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Training your dog with a head collar

 There are many devices used in the world of dog training, and some are obviously more effective than others.  One of the dog training devices that does work well, however, is known collectively as the head collar.

The head collar is a device that is designed to wrap around the nose of the dog and then attach behind the head.  It uses the pressure points on the dog’s nose and head to apply pressure which stops the dog from pulling, jumping and straining against the leash.

Many people who see head collars mistake them for muzzles.  This can make many people nervous when the dog is out and about, and it bothers some dog owners as well.  Beyond that, however, the head collar can be a valuable training tool for many dogs, particularly large breeds that may have learned their own strength and are difficult to control with a normal buckle collar.

There are two main brands of head collar on the market, the Halti and the Gentle Leader.  Most people find the Gentle Leader easier to use than the Halti.  In addition, the Gentle Leader is designed to fasten around the dog’s neck.  With this design, if the dog manages to remove the muzzle portion, it is still wearing a collar.  While it is difficult for most dogs to get out of the muzzle portion of a head collar, some dogs do figure out how to perform this trick.

The Halti version, on the other hand, generally provides better control of the dog, and it is often favored with those working with large, aggressive dogs for that reason.

Training the dog with a head collar is often easier for beginning dog trainers and inexperienced dog owners than is training with a regular buckle color.  Head collars are quite good at stopping even the strongest dogs from pulling and straining, since these devices use leverage to give the handler more control.

Head collars are often favored by many people for handling dogs in difficult situations, such as being around other dogs or taking a trip to the vet.  A head collar can be quite effective at controlling the dog in frightening and difficult situations, even when it is not used for regular training.

It is better, actually, to use head collars as occasional training tools or reminders, not as a replacement for a regular buckle collar or training collar.  That is because many dogs quickly learn to tell the difference between the head collar and the normal collar, and adjust their behavior accordingly.  Therefore, the dog that behaves perfectly while wearing the head collar may suddenly jump and strain out of control when returned to the regular collar.

That fact, of course, points up the limitation of any training device, even one as effective as a head collar.  The goal of any quality dog training program should be to create a willing, obedient dog that can be controlled by nothing more than the handler’s voice.

Even if you plan to never allow your dog to go outside without a collar and lead, a well trained dog should be capable of walking with you without a leash, even if there are a great many distractions around.  The head collar can help guide you to this goal, but it is till up to you to gain the respect and trust of the dog that will allow it to become a truly well trained member of the family.

If you are unsure how to use a head collar, or if you are unsure if a head collar is right for you, you might want to consult with a dog trainer, your veterinarian or the staff at your local pet store. These experts have probably seen many head collars used, and they may be able to provide valuable insight on the type of training device that will work the best for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Teaching your dog not to chew

 Chewing is something that comes naturally to every dog.  Every dog feels the instinctual need to sharpen its teeth and hone his biting skills.  Chewing on the right things, like specially designed chew toys for instance, can even help the dog clean his teeth and remove plaque.

Even though chewing is natural and healthy, that does not mean that the dog should be given carte blanche and allowed to chew everything in sight.  It is vital for every dog to learn the difference between the things it is OK to chew on, like toys and ropes, and the things that are off limits, such as carpets, shoes and other items.

When working with a new puppy, it is advisable to keep the puppy in a small, puppy proofed room for at least a few weeks.  This is important not only to prevent chewing but to properly house train the puppy as well.

Older dogs should also be confined to a small area at first.  Doing this allows the dog to slowly acquaint him or herself to the smells and sights of the new household.

When you set up this small, confined area, be sure to provide the puppy or dog with a few good quality chew toys to keep him entertained while you are not able to supervise him.  Of course the dog should also be provided with a warm place to sleep and plenty of fresh clean water.

As the dog is slowly moved to larger and larger portions of the home, there may be more opportunities to chew inappropriate items. As the dog is given freer access to the home, it is important to keep any items that the dog or puppy should not chew, things like throw rugs, shoes, etc. up off of the floor.  If you forget to move something and come home to find that the dog has chewed it, resist the urge to punish or yell at the dog.  Instead, distract the dog with one of its favorite toys and remove the inappropriate item from its mouth.

The dog should then be provided with one of its favorite toys.  Praise the dog extensively when it picks up and begins to chew its toy.  This will help to teach the dog that it gets rewarded when it chews certain items, but not when it chews other items.

