Dog Training Tips

posted: 05/15/12
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A dog will learn best if he is rewarded immediately for his actions.

A dog will learn best if he is rewarded immediately for his actions. An important ingredient in the learning process is attention: If the dog isn't paying attention to you, the lesson will not be successful. A tired or anxious dog will have more difficulty concentrating. Distractions also can interfere with learning. A particularly enticing reward can help bring back the focus to the task at hand.

Beyond basic training, some dogs can learn to perform more elaborate tricks, like standing on their hind legs to beg. This level of trainability rises to an even higher plane with some performing dogs on television and in movies, which can learn to carry out almost humanlike tasks on cue from a trainer. These dogs are often chosen from the herding group, which includes breeds such as collies and shepherds -- among the most trainable of domestic dogs.

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A choke or training collar can cause physical injury to a dog if it is worn or used incorrectly. These collars can be a useful adjunct to training dogs and older puppies, but it depends on their size, strength and temperament, and also on the skill and training of the owner. Ask a trainer if a choke chain is appropriate for your dog, and, if so, have the trainer teach you how to use it. If the human companion does not know how to properly use it, this type of training collar can cause serious windpipe injuries, especially to small breeds and shorthaired dogs. In addition, a shy, sensitive or submissive dog could be traumatized by the indiscriminate use of a choke chain. If your dog is a tenacious puller or has other problems with leash manners, consider instead using a head halter to correct his behavior.

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Crate Training A crate can become a dog's and an owner's best friend.

While a pup may look wistful in a crate, he is also likely very comfortable and content. It's best to crate-train in puppyhood, since it takes more patience and perseverance to train an older dog. An adult dog that was crate-trained as a pup will willingly spend time in his private room without complaint.


- Accustoms him to having a quiet place of his own, where he can play with his toys or enjoy a snooze.

- Allows you to keep him (and your house) safe when you can't be right there supervising.

- Serves as good travel accommodations.

- Serves as a safe place to recover after surgery or illness.


- In some cases of separation anxiety, a crate may actually be dangerous. Dogs can seriously injure themselves if crated during a severe panic attack. Their level of terror can lead to frenzied behavior and a lack of awareness of pain.

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The pup's formative early weeks are the best time to expose him to as many different experiences as possible. A puppy can become very comfortable with children, sandy beach surfaces and the ocean. Of course, young animals, like young children, can be overwhelmed by too many new stimuli at once. The more experiences and adventures the pup has at an early age, the more confident and reliable he will be, and the more likely to face future situations with interest, not fear. Try some of the following:

- Introduce new situations, then let the pup proceed at his own pace.

- Encourage him to climb stairs.

- Take him on car rides -- to places other than just the vet -- so he learns to associate cars with fun.

- Take him out on busy streets so he gets used to the hustle and bustle of traffic and people of all races, sizes and manners of dress.

- Let him meet other dogs (after you ensure they are friendly).

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