Dog Training Courses

Dog Training Courses

Here are a bunch of questions that have come up in the past during dog training courses:

If You Live In The City Then Make Use Of The Alleys, Dog's Love It!

Most city dwellers never think of training their dogs in alleys. Many people think of alleys as being unsanitary as well as unsafe. But alleys are a great place to train a dog because there is little traffic and very few people.

If you are going to use an alley, make sure you find a clean alley in your neighborhood that is free from broken glass and strewn garbage. Also be on the lookout for cars exiting garages. Alleys are a great option if you don't have a backyard or if you only have a limited amount of time to play with your dog and don't have the time to go to the park.

dog training coursesBefore entering an alley, the same methods should be used as in crossing streets. The dog should sit at the curb and you should practice street identification techniques. Cars don't always stop at alleys before entering the street.

Alleys are a great place to play games with your dog. You can play a game of fetch, especially if you can get a friend to stand at one end of the alley so your puppy can't take off from you. You can also bounce a ball against a brick garage and have your dog chase the ball. Clean areas around garbage cans and dumpsters also make a great place to play hide and seek with your dog while using your whistle.

I like alleys because there may be times when you don't want to go to the park and compete with other dogs for your puppy's attention. There is nothing wrong with playing with him in an alley before you let him graduate to the dog clubs in your park. You can also invite a couple of friends to have their dogs play with your dog in the alley too.

If your dog happens pick up garbage in the alley, then this is a great place to teach the "Drop it" and "Leave it" commands. Always have motivators on hand to distract him from objects he shouldn't be putting in his mouth.

Exercising your dog in the city will give you a healthier and more confident dog. The city is full of obstacles and environments that act as agility courses. Don't get me wrong, of course parks are a great environment for your dog but why limit yourself to taking your dog only to the park? Give your dog as much mental and physical stimulation as possible. When training your dog in different city environments, use common sense by not putting yourself or your dog in dangerous situations.

Your dog will even see a short errand with you as something fun and exciting. He'll be thinking: "Now where are we going? What kind of fun are we going to have today?" Every walk will be an adventure. All your dog's senses will be in optimal use. And as you train your dog in different city environments, you will feel more confident about taking him almost anywhere with you.

Learn How To Test A Puppy From The Litter (Part 1)

Many articles have been written about how to choose a puppy that is right for you, how to determine which kind of dog breed would best suite your lifestyle, and how to welcome your new puppy at home – but very few people discuss how to “test” a puppy from a litter that you are viewing for selection.

First of all, play with the puppy that you are considering bringing home! Sit on the floor so that you're a friendly, non-threatening figure, and talk to her in a sweet voice; let her come to you, climb into your lap, sniff you, get used to your presence. Use a toy or a treat to break the ice, if necessary.

Already you'll be able to tell a few things about her personality. If she runs or slinks away and you can't coax her to you, she's probably going to be a shy and submissive dog who will need lots of patient training and reassurance if she's to have a normal social life. If she's at the other end of the spectrum and trounces you merrily while chewing on your clothes, biting at your hair and barking, she's likely to be a dominant, brassy dog to whom you'll need to lay down the law firmly.

Ideally, either she'll come right to you and play gently, or she'll start off timidly but grow accustomed to you in a minute or so. If she nips or mouths a little bit, don't hold it against her; that's a normal puppy behavior, and she only needs to be taught to keep her teeth to
herself. But if she's obnoxiously overbearing, or if she bites hard, be wary.

If she's worried about you at first, that too may be a completely normal response to this new situation. But if she's so scared that she shakes, growls or hides, she may not be the one for you. You want her to be curious and confident; she should accept your petting, scratching and cheerful talking without biting you or cowering. Watch for a wagging tail and a head held high!

Next, get up and walk across the room, patting your leg or clap-ping your hands encouragingly as you go. If she follows willingly, that's a great sign. If she follows so willingly that she feels the need to bite your ankles or attack your feet, that's another indication of a dominant, demanding disposition. And if she stays put or heads in the other direction, that's a sign of shyness or just plain lack of interest. You want her to be responsive and intrigued, not over-bearing, scared or bored.

