Teaching Your Dog Self-Control

Teach Commands, Not Actions

When your dog lunges at something, instead of pulling tight on their leash to get them to stop, you should instead be telling them what to do in a firm voice. Tugging, even lightly on their leash only tells a dog who the master is, but not what behavior he should be exhibiting. Use this time constructively to practice commands that are appropriate in the situation, instead.

Treat Your Dog like a Friend

Realize that sometimes, your dog just won’t be able to do what you ask him to do, just like a good friend can’t sometimes as well. Dog training shouldn’t be about who is in charge, but instead about compromise and taking variables into account as required. So don’t ask your dog to sit still if he is truly excited about something – ask him instead to sit quietly.

Show Doggy How

Unless you show, or tell, your dog how to react, he won’t know how. Instead, he’ll do what he always does, which is pull and tug at his leash. Give him positive ways in which to respond to every tempting situation, and with some guidance he’ll be able to do what’s right.

Speak On His Terms

When you raise your voice or talk sharply, a dog hears this tone as being excited, similar to barking. It reinforces his already excited behavior, and gives him the idea that you are excited too, so it should be okay! Instead, use your dog training to speak softly and in quiet tones to get your dog to calm down, and he’ll realize soon enough it’s not appropriate behavior for the situation.

Finding a Reputable Dog Breeder

  • Who is the breeder? It is very important to find out who the breeder is. One way to find out, is checking references. If the breeder is unable to provide written references, you should move on. Snoop around a bit. Talk to other breeders, rescue groups, veterinarians, anyone who can give you some information.
  • Does the breeder require a Spay/neuter contract and limited registration? This means that you are legally obligated to promise that you will NOT attempt to breed your new dog. This helps stop poor quality breeding, and insure high standards of the breed.
  • A reputable breeder should provide you with a “health check” which tests the lineage for known and testable genetic disorders. The breeder should be familiar with the health line of several generations. As a result, he/she should provide you with a health guarantee for a certain time period.
  • A reputable breeder should encourage you to select a puppy with the temperament and personality that is compatible with you and your family. Do not let the breeder convince you that “this” one is for you. A good breeder will only produce litters AFTER they have buyers.
  • The breeder should be honest about the dogs’ characteristics. They should tell you both the good points and the bad points concerning a breed. Different breeds of dogs have unique characteristics that are traditional in their breed. So it is important you educate yourself.
  • Check out the facilities. Make sure the breeder is keeping the dogs in a clean healthy environment. Ask to see where the dogs are kept. If the breeder insists on only bringing the dogs to you, stay clear!!
  • Is your breeder involved in the breed? Most often you will find that a good breeder is involved in either, showing, performance, local clubs or rescue. An active breeder is a good sign that he/she truly cares about the breed

Dog House Training

To start your dog house training, the first thing you’ll need to do is buy your best pet friend a nice dog training collar, lead and dog crate. You should choose one made of nylon or soft leather. When your puppy grows older, you can buy him a heavier collar, and if he’s a large breed, it should be made of heavy leather, with a strong buckle and clip. Dog house training can be simple. We’ll need to be patient and prepared to spend enough time to work with your new friend right from the start. We can avoid your doggie being among the 60% that land up in humane societies (dog pound) because of behavioral problems. It’s like being on a dog rescue mission.

Get yourself a crate large enough for your puppy to stretch and lie down in (for those get naps). But not one that’s too big either. You don’t want your doggie to be able to potty in one corner and sleep in the other. Your little pet should be in the crate anytime you’re not available for watching your doggie. Our attempt is to get your friend to understand that they’ll have to wait until we come to their rescue teaching them to “hold” the potty which is obedience training.

Your little sweetie can be left in the crate for 6-8 hours at a time. You mostly do it at night time when you go to bed, but can also do it during the day if you have to be away.

When you’re at home, leave the puppy out of the crate, but set a timer (you know, one of those we use in the kitchen for timing) for every 60-90 minutes (no cheating; 90 minutes is the maximum). Each time the timer rings, take the pup out for a walk for 10 minutes, giving them the chance to eliminate, and reward them when they are successful. Positive reinforcement and love is the way to go. Don’t be surprised if you walk them for 10 minutes, nothing happens, and when you come back in the house they have an accident on the kitchen floor. BE PATIENT.