Teaching the dog what is appropriate to chew is very important, not only for the safety of your expensive furniture and rugs, but for the safety of the dog as well.  Many dogs have chewed through dangerous items like extension cords and the like.  This of course can injure the dog severely or even spark a fire.

Most dogs learn what to chew and what not to chew fairly quickly, but others are obviously going to be faster learners than others.  Some dogs chew because they are bored, so providing the dog with lots of toys and solo activities is very important.  It is also a good idea to schedule several play times every day, with one taking place right before you leave every day.  If the dog is thoroughly tired after his or her play session, chances are he or she will sleep the day away.

Other dogs chew to exhibit separation anxiety.  Many dogs become very nervous when their owners leave, and some dogs become concerned each time that the owner may never come back.  This stress can cause the dog to exhibit all manners of destructive behavior, including chewing soiling the house.  If separation anxiety is the root of the problem, the reasons for it must be addressed, and the dog assured that you will return.

This is best done by scheduling several trips in and out of the home every day, and staggering the times of those trips in and out.  At first the trips can be only a few minutes, with the length slowly being extended as the dog’s separation anxiety issues improve.

 

 

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Dog training for desired behaviors

 

Teaching a dog proper behavior while it is young is very important.  While playing and having fun with your new puppy or dog is certainly important, it is also important to teach your canine companion just what is expected – which behaviors are acceptable and which behaviors are not acceptable.

 

Teaching these lessons early, while the dog is still a puppy, is the best guarantee that these lessons will be learned and retained.  Dogs learn quickly, and every interaction between human and dog is teaching the dog something.  Making sure you are teaching the right lessons is up to you as the dog handler.

 

Proper training techniques are important for the protection of the dog as well as the protection of the family and the community at large.  While dogs are loving, protecting members of the family in most cases, a poorly trained dog can be dangerous and destructive.  Making sure your new addition is a pleasure to be around and not a menace is up to you as the owner.

 

The relationship between humans and dogs goes back for many thousands of years, and dogs have been domesticated longer than any other animals.  Therefore, humans and dogs have developed a bond not shared by many other domesticated animals.  This strong bond is very useful when training any dog.

 

All potential dog owners and would be dog trainers should understand how dog society works in the absence of humans.  It is important to understand the pack hierarchy, and to use that hierarchy to your advantage as you train your dog.  All pack animals have a lead animal, in the case of dogs it is the alpha dog.  All other members of the pack look to the alpha dog for direction and guidance.  The alpha dog in turn provides important leadership in hunting, fending off other predators, protecting territory and other vital survival skills.  This pack arrangement is what has allowed wolves and wild dogs to be such successful predators, even as other large predators have been driven to extinction.

 

What all this means to you as the dog trainer is that you must set yourself up as the pack leader – the alpha dog if you will – in order to gain the respect and trust of your dog.  If the dog does not recognize you as is superior and its leader, you will not get very far in your training program.

 

Respect is not something that can be forced.  It is rather something that is earned through the interaction of human and dog.  As the dog learns to respect and trust you, you will begin to make great strides in your training program.  A training program based on mutual respect and trust is much more likely to succeed in the long run than one that is based on fear and intimidation.

 

A fearful dog is likely to at one point become a biting dog, and that is definitely one thing you do not want in your life.  Rewarding the dog when he does the right thing, instead of punishing him for doing the wrong thing, is vitally important to the success of any training program.

 

Punishment only confuses and further frightens the dog, and it can set a training program back weeks if not months.  It is important to give the dog the option to do the right thing or the wrong then, and to reward the dog when it makes the right decision.  For instance, if the dog chases joggers, have a friend jog by while you hold the dog on the leash.  If the dog attempts to chase the “jogger”, sit him back down and start again.  You are not punishing the wrong decision, you are simply providing the choice.  When the dog remains sitting calmly by your side, give him a treat and lots of praise.  The dog will quickly learn that sitting is the right choice and chasing the jogger is the wrong choice.

 

 

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Using rewards and positive reinforcement to train your dog

 Training dogs using positive reinforcement and reward training has long been recognized as both highly effective for the owner and a positive experience for the dog.  Positive reinforcement training is so important that it is the only method used to train dangerous animals like lions and tigers for work in circuses and in the movie and television industry.  Proponents of positive reinforcement swear by the effectiveness of their techniques, and it is true that the vast majority of dogs respond well to these training methods.

