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6 Tips for Training the First Dog

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Be Positive!

Positive reinforcement is more than just a way of training—it becomes a firm foundation on which you can base your entire relationship with your dog. In extremely general terms, if you reward a behavior that you like in your dog, there is a very good chance that this behavior will be repeated. When unwanted behaviors occur, constructive discipline is given rather than harsher punishments that are used by many traditional trainers. Constructive discipline aims to guide rather than frighten the dog into behaving. Examples of constructive discipline may include time outs (removal), sounds to interrupt behavior and refocus the dog onto something more positive, or ignoring inappropriate behavior (such as jumping up), so that the behavior is not reinforced and eventually goes into extinction.

Traditional trainers would lead one to believe that when a dog is behaving badly it is trying to become top dog by being dominant over an owner. Very few dogs that are demonstrating controlling behavior are actually attempting to be dominant. In fact, the majority of behavioral issues are rooted in a dog’s insecurities or fears—both of which require patience and understanding on your part to overcome by helping the dog to learn to feel differently. Positively.

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