Learn How To Test A Puppy From The Litter (Part 2)

When deciding on choosing a puppy from the litter, pick one and hold the puppy in three different positions that will make her feel submissive to you and establish you as an authority figure. These are exercises that closely approximate what a mother dog might do to her pup, or what an "alpha" wolf might do to a lesser pack member. They don't hurt, but they do put you temporarily in charge of the puppy's movements, and her reactions will tell you something about her willingness to accept your leadership.

To begin, sit down and pick the puppy (we suggest sitting on the floor just in case she wriggles out of your hands). Hold her in front of your face, being sure to support her completely from beneath the rib cage; don't hold her by the arms or shoulders, or she'll justifiably squeal in protest. Look into her eyes and smile at her. Does she struggle, grumble and whine, or does she hang limply? A dominant puppy will fight to get free, while a submissive one won't offer any resistance at all. (If she fights you, give her a little shake and say "Hey!" or "Ah-ah!" and see whether she calms down or only grows antsier.) A happy medium is a puppy who wriggles a bit at first but then settles down and makes eye contact with you.

Then - provided the puppy is small enough - cradle her on her back in your arms; support her head as if she were a human baby. Look into her eyes and talk pleasantly to her. Again, note whether she kicks and screams, goes limp or something in between.

Finally, place the puppy on the floor and gently roll her onto her side, into "play-dead" position. Use one hand to stroke her head and the other to keep the rest of her body in place; don't pin her to the ground like a wrestler, but do encourage her to stay still and let you pet her. Does she struggle to get up, or does she become a rag doll under your hands? You probably know by now that what you're looking for is something in the middle: a puppy who may thrash around a bit at first but then lies quietly and accepts your authority.

By now you should have a pretty fair idea of how bossy or demure this puppy is going to be. If she's at one extreme of the spectrum or the other, she may very well be more of a challenge to train than you want, unless you're very experienced with dogs of her disposition. If she's somewhere in the middle, she'll probably turn out to be a great puppy for you.

What The Studies Of A Dog's Nervous System Have To Tell Us

Dogs of any breed, size or type can suffer from stress. In fact, a certain amount of stress is necessary for a healthy life. Hunger begets a form of stress that motivates us to find food, a healthful activity. However, a pet dog that receives a doting owner's petting and praise on demand all weekend tends to build an insatiable "appetite" for constant social gratification.

Later, left alone on weekdays, the dog is frustrated by an unsolvable, hence frustrating, problem: it cannot find its “emotional food”. Whether this condition results in problem behavior depends on the stability of the dog's nervous system and how the animal behaves to relieve tensions that will always arise from frustration. For example, a chewing problem develops in the orally oriented animal. The tension relief is manifested by chewing up objects that smell and taste of the owner, or things that, to the dog, are symbolic of the owners.

Developmental Neurophysiology and Behavior

Each puppy is born with and develops a nervous system that is unique in many ways. Both genetic and environmental factors produce these individual variations. Some important developmental yardsticks may be applied to the canine nervous system to explain many kinds of behavior.

Turnover of RNA (ribonucleic acid, a vital chemical messenger in the memory process) in a pup's brain does not reach adult rates until 22 weeks of age. This helps explain why a puppy may have "accidents" during its house-training program, or why training pups to simple "Come," "Sit" or "Stay" commands is best conducted in brief sessions no longer than 5 minutes. This may also bear on the 13 to 16-week-old pup's behavior, when it apparently does not recognize, growls at, or runs from visitors with whom it had friendly previous contact, or a pup who starts barking at objects previously ignored. In this case, the optic tract also may not have reached maturity.

Mammals normally born blind but reared without light until maturity develop apparently normal eyes that are "nerve blind" due to failure of the optic tract to develop normally - a good reason not to shake puppies as punishment. Stimulus deprivation of various sorts produces animals with comparatively lighter and less precisely structured brains, according to Russian studies in the 1950s.