One reason that positive reinforcement training is so effective is that is uses rewards to teach the dog what is expected of it.  When the dog performs the desired behavior, he is provided with a reward, most often in the form of a food treat, but it could be a scratch behind the ears, a rub under the chin or a pat on the head as well.  The important thing is that the dog is rewarded consistently for doing the right thing.

Reward training has become increasingly popular in recent years, but chances are some sort of reward training between humans and dogs has been going on for hundreds if not thousands of years.

When understanding what makes reward training so effective, some knowledge of the history of humans and dogs is very helpful.  The earliest dogs were probably wolf pups that were tamed and used by early humans for protection from predators, as alarm systems and later for guarding and herding livestock.  It is possible that the wolf pups that made the best companions were the most easily trained, or it is possible that these early dogs were orphaned or abandoned wolf pups.  Whatever their origin, there is little doubt today that the vast variety of dogs we see today have their origin in the humble wolf.

Wolf packs, like packs of wild dogs, operate on a strict pack hierarchy. Since wolf and dog packs hunt as a group, this type of hierarchy, and the cooperation it brings, is essential to the survival of the species.  Every dog in the pack knows his or her place in the pack, and except in the event of death or injury, the hierarchy, once established, rarely changes.

Every dog, therefore, is hard wired by nature to look to the pack leader for guidance.  The basis of all good dog training, including reward based training, is for the handler to set him or herself up as the pack leader.  The pack leader is more than just the dominant dog, or the one who tells all the subordinates what to do.  More importantly, the pack leader provides leadership and protection, and his or her leadership is vital to the success and survival of the pack.

It is important for the dog to see itself as part of a pack, to recognize the human as the leader of that pack, and to respect his or her authority.  Some dogs are much easier to dominate than others.  If you watch a group of puppies playing for a little while, you will quickly recognize the dominant and submissive personalities.

A dog with a more submissive personality will generally be easier to train using positive reinforcement, since he or she will not want to challenge the handler for leadership.  Even dominant dogs, however, respond very well to positive reinforcement.  There are, in fact, few dogs that do not respond well to positive reinforcement, also known as reward training.

Positive reinforcement is also the best way to retrain a dog that has behavior problems, especially one that has been abused in the past. Getting the respect and trust of an abused dog can be very difficult, and positive reinforcement is better than any other training method at creating this important bond.

No matter what type of dog you are working with, chances are it can be helped with positive reinforcement training methods.  Based training methods on respect and trust, rather than on intimidation and fear, is the best way to get the most from any dog.

 

 

 

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Training your dog with a training collar and leash

 The leash and training collar is the most basic piece of equipment used in training a dog.  Using the lead and training collar properly is vital to successful dog training.  The training collar is designed to apply a specific amount of pressure each time the leash is tightened.  The amount of pressure put on the leash controls the amount of pressure placed on the training collar, and the pressure can be adjusted according to how the dog responds.

How each dog responds to training with the leash and training collar is quite variable.  Some dogs barely react the first time they encounter a collar and leash, while others fight this strange contraption with all their might.  It is important to recognize how your own dog reacts, and to adapt your training program as needed.

The first part of training with collar and leash, of course, is to purchase a quality, well made training collar that will fit your dog properly.  There are many types of training collars and leashes on the market.  The most important thing is to choose one that is sturdy and well made.  The last thing you want to do is chase your dog down after he has broken his collar.

The length of the collar should be approximately two inches longer than the circumference of the dog’s neck.  It is important to accurately measure the dog’s neck using a measuring tape.  In order to get an accurate measurement, you must make sure that the tape is not tight around the dog’s neck.

Most training collars come in even sizes, so you should round up to the next size if your dog’s neck is an odd number.  It is important that the chain that attaches to the collar be placed at the top of the dog’s neck.  That is where the training collar is designed to apply the best pressure.

The ability to apply varying degrees of pressure, and to relieve that pressure instantly, is what makes a training collar such an effective tool. It usually takes new users a little while to get used to using the training collar, and some styles of training collar require more finesse than others.  If you are unsure which collar to choose, be sure to ask a professional dog trainer, or the management staff at your local pet store, for help.

