How to train your dog

Some useful tips on being the leader of the pack.

Many households have a dog, but how many of them are actually well behaved and happy? The biggest mistake people make is humanising a dog’s feelings. If your dog doesn’t respect you and regard you as the pack leader, he won’t listen. So you need to be calm, confident and consistent.

Don't let your dog on the furniture or the bed. If he’s on your level, you’re raising his ranking in the pack.
Do lay down foundations from day one, set limits and boundaries. A dog regards you as a dog on two legs. We are either the pack leader, equal to, or submissive to them. If you show signs of weakness, the dog will feel that he needs to take control.

Jumping up
Don't ever greet at the front door. Your excited greeting or reprimand for jumping up just creates anxiety.
Do walk straight in, put your bags down and go about your business – pretend (for the moment) that you don’t have a dog. When the dog has settled, greet him calmly.

Separation anxiety
Don't make a fuss when you leave.
Do separate regularly, early on, for increasing periods of time. Leave the dog a special treat when you go out i.e. a toy that will keep him busy.

Riding in the car
Don't avoid riding with the dog.
Do start slowly. First, put the dog in the car, open the windows, close the doors and sit quietly. Praise and reward it if they’re calm. You could even feed the dog there. The next time, start the engine and sit in the car. Later, take a ride around the block. Build it up slowly until the dog is at ease in the car.

House training
Don't reprimand or put the dog’s nose into it if he has an accident inside. If the dog needs to relieve itself, and no one is around to read the signs, he will do it. It’s nature. Don’t make a fuss – just clean it up and say nothing.
Do be diligent, day and night. Take the dog out as much as you can, especially after they’ve eaten and slept, with a little treat in your hand and give a command. Then when the dog has done his business, praise, give the reward and come inside. Eventually he’ll ask to go out, and you can reward him.


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Nuisance barking
Don't shout at your dog for barking, he’ll just think you’re joining in.
Do get his attention: clap your hands sharply, say “Enough!” and redirect his attention.  

Don't think a quick walk around the block will satisfy a large dog’s need for exercise. It’s not enough. A lot of dogs bark and dig and chew and destroy because they’re bored and frustrated.
Do give him physical release and mental stimulation, that’s where dog training classes come in. Socialising, being in a group with other dogs and learning stimulates the dog’s brain.

Guard dogs
Don't think a dog will protect you if it’s outside. The dog is thrown a bone and distracted – if you’re in danger and the dog isn’t used to being in the house, it won’t come in to protect you.’
Do have your dog in the house with you, and as part of the family.

Buying a dog
Get a dog that suits your lifestyle and your temperament. If you don’t have much space, get a smaller or less energetic dog.
Don't get two puppies at the same time. They’ll only bond with each other and you won’t factor into the equation.
Do get a second dog once the first is trained. It will follow the behaviour of the first.

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