7 Tips to Training Your Dog

By: snook2
There are many reasons to start dog training early, including your dog's safety, and the preservation of your home, belongings, and peace of mind. While there are many elements and approaches to achieving this, here are 7 tips to training your dog that should get you started on the right foot:

1. Use rewards, not punishments
Dogs are sensitive, and the stress they experience being punished may just make problematic behaviors worse. There is also a chance that the behavior is a way of seeking attention, and in this case your negative response may have the opposite of the intended effect.

2. Teach verbal commands
Start training your puppy to respond to your voice and specific commands including such basics as: heel, come, drop, stay, and NO! Basic obedience will help you keep them safe, and prepare you for dealing with future situations such as teaching the difference between "dig" and "no dig."

3. Be consistent
Although you may not mind allowing your puppy to gnaw or jump on you, it will be more difficult to teach them not to do the same to your friends and neighbors. Try to make your rules apply all the time so as not to lead to confusion and uncomfortable situations.

4. Prevent bad habits and stop problem behaviors before they happen
A number of bad habits can be stopped in their tracks with a little foresight and planning. Puppies are bound to chew things, for example, so you can hopefully avoid a lot of problems by making sure they have toys specifically for chewing. Also, catching your dog when he's about to do something naughty gives you a better chance of communicating your displeasure, whereas after the fact they are unlikely to understand what they have done wrong. Try to leave things out of temptation's way when you can't be there to supervise.

5. Do your part
A lot of problem behaviors are prompted by your dog's unhappiness at being left alone, or looking for alternative ways to get their needs met. Make sure they always have fresh water and shelter from the heat or cold, bathroom and exercise breaks, and plenty of chances to interact with the outside world.

6. Compromise
Realize that dogs will be dogs, and don't expect to break them of their natural tendencies altogether. If your dog wants to dig, try designating a spot for him to safely dig in the yard without destroying your garden or generally making a mess. Encourage him to stick to that area by burying treats to find, and rewarding him with praise for obeying the "dig" command.

7. Shower them with love and attention
A dog who feels secure and loved has less reason to act out. Be generous with your praise when they obey you, but give them lots of unconditional love too. Enjoy the time you spend together, and all the benefits of play and exercise for you both.
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