Dog Training Tips



Even if you have never owned a dog before, training is not difficult, and there are plenty of people to whom you can turn for advice. Dog training clubs arc run in many major towns and cities, and you can enroll for a suitable course for a small fee. One of the good things about such clubs is that they offer a range of courses, so that, having mastered the basics, you can progress to a more advanced level. Ultimately you may be able to take part in national obedience competitions.
To find the address of the secretary of your nearest club, ask at your library or contact a vet, as they generally will have this information available. If you encounter a specific behavioral problem later, it may also be worth discussing this with your vet in case a medical condition could be responsible, and treatment can be provided. The distressing condition of coprophagy, when the dog consumes its excrement, is just such a case.
Canine behavioral problems are well recognized, and a specialist in this field may also be able to help you with a specific concern.
If your vet recommends contacting such a specialist, you may well be in a position to recover the cost from a pet health insurance depending on the wording of the policy.
You can also turn to a professional dog trainer, who will take your dog and train it fo you. Unfortunately, this is not always as successful as it might be, largely because your dog comes to relate to the trainer’s commands, and so then proves more reluctant to follow your instructions. Some trainers offer residential courses, however, where you can enjoy a holiday at the same time as training your dog under expert guidance.
As well as general dog instruction, specialist courses may be available for training gundogs. Training classes are a good way to meet other dog owners in your area, and develop new friendships. All types of dogs are usually welcomed. Training reinforces the bond between dog and owner. Here as part of an agility routine, a dog is being coaxed over an obstacle by its owner. In time, it will learn to do this by itself, without wearing a leash.

Putting on a Choke Chain

The use of a choke chain for training purpose is s not favored by all trainers, but provided that it is fitted correctly then it should not injure the puppy, and can prove useful in ensuring that it learns to walk properly on the leash. Remove the normal collar before fitting the choke chain, so that they cannot become tangled together. The chain itself must fit properly, because otherwise it may injure the dog’s throat.
Start by measuring in a rough circle around the dog’s throat and up over the ears, and then add a further 5 cm (2 in) to this figure. This is the approximate length of choke chain which will be required. It is a good idea to choose a chain with broad links, as these are less likely to cause injury.
Always ensure that the choke chain is positioned correctly. Begin by removing the existing collar, and place the chain over the head in such a way that it will slacken off when the pressure on the attached leash is slackened. If you are in doubt, keeping the puppy on your left side, and facing forwards, loop one end of the chain through the other, so as to form a circle. Then place this over the dog’s head before attaching the leash to the upper free ring.
So you can be certain that you have fitted the choke chain correctly tighten your grip on the leash slightly, and then relax it. This should cause the chain to tighten and slacken in turn, but if it remains tight, clearly it is the wrong
way round. Under these circumstances, the chain may cause bruising, and can even result in damage to the nerves unless adjusted.



The Time Needed for Dog Training

Although you will not be able to take your puppy out at once, there are many things which you can do to form a close bond between you and your new pet. But, if possible, try to involve other members of the family in the puppy’s care as well, so that it integrates fully and does not develop into a ‘one person’ dog.
Set aside regular periods each day to spend time with your puppy, playing with it, grooming it and starting to familiarize it with its collar and lead, and other equipment. Develop a strict feeding routine from the outset following the guidelines which the puppy has previously been used to before you acquired it. This will help it to settle in well.
You may have to be firm at times during these early days, especially at night. It is likely to be the first occasion that the puppy has been left on its own, away from its mother and littermates, and as a result, once you have gone to bed, it may well feel disturbed, and start to howl.
Although the first instinct is always to take the puppy to your bedroom, this is really not to be recommended. Otherwise it will be even more distressing for the dog to be ejected from your room at a later stage, when it is older. While it may be fine to have a small puppy sharing your bed, you will face a battle to remain in place if you are fighting for space, with a large adult Irish Wolfhound. It is also harder to house-train a puppy under these circumstances. If the carpet in the bedroom is soiled, this will be more difficult to clear up and so the puppy is more likely to foul here again.
Provide a simple bed in the kitchen, such as a cardboard box with one side cut down, to give easy access, and line this with old newspaper, putting a blanket on top. Try to settle the puppy down here before going to bed. Although it may cry for a short time, it should settle down and sleep before long. Playing with a puppy for a period beforehand often helps to make it want to sleep at night.

