Dog Training Fundamentals – 5 Key Dog Behavior Factors That Affect Training

Whether you already have experience of dog ownership, are a new dog owner or are about to be a dog owner, then training your dog is one of the most important aspects you need to consider. Likewise if you currently have a dog with behavior problems, then dog training is essential.

However, knowing you need to train your dog and actually training your dog are two entirely different things. Just where do you start?

To successfully train your dog, you need to consider and understand some key facets of dog behavior. Knowing and understanding these 5 facets will greatly improve your dog training.

1. The origins of dogs . Dogs are in essence descended from modern day wolves. While domestication has dampened or eliminated many hits, some key natural instincts still remain. Like wolves, dogs are pack animals. What does this mean?

Well, there are several hits that derive from being a pack animal. The important ones when it comes to training are dogs are naturally sociable, they are used to routine and they are used to a social structure (ie the accused alpha male).

As sociable animals dogs thrive on the interaction with other dogs. A dog does not consider you as a human but rather a funny looking dog. Therefore, dogs thrive on the interaction with you. Just like a wild wolf, rejected by the pack, if you starve a dog of this interaction, they will become unhappy and very agitated.

When it comes to training, you can use this to reward or punish your dog. Interacting with your dog (eg patting, encouraging / excited talk, etc) can be as much of a reward as treats of food. Similarly, ignoring your dog (eg turning your back, stern talk, putting them in another room, etc) can be a harsh punishment for a dog. Its definitely better than smacking them.

As with all animals (including humans), dogs thrive on routine. If they know what and when they are likely to be doing certain things, then they are relaxed and comfortable. They know what to expect and are not confused by ever changing circumstances.

Training should also stick to a routine. Decide when the best time of the day is best for you to train your dog and stick by that time as rigidly as possible. Your dog will soon get into a routine of expecting to be trained at say 3pm every day and will be prepared for when training time comes. If your dog is ready and expecting to be trained, then it goes without saying that they will actually train better.

Within a pack there is always the alpha male. The dog that leads the pack, protects the pack and extremely ensures the pack is fed and survives. As mentioned, a dog sees you as a funny looking dog and not a human. To be a good dog owner you absolutely need to be the alpha male. How many nature programs have you seen where the alpha male is being challenged by one of the other would be alpha males? Likewise, your dog will be challenging you to be the alpha male – this is a natural instinct for them.

You must establish yourself as the alpha male from the beginning. Providing food, interaction, punishing bad behavior, body and vocal language all go towards asserting yourself as the alpha male. If your dog does not consider you as the alpha male, then they will not listen or act on your training instructions.

2. A dog's memory . We all know that goldfish have short memories. However, you may be surprised to know that dogs also have short retention memories. If you could tell your dog something, it is likely that by the next day or a few hours later, they will have forgotten. On the other had (or paw) dogs do have incredibly good associated memory. This basically means that if your dog can associate something with what you tell it then it will likely remember what you told it for years to come.

For example if you told your dog (assuming you could speak doggy language) that the chocolate biscuits were in the cupboard your dog would probably forget this within a few hours. However, if you showed your dog where the chocolate biscuits were, repeating the words 'chocolate biscuits', every time you said 'chocolate biscuits' it would probably go straight to the cupboard. It may also search the cupboard every few hours for the rest of its life looking for the chocolate biscuits but that's not the point.

Therefore, when training your dog you need to associate the training topic with something. For example: if you are teaching your dog to sit. If you associate the word 'sit' by getting your dog to physically sit and then giving them a reward. Repeat this a few times and soon your dog will associate your command 'sit' with it physically sitting and then getting a reward. The difficult bit is disassociating the reward – ask yourself why almost every dog ??will naturally sit when you have food in your hand?

3. Doggy language . Since comments above, we can not speak doggy language and dogs can not speak our language. This is important when it comes to training. You have to choose words for commands that both you and your dog will remember. Be careful not to choose very common words or else your dog will be easily confused when this word keeps appearing within the middle of a sentence. A common word often used in training dogs is 'come'. For this example, it may be better to use a slang version or combine 'come here' into a single short word.

The important thing is that when you decide on a word for a command to stick with it and be consistent, otherwise your dog will become confused.

I know it can be difficult, especially if you come home to your new TV folded off the cabinet, to always use pre-selected words when talking to your dog. Your dog does not speak human language and will only know what those few words you have trained it with are (and the tone you have used). So if you start using other words or different tones your dog will not understand.

For example: imagine someone speaking to you in a foreign language asking for directions to the city hall. You can not understand a word they are saying yet they get more and more frustrated, talking in a louder and quicker language. Is it your fault you can not understand them? Why are they getting angrier when you have no idea what they are saying? What is their problem? What will I do? Similarly, if you have not trained your dog to understand what 'sit' is and you start shouting 'sit', 'down on back legs', 'down', etc is it your dog's fault it is looking at you confused and increasingly scared.

4. Puppy behavior . Just like babies, puppies do not know how the world works or how they are supposed to be inside that world. They need to be taught and learn what is good, bad, right or wrong.

