Beginning Training for a Dog

April 8, 2019
As a dog owner with over 25 years of experience, I can attest that having a dog is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened in my life. The companionship and joy they bring is incomparable.

From the time a dog steps foot into a home, a training regime should be implemented. Having order lets the dog know that it can't have free reign.

Being a firm, but understanding, leader is important. Cesar Millan sums up what all beginning trainers should remember, "Don't be aggressive, be dominant."

Potty Training

The dreaded bathroom training is the best place to start. Make sure to use a leash, as it helps to keep the dog from getting distracted and wasting time.

Make a designated spot for eliminating. Find a tree or plot that will be its "bathroom" so it will go there every time, which also makes clean up easier.

If the dog has an accident inside, don't get upset and punish. Clean up the mess and put the dog in a crate for a little alone time. This will teach it that it is not good, but not that the dog is bad.

Leash Training

Many people can think that leash training can be almost not worth trying, but it is does result in a well-behaved walker.

Leash pulling is the number one problem. Start training in an area where the dog won't find distractions easily. Use treats to keep it at your side, and stop walking if it starts to tug.

Mix up the walk by the pace and the direction. This will keep the pup alert and ready to follow you, instead of it leading you.

Bark Training

Barking can be a nuisance, but attended to early enough, it can be controlled. Some breeds are prone to barking because it is in their genetics, so training them might take some extra time.

Find what instigates the barking, then keep track of how long it takes for the dog to calm down. This will help identify what to really focus on.

Be firm but not harsh when reprimanding. Don't hit or scream, and definitely don't give up if the dog won't stop.

Keep an ear out for when the dog isn't yelping. This is a good time to praise for good behavior and will help the dog understand that quiet is preferred in the household.

Jumping Training

Some dogs look adorable when they get jumpy, but others could knock you down. Teaching a dog not to tackle you or anyone else will save you a lot of trouble.

Stay consistent, even if it means the dog can't play "jump up" with your family. Let every visitor have the option to know that turning away from the dog is okay, and that it will encourage them to stop leaping up.

Use a leash if the dog if comfortable, because a leash will be a firm force to tell the dog "no" without being mean.

Stopping a jumper will take time, but invest as much time as possible, and make sure to introduce various situations so they will be ready for anything.

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