While you may be tempted to go back to your new pet if it does cry repeatedly, try to avoid this temptation. Otherwise you are likely to find that your puppy will continue in this manner so as to attract your attention. If you can be firm the situation will normally resolve itself within a couple of nights or so, and the puppy will sleep peacefully.
A wide variety of toys are available to amuse your puppy. If you choose a ball, however, be sure that it is large enough so that it cannot be swallowed. Retrievers are particularly keen to play with this type of toy, while all puppies like to have something to chew, especially when they are teething. Toys are beneficial in establishing the bond between you and the dog from an early stage. Encourage the puppy to allow you to have the toy on occasions right from the outset so that it does not become unduly possessive in later life, as this can lead to aggressive behavior.
One thing which will prove very disconcerting for a young puppy is to be left on its own in kennels after being in a home for just a few weeks. So avoid taking a vacation soon after you have acquired a puppy, especially if it means that you will need to place it in kennels.
If you do need to travel in an emergency, perhaps other members of the family will be able to cover for you, or failing this you may have a friend or neighbor who will be able to take the puppy into their home until you return. This will allow it to continue being part of a household, rather than being confined on its own in kennels.
Similarly, the Christmas period is usually not a good time to start with a puppy because your home is likely to be in turmoil, and you may have visitors. You will therefore have less time to spend with the puppy during this crucial early settling-in phase.
The ideal time to start with a new dog is in the spring when the weather is likely to be improving, and with the summer months ahead, it will be a good time to start exercising
and training your dog outside.

