How to Keep Your Dog Training at Home Full of Fun

After your dog has completed his obedience training classes be sure to continue your dog training at home by developing a routine and keeping it fun. Regular training sessions reinforce what both you and your dog learned. Keeping it fun leads to big smiles and lots of tail wagging – a sure sign that you have a happy dog who is deeply bonded with you.

Look at your schedule to figure out the best time of day for you to set aside ten minutes for training. Your consistency is sure to be rewarded with quick results simply by focusing on your dog and his training on a daily basis, but this routine doesn’t have to be boring.

There are a number of ways to keep training fun and interesting. Remember, your dog doesn’t think, “Okay, time to train.” He decides only if it’s something he enjoys doing. If your dog enjoys the training sessions you can bet that he’s going to be eager to please and ready to participate in the entire process.

So, how do you keep your dog training at home fun? Think about what your dog likes. In general, most dogs like treats, they like to receive your praise, and they like it when you show affection. To keep your dog happy and willing to participate be sure to:

• Remain up-beat: Don’t let your frustration over a failed behavior color the entire training session.
• Talk to your dog: Speak to your dog in encouraging tones all throughout the training process to let him know you love him even if he isn’t perfectly obedient.
• Reward with a favorite game: Most people get stuck giving treat after treat after treat. No wonder training gets boring! Instead, reward your dog once or twice during your training session with a game that he loves to play.
• End on a positive note: Dogs have their off days just like people. Even if your dog isn’t responding to your commands like he usually does, look for a way to end the training session on a positive note.

Sticking to a routine doesn’t mean that your dog training at home has to be dull and boring. By talking to your dog in an encouraging tone, throwing in an occasional game as a reward, and ending each session on a positive note you’ll find that your training sessions are something both you and your dog look forward to.

Effective Dog Training Collars for Correction of Unwanted Behaviors

There are a number of dog training collars on the market today. Some are designed for firm correction of specific, unwanted behaviors; while others allow for amore moderate approach. It’s important to know which method of training you plan to use,as choosing the right collar will make a big difference in the success or failure of your dog training.

Being well informed of the different types of collars and their intended uses is an important part of the decision making process. Below you will find a list of some of the most popular collars available, along with a description of their design and intended use.

• Nylon Collars:This is probably one of the most widely used collars, possibly because it comes in a variety of colors and style-designs. Nylon collars also have either a clip or a buckle, making them very easy to put on. Best of all there are rings attached so that you can secure your dog’s licensing and vaccine tagsto the collar. Make sure though that the collar is fitted correctly – too tight and the dog could choke, too looseand he could escape unexpectedly. The nylon collar is limited in its training potential, which makes it a perfectchoice for the well behaved dog.
• Choke Chain:Created from a long chain with a metal ring attached at each end, the choke chain is designed to discourage undesirable behaviors such as pulling on the leash. It’s easy to put this collar on incorrectly, which could cause you to accidently choke your dog. Ask an experienced dog handler to show you the correct way to put on the choke chain and make sure that the fit is snug, but not tight.
• Prong Collar:This is one of many dog training collars available and it is sometimes referred to as a pinch collar due to the way it pinches the dog’s neck during training. The prong collar is made up of a series of blunt prongs which encircle the dogs neck and rest against its fur. When used for correction, or when the dog pulls against the leash, the collar constricts. This results in an uncomfortable pinching of the dog’s neck which encourages the dog to change its behavior.
• Electric Collars:Designed to correct undesirable behaviors, the electric collar is often used to prevent the dog from barking excessively barking or from escaping property boundaries by administering an unpleasant shock, sound or smell whenever the dog misbehaves.You can purchase an electric collar which is operated by you via remote control or one which administers the unpleasant discipline automatically. Electric collars are highly discouraged by most animal welfare agencies as they often create an insecure dog prone to erratic and dangerous behavior.