Puppies drastically restricted from sensory stimulation and exercise in special cages from weaning until maturity failed to avoid painful burns on their noses from matches or pin pricks, while normally raised puppies quickly learned to avoid them. The deprived pups appeared to feel the pain, but did not learn to associate it with the match or the pin. Even more bizarre, these deprived puppies spent more time close to the human experimenter after being burned or pricked than before the painful stimulus. This was not the case with normally reared puppies.

This work may explain why so many behavioral problems are experienced with puppies bred and reared in the restrictive environments of "puppy mills," where litters are reared in stacked cages and then shipped to pet shops, where they spend more time in cages.

What's Wrong With My Dog, He Loves To Eat Poop!

Children will often do crazy things because they saw their friends do them first. But once is usually enough. They won't jump out of a tree or put their fingers in a candle flame after the first painful experience. Dogs, however, will return to eating dung again and again. Most experts have had to conclude that there's more at work than simple imitation. There are times when that includes imitating their least desirable behavior - eating dung. But they do, so there has to be something about it that they like.

This isn't all that surprising. Dogs have always been scavengers. They'll eat roadkill as readily as their suppers. Old trash, pond muck, and dead sparrows on the lawn are no less appetizing. Dogs start getting hungry whenever they sniff something with a pungent smell, and dung certainly does smell.

Not all dung tastes the same, of course. Dogs seem to have different preferences. Some are attracted to the stools of deer, cows, or horses. Others will eat the stools of other dogs. And a great many dogs are attracted to cat droppings, possibly because cat foods are very high in protein and the dogs are going after undigested nutrients.

The Attention Factor

Dogs, no less than children, crave attention. And they do whatever it takes to get it, including things they know you hate. This probably explains why some dogs only eat dung when their owners are around to watch. It's probably the equivalent of a 6-year-old saying a dirty word and then watching for his parents' reaction. "Look at me," the dog is saying.

Boredom has something to do with it too. Dogs entertain themselves by putting things in their mouths. When not much is happening, they often nose around the yard, picking up sticks and putting them down, even mouthing rocks on occasion. Since they aren't offended by the smell or taste of dung, it's just another thing for them to pick up, play with, and explore.

Dogs occasionally eat so much dung that they get sick to their stomachs. For the most part, however, it's not likely to make them sick - although they may get worms from eating the stools of an infected animal. Their digestive tracts are very forgiving.

The people who live with dogs, however, are less forgiving. For one thing, it's an ugly sight that no one wants to watch. There's also the fact that dogs who eat dung have heart-stopping bad breath. It takes some serious devotion to get past that!

Dung-Eating Tip: Veterinarians sometimes recommend adding garlic, canned pumpkin, or Accent meat tenderizer to a dung-eating dog's food. Assuming that it's his own dung that he's attracted do, these ingredients may give it a taste he dislikes - although it's hard to imagine that anything could make it taste worse than it already does. This isn't a perfect solution, but it does work for some dogs.

A Question About Dog Allergies

My puppy has lots of tiny red spots on his tummy and seems forever scratching; the vet says he thinks it is an allergy to something. What does he mean?

An allergy means a sensitivity to something or other; usually a food of some kind. Heat bumps in children are an example. Perhaps your puppy has an allergy to eggs, or fish, or even milk with the cream on it. Perhaps you have bathed it in some kind of medicated shampoo to which its skin is sensitive.

Only by a process of elimination will you be able to find out what is causing this irritation. In the meantime, just to make sure the vet is right in his diagnosis, It is strongly advisable that you bathe the dog in a good anti-pesticide soap that the druggist can recommend for mange; when you have washed the puppy, dry it with the soap left in. This will make sure the spots you mention are not follicular mange, which has the same symptoms and which the soap will cure.

I hope you enjoyed some of these dog training courses information.

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