Dog Obedience Training: The Options For Man’s Best Friend

They are man’s best friend, but what can you do when you have a dog, you love it, but it just won’t stop chewing on your best shoes, or polishing its nails on your precious sofa?

Regular training
We train them to become, not only more sociable, but also a reliable company. This can be done by taking your dog to a professional dog-trainer, or simply at home, following instructions from books. Since the first option requires time to take the dog to a trainer, to go check on it, and take it back home, most people choose to house-train their pets. However, the second option has many disadvantages, since you are not a professional, and you do not have experience. Many even think, that after the dog/cat learned where “to go out”, the training is over. You could not be more wrong.

On-line training
There is a third way, a new one, but as efficient as taking your dog to a trainer, but less time consuming. On-line training. Don’t think of putting your dog in front of a PC and let it learn from there. Through on-line training I mean visiting sites specializing on dog training. The following few paragraphs will be a guide to a few of these sites.

www.perfectpaws.com
Gwen Bohnenkamp owns this site. She has been working with pets since1985 and also, she instructed the first course in Animal Behavior. The site itself is easy to navigate, easy to read, but most important it contains valuable information on training your pets, may they be cats, dogs or even guinea pigs. In addition, you can find tips on how to get closer to your companion, and how to become a certified dog-trainer. The subjects are well categorized and easy to get. If you want, you may purchase online books written by Gwen, herself.

www.dogproblems.com
The renowned dog trainer, Adam Katz, publishes this site. It covers almost all aspects of dog training, you can buy Katz’s book, which apparently, is the best-sold book of its type on the internet, and join a forum where the topic is no other then DOGS.

www.sitstayfetch.net
This is the easiest to use site I could find about dog training. The “mastermind” behind this site is Daniel Stevens, a dog trainer, who wrote the book “SitStayFetch!” On this site you can find testimonials of people who have used his book and the way it helped them.

Conclusion
However, you may choose to train your dog, bear in mind one thing: an untrained dog can be more of a nuisance than a friend. So, please, help your dog help you.

Dog Training: How to “Lick” Your Dog’s Incessant Licking Habit!

Does your dog seem to spend an infinite amount of time licking himself? Why is he doing it? And how do you, as a dog owner, correct that annoying licking habit? Here are five of the most common reasons why your dog might be incessantly licking himself and the solutions to correcting the habit.

1. Your dog might have developed an unrelenting licking habit because he needs a bath.

If your dog spends alot of time outside, romping through the woods, tramping in the mud, rolling in the grass or wading in the nearest stream or pond, he is probably dirty. So, your dog may be constantly licking himself because the dirt is irritating him! Plus, all that outdoor activity may have gotten him infested with ticks, fleas, mites, or lice. Your dog’s incessant licking may be an attempt to rid himself of those nasty varmints!

Give him a bath with a veterinarian-approved flea and tick shampoo. Before bathing him, make sure you brush out all the mats and tangles from his coat or the bathing will make them worse.

2. Your dog might have developed a chronic licking habit because he has a skin disorder.

Some common skin disorders that a dog may develop are mange or dermatitis. Mange is a skin disease in dogs that is caused by various types of mites. The dermatitis could be caused by an allergic reaction to fleas, dust mites, mold or a certain brand of dog food. If you suspect that your dog has a case of mange or dermatitis, your veterinarian will be able to diagnose what the disorder is and
prescribe a course of treatment.

3. Your dog might have developed a persistent licking habit because he is under stress.

The stress may be a result of a new adoption, physical abuse, separation anxiety, or even a reaction to a new food. If you think separation anxiety might be the cause of his stress, there are several methods for solving the problem. Try exposing your dog to being alone for very short periods of time. When your dog has adjusted to being alone for that duration of time, gradually increase your departure period. If you must be away from your dog for a long period of time, while you are away at work, try to find a friend or neighbor who could come over and take him for a walk a couple of times during the day.

Perhaps a new dog in the family is causing the stress? It is very common to experience a period of stress and adjustment when a new dog is brought into a household that has an established pet. One way to help make the transition a little easier is to give your older dog alot of attention and love. It will let him know that he’s still a vital part of the family. Just remember that it will take time for your dogs to adjust to one another and be one happy dog family!

Changing your dog’s diet can also cause stress. If you’re thinking of feeding your dog a new brand of dry dog food, do it gradually and over a period of four days or longer. On the first day that you change the food, feed your dog one quarter of the new food with three quarters of the old food. Add in another quarter of the new food after a couple of days or so. After another two days, add in another quarter of the new dog food. Finally, after another couple of days or so, you will be able to leave out the old dog food entirely!

If you cannot determine the cause of your dog’s stress, talk to your veterinarian. He’ll be able to refer you to a dog behaviorist who will be able to determine the cause of your dogs stress. If your dog has severe separation anxiety, an anti-anxiety medication might be considered to alleviate the anxiety. Drugs are not a complete solution, however, and should be used along with a treatment program.