Take your time when choosing between the various dog training collars available as this singular piece of equipment holds the potential to profoundly impact both your training and the relationship between you and your dog. Being well informed will help you select a collar that enhances your training efforts.

What to Look for When Comparing Dog Training Schools

Dog training schools generally fall into one of two camps: positive reinforcement training or dominance training. The first approach is built upon a foundation of rewarding desired behaviorswith treats, praise and love; while the second approach is rooted in the false belief that you must establish yourself as the alpha-dog.

Goals: In order to find a good training program you must first decide what your goals are. For some, dropping their pup off with an experienced trainer is the ideal option; while others prefer to be fully involved in the training of their dog. Knowing what works best for you, your schedule and your desired level of commitment is a good place to start.

Temperament: It’s also important to consider the dog’s age and temperament when choosing between several good training programs. There are classes designed specifically for puppies, for older dogs and even for dogs who have been rescued. Look for a program that fits your dog and his unique needs.

Observation: Visit each of the dog training schools you’re considering and, if possible, sit in on a class. Observe the trainer and how he works with the dogs and their owners.Despite the popularity of TV shows featuring well-known trainers, the use of intimidation and punishment in training is abusive, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Ask: For this reason, one of the first things you should ask any trainer is, “What type of training methods do you find to be the most effective?” The answer to this question should give you a good idea of whether the trainer favors a positive approach or a dominant, alpha-dog approach.

Also, ask the trainer for referrals and call those who have taken classes from the schools you’re considering. Talking to past students may provide you with valuable information that could be useful when making your final decision.

Time: Remember that properly training a puppy, or re-training an older dog, requires time and patience. A positive, non-violent approach to training teaches you how to encourage good behavior in your dog in a loving way. It also protects your dog’s psychological health and guards against creating a fearful dog who is prone to biting, growling and other frightening behaviors.

Learning about the differences between dominance training and positive reinforcement training will help you choose between the various dog training schools in your area.Regardless of what form of training you favor, you will find that there are plenty of books, websites and other resources available to help you in continuing your dog training at home.

Clicker Dog Training Tips for Common Behavior Problems

Even dog training tips go through fads and the current fad within the world of obedience training is the use of the clicker; however this is one fad with real results that will stand the test of time if done properly. Let’s take a look at how the clicker can be used to effectively discourage unwanted behaviors.

Clickers, dog whistles and noise makers have been around for years, but the movement away from dominance training has led to a rise in the use of positive reinforcement training tools like the clicker. To use the clicker effectively, you must first train your dog to understand that the clicker sound means he will get a treat. This is referred to as “charging the clicker.”

To charge the clicker, gather 10 or 20 pea-sized treats. Then, face your dog, click and immediate give your dog a treat. Repeat this process until you are out of treats. Your dog will catch on quickly that the clicker means treats and he will be eager to get that treat.Let’s look at some clicker dog training tips for a behavior that many pet owners find irritating, like barking.

It’s important to recognize that barking, as well as other behaviors we humans find challenging, come naturally to dogs. They bark, chew, dig and smell one another’s hindquarters. So, before you can discourage unwanted behavior effectively, you have to figure out why the dog is doing the behavior in the first place. When a dog barks he is communicating in order to:

• Alert you
• Scare off something or someone he doesn’t like
• Get attention
• Entertain himself
• Express his boredom or frustration

For our example, let’s say your dog is barking to alert you that someone is walking past the house. You may consider this appropriate, but you want to train your dog to stop barking once you’ve been alerted.

According to Karen Pryor, as your dog is barking click and treat. Then, while the dog is eating the treat, throw your open palm up in front of his face like a big stop sign. Immediately click and treat. Then wait without moving for your dog to resume barking.

When you dog barks again, quickly click and treat, throw up the stop sign, and while he’s quietly eating, click and treat again. While your dog is still quiet say, “Bark.” When your dog barks, click and treat. Quickly repeat this process two dozen times or so.

There are a number of good books and videos available online to help you learn more clicker dog training tips. Informing yourself on how to use this positive reinforcement tool could be the single best thing you do in training your dog.

