SocializationYou hear trainers and dog people talking all the time about “socialization” and how it is important for the well-being of your dog. But what exactly is socialization, how does it work, and why is it so necessary for your puppy or older dog?

“Socialization” is the term used for the process of training your dog to be properly behaved around other people and animals, toward strange objects, and in different places other than your home or yard without fear or aggression. It is the fundamental learning process by which all puppies and older dogs learn the rules and regulations of the family and community in which they live.

Typically, a new puppy comes into your family between 8 to 12 weeks of age. At this point in his development, your puppy is going through what animal behaviorists call the “fear” imprinting stage. This means that any puppy is especially vulnerable at this time to finding certain stimuli particularly alarming, and will ingrain that fear into his personality unless you – as his pet parent – do something to alleviate the problem.
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Announcement: Teaching Fido Good Table Manners

Once your dog has learned the basic steps of good canine manners – to sit, lie down, stay, and come on command – teaching her not to grab for treats, not to snatch at food, and to accept her meals in calm way will help her become a welcome part of your home during family meal time.

The first step is to make her “Sit” before you give her a treat. When she sits, hold the treat in front of her nose for a few seconds, then say “Take it,” in a firm, yet loving voice.

Allow her to “take” the treat when she reaches for it.

If your dog grabs for the treat before you make the command, or she rushes at it where you can feel her teeth, hold the treat in your hand behind your back and DO NOT give it to her.

Have her return to the sitting position, and try again, repeating “Take it” as you hold the treat in front of her. Only give her the treat when she takes it gently in her mouth at your request. Like all training, you may need to work at this several time a day for a while until she understands what you want.

Repeat these steps EVERY TIME you allow her to pick up a treat or a bite of food from your hands.

When its time for her meal, training her not to rush the bowl and grab for her food is just good “table manners.”

When you are preparing the meal, make sure she “sits” and watches. Don’t allow her to crowd around, jostle you, or jump on you. Stop preparing the food until she sits calmly on command.

As you move the bowl to its normal spot, command your dog to “Sit” and go “Down.” Do not set the bowl of food where she can get it until she is in the “down” position.

Once her bowl is in its place, tell her to “Take it,” and allow her to eat. If she rushes the bowl before you give the command, pick it up, and ask for “Sit” and “Down” again. Only give her the meal, when she completes the task on your request. Repeat these steps EVERY mealtime.

Training your dog not to snatch and grab at her own treats and food also teaches her not to try to steal yours. Being able to comfortably eat a meal or a snack without having your dog misbehave, keeps your entire family – including your pet – happy and stress-free. 

Announcement: Teaching Your Dog to Walk On a Leash

Basic Training, Part 6

Teaching Your Dog to Walk On a Leash

Dogs are not born knowing how to walk on a leash without pulling or straining. That is something you’re going to have to teach your new puppy or older, un-trained dog. For this exercise, most professional dog trainers don’t recommend using a retractable leash. Purchase a regular leash and collar or halter that gives you more control over your dog while you are training him.

Your first step is to get your dog acclimated to his collar or halter. Place them on his body and adjust each so that you can slip at least two fingers between his neck and the collar, and between his body and each strap of a halter. Make sure both are tight enough so that they don’t slip off the body or over the head, but loose enough to be comfortable.

Leave the collar or halter on him without removing it until he adjusts to it and feels calm sleeping and moving around in it. This may take a few hours to a couple of days, so patience is needed here.

Once he is relaxed, slip your leash onto his collar/halter and take him outside. Place your hand through the leash’s loop and wrap it around your wrist. This keeps your dog from possibly pulling it off your hand and getting loose.

Begin walking forward at a slow pace. If your dog refuses to follow you, hold a treat in front of his nose as you step off without allowing him to take it. Once he takes 2 or 3 steps, give him the treat and praise him. You may need to give a slight tug on the leash the first several times to get him to move, but a gentle tug is important. DO NOT pull. 

Continue with this until he is moving forward freely and looking for his treats.

This part of his training may take several days of consistent work for him to move freely on his own. Slowly take the treat away as he learns, but continue to praise him when he walks without that initial tug on the leash.

If your dog insists on walking quickly in front of you and pulling on the leash, immediately stop moving and make him sit. Give him a treat if he sits promptly. Once he learns that he won’t be allowed to take off on his own, and that he has to stay with you – and that there is a reward in that behavior – he will start walking at your pace.

Remember, consistency is the key here. You MUST train him the same way every time or you’ll have a dog that pulls and tugs when you walk him. That type of uncontrollable pet is a danger to himself and to other people and dogs on the street. 

Announcement: Teaching Your Dog to Come

Basic Training, Part 4

Teaching Your Dog to Come

The final part of the basic training of any dog is teaching her to come when called. Whether she’s playing with her doggy friends at the dog park or you’re asking her to come get a treat in a quiet, dignified manner, getting her to immediately respond and approach you when you command is necessary for her safety and your peace of mind.

