Dog Training & Behavior
Why train your dog?
You could be on t.v.! You'll have a more enjoyable companion. Lack of training is the main cause of behavior problems in dogs. It may even save your dog's life! There are many effective ways to train a dog. The important thing is that you DO IT! Let CARE help! These resources are provided to help you improve your relationship with your dog. There is no substitute for obedience classes with a qualified trainer, but we hope you will find the information provided useful.
What every dog needs to know
Who's the boss? Do you set the rules of the household, or does your dog set them? Dogs are just like children in this regard. They need rules to help them feel secure. If you don't set them, they will. And, if they set them, they'll set them to suit themselves! If you want to make sure you like the rules, set them yourself. Setting your rules also keeps them safe and help them be good canine citizens.
You teach your dog that you are in charge in much the same way that you teach your children to obey you. It's starts with establishing a relationship of love and trust. Then, you set CLEAR rules. The rules are enforced CONSISTENTLY, FIRMLY, and FAIRLY. Finally, lead by example.
Part of leading by example is not being aggressive with your dog. Just as children do not follow the idiom 'do as I say and not as I do', neither do dogs. If you are aggressive with them, they may learn by your example and use aggression to get others to do what they want. Never strike your dog or "alpha roll" her. From the dog's point of view, these are acts of aggression! There are much more effective and non-confrontational ways to help your dog understand that you are the head honcho. Most importantly, these methods do not compromise your relationship with your dog. Firm, not harsh!
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower
Nothing in Life is Free
If your dog is part of your family, what relative is he? More than any other solution one applies to address their dog's behavioral issues, none is more important than establishing a relationship. Without a relationship, methods and training tricks will only get you so far. Your dog needs to know that you are someone worth following. The ultimate responsibility of leadership is making sure that your dog trusts that you have her best interest at heart and will keep her safe. A wonderful book that will help you to better understand your dog, see things from her point of view, and enhance your relationship in the process is (If a Dog's Prayers Were Answered) Bones Would Rain From the Sky by Suzanne Clothier. We cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Establishing a Relationship
Relationship based training focuses on establishing a bond and a spirit of cooperation between human and dog. If the dog has behavior problems, the relationship is key to solving them.
Every dog needs to know basic obedience so that you can communicate exactly what you want them to do in certain situations. It is much easier to tell your dog what to do than it is to tell her what not to do. If you're waiting in the lobby at the Vet's office, "Sit" is a clearer command than "Don't stick your nose in that man's crotch". It's also much easier to be able to ask your dog to do something than it is to have to rely on physically controlling her, especially if she is a large dog. Why wrestle your dog into a down when you can just ask her to do it?
Loose Leash Walking
Every dog needs to know their manners in order to be a good companion. Nobody likes to live with an inconsiderate roommate! Dogs can learn good manners just like children. What is considered polite is individual to the person, but some things are universal.
Excuse Me! - Rather than step over dogs while you're trying to put away laundry, ask them to get out of the way.
Off! - There's nothing like cuddling on the couch with your dog while you watch Wheel of Fortune. But, dogs should give up their spot when you ask.
Jumping up - Unless you want to be a hermit, this is essential to ensure your friends and family still want to come and visit you.
Wait - Dogs get so excited about life. A large dog can take down a grown man in their fervor to get outside RIGHT NOW whenever the door is opened. Teach them to rein in a bit and wait for your go ahead before flying out the door.
Table Manners - Dogs are master manipulators. Don't let them charm you out of your meal.
Dealing With Problem Behavior
When good dogs go bad...