Training Your Dog

Training Your Dog

Effective training is one of the best gifts you can give your dog. A well-trained dog is better company and is welcome more places than an untrained dog. A well-trained dog is also safer than an untrained dog. For example, the trained dog responds to the command "stop" when it's unsafe for him to cross the street. A trained dog is also a happier dog. To be happy, dogs need to know their role within the family structure. Training clarifies this. Begin training your dog as early as possible. Make the training sessions fun for both of you. And soon, you will have a well-mannered, safe dog who is a joy to be around.

  • If you train your dog properly, he'll understand his place within your family. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you begin training your dog to be a well-behaved member of the family:
    Obedience training is a must for pet owners with children of any age. Practice on-leash obedience training a minimum of three times a week. Before a new baby arrives, reestablish your dog's boundaries inside the house. Review the “sit/stay” and “down/stay” commands which are essential to controlling your dog. Teach the “leave it” command, and work on the long down/stay, as well. Verbal control of your dog is a must with small children in the house.
  • Crawling and toddling babies may awaken predatory behavior in pet dogs that have never before displayed any interest in hunting or intolerance of children. Parents should be watchful of crawling and walking babies around dogs. Keep your dog by your side in a sit/stay position while the baby moves about. Reward your dog's controlled response with caresses and calm words of praise.
  • Notice good behavior. When your dog is being calm, playing with his own toys, or is being very gentle with the children, recognize it and reward it with ample praise and food treats.
  • Don't give your dog toys that resemble your children's toys or clothing. Stay away from fabric stuffed dog toys that resemble your child's stuffed animals. Don't give your dog an old shoe or towel to chew on and then expect him to know the difference between his stuff and your stuff. Give your dog nylabones or rope toys instead.
  • Avoid giving your dog items he may protect. Items such as rawhide, pig's ears, smoked bones or real bones may become too valuable to your dog. So much so that he may feel he must protect them. Train your dog to allow things to be removed from his mouth by trading higher value treats for them. You must train your dog to allow this before your children ever attempt it.
  • Never hit, slap, yell, choke, shake or use a shock collar on your dog for misbehavior or for aggression. These methods are unsuitable and can be very dangerous. These methods also show your children how you resolve problems, and they may start to mimic them with your dog, putting themselves in grave danger. Consult a professional at once if your dog shows signs of aggression and keep the dog isolated from your children until the problem has been dealt with in a safe, humane way.

Good training plays a big role in ensuring a happy and successful relationship between you and your dog. Through training, your dog will learn to understand what his human companions expect of him and be better equipped to fit into his environment. On the other hand, the better you understand your dog's behavior, the more rewarding your relationship will be.

Although now domesticated, dogs of today still require a group or pack structure like their ancestors and wild relatives. Some dogs will naturally choose to follow, others will try to lead. However, in the canine-human pack it is essential that the dog understands that he is lower ranking than any human, including children. This understanding can be achieved through effective training.

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