We miss so many opportunities to work with our dogs. Relaxing in the backyard or on the deck after work, waiting for supper to finish cooking, watching TV, waiting for your turn to take your morning shower or any other times where we have a few extra moments. Training a dog is important, but there’s no rule that says you have to make a big production out of it, and there’s no law that says you have to spend a certain amount of time doing it. Dogs are smart and more than capable of learning most commands quickly. One minute at a time is all it takes.
Dog training is all about reinforcing a desired behavior. Once most dogs have learned the basic commands, it’s just like riding a bike, so to speak. I have to giggle here, because as I’m writing this, I’m listening to a dog training minute happening in the kitchen while supper is being cooked. We’re working with our dog Keikei to teach her a new command – turn around. If your dog is like Keikei and wants to be with you wherever you are, the opportunity to work on their training is always there. Take advantage of it.
Dogs end up in shelters because of behavior problems their owner couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with. It’s no secret that the best way to ensure you have a well mannered and happy dog is by taking the time to teach him how you want him to act. Training your dog is also one way you can help keep him safe. Teaching your dog doesn’t require hours and hours of time, but it does require three important rules to follow.
It can be hard to understand why dogs do the things they do. Their actions are related to how we treat them and what their personality is like. A dog with a jealous streak is being possessive and domineering. Whether there are other pets in the home or not, a dog showing jealousy can affect an entire household.
Living with a jealous dog can be a challenge, especially if he’s also protective of the one he loves. A jealous dog is most likely one with a dominant personality, but not all dominant dogs are jealous. A dog who is jealous is trying to tell you he’s concerned about his place in your heart. Adding a new pet to your family is upsetting to any pet already in the home, but a dog with a jealous streak may need more time to get used to the idea of sharing you and his home. Any change to a household, whether it’s another pet, roommate or variation in routine, can cause a dog to react in a way you’ve never seen before.
Routine is one of the most important and stabilizing factors in a dog’s life. They eat from the same bowl at the same time and in the same place every day. Dogs know when it’s time to go outside or go for a walk. Changes to their schedule, even small changes we may not notice, are observed by dogs. A jealous dog may see a change in routine as a threat to his position in the home and in your eyes. A new pet or person changes the routine.
It’s easy to put off starting a training program for a new pup until after he’s older. An eight week old puppy may still be a “baby,” but he’s already learned a lot from his mom and siblings. His education needs to continue in his new home as soon as he gets there. Therefore, the best age to begin puppy training is the minute you get him home.
Puppies adjust quickly to new surroundings. Of course, he’ll have a period of missing his siblings and mom. You can carry the scent of his old life with you to his new home by taking a baby blanket or towel with you when you pick him up. Rub it on his mom and siblings and let them play on it. When you arrive home, place it where you want him to sleep so he has familiar smells around him. Helping him get through his first few nights will be your first training session.
Some dogs can get so worked up when it’s time for a walk or a romp in the backyard they nearly knock you over on the way to the door. Frenzied barking and jumping is the sign of a hyper, out-of-control dog who could become aggressive if they remain in that state of mind and meet another dog or person once outside. Calming them down before they go out is the best thing to do – but how do you teach a dog to stay calm? Read on.
An overly excited dog isn’t focusing on you. If you are trying to get them outside and they are jumping, barking and running away from you, they are controlling the situation. Teach a dog to stay calm with basic commands and get him to focus on you.
Dogs are not created equal when it comes to training. Some learn faster than others, and some just can’t seem to get what you’re trying to teach. All dogs can be taught basic commands as long as you’re willing to invest the time and energy to stay committed. However, dogs are individuals and like kids, they learn at their own pace. Knowing your dog’s personality can help you devise a training schedule that works best for them.
Dog training isn’t high on some people’s priority list. I know many dog owners who have never spent one minute training their dogs to sit, stay, walk on a leash or any other basic commands. They feel that as long as their dog will come to them most of the time when called, that’s all the training they need. Animal shelters are full of untrained dogs who have been surrendered by their owners because the dog developed behavioral problems they had no idea how to correct. Lack of training to correct behavioral problems is one reason many people give up their dogs.
Most dog owners have some idea how smart their dog is. Every dog can learn basic commands as long as we make the commitment to teach them. Most dogs also know at least one trick you can show off to guests. However, some dogs take a little longer to learn, which can try an owner’s patience. And sometimes, a dog just doesn’t seem to get what an owner is trying to teach. Scientists and animal behaviorists have been studying dogs for many years, and have come up with three types of dog intelligence. One type of learning is a specific kind each dog breed has that helps them learn according to who they are and what their breed characteristics are.
Dog intelligence is defined as the ability to learn, think and problem solve. It’s easy to come up with a list of the smartest dogs, but in order to determine a dog’s intelligence, how quickly they learn is just one part of the equation. A specific breed’s characteristics and what they were bred to do plays a large role in their intelligence, and understanding this makes training a dog easier. Intelligence shouldn’t be confused with stubbornness though, and hard-to-train dogs need a consistent owner with plenty of patience and understanding along with a firm, yet gentle hand.
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