Basic Considerations When Choosing A New Puppy

Before actually adding a new puppy to your home you should consider what your expectations of dog ownership are. All dogs require love, food and shelter, but puppies need more commitment from their owners than adult dogs do. Puppies are more time demanding because they are essentially babies. They have to be taught how to behave appropriately and they go through various stages as they grow. Most puppies go through a chewing phase and at some points in growing up they are very energetic.

If there are children in the home even extra supervision will be required. This is to protect both the child and the puppy. Puppies love to play and their little teeth are very sharp. They can also easily scratch little ones with their claws during play.

Similarly, children are drawn to small animals. They are very likely to hold them and carry them around. Many puppies have been squeezed, dropped or stepped on and injured inadvertently by well intentioned children. Obviously you will have to be diligent in watching over the two when they’re together. Most breeders of small or toy breeds do not sale their puppies to homes with young children because of these risks. If you do have a child in your home insure that the puppy you add is one with a gentle disposition and loving personality.

Many people want a dog as a means of security or protection. They are looking for a sort of living alarm system, a dog that will bark when someone approaches the yard or the door. The good news is that almost any dog can fill this need. The fact is that even the bark of a toy poodle is usually effective in turning away an intruder.

Of course some people want to go a step farther with that concept and have a dog that presents the physical appearance of a watch dog. In this case people often choose larger breeds such as Doberman Pinchers or even Boxers. Most dogs are protective of their owners and their territory without having any specialized training. The sheer size and appearance of larger dogs is a deterrent to most would be intruders.

Dogs are naturally pack animals which makes them a social animal. They love their human family and want to be a part of it. Dogs make excellent companions. Dogs should be included as a part of the family whenever possible. They truly need the interaction and love of their family.

Dogs should not spend their time all alone, living in the back yard. This is especially true of puppies. The younger the pup the more supervision and regular training he needs. Socialization is important for all dogs. In fact, it is the secret to a well behaved dog.

Before you add a new puppy to your home it is important to take the time to consider what type of dog will best suit your lifestyle. If you are the type of person that enjoys sports and the outdoors then an energetic dog may be perfect for you. If you spend a lot of time at the computer you may prefer a small lap dog. And if you live in the city you may want to consider a small dog that does not require a deal of space.

Dental Care For Your Dog

Our furry little friends are likely to develop dental disease if their dental needs are ignored. Periodontal disease is not uncommon among dogs, particularly small dog breeds. And just like with humans, these problems can result in bad breath, yellowed teeth, and in the worst of cases, even progress to loss of teeth.

The development of such problems usually begins with such signs as swollen, red, and painful gums. Your pet may have less of an appetite as well. These signs indicate a need for immediate professional care.

Tooth decay and/or the loss of teeth usually indicate the presence of bacteria in the mouth. If left untreated the damage can progress from only involving the mouth to further damage that can include serious complications related to the kidneys, lungs, and heart, all of which can lead to a shortened lifespan. Periodontal problems usually start with the formation of plague.

Plaque builds on the teeth and in thirty-six hours or less, plaque can harden and tartar can form. This problem usually develops first and the worst in the upper back teeth. Unfortunately, once tartar has formed, it cannot be brushed away.

The good news is that these problems can be avoided. Although healthy routines can be started with any dog at any age, it is always best to start healthy routines with a young puppy. If the dog is older you should insure that he has a professional dental cleaning and then begin the healthy dental routine at home.

If you have a regular routine of brushing your dog’s teeth on a daily basis you can avoid most of these problems. The routine should be established while the dog is young if at all possible. He will then accept the brushing as part of his regular care.

At first the dog will wonder what you are doing so it is best to allow him to taste the doggie toothpaste. These special pastes are formulated to be appealing to dogs. You can use your finger or a special dog toothbrush. Don’t forget to clean both the teeth and the gums. Begin in the back and work in small circular motions. The entire brushing process will take less than a minute.