After you have become familiar with the way the training collar works, it is time to begin using it to train your dog to walk properly on a lead.  The well trained dog is one who will walk at his owner’s side on a loose lead, neither dropping behind nor charging ahead.

The well trained dog will also vary his pace to meet that of his handler.  Under no circumstances should the handler be forced to change his or her pace to match that of the dog.

If the dog does begin to charge ahead, it is important to correct the dog promptly by giving a quick tug on the leash.  This will give the dog a good reminder that he needs to change his pace.  It is important to quickly relieve the pressure as soon as the dog responds.  The training collar is designed to relieve pressure as soon as the leash is loosened.

Most dogs will immediately respond to corrections by a good, properly used training collar.  If the dog does not respond as directed, it may be necessary to apply greater pressure.  This can be especially true of large dogs or those who have preexisting behavior or control problems.  If you are still unable to get a response from your dog, it is possible that you are using a training collar that is not large enough for your dog.  If you think this may be the case, be sure to ask for expert advice before proceeding.

 

 

 

 

 

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Training your dog the right way – the basics

 In order to be considered properly trained, there are some basic commands that he or she must master.  Understanding these basic commands is vital to the well being of the dog, the owner and the family.

Learning just a few basic commands can go a long way toward creating a dog that is a joy to be around.  Everyone has seen examples of both well trained and poorly trained dogs, and few people would opt for the poorly trained varieties.  Training a dog properly the first time is especially vital for owners of dog breeds that have been bred for their aggressiveness, such as pit bulls, Doberman pinchers and German shepherds.

In addition, proper training is important for families with young children.  Young children can torment dogs and cause biting reactions, so it is important that the dog learn how to deal with these types of situations.

The basic obedience commands that every dog must know are – “Heel”, “No”, “Sit”, “Stay”, “Down” and “Off”.  These six commands form the basis of every basic obedience class, and it is vital that you and your dog master these basic commands.  These are the fundamentals, and it will be impossible to move onto other commands, or to correct problem behaviors, without having mastered the basics.

Heel

Let’s start with the most basic command of all, the heel command.  Teaching a dog to heel is the fundamental first step in teaching the dog to walk properly on the leash.  The proper place for the dog to walk is at your side, neither lagging behind nor straining to get ahead.

If your dog begins to forge ahead on the lead, gently tug on the leash.  This will cause the training collar to tighten and give the dog a gentle reminder to fall back into line.  If the dog begins to lag behind, gently urge him forward.  A lure or toy is a good tool for the dog that constantly lags behind.

Once the dog is consistently walking at your side, try changing your pace and encouraging the dog to match his pace with yours.  It should always be the dog who adjusts his pace to you; you should never adjust your pace to meet the needs of the dog.

The word “No”

The word no is an important one for your dog to learn, and one you may be using a lot as training begins.  It is important that the dog learn to respond to a sharp “No” promptly and obediently.

The “Sit” command

The sit command is another vital link in the chain that is dog training.  Teaching a dog to sit on command, using voice commands alone, will form the groundwork of much future training, so it is important for the dog to master this vital skill.

The sit command can be combined with the heel command.  As you walk alongside your dog, stop abruptly.  If your dog does not stop when you do, give a sharp tug on the leash to remind the dog.  Many dogs will instinctively stop when you do, while others need to be reminded through the use of the leash and the training collar.

Once the dog has stopped by your side, urge him to sit by pushing gently on his hindquarters.  It is important not to use too much pressure, or to push him down abruptly.  Doing so could frighten, or even injure the dog. Rather, apply a steady downward pressure.  Most dogs will recognize this as a sit command. It is important to say the word sit as you do this.

Repeat this procedure a few times by walking, stopping and sitting your dog.  After a few repetitions, the dog will probably begin to sit down on his own every time he stops.  It is important to say the word sit each time, so that the dog will eventually learn to respond to voice commands alone.

The “Stay” command

Like the sit command, the stay command is a vital building block to other, more advanced training.  For instance, the stay command is vital to teaching the dog to come when called, which is in turn vital to off leash work.

The stay command can be made into an extension of the sit command.  Have your dog sit, and while he is sitting, slowly back away.  If the dog begins to follow you, as he probably will it first, come back to the dog and ask him to sit again.  Repeat the process until you can reach the end of the leash without your dog getting up from a sitting position.

