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Archive for September, 2007

Training Your Dog Not To Beg

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Begging food from the dinner table is one of the easiest things to teach a dog, and also one of the hardest habits to break. Your pet’s training to beg begins when he is a young, adorable puppy. It does not take too many repetitions before he learns that he gets fed from the table by begging.

Then he sits by your chair while you are eating and stares at you. Occasionally he’ll get up on his hind legs and paw you, or he’ll nudge your arm and remind you that he is waiting. And he drools, that’s the worst part. He looks as though you never feed him.

If you don’t have this problem, prevention is quite simple. Don’t start giving your dog food from the table. If you must give your dog table scraps, give them in moderation and in his own dish after you have finished eating or, better yet, with his regular meal. Once you have a dog that begs, it becomes a self-perpetuating problem. Begging is rewarded with food.

Chances are, if you have this problem, you’ve tried to stop his begging, you’ve yelled at him when he begs, pushed him away, and even gotten really angry, but he just gets more persistent. So you’ve had to give him something to be able to eat in peace. What you have done is to reward his persistence.

Each time you have tried holding out longer, but have ultimately given in, you have further trained him that no matter how far away the rainbow looks, there is a pot of gold at the end if he simply waits.

When you are tired of this behavior and want to end it, when you get to the point that you can’t stand the drooling, the whining, the pawing and the sad eyes staring at you, then you have to steel yourself for the cure.

Using the positive approach, give him the command “Down” and have him do a long “Down” by your chair during dinner. Be prepared for many interruptions initially, while you reinforce his “Down.” Each time he gets up, repeat the command and replace it if necessary so that he remains down during your dinner.

With a truly persistent begger, your first week of dinners may be quite a trial. Some dogs bark repeatedly and go through all manner of random actions to try to get you to feed them from the table. But once you have begun the training, stick with it.

If you give in at any time, no matter how small the tidbit you sneak him, not only have you lost that battle, you may very well have lost the entire war.

If you have made up your mind that you don’t want begging, then it’s just a matter of time before you have your dog resigned to the fact that the party is over, at least at the dinner table.

When your dog is steady enough to do the long “Down” away from your side during dinner, then establish his place where he stays while you eat. He should be put in his place every evening while you are eating, and praised when you release him at the end of the meal.

It won’t be too long before you will be eating dinner in the company of a well-trained, well- behaved dog lying quietly in the corner.

Successful Puppy Training

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

In order to properly train your puppy, you need to know what to do and the right time to do it. Below is a list of curriculum to guide you during the first month of acquiring your pet.

Most of what a puppy learns about people, he absorbs from his owner. If the two are aligned along a harmonic pathway, the dog will learn confident and calm responses to his world that is critical to his character development.

What you need to overcome in raising and training your puppy isn’t his natural instincts; it is the nervousness caused when these instincts can’t find a harmonic expression. The reason owners run into so much trouble isn’t that dog training is hard; it’s that we spend so much time doing things that don’t work. Dog training is easy, but fixing problems born from nervousness is very hard.

Training a dog is like building a fire. You must ignite the flame of confidence and nurture it with the dry kindling of little successes. Until the fire is blazing, too big a log can’t be added, and neither can the flame be exposed to outside elements. Once the critical point is reached, any size chunk of wood can be handled and any gust of wind will serve to heighten its roar.

 Week One: During your puppy’s first week home (he should be around 8 weeks old), it is important to take him for a vet check up. Sample of his stool is checked for worms and preventive inoculations are given. Begin teaching your puppy his name from day one. Set up his eating area as well as his crate or sleeping quarters. Begin the process of housebreaking as well as collar and leash training. Watch him while he plays by himself and observe his style and personality. Play gently and enthusiastically but avoid roughhousing. Say “Ok” whenever you feed him, hand him a toy or a treat, and as you walk out the door with him.

Week Two: As you play with your puppy, gradually add simple phrases and words into the games. If he is retrieving, say “Take it “as you throw the object. Praise him when he brings the object back to you. Say “Out” as he drops it and praise him again. Continue with “Ok” during meal, for going out, with playing, housebreaking, leash training, and observing.

Week Three: During your puppy’s third week home, begin to correct him gently for nipping and for chewing on shoes, cords, and furniture. Provide a toy for him to chew instead. Even if he stays inside the house, be sure to walk him around on his leash everyday. Always use eye contact. Say “Watch me” to draw his attention to your eyes. Praise him for looking at you. This method teaches him to look to you for direction. Begin to tie his leash to your belt and have him trail around wherever you go; starting for a few minutes at a time, working up to an hour as it becomes easier. This will help him bond to you and will also help with his training.

Start teaching table manners, beginning with “No” and “Ok” for food. Initiate the “Sit” and “Stay”, working for no more than five minutes at a time this week. If you are at home most of the time, make sure that you leave him alone for short periods of time during the day to get him used to being alone. Begin to correct the stealing of food and found objects - keeping in mind that prevention is your best correction. Correct excessive barking, noise, and whining.

Week Four: Carry on with all of the above training, adding more time that he walks properly on leash. Continue practicing “No” and “Ok” with food no more than twice per week. Continue to let him explore the house under supervision, both on and off the leash. Initiate the “Come” and “Down stay” to the training program. Work with your puppy no more than fifteen minutes at a time. If he is going out, you may start teaching him to “Heel” but do it very gently. Get him used to grooming procedures such as brushing, nail clipping, and occasional baths. 

Encourage and gratify your puppy’s instincts to help him develop confidence. To maintain the fire of self-confidence and calm learning, you must add a log to the fire. Training is an ongoing process, and intermittent reinforcements are needed over the course of your dog’s life.

Beg

Monday, September 24th, 2007

You can train your puppy to beg if she knows how to sit. You should get your puppy to sit and then move a food treat up and down. You can use the command “Beg” when she nears upright position.

Thereafter you can release her and give her the food treat.  Gradually she will understand the meaning of the word “Beg” and come in an upright position every time you ask her to do so. However, you have to be careful not to train her to beg when you are having your meals because this might induce the bad habit of begging in your puppy.