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Dog training – the basic commands

 There are of course many reasons for owners to want a calm, obedient and faithful dog.  For one thing, obedient and trained dogs are happier dogs, less likely to get into tussles with people or with other dogs.  Another reason is that many communities require that the dogs living in their neighborhoods be well trained.  This is especially true for many breeds thought to have aggression and behavior problems – dog breeds like pit bulls and rottweilers for instance.

And of course, training your dog well will also make he or she a much better family companion, especially in households where there are young children.  Many studies have shown that proper dog training makes a big impact when it comes to cutting down the number of dog bits and other behavior problems encountered by dog owning households.

When considering training your own dog, or having someone else help you train it, there are certain basic commands that must be mastered in order for a dog to be considered truly trained.  These basic commands include:

  • Heel – it is important that any dog learn to walk beside its owner on a loose lead, neither pulling ahead nor lagging behind
  • Respond to the word No – the word no is one word that all dogs must learn. Training your dog to respond to this important word can save you a ton of trouble.
  • Sit – Training your dog to sit on command is a vital part of any dog training program.
  • Stay – A well trained dog should remain where his or her owner commands, so stay is a very important command in dog training.
  • Down – Lying down on command is more than just a cute trick; it is a key component of any successful dog training program.

Dog training does much more than just create an obedient, willing companion.  Training your dog properly actually strengthens the bond that already exists between dog and handler.  Dogs are pack animals, and they look to their pack leader to tell them what to do.  The key to successful dog training is to set yourself up as that pack leader.

Establishing yourself as pack leader is a very important concept for any potential dog trainer to understand.  There is only one leader in every pack of dogs, and the owner must establish him or herself as the dominant animal.  Failure to do so leads to all manner of behavior problems.

A properly trained dog will respond properly to all the owner’s commands, and will not display anxiety, displeasure or confusion.  A good dog training program will focus on allowing the dog to learn just what is expected of it, and will use positive reinforcement to reward desired behaviors.

In addition to making the dog a good member of the community, obedience training is a great way to fulfill some of the dog’s own needs, including the need for exercise, the security that comes with knowing what is expected of it, a feeling of accomplishment and a good working relationship with its handler.  Dog training gives the dog an important job to do, and an important goal to reach.

Giving the dog a job is more important than you may think.  Dogs were originally bred by humans to do important work, such as herding sheep, guarding property and protecting people.  Many dogs today have no important job to do, and this can often lead to boredom and neurotic behavior.

Basic obedience training, and ongoing training sessions, provide the dog with an important job to do.  This is especially important for high energy breeds like German shepherds and border collies.  Training sessions are a great way for these high energy dogs to use up their extra energy and simply to enjoy themselves.

Incorporating playtime into your dog training sessions is a great way to prevent both yourself and your dog from becoming bored.  Playing with your dog helps to strengthen the all important bond between you – the pack leader – and your dog.

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If “fashionistas” are obsessed with brand names, some dog lovers  are hooked on dog breeds. This is because purebred dogs are  expensive and belong to the higher level of this particular species. 

Generally, dog breeds were incorporated to give distinctive characteristics to  certain classifications, thus, resulting in a substantial number of varieties. 

However, people who breed dogs often find it hard to detect the specific  characteristic of the resulting species. There are times that offspring appear  to be different from their “parents.”  

In dog breeding, experts contend that the offspring should have the same  characteristics as their parents, both physical attributes and behavior. For  example, a breeding pair of Retrievers should produce the black puppies  because purebred Retrievers have black coats. 

However, there are instances that retrievers produce puppies that have  yellow coats. Hence, cases like this are not considered by the known Kennel  clubs. What happens next is that these yellow retrievers are sometimes  “euthanized” by dog breeders based on the notion that they want to curb the  probable reoccurrence of such species.  

This particular issue has long been debated by many dog experts and  scientists because of the fact that there are certain instances wherein  genetic consequences may intervene. 

In addition, studies show that dog breeds, like the human race, have no  specific scientific origins and that their breeds cannot even be identified and  proven even by DNA. So, the chances of getting a purebred dog are not that  common. 

However, because of the existence of dog breeds, Kennel clubs only consider  pure dog breeds on their competitions. 

Today, there are about 160 dog breeds being recognized by the club, but  most people can only recognize a dozen or two. In fact, even those who are  

experts in dog breeding may still confuse a certain breed as a cross between  two dog breeds. 

Hence, dog breeds should not be considered as a basis on whether or not a  certain dog will bite. Most people have this thinking that there are dog  breeds that will not bite. 

People should keep in mind that dog biting is based on behavior, in which  certain environmental and social variables trigger the behavior. Hence,  experts contend that there is no breed of dog that will attack somebody  without any reason at all. This means that 99.9% of all dogs will not attack  anyone as long as there are no viable reasons that will trigger the attack. 

The bottom line is that dog breeds may still vary, depending on their genetic  make-up. Hence, the foundation of classifying dogs according to their  physical attributes and behavior may be affected by different factors. 

It isn’t any wonder why the issues about purebreds are endless!

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“The dog is man’s best friend,” so the saying goes. Dogs have  proven to be loving and loyal companions of people. 

From pit bulls to dachshunds to terriers, dogs are a part of daily life.  

But what happens when your pet dog gets lost? What if, one day, while you  are strolling across a park quite far from home with your Labrador and your  pet suddenly gets lost? Do not resort to panic, as this will not help solve the  situation.  

The first rule when you’re going out with your pet dog is never letting it out  of sight. In short, do not let your dog get lost. Sometimes there is no  avoiding a situation like this. Even dogs that are properly trained will look  for ways to be free to roam around. 

