It’s A Dog’s Life

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

There is a phrase used by people who have little in their lives but their work and commitments at home, with little scope for fun. “It’s a dog’s life”, people will sometimes mutter when the stream of demands on their time simply will not stop. They mean that it is tiring, unrewarding and punishing. And yet, if you look at the average dog, their life seems pretty sweet in comparison. Think about this; would you swap places with your dog? Most of us would probably say “yes”.

However there is, it must be said, something in that well-worn phrase which chimes with the dog-owners among us. A dog, after all, is rarely given the freedom to do absolutely what it wants. If a human being had to lead a dog’s life, the chances are that we wouldn’t do all that well at it. As humans, we can go and get a snack when we feel like it, our toilet is convenient and hygienic, and we can ask for things and be instantly understood. For a dog, things are generally at the mercy of their owners.

When you are training your dog, then, it is wise to cut it some slack. As far as it is concerned, you are exhibiting some very strange behavior that it will not understand initially, and if it is slow to respond then this can be understood. It is not a stupid dog for getting things wrong. In fact, by paying attention to you it is being very obedient.

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You Don’t Have To Be Cruel To Be Kind

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

There is a very commonly used phrase that most of us have heard and many have used, which goes as follows: “You have to be cruel to be kind”. Others among us will look at that phrase, or hear it said, and point out the inherent flaw in it. You do not have to be cruel to be kind. You have to be cruel to be cruel, and kind to be kind. In actual fact, cruelty and kindness are very rarely mutually applicable. Getting that straight will sort out a lot of problems, in life and when training your dog.

Now, certainly, there are times when you will need to be stern with your dog. Sometimes it will exhibit behaviors that you would really rather it did not. Some owners will tend towards the cruel side of things when punishing these behaviors, often punishing their dog with a physical blow. It should be recognised that punishing a dog consistently with physical reprimands will lead simply to either a hostile dog who will lash out without warning, or a lifeless dog which is scared to do anything for fear of reprisal.

There will be times when you need to reprimand your dog physically. A quick tap can often suffice when it is behaving in a threatening manner without good reason. Restraining it by the collar when it goes to attack a person or another animal is fine. But by beating your dog, all you are doing is removing the essential element of all pet-owner relationships – friendship.

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The Benefits Of Doing It Yourself

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

There are people, many of them, who make a living from training dogs. They will take your dog for a period of time each week and teach it commands, behaviors and tricks that will make you clasp your hands in joy, and yet the thing about this is that most people don’t want to do things that way. As much fun as it may be to inherit a dog who will behave like you’d always dreamed a dog could behave, it takes away something that should be there between humans and dogs – the connection that makes humans and dogs such great partners in crime (metaphorically).

It takes longer to train a dog if you have no experience of doing it, and this is why many people are prepared to part with hard-earned cash to allow a professional to train their pet. For some of us, this kind of expense is prohibitive, and for others it may be more than affordable but a needless waste. We want to train our dogs, ourselves, because they are ours. Where is the fun in leaving it to someone else?

There is also the fact that in training your dog, you build a bond with it. many dogs will react strongly to their masters’ voice, while not paying heed to the same commands from others. Although a professional dog trainer will take every care to ensure that your dog learns the command and not the voice, there is undeniably something important about being the one from whom your dog learns to sit, stay and roll over. It is the all-important connection.

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The Instinct Of A Dog – And How To Train It

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

Dogs are, in many ways, essentially simple animals. The typical pet dog will be free with its friendship if it is encouraged to do so. If it is left to its own devices and treated like a machine for entertainment, it will not be so keen to play favorites. Dogs respond to their pleasure stimulus more than anything, and it is by using this that you can train a happy, content dog while having a lot of fun yourself into the bargain. Go to a dog-friendly park anywhere in the country and you will see dogs responding to their pleasure instinct, and making their owners happy into the bargain.

One of the most simple commands, and a game that any dog will love to play, is “Fetch”. If you take your dog to a park where it can be let off its leash, take a ball with you and see the sheer joy that it gets when you sling the ball as far as you can and yell “fetch!”. It pins its ears back, and sets off in full flow, chasing down that ball, picking it up and bringing it back for another round. It does not question why you keep throwing the ball, but keeps bringing it back for another go – often waiting at your feet until you do.

This has a lot of applications in training a dog. It will be ready to learn from you if you are willing to give it the time and attention it wants. It will burn up a lot of excess energy which can make dogs lose concentration in training settings. It will also learn to respond to commands – although full marks go to you if you throw the ball, say “stay” and it does so. This can be considered something of a miracle.

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A Dog’s Faith And Loyalty Are Not Unquestioning

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

It is often said of dogs that they are the real “dumb animals” of the popular cliché. This is said unquestioningly, despite the fact that dogs can provide incredible help in terms of guiding the blind, finding drugs and explosives, and guarding their family in a way which is both touching and reassuring. However, a dog learns to do this by establishing a bond with its owner. If you are of a mind to train your dog, it is good to remember that a dog will be happy to learn from you just so long as you are ready to be a good owner to it.

The “dumb animal” jibe is often raised because dogs have a reputation for being loyal. But this bond between animal and owner is not arrived at immediately, and not immune to a dog’s emotions. If a dog is mistreated or neglected by its owner, that bond will either weaken or never form at all. A dog has a lot of loyalty to give – but it will not necessarily give that loyalty where it is not encouraged to do so.

You encourage a dog’s loyalty by rewarding it when it is good and by showing it understanding and friendship. It will not demand and insist on being given treats, but it will not be enthusiastic with its friendship to you if you punish it without measure or reason, or if you ignore it until it suits you not to. You can train your dog, but you need to love it if you want its attention.