Providing such things as chew treats, hard dog biscuits and bones, and even soft toys for your pet can help to prevent dental problems. Besides keeping the teeth strong and healthy many of the items are specially formulated to freshen the breath. Feeding crunchy food items on a regular basis is another way to keep your pet’s teeth healthier. Another tip is that while warming your dog’s food will often make it more appealing it is important to insure that the food is only slightly warm and never hot. On the flip side, dogs should not be served cold food.

Dog Crates: Indoor Dog Dens

Many dog owners wonder what dog supplies are important to have for their little friends. While they know they need to provide food, shelter, and toys, there are often questions regarding the use of dog crates. The questions are usually related to house training.

First we need to discuss how dog crates can compare to dog dens. In the wild dogs have dens as their homes. This could be a cave, an area under fallen a log, or even under an out building. These dens provide the dogs with a certain amount of shelter and protection. The dens make them feel safe.

Essentially, the dogs will use their dens as a place to sleep and relax. They strive to keep the area clean. In other words they do not urinate or defecate inside the den.

Dogs living in the home also look for a place to serve as a den. They may choose to use a spot behind or under a piece of furniture. But if a dog crate is provided they are very likely to accept that as the den – that is, if the dog crate is used correctly.

Dog crates should never be used as a place of punishment. Instead they should be the dog’s safe place – the place they go for comfort. Be sure that the crate is large enough to be comfortable for your pet. You can help create that feeling of reassurance by adding a soft blanket or other bedding material for your furry little friend. It’s also a good idea to keep a favorite toy in the crate.

The idea is to make the time in the crate enjoyable. This even includes when you are using a crate as a housebreaking aid. The reason crates are helpful in this training task is that you can keep your puppy (or dog) confined for a period of time without making a mess of the crate. Remember, the dog will accept the crate as his den and he wants to keep his den clean.

Keep in mind that puppies need to relieve themselves very often. You can expect the need immediately after waking up, after eating or drinking, after playing or other exercise, and sometimes in between. Of course you should not keep your puppy in the crate all the time. The crate should be used when you are not available to watch over your puppy.
However, it is best to allow the puppy to be in a confined area with you whenever possible. If you must be gone for long periods of time you may want to invest in a dog play pen. These pens offer a larger area but still provide a safe and confined place for the puppy to stay while you are gone.

Housebreaking Your Dog In Four Simple Steps

Ask any dog owner what is the most important thing that their new dog learns and 9 out of 10 will say that they want their dog to be house trained. The problem is that there are more dogs that are not housebroken than are. The reason for that is because many dog owners are not patient enough to train their dogs, so they give up.

Dogs actually do want to please their owners. They are pack animals and because you are the one that provides food and shelter you are the alpha dog; you are the pack leader. But you have to think like a dog and work with them. Housebreaking can be done in four simple steps as follows:

1) Restrict the area that your dog is allowed to freely roam in. This should be no more than the area that you can keep watch over. By limiting the area to what you can supervise you will be able to closely monitor your dog.

2) Be diligent about taking your dog out as you should. Puppies will need to go out more often than older dogs. Always be ready to immediately take the pet outdoors when he wakes up. This is a time that you count on that he will look for a spot to ‘go’. Dogs also ‘go’ after eating, drinking, and exercise. Once again, older dogs can wait much longer than puppies.

3) When you take the dog out be sure to say whatever word or phrase you want him to associate with the deed. Just keep in mind that you may be saying this in public at some point in time so make it something that is not embarrassing. Taking your dog to the same place each time helps him to associate the spot with the deed. Do not play with your dog during these trips outdoors. He needs to understand that the trip has a purpose. When he finishes you should lavish praise on him, let him know he did good.

4) Repeat until your dog gets the idea and begins signaling to you that he needs to go out. If your dog makes a mess indoors it means that you were not monitoring as closely as you should have been. Never punish your dog for accidents. Simply continue with the training and expect that there will be a few accidents along the way. Some dogs continue to have occasional accidents but others will do anything not to ‘go’ indoors.

