Training A Puppy
A well-trained dog is the most desirable kind of dog to own. Some people take an older dog that is already trained although most people find puppies irresistible. Puppies are like new born babies and they know nothing except the bare essentials, how to eat, sleep, and play. Most owners want their dogs to be able to heel, sit, stay, come on command and, most importantly, to be potty trained. This is not an easy task to accomplish, but with much time and effort spent on the training these goals can be achieved. Training a puppy to obey is a long process which requires lots of patience. Heeling is important if you want to be able to walk your dog in public with ease. To begin to train your dog to heel, you as the owner, must know the proper way to hold the leash and the proper stance. Place the loop of the leash over your right thumb. Gather half of the leash into your right hand and use your left hand to make corrections. The dog must always remain in proper heel position, with his collar in line with your left hip. He should remain in this position whether you are walking, running, or standing still. He should be close to your left leg but not against it. Next, look at your dog and tell him, "(Dog's name), HEEL." If the dog does not follow, give him a quick pop on the leash and repeat the command "HEEL." Praise the dog as soon as he responds to the correction and is back in the heel position. In the book, "Dog Training My Way," by Barbara Woodhouse she wrote, "Always tell him 'Heel' when you correct him during heeling and remember to PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE when you correct!" If the dog does not comply with your commands never hit, or beat the dog. Simply make the corrections and praise the dog. Woodhouse also wrote, "The next type of owner gives a sound thrashing for whatever wrong the dog has done, believing the theory that 'the more you beat them the better they be.' This just gets a dog muddled and very unhappy. Some dogs cringe and show every kind of allegiance to this kind of behavior." Training a dog to heel takes at least an hour of practice daily for at least two months. You must be very patient, praising the dog frequently. Training your dog to sit and stay requires much time and attention. To begin, have the dog sit in the heeling position, give him a firm hand signal and tell him to "STAY." Now step directly in front of him, no farther than two feet away, and turn to face him. Keep the leash loose and directly above the dog's head so you can firmly correct him if he moves at all. You need to always watch his head because it acts as an indicator; the minute the head starts to drop, you know he is either going to get up or lie down, so correct him immediately and tell him "STAY." Remember the key to this is immediate correction. Do not accept compromises. You as the trainer must be on your toes. The most important rule of training your dog to "come" is to always use a cheerful tone in you voice. Dogs can sense anger, and as a result, will run in the opposite direction. Begin this training as part of the heeling exercise. While you are heeling forward with your dog, suddenly stop, back up and command, "(Dog's name) COME." According to Dorothy Broderick, who wrote "Training A Companion Dog," "This exercise is designed to teach your dog to react to a command to 'come' while he is trotting away from you." As he learns what "COME" means, give one command only, followed by a snap of the leash if he does not respond. Remember to use a cheerful tone, no matter how frustrated you get and give the dog lost of praise as he comes towards you. The most challenging part of training a dog is potty training it. No one wants their house ruined by dogs depositing waste all over. No one likes cleaning up the messes around the house, either. To get control over this situation, you must begin the training immediately. The day you bring home the puppy is the day the training begins. Feed the puppy at regular intervals. Always put your puppy outside immediately after a meal and give it the command "HURRY UP." You may choose to use another phase just so long as in the future your puppy is going to connect those words with his future obligations. Whenever the puppy wakes up from a sleep, you again must immediately take him outside and repeat the command. To control accidents in the night, make sure the puppy is warm while sleeping. Everytime the puppy deposits waste outside on command, be sure to give much praise. If the puppy should have an accident on the floor, do not rub its nose in it, simply scold it with a low voice and then take it to its usual spot and praise the puppy. This is a long process that the owner must stay on top of at all times. You can't let one accident slide and then scold the puppy for the next one. It is very repetitive and up to the owner to accomplish. Many long hours and hard work go into training your puppy to become that perfectly obedient dog. As Barbara Woodhouse says, "A well-trained dog is worth its weight in gold; it is up to you to see you are a well-trained owner." Patience is the key to training an obedient dog.