area. The most effective and safest way to confine your dog is in a crate. A crate is a small cage for dogs. Some dog owners may be upset by the idea of caging their dogs. This is understandable it seems cruel. However, the fact of the matter is that most dogs, after they get used...

Showing in Obedience

Training a dog to show in obedience is a great way to build a very special relationship with your dog. The purpose of obedience competition, as stated in the AKC's obedience regulations, is to demonstrate the usefulness of the purebred dog as a companion to man. In obedience competition, dogs are judged on performance only. Appearance does not count. There are three levels of competition Novice, Open, and Utility. Obedience titles are obtained by achieving three qualifying scores at each level....

Confinement When You Work All

Dog Confinement

Housebreaking and confining your puppy or dog while you are away at work eight or more hours each day present special problems that demand special solutions. A puppy cannot go eight hours without relieving himself until he Another means of confinement is a playpen. Belgian Tervuren Another means of confinement is a playpen. Belgian Tervuren is five or six months old. While he is young, or while an older dog is being housebroken, you must confine him in a space large enough to permit him to...

Territorial Aggression

Territorial Aggression Dogs

As mentioned in an earlier part of this chapter, the trait of territorial protective aggression has been valued in dogs since their domestication, and selectively bred for. This trait varies tremendously in dogs, from dogs who show absolutely no protectiveness to others who gladly attack to defend their territory and try to keep enlarging the territory they defend. The development of territorial protectiveness in dogs is linked to sexual maturity. A dog is most easily guided into appropriate...

Sit Stay with Eye Contact

It is impossible to communicate with your dog, or with another person for that matter, unless you have his attention. Teaching your dog to make eye contact is teaching your dog to look at you when you are speaking to him, a necessary foundation for all training. Start by sitting your dog in front of you, facing you, and telling him to stay. Take a piece of food and move it slowly from in front of your dog's nose up to the bridge of your nose, between your eyes. As you are moving the food, give...

Energy Level and Reactivity

As an obedience instructor, I frequently get complaints about hyper dogs. I've learned that this means one of four things a perfectly normal dog who doesn't get enough exercise, a dog who has a high energy level, a highly reactive dog, or a hyperactive dog. The high-energy dog is always ready to go. He doesn't tire easily, whether he's working or playing. The highly reactive dog may or may not have a high energy level, but he reacts strongly to stimuli. Stimulation overexcites him. If you touch...

Sit Stay for Petting

Do you have problems with your dog jumping up This is the problem people list most often on the registration form for my classes. Here is how you start solving that problem. Doing a sit-stay for petting is just like doing any other sit-stay with distractions. Again, start with your dog sitting in heel position, and then have someone approach and pet him while you keep him sitting. Start with someone familiar to your dog, so he will be less excited. If he can't remain sitting while someone is...

The Issue of Dominance

Many dog trainers believe that you must dominate your dog in order to successfully live with him. Obedience training classes ring with the cry, You must dominate your dog and You must be the pack leader, the alpha figure, a sentiment echoed in many dog training books. It is also claimed that if you don't dominate your dog, he will try to dominate you. Your dog is the enemy obedience class is often the battleground. I don't agree with this. You don't have to dominate your dog in order to train...

Intelligence and Trainability

Many dog owners are confused when their dogs seem to be intelligent but prove to be difficult to train. Intelligence and trainability are not the same thing. In fact, many dog trainers consider the more intelligent dog harder to train. Intelligence refers to a dog's ability to solve problems, while trainabil-ity is related to the ease with which a dog can be convinced to take direction from a human. A dog might use his intelligence to get what he wants, but he won't necessarily use it to do...