4. Your dog might have developed an incessant licking habit because he has an injury that has resulted in an open wound.

A dog that has developed an injury that has resulted in an open wound will lick himself incessantly in an attempt to clean the wound and keep it free from bacteria. Dog saliva has been proven to kill some germs and when your dog licks an open wound, it will aid in keeping the wound infection free.

Veterinarian treatment may be required if your dog appears to be in pain, the wound contains a foreign material and is deep enough to require stitches, is bleeding excessively or becomes infected.

5. Your dog might have developed a relentless licking habit because he has developed the bad habit of doing so.

Some dogs develop the habit of licking their paws incessantly despite them being clean, uninjured and parasite-free!

Your dog may develop the habit of constantly licking himself because he has alot of nervous energy and no way to alleviate the stress. He also may have learned this behavior because he is bored and this is a way to entertain himself!

Give your dog lots of time to play and run and work off any excess energy. If your dog is well-exercised and happy, he won’t feel the need to relentlessly lick himself to relieve stress or boredom!

The information detailed above will help you discover and correct your dog’s habit of chronic licking. With careful observation and a little attention to proper grooming, training, along with regular veterinarian visits, you can ‘lick’ your dog’s incessant licking habit!

Dog Training

One of the few things that dog owners or prospective dog owners think about is whether or not they will need to train their dog. Although training a dog is not absolutely essential unless your dog has a particular problem, a small amount of training to remove bad habits and set boundaries for your dog should be considered. In addition to this, a well trained dog will feel much more secure in your home when it knows its boundaries. Even in the wild, a dog will have some sort of enforced boundaries of behavior by the pack structure and hierarchy that exists. At the end of the day, your dog is part of your ‘pack’.

A very important point to note about dog training is that any form of training should be approached from the perspective of ‘positive reinforcement’. This simply means that you should reward your dog with praise, a treat or even better, both for any positive behavior that she exhibits. Success will come quickly to anybody who praises a dog for good behavior. The same cannot be said for somebody who punishes a dog for NOT exhibiting good behavior.

For example – If you ask your dog to sit and she does, you give her a treat. In the dogs mind sitting when told equals treat. Simple.

Now what if you tell the dog to sit and she doesn’t, and then you punish her? In the dogs mind you have just dished out a random punishment for nothing. This will only serve to confuse your dog and lead her to mistrust you.

Positive reinforcement is the key.

One of the most common mistakes that dog owners make is to inadvertently train their dog……. into bad habits. Typical examples include barking, face licking, jumping up. Let’s look at each of these.

Barking – Most dogs’ bark, that’s a fact. It’s WHEN a dog barks that determines whether it’s normal behavior or a bad habit. If your dog only barks when somebody comes to the door – fine. This is normal territorial behavior. Your dog is warning you – as a member of its pack – that there’s potential danger at the door.

If your dog spends the best part of its waking life barking at just about anything including you, then it’s formed into a bad habit – but one that is easy to cure.

The first mistake that people make is to shout “Quiet” or “Shut up” at their barking dog. The main reason why this will not work is simple. Your dog barks, then you ‘bark’. From your perspective you are shouting at your dog to shut up. From your dogs’ perspective, you are barking along and enjoying the noise.

A more effective method is to wait for a pause in your dogs barking then heap lots of praise and a treat upon your dog. As soon as the barking starts again, ignore your dog, walk off – anything but DO NOT pay your dog any attention. Then, when the barking stops its treat time again. It won’t be long before your dog puts two and two together.

Face Licking – Face licking is an overthrow from your dog’s puppy days. Face licking is a way for a puppy to get its mother to regurgitate food for them. You will often see this in the wild. Also wild dogs will lick the face of a higher member of the pack to express and accept their submissive status in the pack. Unfortunately, because you and your family members are higher in the pack, you get the licks!

At first sight face licking is not a problem but should still be avoided due to health concerns. Never let a dog lick a baby or toddlers face. This is likely to expose the infant to germs that its immune system may not be able to handle. Similarly if your dog has worms or has been investigating other dogs’ faeces or even grooming itself, the last thing you want is for your dog to come and lick your face. Try and discourage this behavior using positive reinforcement.

When your dog approaches your face firmly – but not shouting – say “No!” If the dog doesn’t back off push her away from your face. When the dog first responds to the “No” phrase, it’s time for a treat. Keep this up consistently, and the dog will realize face licking is unacceptable.

Jumping Up – Jumping up may not seem such a bad habit, but if there are young children about it can be quite dangerous. Your dog will not know that jumping on you is o.k. but jumping on the children isn’t. This will just confuse the dog. Try to discourage this behavior by telling the dog “Down!” every time she jumps up. Give her a treat when she first responds and every time after until you just need to use the words.

There are lots of simple ways that you can train your dog. These are just a few. There’s no need to tolerate bad habits in your dog as they can be so easily remedied. Oh, and never pay heed to the phrase “You can’t teach on old dog new tricks”, you can – it’s never too late.