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By Mary Jane Anderson



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By Mary Jane Anderson

Before you are able to efficiently train your dog, you must first understand yourself.

Owning a dog gives a few clues about your personality. You enjoy dogs and want to have them around for many reasons. Your temperament and understanding of a dog determines a great deal on your dog’s behavior.

You must know yourself in your relationship with your dog. Are you under control? Being under control means that you are the leader and not the dog; you call the shots! In any form of building a relationship with your dog begins with your dog respecting you as the leader. Dogs cannot live in a democratic society. They are genetically programmed to accept a leader in a hierarchy pack or family.

A dog’s first impression when he is brought into your home, whether as a seven-week-old puppy or an adult dog, will be to evaluate you as a leader or follower. If the dog finds you are a follower, through your actions, the dog will assume leadership. The puppy or adult dog will do this assessment though testing, similar as a child, to see how you will react. A puppy or an adult dog must first respect his owner for leadership before the animal will love and obey your commands.

In training your dog, you must be firm. A lesson should never end with the dog having its own way. The dog must obey your every command even though his performance is not perfect. If you think you are losing your temper in a particular lesson, STOP training and continue later. You will only confuse the dog while you are in this frame of mind, NEVER, NEVER PUNISH YOUR DOG BY STRIKING IT. The tone of your voice and the use of the collar will let him know that you are displeased with his action. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER CALL YOUR DOG TO YOU AND THEN PUNISH IT! If punishment is needed, go to the dog. This is only common sense. Would you go to a person if you knew he was going to beat you? Use the training methods whenever you want your dog to behave with or without a training collar and leash. That’s what training is all about!

You choose the dog; you brought the dog into the environment in which he lives. Your approach to the training of the dog will determine the behavior of the dog. The saying, “The dog you have is the dog you deserve,” is a statement that must not be taken lightly. It provides an insight into your relationship with your dog at this time. The most important question you must ask yourself is… Am I satisfied with my dog’s behavior? An honest answer can save or break your relationship with your dog.

“Euthanasia for behavior (problems) kills more dogs than all diseases combined,” states Dr R.K. Anderson at the Morris Animal Foundation in the fall of 1991. If you are not satisfied with your dog’s behavior and tolerate his misbehavior, you must learn a means of communication through which you may work to make meaningful corrections for good behavior. Learning the basic obedience exercises – heel, sit, down, stay, come – will enable your dog to have good manners at home and in the community.

Always remember, a dog out of control is a nuisance while a dog under control is a pleasure. All dog owners are within reach of a dog under control by patience, perseverance and practical application in everyday life.

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