After the dog is reliably staying where you indicate, you can try dropping the leash and backing further away.  It will probably take the dog some time to reliably stay where he is put without becoming distracted.

The “Down” command

The down command is another important part of any basic obedience training program.  Teaching a dog to lie down on command is much more than an entertaining trick.  The down command is very important in regaining control of a dog, or stopping a dog who is engaged in an inappropriate behavior.

The “Off” command

The off command is just as vital to as the other commands, and it forms the basis for later training, especially when training the dog not to chase people, cars, bikes, cats, etc.

For instance, when training a dog to remain still when a bicycle goes by, the owner would stand with the dog calmly on the leash.  If the dog begins to strain against the leash, the owner sharply issues an “Off” command accompanied by a tug of the leash.  Eventually the dog will learn to respond to the voice command alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Training your dog not to chase cars

 

One of the most serious, and unfortunately most common, problem behaviors among dogs is that of chasing cars.  Dogs must be trained as early as possible that chasing cars is not acceptable.  That is because dogs that chase cars eventually become dogs that catch cars, and car plus dog always equals big trouble.

 

There are many reasons that dogs chase cars.  For one thing, chasing moving objects is an ingrained, instinctual behavior that can never be completely removed.  Chasing behaviors, however can and should be controlled through a combination of good training and supervision.

 

Some dogs are more apt to chase cars, bikes, joggers, cats and other dogs than are others.  Dogs that have a high prey drive, including breeds that have been bred for hunting, are particularly susceptible to the thrill of the chase. Herding breeds are also apt to chase cars, attempt to herd the neighbors children, or express other undesired traits of their breeding.

 

One reason that many dogs chase cars in particular is that they have learned to associate cars with good time and fun things.  Most dogs love to ride in the car, and when they see a car they may try to chase it down for a ride.

 

No matter what your dog’s motivation for chasing cars, however, it is important to curb this dangerous behavior as quickly as possible.  Training the dog not to chase cars starts with teaching the dog the meaning of the “Off” command.   The “Off” command is one of the basic tenets of obedience, and it must be mastered by every dog.

 

Teaching the dog to stay where he is, even if interesting, exciting things are happening elsewhere, is very important to all aspects of dog training.  In the world of professional dog training, this is sometimes referred to as distraction training.  Distraction training is very important, and it is applicable to teaching the dog not to chase cars.

 

Teaching this important lesson is not something you will be able to do on your own.  You will need at least one other person – a volunteer who will slowly drive by and tempt your car with his bright, shiny object.  You will stand with your dog on his leash as the volunteer drives by.  Having the volunteer drive your own car can provide an even greater temptation, since dogs are able to distinguish one car from another.  If your car is the one that provides his rides, it is likely to be the most tempting object in the world.

 

When your friend drives by, either in your car or his, watch your dog’s reaction carefully.  If he begins to jump up or move away, repeat the “Off” command and quickly return your dog to the sitting position.  If he remains where he is, be sure to give him lavish amounts of praise and perhaps a treat or two.

 

Repeat this process many times over the course of a few days.  Once your dog is reliably remaining seated when your friend drives by, start lengthening the distance between yourself and your dog.  A long, retractable leash works great for this process.  Slowly lengthen the distance between you and your dog, while still making sure you have control.

 

Even after your dog is trained to not chase cars, however, it is important to not leave him out off the leash unsupervised.  Leaving a dog unattended, except for within a properly and securely fenced in yard, is simply asking for trouble.  Dogs are unpredictable, and it is always possible that the chase instinct could kick in at exactly the wrong moment.  The best strategy is to confine the dog when you cannot supervise him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Training your puppy – eliminating biting behaviors

 Bringing home a new puppy is always an exciting time.  Introducing the new puppy to the family should be fun for both yourself and your puppy.  One of the first challenges, however, to the excitement of the new puppy, is curbing inappropriate puppy behaviors.

Preventing biting and mouthing

Biting and mouthing is a common activity for many young puppies and dogs.  Puppies naturally bite and mouth each other when playing with siblings, and they extend this behavior to their human companions.  While other puppies have thick skin, however, humans do not, so it is important to teach your puppy what is appropriate, and what is not, when it comes to using those sharp teeth.

