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Here are some of my thoughts and experiences of training dogs over the years.
Obedience: The first thing you have to do is get the dog to pay attention to you. If its attention is all over the place, it will be next to impossible to train it.
An older dog may have picked up bad habits and could be slow to train, if at all. A young puppy on the other hand will have a very short attention span as its interest will be on anything it notices.
It will take patience, and with repetition the dog will learn.
Signing up for dog training in the evenings could be beneficial if you have the time and money to spare; seeing how others do it can help, and regular obedience training in this way could be the ideal thing, but many other animals in a confined space could and usually is a big distraction.
Going it alone without these disturbances in the controlled and quiet environment of your choosing is sometimes the only way.
All dogs are different; collies are full of energy and want to run and chase anything; German shepherds are intelligent and usually willing to work with you. Some dogs will be lazy, and some just won’t learn, while others are best suited as working dogs, and some are good as companions.
Understanding your dog, its temperament, and what excites it is the beginning in knowing the best way to train it.
Because dogs are pack animals, it will pick up its cues from its immediate environment and will quickly learn who is boss. The boss or top dog is the one who is looked to for direction and should command the most respect, so it will help enormously if you are the top dog in its world.
Take the dog with you everywhere you go as much as is practically possible, this will help the relationship to grow.
Not all dogs are the same, but most of them will respond to certain stimuli in the same way.
To keep your dog from wandering too far when you are out walking, hide behind a tree or bush until the dog finds you, and if it runs in the wrong direction then call it, but stay in hiding until it finds you. In a short time, the dog’s attention will be riveted to you so it always knows where you are.
Kindness always works best; hitting or kicking and shouting does not work except to cause fear, not a good way to train any animal. A dog will respond to a firm but gentle hand far better and will remember it the next time.
Some people give their dogs treats when they do something right and this can work in the short term, but it’s better if it wants to please you for your praises; this relationship can last a lifetime and be pleasing for both of you.
Try not to feed your dog during the day because it is best to feed it once a day at its feeding time.
Start out with simple commands: when you stop at a road before crossing say the word wait. As you begin to walk say, "walk on." If your dog pulls on the lead as when you are walking along, a gentle but firm tug with the word close or heel should be enough to remind the dog to stay close to you. Say "Stay," then slowly move away, but not too far at first, then call "Come," and reward the dog when it does come; it soon learns that there’s a reward involved for its obedience and will respond eagerly to your every command.
When you see it sit, say "Sit," or if you want it to sit then gently push down on its rear until it is sitting then reward it.
Sit, walk on, stay, come, wait, and close are the six main commands that are needed by you and the dog to begin with, and for some that is all they learn.
Some dogs are very clever and can learn tricks; Jack Russell dogs are good for this. But some dogs only learn the basics, but that’s no reason why you can’t have a rewarding and happy relationship for the lifetime of your dog.
A dog’s obedience to you is proportionate to its attention span and its desire to please you, therefore the more joy and pleasure it gets from you when you are pleased with it the more it will want to please you.
Dogs can have moods too the same as us, so the more you are in sympathy with your dog the more you will understand when the best time will be for training.
Lying on the floor and letting your dog on top of you is one way to signify your acquiescence to its dominance, so if it does that then roll it over onto its back for a moment to show it who is boss.