Obedience School Tips

posted: 05/15/12
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Obedience School Tips for Small Dogs
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Having a new tiny dog in your house should be a source of fun and excitement rather than frustration and anxiety. One way to make sure that you and your small pooch get along well is through obedience training. Although you can train your dog at home, working with a trainer in obedience school will help to make sure that your dog is not only a good canine citizen, but also that you and your pet are building a trusting relationship.

In obedience classes, your dog will be taught necessary etiquette and safety skills as well as learn to socialize with other dogs, an important skill for small dogs who might occasionally feel anxious around larger pets. Your dog will also learn the following skills: to come when called, to sit down, to stay down, and how to walk on a leash.

While you might think that smaller dogs are always scared of larger breeds, this isn't necessarily the case. Depending on the personality of the dogs, a tiny Chihuahua might bully and boss a gigantic Doberman. When it comes to dog training, size doesn't always matter; your dog's personality and training level are the most important factors to consider when making choices about obedience training.

Rather than making sure that your dog is in an obedience school class with other small dogs, you will want your dog to be in a class with dogs of the same obedience training level. In these foundational classes, you and your small dog will learn basic behavior skills such as greetings, basic commands, prevention of unwanted behaviors such as jumping and barking and how to interact with larger dogs. A group of 8 to 10 dogs is ideal. In a group of this size, your dog will learn to socialize with other pets and stick to his training in a highly stimulating environment. This way, when you get home your dog will be more likely to hold onto his training in an environment where he also might have lots of distractions.

However, if your tiny terrier gets panicky around larger breeds, it might be a good idea to enroll him in an obedience class designed for small or shy dogs. These classes not only cover basic training skills, but also include activities that will help your dog build confidence in his interactions with people and other animals. Shy dog obedience training classes move at a slower pace so that dogs can focus on overcoming their fears at their own speed. Classes focused on small dogs address basic obedience skills in addition to issues with barking and housebreaking, problems that can be particularly tricky for small dogs. Most classes for small dogs require that the pet weigh less than 25 pounds (11.3 kilograms).

Obedience trainers for small dogs focus on sensitivity to body language. Small dogs have the tendency to feel overwhelmed and intimidated by size. If you loom over them, they might feel threatened. Instead of standing over your dog, sit on the floor or place your dog on a surface level to you when practicing obedience skills at home.

The basic rules for training all dogs are applicable to small dogs. You should always repeat commands, have your dog's attention, and affirm the dog when he or she does something good. While you're training your dog, couple good behavior with a treat. In addition to being an effective training tool, treats and affirmation from you will make training fun for your dog.

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