Dog Training Difficulties

In spite of all your endeavors, there may be times when you encounter difficulties in the training process. Bear in mind that all dogs are individuals, and just because a previous dog learnt a command quickly, this does not mean that every individual has the same capacity. Certain dogs do appear to be more receptive than others.
One of the advantages of attending training classes is that here you will be able to discuss your particular problems with an instructor in an atmosphere which is familiar to the dog. As a result, the cause of your concern may be more easily identified. It might be a failure on your part to adopt a consistent approach to training which is confusing the dog. In some instances, however, there could well be an underlying medical problem, which requires veterinary treatment. This is especially likely in cases where the dog is soiling its quarters, or showing signs of abnormal sexual behavior, such as mounting your leg or that of visitors when they are sitting down.
Effective treatment obviously depends on isolating the cause, and if necessary your vet may recommend that in a particular instance a dog may benefit from assessment by an animal psychologist, specializing in behavioral problems. While general training serves to socialize the dog within the home and the community, there may be deviations from the usual pattern which can be rectified in this way. Most canine health insurance policies will actively appear to enjoy a visit to the vet, but conversely, even fewer normally become aggressive on routine visits if they are not in pain. When a dog does start to show signs of becoming difficult about a visit to the
surgery, you may want to arrange with your vet simply to walk up to the waiting room, pause here for a few moments and then return home. Encourage the dog, giving plenty of praise at all stages. Once it realizes that going to the vet is not always an unpleasant experience, then its fear of this situation should be significantly reduced, and subsequently it should be easier for the dog to be examined without difficulty.
Displays of aggression are the most serious behavioral problem, both for the owner and others who come into contact with the dog. Never underestimate a dog’s capability to inflict injury. Many people bear permanent scars from such encounters. You can, of course, invest in a stout muzzle, but this provides no real answer to this vice, since the dog will continue biting if it is given the opportunity.
There is no doubt that some dogs are naturally more aggressive than others, which is a reflection of their breeding. This is why breeds such as the Rottweiler and Doberman
need firm training right from the start, before they have a chance to challenge your authority. Male dogs tend to be worse in this respect than bitches, because they are naturally more dominant within a pack.
Aggression is not just confined to the larger breeds however, but can also be noted in the case of small dogs. Corrective measures are easier in this instance because of their size. You can pick up the dog and shake it, or pull on the scruff of its neck as happens when there is a clash over dominancy in the pack situation. Actually hitting a dog under these circumstances is likely to be counterproductive, however, as the dog may feel forced to challenge you again.
An animal behavior can be of great value in cases of this type, helping you to reassert your dominance. A dog will generally give an indication of its intention to bite, by growling and curling its lips first. This is the stage to take decisive action, because by ignoring this threat gesture, you are merely acquiescing to the dog’s challenge, and adopting a subordinate position. An effective way of dealing with this situation is to make the dog lie down, having first scruffed it by shaking its neck. A dog in this posture is subservient.
There may be specific events which promote aggressive displays in your dog, and such occurrences should be examined carefully. It may be grooming which triggers an outburst of this type. Under these circumstances, stop grooming the dog as normal, but instead switch this to a new locality. This places the dog at a disadvantage, arid you cart Men regain the Initiative and assert your dominance.
As has been mentioned previously, dogs which have been mistreated and passed through a number of other homes can present a dog that is fearful, rather than being raised as in the case of a dominant gesture. Again, however, it is important to try to establish the cause of the condition, which is most common in the case of dogs which have not been properly socialized early in life. Alternatively, they may have been mistreated, and so only respond to that particular stimulus. This can explain why some dogs dislike an owner of one sex, or children, whom it associates with previous maltreatment.
Objects such as a shoe or slipper can also evoke this response if the dog was hit in the past. It is a sad fact that a number of adult dogs obtained from rescue organizations are returned because of this type of problem, which is not likely to be apparent when the dog is chosen. However, since this is a learnt response, conditioned by the object concerned, unlike dominance aggression it may be possible to ameliorate the dog’s fear, although this will require time and patience on your part. You need to identify what precisely is upsetting the dog– is it all shoes, for example, or simply a particular type or color? You can then plan to accustom the dog to the stimulus without conflict. If you encounter difficulties in this respect, do not hesitate to seek the advice of an animal behaviorist, since individual cases may benefit immensely from specific advice.
The general procedure, however, is to work with the dog over a period of time, ensuring a non-conflict situation so as to overcome its fears. The dog will associate the slipper with the pain of being beaten. You must be prepared to offer plenty of reassurance, therefore. at all stages in the process.
Start by wearing the slipper for periods, and ignore the dog at this stage. When you change your shoes, you should call the dog to you and then offer plenty of encouragement. This will serve to distract its attention from the slippers, which can be left around the home. Be careful not to lift the slippers off the ground when you put them on, however, as this is likely to cause the dog to become aggressive, especially if it is effectively cornered in the room with you. Instead, simply slip off your shoes and slide your feet into the slippers. Again, you should ignore the dog, changing shoes without looking at it, by turning your back at this stage. This will minimize the
perceived risk of conflict.
You should also call the dog to you when you are wearing the slippers and, assuming that it comes readily to you, make a fuss of it. Then when you are ready to take the dog out for a walk, you should again repeat the process, but now also change out of your slippers into shoes. Assuming that the dog remains with you, do not forget to give it plenty of encouragement again, as you attach the leash to its collar. In time the dog should come to accept your slippers without viewing them as a potential threat.
Similar routines can be developed in the case of other fears which dogs may acquire that lead to aggressive behavior. Some individuals become excessively nervous about visiting the vet, for example, and it is a good idea to begin visits early in the dog’s life. Puppies are naturally curious, and will not be afraid of visiting a vet, unlike an older dog. Taking them to the surgery for routine checks ensures that they should not associate this with unpleasant stimuli. Dogs are sensitive creatures, and they can detect your fear, if you are worried about the trip. In severe cases, they may respond by shaking and urinating uncontrollably when they come near the surgery. Then when the vet starts the examination the dog will become highly aggressive. Although it is possible to administer a sedative under these circumstances this is obviously not desirable for routine visits when the dog is not experiencing any pain.
Vaccines can usually be administered subcutaneously, that is, under the dog’s skin, at the hind neck. This causes no discernible pain in the vast majority of cases. Indeed, the dog is often totally unaware of the vaccination. Injections into, say, the muscle of the hind leg are more painful, but if you hold the dog as directed, offering plenty of reassurance, then no long-term behavioral problem should take hold as a result and the experience should be rapidly forgotten.
It is important to select a vet in whom you have confidence however, because if you are nervous and worried these sensations will be transmitted to the dog. In turn, it may well attempt to bite, and will then have to be restrained more firmly, perhaps by being muzzled. This may lead to problems in the future as a consequence. If your dog is somewhat possessive, it may be best if you leave the room while it is being examined. Discuss this with the vet beforehand so that a member of the staff can restrain the dog.
Few dogs actively appear to enjoy a visit to the vet, but conversely, even fewer normally become aggressive on routine visits if they are not in pain. When a dog does start to show signs of becoming difficult about a visit to the surgery, you may want to arrange with your vet simply to walk up to the waiting room, pause here for a few moments and then return home. Encourage the dog, giving plenty of praise at all stages. Once it realizes that going to the vet is not always an unpleasant experience, then its fear of this situation should be significantly reduced, and subsequently it should be easier for the dog to be examined without difficulty.
Some puppies, particularly around the time of teething, will start to play with your hand in their mouth. They may not bite as such but simply close their jaws around your hand for a few moments. This needs to be dealt with firmly however, before it escalates and leads to serious injury. Unfortunately, the action of pulling your hand away is likely to cause the dog to snap at you, in a bid to restrain your hand. Similarly, tapping the dog firmly on the nose may also persuade it that this is a game, and it will continue with such behavior. Instead, you should respond by making the dog lie down, saying ‘no’ in a harsh voice and then ignoring it for a period, thus breaking off the game. The dog will soon learn that this behavior is unacceptable.
An adult male dog which tends to stray repeatedly and also soils indoors can present a major problem. There is always a risk that it will become involved in a road accident, and persistent soiling around the house will damage the furnishings. Speak to your vet about castrating the dog since the problems in this case are likely to be resulting from an excess of sexual libido.
Neutering reduces the incidence of straying in about 90 per cent of male dogs, and lowers the risk of soiling by decreasing the dog’s sex drive. The operation described as castration is relatively simple, even in an older dog, because the incision is made in the testes, and there is no need to open the body cavity itself. Since the testes are removed, however, the dog will no longer be of value for breeding purposes.
For certain veterinary operation itself may not be procedures, it may be less painful. Here a vet is removing
disturbing for your pet to be an accumulation of tartar from a sedated, even though the dog’s teeth.
The dog will soon learn that this behavior is unacceptable.
An adult male dog which tends to stray repeatedly and also soils indoors can present a major problem. There is always a risk that it will become involved in a road accident, and persistent soiling around the house will damage the furnishings. Speak to your vet about castrating the dog since the problems in this case are likely to be resulting from an excess of sexual libido.
Neutering reduces the incidence of straying in about 90 per cent of male dogs, and lowers the risk of soiling by decreasing the dog’s sex drive. The operation described as