Once your dog is sitting, lying down, and staying in place when you ask, go back to attaching a long lead onto her collar or halter. Ask her to “Stay” as you would normally, then back away a few feet and stop, still holding onto the lead.

Call her name, saying “Come” in a kind, but firm tone, and give her a treat when she responds. If she doesn’t respond immediately, pull on the lead gently to make her come to you, then treat her.

At this point, ask your dog to sit, lie down, and stay, and you back even further away. Stop, call her saying “Come,” then treat her when she responds. Every time she doesn’t come when called, pull gently on the lead until she answers.

Continue training this way, expanding the distance between your dog and yourself with every session. You may have to reinforce your teaching by starting each new session closer than you ended the previous one, but that is to be expected. As in all other training, don’t spend more than 20 minutes at a time teaching your dog a new trick.

As you become more and more confident that your pet is going to listen and respond to every part of the “sit, down, stay, and come” routine, you can begin to remove the lead and train without using it. Don’t attempt to take off the lead unless you are in your home, a fenced yard, or you have installed an in-ground dog fencing system and you know your pet cannot get away from you. 

 

Announcement: Teaching Your Dog to Lie Down

Basic Training, Part 2 – Teaching Your Dog to Lie Down

Once your dog is sitting every time you ask, teaching her to lie down on command needs to be next on your agenda. A well-mannered dog that sits and lies down on command is a dog that will not jump on strangers or grab at food, treats, and toys.

While holding a treat in your hand, ask her to sit, making sure her eyes are on your face and you command her full attention.

Hold the treat directly in front of her nose and lower your hand to the floor. Say the word “Down” in a kind, but firm tone as you drop your hand. You may have to kneel or crouch close to the floor to make this move effective.

At this point, your pet should lower her head and drop her shoulders to follow the treat. If she doesn’t, repeat the gesture using your vocal command, and gently push down on her shoulders with the other to show what “Down” means.

When she lies down, give her the treat and pet and praise her. Make this a consistent part of your training – ask, reward, and praise.

Allow her to get up, then repeat the “Sit” and “Down” commands until she is responding on her own. At some point, you can slowly begin to withdraw the treats when she begins to react without them.

Practice this part of your training every time you want to give her a treat. As when you were teaching her to sit, only pursue this part of her learning in 20-minute increments. 

 

Announcement: Basic Training, Part 1 – Teaching Your Dog to Sit

Having a well-mannered pet is the dream of every dog lover. However, dogs don’t come with instructions and they aren’t born knowing how to behave in every setting. Teaching your puppy or adult dog the basics of sitting, staying, and laying down not only keeps her safe if she’s outside in your yard, it also makes her a better companion when she’s at home in your house.

Basic training for your dog starts with you, and your willingness to work with your pet regularly.

Basic Training, Part 1
Teaching Your Dog to Sit

Place a leash or halter on your dog or puppy and make her stand on the ground in front of you. Step on the lead so that your hands are free and she is not able to run off. Make sure all of your pet’s attention is focused on you by talking to her, calling her name, or holding one of her favorite toys in your hand.

When she is closely watching what you are doing, hold a doggy treat just out of reach of her nose so that she is tilting her head slightly back to look at the treat.

As your dog looks at the treat, say “Sit” in a firm, but kind, tone and move the treat toward her forehead so that she is forced to sit back on her haunches.

If she sits, immediately give your dog the treat and praise her, petting her for good behavior. If she chooses to grab for the treat, move the hand holding the treat behind your back and use your other hand to make her stand quietly in front of you again.

You may need to gently push down on her haunches to show her what to do several times before she understands. 

Repeat placing the treat in front of her nose and saying “Sit” until she accomplishes the task several times in a row. Reward your dog and praise her immediately every time she sits on command.

As you train her to sit, gradually start removing the treat during sessions, using just your hand and voice commands. Eventually, you won’t need the treat at all to make your dog obey.

Don’t make your teaching sessions longer than 20 minutes at a time. Canine behavior experts for the ASPCA state that to train dogs for longer than 20 minutes causes them to lose their attention span and they won’t retain as much information as they do during shorter time periods.

Remember that training your dog or puppy is just like training a human baby. Your pet is going to make mistakes and there are going to be setbacks. Practicing patience, consistency, and kindness while working with your furry companion gives you the best chance for success. 

dog-think.com – (free guide) I had a friend do this video for me. I hope you like it! There is a free dog obedience training guide at the link above that will show you how to start training your dog the right way. It should give you a great start to learning how to train your dog the correct way and make sure you don’t make any mistakes. Dog obedience training isn’t rocket surgery, but you need to know the right way to proceed if you want it to work. You need to know how your dog thinks in order to get him or her to behave as a good member of your household – and you want to be able to do that without ever yelling at or hitting your dog. This guide is all about positive reinforcement training and it should give you a good start on effective dog obedience training.
Video Rating: 5 / 5

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