Here are some ways to find your dog if he is lost: 

  • Check the various animal shelters in town. If your dog has not been  claimed by others or picked up, leave a complete description of your  dog with the animal shelter staff. Include your name and contact  information. If possible, show a recent photograph of you and your  dog. This is also a reason why the license for your pet should be  current and updated. 
  • Check all the pet shops and veterinarians in your vicinity. You could  ask the staff or vet if somebody has reported a lost dog and if the dog  shares the same characteristics of your lost dog.  
  • Post details of your dog along with your contact information in  billboards or in areas where the dog might have gotten lost. 
  • If possible, place an ad in the local papers for your lost dog. Also  check the “Lost and Found” classifieds. Check it daily. You’ll never  know when somebody turns up to say that he or she found your dog.
  • Check in your neighborhood. Your dog could be somewhere near. Dogs  usually do not stray far from their own homes.  
  • It would be easier and faster to find the dog if it has complete  identification details, such as a name tag, identifiable collar, among  others. 
  • Be sure you have your dog’s current photo. Keep it at all times, just in  case you need to show what your dog looks like. 

Here is one last option to keep in mind. The latest thing in tracking your pet  is to have an electronic chip placed just under the skin. The chip contains all  the information about your dog and yourself so that the information can be  scanned by a vet or a local animal shelter. 

Taking care of your dog is like taking care of a dear friend. Show your  concern to the dog, and it will return the favor. 

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As the old adage goes, “Dogs are man’s best friend.” However, there  are times when people just can’t understand why their beloved dogs  behave in a different manner. 

Hence, it is extremely important to know the underlying reasons why dogs  sometimes behave differently.  

You can teach your dog appropriate behavior. Experts say that dog behaviors  can be controlled through proper training. 

Dog behaviors are actually responses that are mostly triggered by  environmental and social factors. Hence, to control these responses, the  owner should teach his dogs the proper way to respond to such elements.  Let’s explore a few of the methods: 

Dog Bite 

Statistics show that almost 5 million people in the U.S. are victims of dog  bites annually. This is almost 2% of the total population in the U.S. What’s  more, dog bites cases rank as second most common cause of emergencies in  the hospitals. 

So, the question is: Why dogs bite? 

According to the experts, the main reasons why dogs may bite are the  following: 

  1. Excitement 

When somebody plays with his or her dog, the tendency of the dog is to get  excited, and because dogs don’t have hands to use when playing, they use  their mouth to grasp things. When this happens, there is the tendency that  the dog might accidentally hurt people without intending to do anything  harmful. 

  1. Protection 

Dogs can be very possessive, so, whenever he wants to protect something  that he owns, he will bite whoever threatens to take it away from him.  Hence, when people get near the dog’s property, the dog’s tendency is to  bite to make the person leave his property alone. 

  1. Pain 

When the dog is not feeling well, he does not understand why he is feeling  that way. Therefore, when a person, even if it’s his master, touches him, he  may think that it’s the person who causes the pain and so his tendency is to  fight back by biting. 

  1. Fear 

Dogs are sometimes afraid just like humans. That is why when somebody  startles him, the dog’s only known protection for itself is to bite back. 

The best thing is to avoid these situations and leave the dog alone. The  problem with so many people is that they want to always play around with  their dog without learning how and when the dogs should be left alone. 

Like humans, dogs have feelings too. When these feelings are all mixed up,  their only known protection for themselves is to bite because they cannot  understand the situation logically. Therefore, people should know that in  order to avoid such circumstances. 

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Need A Little Help with Your Health? Get A Dog! Dogs are considered  man’s best friend. But did you know that having a dog gives you  several health benefits? 

In studies done by medical professionals, dog owners benefit from their pet’s  presence in several ways: 

1) Improved cardiovascular health – Dog owners have been proven to  have blood pressure and cholesterol lower than ordinary people. These  factors reduce the chance for cardiovascular diseases. Stroking a pet has  long been known to reduce blood pressure. 

A study from the New York State University found that these benefits  continue even without the pet available. The study tested a group of  stockbrokers with hypertension. They concluded that just being a pet-owner  can lower blood pressure.  

Dog owners also have blood cholesterol levels lower than normal. Five  thousand four hundred people were tested by the Baker Medical Research  Institute of Australia and with the results showing pet owners having not just  lower blood pressure but also lower levels of blood triglycerides and  cholesterol compared to people who didn’t own any pets. 

2) Faster recovery time and higher survival rates – Hospital studies  have found that seniors and recently operated on patients responded better  to treatment and got better quickly while they were in contact with dogs and  other therapy animals. Just petting a dog can be relaxing and therapeutic for  recovering patients.  

Also, dog owners have a greater chance to survive after suffering from a  serious illness. Several studies have discovered that pet owners who  suffered from a heart attack were more likely to be alive a year after they  were discharged from the hospital than those who did not own pets.  Another New York study found that pets affected their survival rate more  even more than the presence or company of family members or friends.  

3) Fewer visits to the doctor – Studies conducted at Cambridge and UCLA  have found that owning a pet corresponds to overall improved health and  less need for hospital visits. A Medicare study of its elderly patients also  discovered that those who own dogs visit the doctor less than those who  don’t have a pet. 

4) Mental Wellness – Patients who have dogs have also been known to  have better emotional health than their counterparts. They offer  unconditional love and affection; their presence alone helps reduce  loneliness for sick people who have otherwise been isolated. Several studies  of people with major illnesses have shown that the stress of fighting the  disease is significantly reduced when they had a dog as company. 

As you can see, having a dog is a great investment, for the joy that you get  from owning one and the health benefits that you can receive. So, go out  and get a dog! 

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