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Can You Obedience Train Your Dog At Home - Family - Pets

Can You Obedience Train Your Dog At Home?   by Lori Kniff

in Family / Pets    (submitted 2011-11-04)

You wanted a dog and you found just the right dog for you. Unfortunately, your dog may have some bad habits: he barks too much; he chews on household items like socks, shoes, and electric cords; he jumps up on people; he eliminates in the house; he chases your other pets; he pulls on a leash, he won't come when called. Do any of these behaviors sound familiar? If so, what can you do to help your dog become more socially acceptable to be around?

There are many dog training classes that will help you train your dog. You and your dog can attend these classes, and your dog will be trained with other dogs. They can be obedience trained to heel, sit, stay, etc, and even be trained to show. As good as these programs are, your dog also needs to learn acceptable social behavior in your home.

Obedience training your dog in your home is possible, and it will most likely help you to bond closer to your pet. It will definitely take time on your part to learn how to obedience train him, but the time and effort you take will be well worth your effort.

There are basically two methods with which to train your dog. The first is very harsh, in my opinion. The theory is you punish or abuse your dog. This theory advocates the use of shock or choke collars; yelling at the dog; giving them time out, and put them in a crate or locked up somehow. (A crate should NEVER be used as punishment!) I don't believe that this type of training is acceptable. This is negative training! What you are actually doing is training by fear, which could at some point in time, manifest itself in aggression. This is not good for your dog or you.

The second method is obedience training by praise and reward â€" positive reinforcement training. This theory of training will endear you to your pet, and your home's atmosphere will be much more pleasant.

When you train by positive reinforcement, your dog can be any age. Limit your training to 5-10 minutes intervals a couple of times a day. They have short attention spans, and your patience could be challenged if you try to train them for long periods of time. Planning your schedule so that everyday at the same approximate time, you do your obedience training.

Before you begin your obedience training sessions, pick one behavior you want your dog to learn or change. Make a list of priorities of behaviors you want him to learn, and begin finding the best training program for those behaviors. Also, decide what kind of cues or commands you want to use. Your cues could be verbal commands, or another popular method is the use of a clicker.

To reinforce good behavior you could use praise, pet your dog, give him treats or food, or have play time after each session.

Dogs do have some normal characteristics such as chewing. Just give them something acceptable for them to chew: a chew toy, a chew bone, or something soothing like an ice cube, if they are teething.

Make sure your dog is healthy. If your dog has aches and pains, such as joint problems, teaching them some tricks could be difficult for them and maybe even harm them.

Don't reinforce negative actions. For instance, if you let your dog into the house when he is continually barking, he may think it is acceptable to bark long enough because that is the way he can be allowed to go into your home. At that point, you have reinforced a negative action. You may want to train him to bark once, then lie down or sit down until he is invited inside.

Too many dogs are abandoned, taken to shelters, or put down because the owner doesn't know how to train their pet, or at least doesn't realize that the real issue is the lack of training.

Owning a dog is a full-time position, and training your dog will take many of your skills: patience, time, consistency, and the desire to train him with positive reinforcement.

There are many good online dog obedience training courses you can buy. Look at them and what they have to offer. Are any of them a good fit for you and your dog? Check to see if they are breed specific? Videos only? Books only? A combination of videos and books. Do they have specifics, such as step-by-step instructions? Do they have ongoing customer support?

Dogs are social animals, and for them to be enjoyable to have around, they need training. It will also keep them safe as they learn to listen to you, trust you, and obey you.

Your dog deserves your good care and love. He wants to be a good dog, so enjoy the training process.

Happy dog obedience training in your home!

Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian nor do I have any formal training in any medical field. This article is not to replace the advice of your veterinarian. I am only providing options and ideas that you may want to discuss with your veterinarian.