Having a dog is a responsibility that owners must take on with the greatest seriousness. Dogs can be destructive and dangerous unless properly socialized and trained to behave appropriately around the home and neighborhood.
Use regular training sessions several times each week to teach your dog proper behavior. Be ready to praise good behavior lavishly, because nothing motivates a dog than pleasing his master. Timing is important, so reward the dog immediately when he performs the right behavior. Repetition and consistency are the best methods of training your canine companion. A simple nylon or leather leash can be used as a training aide.
Attach the leash to the dog and have a companion restrain the dog gently. Say, “come” and gently pull on the leash until the dog comes to you, giving praise and a treat to reinforce the behavior. Repeat the exercise frequently until he comes without the prompting with a pull on the leash.
Teach your dog to sit on command by gently pulling up on the leash and down with your hand on his hindquarters. When he sits, give him a treat and plenty of praise. Keep practicing the “sit” command until he obeys immediately and completely without repetition.
The “stay” command is important and can keep your dog from misbehavior and hazards. Take your dog by the collar and hold him firmly while you place a treat just out of his reach. Hold him while you tell him to “stay.” Praise and reward him when he calmly sits and waits. After a short period, release your hold on the collar and say, “okay,” to allow him to get the treat. Practice this many times, extending the time he has to wait to be released to get the treat.
Both puppies and grown dogs can be excitable and may respond with the arrival of a guest with jumping up to greet the person. This behavior can be dangerous for small children or older people and annoying for anyone wearing good clothes. First, you should avoid giving attention to your dog unless his front feet are both on the floor. When he does this, reward him with praise and pet him to reinforce the behavior. Ignore the dog and move away when he tries to jump on you, and always respond with attention when he does not jump. Ask friends to help you practice this exercise when they come to your home.
Avoiding Biting Dangers
Puppies can be bouncy and rough. They may not always know the limits of their strength or biting power. To avoid possible liability for a bite injury, train your puppy to be on leash when outdoors from its earliest days. Giving the puppy the “come” and “sit” command should be responded to immediately. If there are doubts about whether children who are visiting know how to handle a dog, keep the animal in a separate area of the home during the visit. To avoid lawsuits and working with a dog bite attorney, teach your children and their friends the right way to handle a dog as soon as the puppy enters the home, and always supervise your dog when he is around children.
A well-trained dog is a good companion for his family and a good member of the community. You will be able to worry less and enjoy your dog more when you can rely on his behavior both at home and out in the neighborhood. Only good training can provide that peace of mind.