There is plenty to interest a young puppy when it is out for a walk, but beware of hidden dangers. Rusty wire and broken bottles are obvious dangers, but snake bites are also a threat, and it is quite common for puppies to be stung by bees and wasps. They snap at the insect and catch it in their mouths while 0t is resting on a flower. Emergency first-aid may be required, as the tongue can swell up dramatically. Keep the tongue well forward, so that the entrance to the airways is not blocked.
Few dogs castration is relatively simple, even in an older dog, because the incision is made in the testes, and there is no need to open the body cavity itself. Since the testes are removed, however, the dog will no longer be of value for breeding purposes.



Vacation Time

Kennels usually have an indoor sleeping area, which is heated, and outdoor runs. If you plan to go abroad, then clearly you will need to make arrangements for someone else to look after your dog while you are away from home. The ideal option is to have a friend or neighbor who is prepared to take your dog into their home for the duration. Here the dog will have the benefit of family companionship, but it is best to advise the person concerned not to let your pet off the leash when taking it for a walk outside. The dog might not respond readily to their commands, and may simply head off into the distance, possibly looking for you if the territory is familiar.
The other option to consider will be boarding kennels. Try to obtain recommendations for a good kennel in your area, either from breeders or possibly your vet. Then arrange to visit the kennels before making a definite booking, so that you can satisfy yourself with the standard of care. The runs should be clean, there should be an escape-proof entry system and the dogs themselves should look reasonably happy and contented. Do not be put off if some are howling. This is sometimes quite usual, especially if the dog concerned has just been left.
It is important to book as early as possible, since kennels fill up quickly at peak times, with customers booking from one year to the next. If you have trouble obtaining a reservation at a particular kennel, you can consider it a good sign. Ask whether you should take any items for your dog, such as a favorite sleeping blanket or toy. If you are going abroad for an extended period, the other option is to take your dog with you. This depends largely on the quarantine situation. Whatever arrangements you make, however, you must ensure that the dog’s inoculations are up to date. Kennels invariably require sight of a vaccination certificate signed by your veterinarian.