Training your dog yourself – Part 6

Methods used for training dogs are as complex and diverse as any other behavior modification standards for everything under the sun, from pets, to children, to adults. The answers are rarely found in one place, and tips and suggestions vary drastically from one source to another. Each will insist that the only way to get results is to use their “proven” method of training. The search for answers may prove to be not only daunting, but also frustrating and sometimes fruitless.

Training your dog or puppy does not have to be so complicated and painful.

The most successful training appears to come from doing what’s best for your particular dog by using basic logic, and by researching how a dog thinks and interacts within a pack. Dog-to-dog language is not the same as people to people language. Once we learn the basic communication and understanding within the hierarchy of the canine pack, successful training becomes more easily attainable. Learning how to “talk” to your dog in a way that he understands enables him to learn, behave, and live comfortably and happily with his “people” pack.

An example of the difference in language as perceived by humans and as perceived by dogs can be observed in the “greeting” process: You enter your home after being away all day and you’re met with the typical loud and excited greeting from your children as they rush at you for a hug. In order to insure healthy validation of their self-worth, your response must be attentive, happy, and reassuring. Conversely, when your dog or puppy rushes to your side, jumping onto you frenetically, panting loudly, turning circles, yipping and barking, your behavior should not be the same as it is for your children. In the face of such obvious adoration and love, our first inclination is to respond in kind to our dog. We want to pet and hug him in an effort to show him how much we missed him, too. However, indulging this over-energized greeting with praise, love, and affection encourages over-anxious, over-excited, and sometimes painful behavior. The result can be scratched arms and legs, ripped stockings, soiled clothing, accidental bites, and guests who may never wish to return for a visit.

Instead, it is better to ignore your dog; continuing to walk forward as if you don’t even see him. If he tries to jump on you as you walk, it is important to continue moving, even turning your back on him while brushing him off with the command “down,” in a firm, controlled, and

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