The moment you bring home that adorable ball of fluff, you are committed to a lifetime of supervision and “parenting” this new family member. Puppies are like human toddlers in many ways. They get into everything, explore the world around them, and are full of boundless energy. Training is an ongoing process, and it is best to start early and quickly before bad habits take hold.
The sweet, gentle gnawing at your finger and on your belongings may not be as appealing when the puppy grows up. A tiny puppy jumping up on you may feel like nothing, but when that little dog becomes big and is jumping on visitors or knocking things out of your hand in his exuberance, it is not so pleasant.
In the early weeks, a puppy will spend a lot of time sleeping. They play hard and fall asleep quickly, often on the spot. As they grow, they need less sleep and have plenty of energy that needs to be vented in acceptable ways.
Puppies are curious. Much like infants, they spend a lot of time and energy investigating the world around them via their mouths. When they are small, it’s fairly easy to dodge the needle-sharp teeth. Some people even think it’s cute when a puppy gets all mouthy. It may be cute in puppies but make no mistake about it; you need to stop these early signs of aggression before that innocent little puppy grows into an adult dog, or you will regret it.
This mouthy behavior starts early. In the litter, puppies bite in a playful way to establish hierarchy. They snap and nip each other to test their strength and assert their dominance. When they are weaned from their mother and separated from their litter mates, it’s natural for puppies to take this behavior with them. So when you’re cuddling and cooing over the newest member of your household, beware – you may get a sharp nip on the tip of your nose.
While the biting may seem harmless, it can escalate into real aggression as the puppy becomes bolder. That’s why it’s necessary to teach your dog to curb this behavior early on. Here are some tips and tricks that will help.
My cousin and her family live in New York City with a completely spoiled Lab; they are crazy about their dog and treat her like a third child. The dog gets the best of everything including her own bedroom, visits to the doggie spa and premium quality CANIDAE Grain Free PURE dog food. Having always lived in a more suburban area, I couldn’t imagine how they properly managed life with a large dog in the heart of the Big Apple. However, if you’ve ever spent time in congested urban areas, you know that tight living space does not lessen the desire for canine companionship. So my cousin, and many others, meets the challenges of living with dogs in highly populated areas with grace and smarts. Here are some basic etiquette rules they follow.
Reinforce Basic Commands
At a minimum, city dogs must follow a number of basic commands promptly and precisely in order to get around safely. Of special importance are the come, sit/stay, heel and leave it commands. In a bustling city, there are many distractions that can be hazardous to your dog’s safety if she’s not responsive to commands. Waiting for the stoplight to change is much easier and safer when your pooch is calmly in a sit/stay by your side.
Pets may get nervous when confronted with rambunctious children, loud noises, blaring car horns, etc. The heel and leave it commands are especially helpful in preventing your pet from chasing bicycles, in-line skaters or skateboarders. At any time, you may be thrust into situations that demand swift and thorough control of your dog to prevent problems. A firm grasp of basic commands is necessary for city-dwelling dogs. Read More »
Crate training is a way to provide your pet with a safe and secure place whenever it is needed by your dog or by you. If used in a positive way, a crate will be a beneficial addition for training your dog.
To begin training your dog to use the crate, put it in an area of the house where your dog will not feel he is being excluded from his pack, which is you and any other family members. It may help to initially start using the crate in the area where the dog’s human companions spend the majority of their time in the house. Once the dog is used to the crate, you can move it to a quiet area such as a bedroom.
When you first set up the crate, keep the comfort of your dog in mind. Put a pad or blanket on the floor of the crate to make it a more comfortable place for your dog to rest. Put a favorite chew toy, stuffed animal or other object that gives them comfort in the crate. Think of the crate as their den or room. You like your room to feel comfortable and safe – a place to retreat to – and so does your dog.
Schutzhund is a competitive dog sport that started in Germany at the turn of the 20th century. It was designed to evaluate a dog’s mental stability, courage and protective instinct as well as the ability to scent, willingness to do his job, and the ability to be trained.
The events in Schutzhund (tracking, protection and obedience) were developed by Max von Stephanitz, the German breeder responsible for creating the German Shepherd Dog. By the time the GSD had been developed, the job the breed was originally bred to do – herding – was on the decline in Germany. The German Shepherd has always been a versatile dog capable of doing far more than just herding, and von Stephanitz developed Schutzhund as a sport to maintain the working ability of the breed.
The German Shepherd Dog Club refined the sport in the 1920s to continue the quality of the breed. Other guardian breeds also excel in this intense competition, although most can’t meet the intense training and challenges of Schutzhund.
When you take a dog through training classes or train him yourself, it is important to have all members of your home on the same training program in order to reinforce the lessons. Two of the strongest reinforcers for learning and retaining what is learned are consistency and repetition, which is why all family members need to be on the same page with the training.
If you are going to training classes taught by an instructor, it’s a good idea to have more than one family member attend the classes. Although it sounds odd, in reality human companions are being trained at the same time their dog is going through the program. Humans learn the verbal and physical cues with which to train their dogs, and the dog learns how to understand and follow those lessons from both an outside trainer and their human companions. The same cues and words need to be used by all household members for each command, otherwise varied cues and commands may just confuse your dog.
If only one person is able to attend the actual lessons, there are options for learning and teaching at home afterward as well. To reinforce what you learn from a trainer, practice the lessons from each session immediately when you reach home to reinforce them in a different setting. Your dog will learn that the cues are the same regardless of the setting in which they are given. Share the lessons with the other household members and have them practice with your dog as well. Make it a group learning session once you are home. Read More »
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