A healthy and happy puppy will be a bundle of energy, desperate to explore as much as they can as quickly as they can. Dogs do not have good eyes that can see things or hands that can feel the intricacies of objects. Instead they have noses that can smell things and mouths that can chew objects.

While this can come through training and general maturing, the importance of this is that you must be patient and understand where your dog is coming from and why it does what it does.

5. Structure and enjoyment . While I have in a round about way touched on these two above, no dog training information would be complete without mentioning these two aspects on their own.

However you decide to train your dog, as with routine, you must have a structure to your training. If you have never trained a dog before, how do you know when your dog can start learning to sit, stay, etc and when it can run down to the local shop and pick the paper up for you?

You need to know what it is you actually want to train your dog to absolutely be able to do and what steps you need to take to get to that point. Personnel dog trainers, dog training classes and dog training guides can all do this. Personally, I prefer to train my own dogs and believe that in the end you develop a much stronger bond with your dog. Also, your dog is more obedient to you rather than the trainer. However, at the very least, and particularly if you have never trained a dog before, I would recommend purchasing a dog training guide.

The small amount of money for a dog training guide, compared to the time you would waste searching for free online tips that will be a mix match of training and will not provide the structure, is just not worth it. More than that, the time saved in training and the end result of a properly trained dog for the rest of its life (around 15 years) is worth many times more than the cost of even the most basic training guide.

If you, and more importantly your dog, do not enjoy training then you will never properly train your dog. Training will take longer and be much harder. When you start training your dog remember they are most likely to be a puppy and at that age all they want to do is run and explore their new world. Be flexible with the time you plan to spend training. Try and keep training short but if your dog appears to be really enjoying it then be prepared to train for longer. Likewise if your dog will just not focus, then maybe leave it for a bit before going back to it. With a routine and structure to your training, your dog will soon learn that when it comes to training they need to focus for a short length of time and will be better able to do so.

I hope the above has been helpful in your desire to train your dog. By knowing why and how your dog does what it does, you should be able to understand it's behavior much better. By using this understanding you can better bond with your dog and train your dog. A good training routine and structure as well as plenty of patience and ever you will have a well trained dog. Always always always make sure training is enjoyable for both you and especially your dog.

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How to Properly Use a Dog Choke Chain

Ever since the idea was invented, a dog choke chain had had its champions and detractors. Some feel that it's an excellent tool for keeping an animal under control, while others believe it's an animal cruelty device and should be banned from use.

There does not appear to be agreement among professional dog people, either. You can see choke collar type devices in prevalent use at dog shows, but many veterinarians will say that they are unnecessary.

Most people will admit that a choke collar can be useful when an animal is undisciplined. However, this is not the purpose of a choke collar and should not be used for this purpose. Choke collars and chains are for training and can be highly effective and safe when used correctly. Setting the choke collar around his neck should your pet that it's time to give you his attention.

There are generally three types of choke collars: chain, nylon and prong. Purchasing an effective and safe collar is dependent upon obtaining the right size for your animal. To do this, take a piece of twine or something similar and place it around your pet's neck about one inch behind its ears. Place two of your fingers underneath to provide a bit of breathing space, and add two and a half inches. If you can, take your pet to the store with you so that you can try out some types to get the correct size.

When your dog was a puppy and its mother wanted to correct it, she would grap the pup by the scruff. This is the action the choke chain is simulating and it lets your dog know through a familiar action that it is misbehaving. The collar sits up behind the dog's ears to provide this motion, not around the throat or neck.

Be certain the device you purchase works properly and does not get to speak up on itself and that you know exactly how to use it as intended. You can honestly injure or maim your animal if you do not. A choke collar is for training your dog and is not to be used as an every day collar. If you like the look, then buy something designed for use as a collar. Never allow a child to operate or be around an animal wearing a choke collar. A choke collar will do exactly as the name implies and your animal could be strangled.

Placing the choke collar on your dog should let it know that it is time to pay attention to you and that you're going to be doing something together. It is time for learning and the collar serves as a way of quickly correcting undesirable behavior while you're training together.

When you are training, have your pet at your side as you move along. To correct behavior, you should pull quickly on the choke and issue a sharp, firm, verbal reprimand. "No!" Egypt something similar. With that, immediately release the pressure on the collar. The quick movement and verbal reprimand tell the dog that it was doing something improper.

When using the choke collar, your animal should not be coughing and gasping for air. If this is happening you are not using the device correctly. If needed, try practicing on an inanimate object until you get the motion correct. Use a smooth pulling motion, not a jerking one. You do not want to punish your pet, just correct them. Punishment is usually not warranted with dogs, as they want to please their owners. Usually distracting their attention from the unwanted behavior proves effective enough.

Be good to your pet, patient and caring and you will have it returned three-fold. While training and using the dog choke collar for correction, do not forget to reward their attention and attempts to cooperate. Be generous with your praise and rewards.