The first part of training the puppy is to inhibit the biting reflex.  Biting might be cute and harmless with a 5 pound puppy, but it is neither cute nor harmless when that dog has grown to adulthood.  Therefore, puppies should be taught to control their bit before they reach the age of four months.  Puppies normally learn to inhibit their bite from their mothers and their litter mates, but since they are taken away from their mothers so young, many never learn this important lesson.  It is therefore up to the humans in the puppy’s life to teach this lesson.

One great way to inhibit the biting reflex is to allow the puppy to play and socialize with other puppies and socialized older dogs.  Puppies love to tumble, roll and play with each other, and when puppies play they bite each other constantly.  This is the best way for puppies to learn to control themselves when they bite.  If one puppy becomes too rough when playing, the rest of the group will punish him for that inappropriate behavior. Through this type of socialization, the puppy will learn to control his biting reflex.

Proper socialization has other benefits as well, including teaching the dog to not be fearful of other dogs, and to work off their excess energy.  Puppies that are allowed to play with other puppies learn important socialization skills generally learn to become better members of their human family.  Puppies that get less socialization can be more destructive, more hyperactive and exhibit other problem behaviors.

In addition, lack of socialization in puppies often causes fearful and aggressive behaviors to develop.  Dogs often react aggressively to new situations, especially if they are not properly socialized.  In order for a dog to become a member of the community as well as the household, it should be socialized to other people, especially children.  Dogs make a distinction between their owners and other people, and between children and adults.  It is important, therefore, to introduce the puppy to both children and adults.

The best time to socialize a puppy to young children is when it is still very young, generally when it is four months old or younger.  One reason for this is that mothers of young children may be understandably reluctant to allow their children to approach large dogs or older puppies.  This is especially true with large breed dogs, or with breeds of dogs that have a reputation for aggressive behavior.

Using trust to prevent biting

Teaching your puppy to trust and respect you is a very effective way to prevent biting.  Gaining the trust and respect of your dog is the basis for all dog training, and for correcting problem behaviors.

It is important to never hit or slap the puppy, either during training or any other time.  Physical punishment is the surest way to erode the trust and respect that must form the basis of an effective training program.  Reprimanding a dog will not stop him from biting – it will simply scare and confuse him.

Training a puppy not to bite is a vital part of any puppy training program.  Biting behaviors that are not corrected will only get worse, and what seemed like harmless behavior in a puppy can quickly escalate to dangerous, destructive behavior in an adult dog.

 

 

 

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Dog training – house training your dog

House training is one of the most important parts of training any dog to be a valued part of the family.  As with many other aspects of dog training, the best way to house train a dog is to use the dog’s own nature to your benefit.

The great thing about dogs, and the thing that can make house training much easier, is that dogs are instinctively very clean animals.  Dogs would rather not soil the areas where they sleep and eat.  In addition, dogs are very good at developing habits regarding where they like to urinate and defecate.  For example, dogs that are used to eliminating on concrete or gravel will prefer to eliminate there rather than on grass or dirt.  It is possible to use these natural canine habits when house training your dog.

Setting up the training area

The first step in house training your dog is to set up your training area.  A small, confined space such as a bathroom, or part of a kitchen or garage, works best as a training area.  This method of training differs from crate training.  Crate training is great for puppies and small dogs, but many larger dogs find a crate too confining.




It is important for the owner to spend as much time in the training area with his or her dog as possible.  It is important for the owner to play with the dog in the training area, and to let the dog eat and sleep in that area.  The dog should be provided with a special bed in the training area, anything from a store bought bed to a large towel to a large box.  At first, the dog may eliminate in this area, but once the dog has recognized it as his or her own space, he or she will be reluctant to soil it.




After the dog has gotten used to sleeping in the bed, the owner can move it around the house, relocating it from room to room.  When you are not with your dog, the dog should be confined to the training area.




Setting up the toilet area

The second part of house training is to set up the toilet area for the dog.  It is important for the dog to have access to this place every time he or she needs to eliminate.  It is also important for the owner to accompany the dog each time until he or she gets into the habit of eliminating in the toilet area.  This will ensure that the dog uses only the established toilet area.




