Is there a secret to dog training? No, not really. But there is one foundation skill that can make everything else come much easier: getting eye contact from your dog in a variety of settings. Practice getting sustained (at least a few seconds) eye contact from your dog in different places, either in response to her name or to a cue like “Watch me!”
Hiring a professional dog trainer can be very expensive. And browsing the training aids in the aisles of a pet supply store may leave you reeling from sticker shock. Not to worry! You don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a well-behaved dog. The following tips will help you train a dog on a budget:
Consider Clicker Training
Clicker training is a method of positive reinforcement dog training. It involves using a small device called a clicker to let your dog know when he does something you like. As soon as you click the clicker to mark the behavior, you give your dog a small dog treat. It’s easy to learn how to clicker train a dog, and you can purchase a clicker from any dog supply store. There are also a lot of inexpensive options for dog training treats, and since you only use a small treat each time you click, a bag of treats can last awhile.
Check Out Local Animal Shelters
Many dog rescues and humane societies offer free or low-cost dog training classes and seminars. Because so many dogs are surrendered to shelters due to behavioral issues, they offer dog training classes as a community resource in the hopes of keeping dogs from being given up by their families. Many shelters also offer behavior helplines, informational handouts on dog training, and on-site dog trainers who can help answer behavior and training questions, all for no charge.
Exercise is Free
While exercise won’t cure every dog behavior problem, it can make a big improvement in a number of issues, such as destructive chewing, digging, and excessive barking. A long walk or a game of fetch is a great way to burn energy and offer your dog some mental stimulation. And best of all, it’s free!
Invest in Indestructible Toys
Offering dogs a variety of dog toys is another way to curb problem behaviors. Dog toys offer dogs mental stimulation, the ability to burn off energy, and an appropriate way to give in to their need to chew. When you first look at the price of dog toys, it can be tempting to buy the most inexpensive ones. The truth is that this is not always best for your budget because dogs can easily destroy many of the inexpensive dog toys. A better option is to invest in some indestructible dog toys, such as Mojo Treat Ball or Tug a Jug. Spending a little bit more money up front can save you a lot more money in the long run.
Visit Your Local Library
One of the best ways to learn about dog behavior is to read books by expert dog trainers. A number of dog trainers also have videos which give step-by-step instructions on how to train a dog. Rather than spending a fortune on books and videos, check out your local library. Very often they have a collection of some excellent dog training books and videos, or they can borrow them from another library.
In dog training, an aversive is something used to discourage specific unwanted behaviors in dogs. It is something the dog finds unpleasant, usually involving a dog’s senses. Some examples include shock collars, bitter apple spray and penny cans. The use of aversives with dogs is controversial topic. A lot of dog lovers consider some or all aversives inhumane (or unkind at the very least). Many others feel that the use of aversives can be highly affective in dog training.
There are many different things that can be used as aversives. They are usually related to a dog’s senses.
Taste: these aversives are usually used to prevent a dog from chewing. They include things such as Bitter Apple, pepper, vinegar, or anything else you can apply to an object to make it distasteful to your dog.
Touch: aversives in this category are unpleasant for your dog to feel. This includes the shock from a mat or shock collar, spray from a spray bottle, sticky surfaces, and slippery surfaces.
Sound: these aversives create noises that dogs find disturbing. Things such as a shaker can, air horn, vacuum cleaner, and a whistle fall into this category.
Why Use Aversives
Aversives are used to deter dogs from doing things you don’t like. They shouldn’t be used in place of other training. Using aversives is most effective when paired with obedience training.
The following are some situations in which people might use aversives:
Some people put tin foil, double-sided tape, or a shock mat on the sofa to teach their dogs not to climb on the furniture.
A squirt from a bottle of water or the sound of pennies shaking in a tin can stop your dog from jumping on the counters, chewing something you don’t want him to chew, or barking.
Shock collars can also be used as a deterrent to chewing or chasing objects, or to teach a dog to stay on his property.
Problems with Using Aversives
You should consider your options with great care before using aversives as part of any training program. While aversives may be effective in some situations, there are a number of problems associated with their use.
Effectiveness differs between dogs. When it comes to aversives, the effectiveness depends on the dog. One dog may stop in his tracks at the sound of a shaker can full of pennies while another may not even blink. While some dogs may stop chewing the table leg at the first taste of Bitter Apple, some dogs have been known to enjoy the taste, thus making them more likely to chew the item. When using aversives, pay attention to your dog’s reaction to make sure they’re actually serving the purpose for which you intended them.
Loss of effectiveness over time. Sometimes aversives become less effective the more you use them. For instance, if you spray your dog with water from a spray bottle for jumping on the counter, it may startle him and cause him to jump off. After a few sprays, however, he may be used to it, and the spray will no longer have any effect.
Can make a fearful dog more fearful. Fearful dogs usually don’t react well to aversives. A loud noise that might simply startle one dog off the kitchen counter, can make a fearful dog fearful of ever entering the kitchen again. In this case, an aversive is actually too effective, and it can break down your dog’s trust in you.
Dog may associate the aversive with you. Another problem with aversives is that you are often in control of them, so they only happen when you’re around. For instance, your dog may stop counter surfing when you spray him with the spray bottle, but he’ll soon learn that he only gets sprayed when you are in the room. Here you are not training him not to counter surf, you are only teaching him not to counter surf when you’re around.