Many small breed owners find that the use of puppy pads works for their dogs. Rather than taking their little dog out the dog simply messes on the pad and it is disposed of. This also works for dogs that are left alone for long periods of time.

How Important Is Your Dog’s Name?

When you get a new puppy you of course have to name him or her. If the puppy is registered you will need a name for the official registration papers as well as a call name. Both names are important, but in different ways.

The registered name often begins with the name of the kennel that the dog came from. This is also a part of his show name. All registered names must be original. Although these names have a rather fancy sound to them, when you understand more about how they are given they are actually fun.

Besides the kennel name the registered names can include the name of the dam and or the sire. Any combination of ancestors along with a theme is very common. However, AKC limits the name to thirty-six characters in length, including spaces, so if the names are long it can certainly present a problem. For an extra fee the length can be extended up to fifty characters.

Registered names often have no relationship whatsoever with the call name. Call names should be rather short; two to three syllables is the recommended length. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have more than one dog the names should be different enough that the dogs can easily distinguish them. For example, naming one dog Holly and another one Molly would not be a good idea.

Many people choose to name their dogs right away; in fact, they may even have the name picked out before they ever see the dog. Other people want to keep the dog a wait or two before naming him so that they can choose a name that matches the dog’s personality. And still others prefer a name that describes the dog’s physical appearance to some degree, such as naming a big dog Bruno or a Black dog Blackie.

Originality is nice but when it comes to dogs, just like people’s names, there are certain names that are all time favorites for particular breeds or dog stereotypes. And just as with human names, dog names sometimes become popular because of a TV show, a song, an actor, a movie, a rock band, etc. Since dogs can live to be up to twenty years or longer it is suggested that the name be one that is somewhat evergreen; simply meaning that the name will have significance in the years to come, even if the namesake doesn’t.

Once you have decided on a name you should begin using it as much as possible. The goal is to find ways to get your dog to associate the name with a meaning. By using his name regularly he will quickly pick up on the fact that the name refers to him.

Preparations before Bringing Your Puppy Home

After what seems like a long wait you are finally ready to get your new puppy. Preparing for a new puppy is exciting, after all, you are adding to your family. And just like preparing for a human baby, you need to be ready for this little fur-baby.

Planning ahead will make the move to your home easier for the puppy and for you. One of the first things you will want to do is have the puppy checked out by a veterinarian. It’s a good idea to know in advance, what veterinarian you plan to take your puppy to. Some veterinarians will do this first check for free. It is simply to confirm that your puppy is healthy and that the vaccinations are on track. This also gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have at that time.

Most breeders will provide a puppy packet which usually includes a sampling of the food the pup is used to and a toy and/or blanket that has been used by the momma dog and the litter mates. The scent on these items is comforting to the puppy. Some breeders also include booklets of information related to the care of the puppy.

Your puppy will need a safe environment. He will be curious and he is likely to chew on any and every thing. It is your responsibility to see that he is kept in an area that is safe. A puppy play pen works well for this. These are flexible in shape and even in size. They are large enough to have a place for a bed, a place for food and water, a play area, and a place for the puppy pad. Many people find that dog crates can come in handy at times.

Because your puppy will want to be with you as much as possible you will probably find it convenient to have at least two or three dog beds for him. Put these in strategic places that you spend a lot of time, spots that will be close to you.

Grooming supplies are essential. At minimum you will need a dog shampoo and a brush. But keep in mind that dogs do not need bathes as often as humans; in fact, you should not bath your dog more than one time per week unless it is absolutely necessary.

Every puppy needs toys. You can make your own with pieces of rope, old toys, or even an old sock with a tennis ball in it. Or you can buy actual dog toys such as the squeaky toys or stuffed animals made especially for dogs. As long as you provide all the essentials, including food, water, playtime and love, your puppy will be happy.