A set feeding schedule makes the house training process a lot easier for both the owner and the dog.  Feeding the dog on a regular basis will also create a regular schedule for the dog’s toilet habits.  Once you know when your dog is likely to need to eliminate, it will be simple to guide the dog to the established toilet area.




Once the dog has established a toilet area and is using it on a regular basis, it is very important to not confine the dog without access to the toilet area for long periods of time.  That is because if the dog is unable to hold it, he or she may be forced to eliminate in the training area.  This habit can make house training much more difficult.




Continuing the house training process

After the dog is consistently eliminating in the toilet area and not soiling the training area, it is time to extend that training area to the rest of the home.  This process should be done slowly, starting with one room and slowly expanding to the rest of the house.  The area should only be extended once you are sure of the dog’s ability to control its bladder and bowels.




When you first expand the training area to a single room, let the dog eat, play and sleep in that room, but only when supervised.  When it is not possible to supervise the dog, place it back in the original training area.  Then, after the dog has accepted the room as an extension of the original training area, the area can be extended.




Speeding up the process

If this process is too lengthy for your needs, it can be speeded up, but it is important to proceed cautiously.  It is easier to take your time up front than to retrain a problem dog later.  One way to successfully speed up house training is to praise and reward the dog each and every time it uses the established toilet area.  It is also important not to punish the dog for mistakes.  Punishment will only confuse the dog and slow down the house training process.




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Dog training with a training collar or choke collar

 The basic dog training collar goes by many names, including choke collar, choke chain, training collar, correction collar and slip collar.  These training collars are among the most popular and most commonly used tools with both amateur and professional dog trainers.

While a training collar is an effective tool, like any tool it must be used properly in order to be effective for you and safe for the dog.  Among the most important considerations when using a training collar are:

  • How the collar fits the dog. It is essential that the training collar be properly fitted to the dog. A properly fitted training collar is easier to use and safer for the dog.
  • Putting the training collar on properly. There is a right way and a wrong way to fit a training collar, and putting it on wrong will make it both ineffective and potentially dangerous.
  • Using the collar properly. A training collar should be used as a sharp reminder to the dog, not as punishment.  It is important that constant pressure be avoided when using a training collar.
  • The weight of the chain and the size of the links on the training collar. It is important that the weight of the chain be appropriate to the size and weight of the dog.
  • The placement of the collar on the dog. It is important to properly place the collar on the dog.

The importance of a properly fitted training collar

Determining if the training collar is the right size is relatively easy.  The ideal size training collar should fit snugly, yet comfortably over the dog’s head.  It is important that the training collar not fit too tightly, but it should not be too loose either.  A training collar that is too tight will be too hard to put on and off.  On the other hand, a training collar that is too loose can accidentally fall off of the dog’s head when it lowers its head.

It is also important to know that a training collar that is too long for the dog requires a great deal of finesse to use properly.  A collar that is too long can still be used, but it will require more skill on the part of the handler.

Properly sizing and measure the dog for a training collar

It is best to measure the dog’s neck with a tape measure, then add 2 to 3 inches to that measurement.  So if your dog has a neck 12” in diameter, you would want to buy a training collar that is 14” in length.  Chain slip collars are generally sized in two inch increments.

Fitting the collar properly

When fitting a training collar, the part of the chain which is connected to the leash should be on the top of the dog’s neck.  With this type of arrangement, the collar releases the instant the leash is loosened.  Training collars work by making the collar tight and loose in a fast manner.  Tightening the collar is the first part of the correction, and making it loose is the second part of the correction.

If the part of the training collar that is attached to the leash is not on the top of the dog’s neck, the collar can still be made tight, but it will not release back to a loose state easily.  This constant pressure on the dog’s neck initiates a counter response on the part of the animal, and the dog will quickly learn to pull and strain against the leash.

Finally, it is important to purchase a training collar that is well made and strong.  Buying a high quality training collar, slip collar or choke collar is vital to the safety of yourself and your dog.

If the worst happens, and your dog’s training collar does break, it is important not to panic.  Most dogs will be unaware that they have broken the collar, at least for a few minutes.  In most cases, if you act as if the leash is still connected, you can probably get control of your dog back quickly.

When securing a loose dog, the best strategy is to make a quick slip lead by running the snap on the leash through its handle and then slipping it over the dog’s head.  It may not be the best arrangement, but it will certainly do in a pinch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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