May cause aggression. One recent study done at the University of Pennsylvania confirmed what many dog trainers already believed – dogs who are punished are more likely to react with aggression. This is the case with some aversives. If you give your dog a leash correction or hit him, for instance, he may growl, snap, or bite in response.
Adopting and caring for a puppy is always a rewarding experience. In exchange for food, shelter, exercise, and regular veterinary care, your pet offers loyalty and companionship for the remainder of his life. Dogs that have lived in puppy mills, however, pose a unique challenge for owners. The treatment they received at the mill will likely have made them distrustful of people, and fearful of anything that is unfamiliar to them. Owners who adopt such dogs must take a few extra steps toward making them feel comfortable and secure in their new homes.
In this article, we’ll describe how puppies are treated in mills so you’ll understand the reasons such pups are hesitant and fearful of others. We’ll also describe the typical behaviors puppy mill dogs exhibit once they’re rescued. Lastly, we’ll provide a few suggestions for helping your puppy feel comfortable within your home.
Inside A Puppy Mill
Puppies are treated poorly in mills. Their physical and mental health take a back seat to revenue. The mill generates this revenue by breeding the pups in their care. But there is a key difference between the breeding activity that takes place in a mill, and that which is done by professional breeders.
Professional breeders do everything possible to minimize genetic problems in the puppies they breed. Mills take no such precautions. Instead, they breed pups without consideration for the likelihood that defects may pass to the litters. For this reason, many of the puppies born from this process are saddled with eye, dental, and joint problems.
The pups at the mill are usually housed in overcrowded pens. The living conditions are often dirty to the point of being unhygienic. Moreover, the dogs seldom receive the basic essentials they need to stay physically and mentally healthy. They rarely see the sun, or have access to a constant source of clean air.
When a puppy is adopted from a mill, the transition to a “normal” life can be jarring to him. You may notice behaviors in him during the first few days in your home that seem odd.
Establishing His Personal Den
Keep in mind that everything is new and potentially frightening to your new pet. When you bring him into your home, he may appear especially hesitant. This is because he has lived with fear his entire life. He has learned to dread the unfamiliar.
First, establish a room – or part of a room – as his personal den. Place bowls for food and water in this area along with newspapers on which he can urinate and defecate. Having an area to himself will make him feel safe, and slowly build his confidence.
Second, after a week has passed, begin acclimating him to a collar and leash. Place both on him for short periods, and let him drag the lead as he roams throughout your home. This will help him become accustomed to the feel, and prepare him for going on walks.
Minimizing Fear And Stress
Because your puppy’s exposure to the outside world was so limited while he was at the mill, he may be easily startled by unfamiliar noises. For example, the sound made by a vacuum cleaner may frighten him. A toaster, television, and blow dryer may also cause him stress. Desensitization training will prove invaluable for helping him become used to hearing these sounds. This type of training takes time and requires patience. But it’s the most effective way to minimize your puppy’s fear and stress of routine noises that occur in your household.
Once your dog begins to feel safe and secure within your home, he’ll explore on his own. He’ll start to peek into other rooms to discover what lies beyond the confines of his personal den. Over time, he’ll gain confidence regarding his place within your life, and look to you as his best friend.
Now is the perfect time to train your dog. A dog of any age can be trained no matter what the kind of behavior you are looking for from your pet. The longer you put off training, the harder it will become for your pet to adapt to that learned behavior. Most people try their hand at training their dog on their own, some seek out a professional dog trainer in their area in order help guide them and reach the results they are looking for.
Finding a dog trainer can be an extensive search depending on what types of problems you want to avoid with your pet. No matter the behavior problem training will help. Potty training, eliminating aggressive behavior, barking or just leash training can all be helped by the use of a professional dog trainer.
No matter if this is your first pet, or one of many, each dog is different and no personality is the same and may require additional help from an outside source. Seeking out a dog trainer is not an admission of being an inadequate owner, but rather an owner that is serious about having a well-behaved dog that is desirable to be around. Working with a trainer will keep you on coarse.
When using the services of a local dog trainer you too can become informed about the benefits of having a structured regime for your pet. Not only will your pet become well behaved, but also it will be a joy to have around and spend more time with at home, out in public or with other dogs. There is less anxiety for both owner and pet when a dog knows its boundaries and limitations of what is expected on a daily basis.
Potty training your pet can happen in a variety of ways depending on how you wish to approach it personally. Often the more time you spend one-on-one with your pet for potty training, the easier it will be for both of you and the desired results will come faster.
The more training you put into your dog the more enjoyment you will get out of it. Using the skills from a local dog trainer can help the process so that you do not become easily frustrated with your new dog before they are fully trained.
There are so many different ways to train your dog you may want to experiment. Some professional dog trainer programs use a clicker in order to get an animal to generate a desired behavior. You may find that this type of training works well for your pet and you can continue the use of a clicker as time goes on to help train them in different areas as well. The only way to see if this type of dog training will work for your pet is to try it for yourself.
There are no rules about what training will work best for you and your pet. There are lots of resources available to you. The benefits of training are that there are many different methods used by local dog trainers, and you are free to choose which ones will work for you and your pet.