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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 7:37 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2010 2:38 pm
Posts: 20
When I Say Sit, I Mean It!

The number one reason that dogs end up going to the animal shelter always surprises people. It is rarely that the owners can’t afford to feed their pet, or that they have no room for him. Far more dogs end up at the shelter for inadequate housetraining, biting, or just overall wild and obnoxious behavior. Things that consistent, firm, kind training can almost always fix.

I am continually surprised at how many people acquire their dogs before thinking about the amount of time they will require. Puppies and young dogs, the ones most often sought, require a great deal of exercise, training, and mental stimulation. However, many people either try to do it themselves without fully understanding how the canine mind thinks, or just ignore the training stage while their puppy is still small and relatively harmless. Once he grows bigger, however, his training will be far more difficult for many reasons.

When a puppy is in the 4-8 month stage, he is learning crucial lessons about his environment and the world in general. He learns if it is a safe world, whom he can trust, and which actions bring about which reactions. These are the best months to teach what is appropriate and inappropriate, because they will stick better with him as he gets older. Also, when a puppy is small, his housetraining mistakes are also therefore smaller, and particularly with larger breeds, he can’t do as much damage to people when he jumps on them or invades their space. If you can nip such behavior in the bud at an early age, it will be that much easier as your dog matures.

There is nothing wrong with training by yourself if you have done it several times and are very experienced, but if it’s your first dog, or you feel like your dog is the boss and you aren’t, it’s a good idea to go to a professional for help, or at least watch an experienced trainer do their thing. With training, you will learn that there are several methods everyone uses, and of course everyone thinks their method is best. So, use the one that speaks to you, and if you find it isn’t working, you can always go another way.

And older dogs are NEVER a lost cause! A completely untrained, excitable, adult dog is something that is definitely a challenge, but almost always worth the work. Even if they didn’t get the best start, they can always improve. I looked after a 9 month old Boxer/Jack Russel Terrier earlier this year, and while it was difficult, as he had no formal training before I took him on, he improved so rapidly, it was wonderful. So never think an old dog can’t learn a new trick!

Training is important for your sanity, as well as your dog’s. So don’t take it lightly. After doing it for a while, you will likely see how fun it can be.

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The Groomer Girl is a dog and cat groomer with experience in dog breeds, dog grooming, cat grooming and dog and cat training. Feel free to ask questions and she will continue to post articles. Some of her favorite websites are http://www.akc.org and http://www.humanesociety.org

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