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How Your Dog Will Communicate With You

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

So many people speak about their dogs in terms of how they wish they were. If you had a dollar for every time you had heard or said the words “If only he/she could talk, the stories we would hear…” you’d probably be a very rich dog owner. But if dogs could talk, would they be so special to us? The chances are that we would still adore them every bit as much as we do, but the fact remains that much of what we get from owning a dog comes from the interaction that we have because they cannot speak. It just means that we find other ways to communicate.

Dogs can tell you a lot with a look. If they are hungry, they will make it clear by very patiently following you and looking pointedly at where they know their food to be kept. They will then thank you for feeding them by wagging their tail and affectionately nuzzling you – which may or may not be welcome at the time depending on the ratio of dog slobber to the price of your outfit. But, in many ways, the truth is that your dog will train you to some extent while you are training it.

Dogs may not be able to talk, but they communicate a lot with their eyes, their tail and their body language. And of course, they will bark. We learn to read these barks. A short, sharp bark will often signify excitement. A deep, low growl will warn of danger or threat. For many owners, the inquisitive yip is the best of all – the dog wants to learn from you, and trusts you to teach it.

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What People Say About Dogs

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

Humans have a relationship with dogs going back many years. At one time, the dog’s main function for humans was to act as a hunting partner – the human tracking down prey with the help of the dog, then killing it and the dog retrieving it. over time, the emotional link between humans and dogs became more social, and has evolved to the point where we simply keep dogs as pets – our special friends who never become enemies due to a petty squabble. Humans have a lot to say about dogs, ad have said it in some wonderful ways.

Mabel Louise Robinson, a writer, once said that from a dog’s point of view, its master was “an elongated and abnormally cunning dog” – which sums up the pack mentality, as does Holbrook Jackson’s line that man is “a dog’s idea of what God should be”. Dogs are popular, in many cases, because they see humans as someone to look up to, and this kind of devotion is attractive to anyone. Dogs are unquestioning, as noted by the unknown author of the quote “one reason a dog is such comfort when you’re felling low is that he doesn’t attempt to find out why”.

There is a tendency among humans to refer to their dogs as being like another human being, but the author John Holmes feels that this is unfair to our four-legged friend. A dog, he said, is not almost human, “and I can find no greater insult to the canine race” than to describe it so. Dogs may well be easily pliable and respond well to training, but each has its own personality and mind. Do not try to train this out of your dog, as that is what makes them special.

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The Truth About Humans And Dogs

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

Although there is constant debate between people about which animal makes a better pet – cat or dog – it is the dog that has taken the title of “man’s best friend”. The major reason for this is that dogs are easier to train than cats, and are considered to be more easy-going than cats for pretty much this reason. It is far from impossible to train a cat – indeed, if you watch its behavior for some time you will see how they often train themselves. Dogs, however, are more likely to respond to a human’s command.

Part of the reason for this is that dogs are pack animals, and in every pack there is a leader to whom the other animals will look for examples on how to behave and for a command of some sort. When a dog is a domestic pet, the pack mentality does not disappear. Without a larger dog to respond to, the dog subconsciously elects you as the pack leader, and will look to you for guidance. This makes it easier to train a dog. It searches for some sort of validation through your response to it.

While some people prefer cats exactly because they are more independent and autonomous, the fact that humans are social animals means that dogs will feel more comfortable with them than will cats. As a consequence, there has for some time now been a strong link between humans and dogs which, in the main, we do not have with cats.

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Teaching Any Dog New Tricks

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

There are two distinct types of dog training. These are behavioral training, where you teach a dog to behave in the “right” way, and recreational training, where you teach a dog to perform certain actions which will impress or amuse other people and yourself. There are some who feel that this latter is not a reasonable way to do things – making a dog into a circus-style performer for your own pleasure – but as long as it is done in an affectionate way it can be good for you and for the dog.

Dogs are, generally, playful pets who will provide any owner with hours of fun simply by their presence and their general actions. The vitality of a well-fed, well-treated dog is a reflection on its owner. You can tell a happy dog from the way it carries itself around people, and most particularly its owner. A happy dog will be more likely to perform tricks. The most common of these tricks are ones like “playing dead”, “begging” and “shaking hands”.

To show a dog a new trick will often take time. It may be that you need to physically manipulate the dog by placing it in the position that the trick demands, and repeating a command. Sooner or later the dog will learn the link between command and action and, when it does, you should reward it with a treat. Before too long it will recognize the command and the action, and make the link to its reward. Then you will have taught your dog a new trick.

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How To Eliminate Bad Behavior In Your Dog

October 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Getting Ready to Train Your Dog

Dogs are like any other animal – including the human being – in that they will sometimes step over the line of bad behavior in the pursuit of enjoyment or comfort. If you are honest with yourself you must admit that there have been times when you did something wrong because the results of such action had benefits for you. Whether those benefits were active – you took something that was not yours and enjoyed using it – or passive, in that you did not do something because the alternative was preferable to you, you still transgressed.

Dogs are just the same. If a dog has gone to the toilet in the house, for example, it will have done so because it was easier than going outside. There may be many reasons why this was the case, but all the dog knows is that its action was what seemed like the right thing for it. This is not a mode of behavior you would wish to encourage, so you need to consider how to eliminate it in future. The best way of doing this may be to scold the dog sternly, or deprive it of its favorite toy – the important thing is to establish a link between action and outcome.

If a dog goes to the toilet in the house, there is little point in going to find the dog and handing out punishment there and then. The dog will not connect the punishment with the action. You need to establish this firm link by taking the dog to the scene of the action, and making clear your displeasure. Only then will the dog link cause and effect,

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