Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joy in Simplicity - #19

As I promised today's blog will focus on some simple tips to help make your pet happy and well trained. Most of these tips come from our (Tucker and Mine) experience with Fred the Dog trainer. We have taken several classes from him, and as a whole I would say that Tucker is a very well behaved dog for the most part - he has a few things that we still need to work on, but it is mostly our fault for not keeping at him with with training.

I believe that the more well trained your dog is, the more your life will be filled with joy and peace, because seriously - who likes to constantly be yelling at their dog for doing something wrong.....not me.

Here are some tips!

1. You are the owner! Always be sure that you are calling the shots. You should always be leading, keep your dog to the inside when you are walking.

2. Tell them once! This was the hardest part for me - if you want him to sit - you tell him once, and if he doesn't do it - you do it for him. If you tell him to come - he should come - if not you give a nice swift pull to the leash, practice this over and over again.

3. Dogs are smart - they can learn over 200 commands - but keep them simple. Off means get off the furniture, or off the person - down means lay down on the ground - be sure you are clear and don't mix these two commands. The word NO is vague and meaningless to dogs - it must be specific - I only use no along with a command - NO Bite! Then I grab his mouth and hold it until he settles (that was a puppy thing).

4. Crate Train them - I always felt badly leaving Tucker in his crate because he couldn't run around the house when I was gone, so I thought I will let him try to be out on his own at 6 months - big mistake if you have a Lab - he ate two couches and two pairs of glasses - not all at the same time, but at different times. He is great now and hasn't used his crate since he was one, but it took some training and hard work. Some dogs actually love their crates - it is their home.

5. Training tools - be sure to have a prong collar (it doesn't hurt them, but it will make walking a joy), a can of cheese wiz (a little squirt will be a great training tool when they do something correctly, then as they master things just give them a "good boy".

6. If your dog seems to be a little aggressive with his food put your hand in the bowl as he is eating it - it will help him be broken of that habit. If he spazzes out when you are working on commands with him you can lay on him (if he is big like Tucker) or hold them down until they relax and submit - you will feel it in their posture.

7. Spray Bottle with water and a little dish soap - don't worry - it will not hurt them - but this will be your best friend - if they jump on someone or something they are supposed to - spray them in the face. If they are barking or whining - spray them in the face. If they are chewing on something they aren't supposed to - spray them! You get the point - we don't even have to spray Tucker anymore we just get the bottle out and he stops.

8. Dog Food - so many people feed their dogs people food - our trainer says no way - first it then encourages them to beg for food when people are eating. It is also not good for their systems. The only people food that our trainer allows is carrots, peanut butter, and an occasional ice cream treat! (Good thing we own a ice cream diner) Also Fred says - Rawhide is not good - not sure why but that's what he said, so we stay away from them. I guess I could google it, I just figured he knew what he was talking about!

Hopefully these tips will help you simplify the stress of owning a dog! I am so thankful now that we did all the hard work to train Tucker. Good luck with your dogs!

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