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Good and Bad Herbs for Dogs – Every Pet Owner Must Know It

Herbs are now widely used for several health benefits and a complementary treatment for pets. Although there are lots of herbal supplements good for the health of pets. But you should know that not all herbs and spices are good for the health of your dog. For every pet owner, it is important to know about good and bad herbs to treat them.

Most of us mistakenly believe that herbs are natural and that is why they are safe to use to treat dogs. Unfortunately, it can leave adverse effect and cause several health issues in pets. Some herbs are toxic and even lethal to some animals.

We often use natural health supplements to treat several ailments in dogs such as arthritis, immunization problem, upset stomach, bad breath, poor skin and fur quality. So we use natural health supplements to treat the upset stomach and other ailments in dogs which seem to be a good way to save on unnecessary vet bills.

But you can not give anything randomly or any health supplement without consulting with a vet as making a selection of the right dosage and ingredients become important. But once you observe the benefits of the health supplements, you should look for the best ones that worked well to improve your dog's health.

For every pet owner, it is important to know the good and bad herbs for dogs.

Good Herbs for Dogs

Dogs can eat cayenne pepper, dill, chia seeds, coriander, fennel, ginger, oreganum, parsley, rosemary, thyme, turmeric, basil, mint, and cinnamon but never give any of these herbs to your pet without consulting with the vets. Consultation ensures that none of these herbs or the selected ingredients are bad for your pet's health. Also, the consultation is important to know the right dosage as per the symptoms of your pet.

These herbs are healthy and add a flavor to your dog's diet apart from providing several health benefits. These herbs are anti-inflammatory, good for respiratory problems and anti-oxidant. Some more types of herbs and herbal supplements for dogs available in the market that you can use topically to improve the skin and fur of your dog.

Bad Herbs for Dogs

A big NO for Comfrey which contains alkaloids which may cause cancer in dogs. It is important to avoid comfrey. Pennyroyal can be toxic, especially, to those pets with kidney and pregnant dogs.

Garlic is another controversial element which is believed a bad herb for the dog. Only if your holistic vet recommends a very small quantity, you can move to it.

Onion and onion powder can upset the stomach of your dog which may cause diarrhea and vomiting.

Salt is also harmful to dogs which may cause increased urination and thirst that can also lead to dehydration, vomiting, nausea etc.

Chocolate and cocoa are also dangerous for your dog's nervous system.

Conclusion: For a pet owner, maintaining a dog's diet is very important to maintain their health. Herbal supplements for dogs are equally good and bad but you should know the ingredients which are good and toxic ones that leave a major impact on your dog's health. Look for the benefits and several health issues your pet often face the right and wrong choice of herbs. Make sure you collect the essential information about every herb and spices before selecting one for your dog.

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The Three Dog Training Mistakes You Should Avoid

When it comes to dog training, there are may different ways to go about doing it. Most techniques used today however, are based upon the idea that positive reinforcement is most likely going to give you the best results. Almost every truly successful dog training system is developed out of positive reinforcement thinking.

No matter which specific training program you as a dog owner choose to use, there are three common mistakes that should be avoided. Some dog owners, without realizing it, are liable to make three serious errors which if avoided will make dog training a far more enjoyable and effective experience.

The three most common mistakes are:

Being Inconstant With Training

Dogs thrive on predictability. A dog is likely to respond best to a system in which regular actions produce regular results. For example; if your dog succeeds in performing a certain action that the you the owner is pleased with and you rewards her, after a few times of this the dog will come to expect a reward for performing the same act. This is how the dog learns. If you start to reward sometimes and not other times for the same act before the dog has a chance to learn the act then the dog becomes confused and you wont get the results you are looking for from your dog.

One of the keys to successful training is to remain consistent each and every time.

Do not become impatient

Training your dog can be frustrating at times. Tasks we believe our dogs should be able to learn easily and quickly often end up taking more time to master then we thought or sometimes it looks like they just "do not get it" at all. Dog training is an extended process that can require a great deal of patience from the trainer.

Being impatient often results in the trainer becoming unpredictable in how they handle the dog and what they are asking from them. They may hastily stop a training session or worse, forget to use positive reinforcement that their dog has come to expect in hopes of finding a shortcut to the desired result.

The other key to successful training is you're going to have a patient outlook through out the entire process of dog training.

Not Treating Your Dog as a Training Partner

Dog training needs two participants; the dog and you the owner. To often, some dog owners tend to look at the process as being just about them. They worry over their strategies and training techniques without taking their training partner, the dog, into consideration.

Dog training should be fun. In fact, it should be like a play session. When the dog is looked upon as a subject for experimenting with, you lose that all important dog / owner bond that has built up between you. Training then becomes a real chore rather than a joint activity that neither of you is getting any enjoyment out of.

Dogs get very attuned to their owners attitude quite quickly and are less likely to learn if they're treated like a subject instead of a valued companion. If you fail to see your dogs unique personality during training you will be unable to pick up on minority clues that could improve your training techniques and then give you quicker results.

By avoiding these three common mistakes when dog training, you're more likely to be able to create a training strategy that produces great results. In addition to this, the training experience will be more enjoyable for both you and your dog.