These are only some guidelines. But, take your time and do not become frustrated. In a month, or so, you will look back and laugh.

Remember that your puppy will grow very fast, so his first dog collar should be adjustable. Often the puppy’s breeder will give you a collar and lead with your puppy when you pick him up. Dog care and training really can be fun. You and your best pet friend so to speak grow up together.

How To Stop Your Dog From Barking

My dog barked and whined all the time, and it was a breed (husky), that was known for making a lot of noise. The situation was especially bad when the doorbell rang or he saw strangers. It was almost impossible to stop him once he started, and if there was another dog involved, forget it – my dog would yap his head off until the dogs were separated and out of sight.

One weekend, though, my friend came over to visit. She worked at the Chicago Zoo and knew animals better than anyone I had ever seen. In an hour she had my dog completely quiet, and she taught me how to do it, too. One hour to solve a problem that was driving me crazy for the last three years!

The secret is not intuitive. First you teach the dog to bark(!) I thought my friend was insane when she told me this. Obviously my dog knew how to bark because he barked and whined all the time. But she explained that while my dog barked a lot, he couldn’t bark on command. First she taught him to bark on command, and then she taught him to be quiet on command. The whole process took less than an hour. My dog is pretty smart, so it may take your dog longer, but still, it’s an incredibly effective technique, and now, two years later, my dog still doesn’t give me trouble. What a great afternoon!

There are two elements at work here: positive reinforcement and intermittent reinforcement. Positive reinforcement teaches the behavior, and intermittent reinforcement keeps the behavior permanent. Negative reinforcement is just not a strong inducer of behavior. Negative reinforcement like shock collars or saying “No” does work to a certain extent, but studies have shown it to be about 10 times less effective than positive reinforcement.

Everything she did was very clear and precise, which was much of the reason she got her results so quickly. Your results may vary, but the clearer and more precise you can make everything, the better.
First, go on a long walk with your dog to get him a lot of exercise. Your dog can’t learn when he’s all riled up.

Teaching your dog to bark: Then get a box of treats. Then look at your dog. When he barks, immediately praise him and give him a treat. Don’t let any time elapse between the bark and the treat. Pretty soon he’ll be barking a lot. Right now, the behavior is coming before the cue. Shape the behavior first, and then add your cue.

Teaching your dog to bark on command: Then go away for a few minutes and come back. Ignore his barking and ignore everything else he does. Just stand there, doing nothing, not rewarding him at all, not even looking at him. It may take a long time, but eventually your dog will calm down, stop barking, and start doing his own thing. Once your dog calms down and stops barking, start working with him again. This time, only give him a treat when you say “Speak” and point at him, and then he barks. 1. Verbal command and point. 2. Bark. 3. Reward. Don’t give him a treat for just barking on his own. This part will take a while, but he will eventually understand the command. You’re rewarding him for behavior he already is predisposed to do, you’re just associating a command with it.
Teaching your dog to be quiet: Go away for a few minutes, and then come back. He’ll probably be barking a lot when you come back, but again, stay totally still and don’t reward him at all (no praising, no eye contact, nothing). Once he stops barking, count to five slowly to yourself. You may have to wait a long time before he’ll stop barking enough so a full count of five, but it will happen eventually. Once you can count to five without any barking, then reward him with praise and a treat. Notice that at this point, the behavior comes before the cue. Shape the behavior first, and then add your cue.

Positive Dog Training Methods

Different people will define them differently, but as a rule of thumb they are techniques that allow you to train your dog without causing it physical pain. So these methods enhance your dogs’ natural trust and willingness. Dr. Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Silvia Kent, Linda Tellington-Jones, and others have greatly expanded the popularity of this field in recent years. Training dogs can be a win-win for both humans and dogs!

The principles that are behind these methods are derived from sound scientific research: positive reinforcement is a central part of this approach. Clicker training dogs is perhaps the best known example, but there are other methods too. In clicker training, a small noisemaker is clicked at the very moment that the dog does exactly what you want it to. It’s more precise than saying “Good!” or anything else. Then a treat is given, at least part of the time.

There are thoughtful people who advocate the careful use of devices that do cause pain in training dogs, especially when the problem seems intractable. I believe that in training dogs, many methods will work. But it is heartening that many dog owners and trainers have crossed over to using only pain-free, positive methods of dog training.