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Good Dogs, Bad Habits

About The Book

Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
"I love my dog, but he chews on everything, jumps on my friends, barks at my neighbors, digs up my yard, and chases my cat. When I try to walk him, he drags me down the street like I'm a sled!" Sound familiar? Wondering how to trade your dog's bad habits for good habits? You're holding the answer in your hands!
These and other common behavior problems can drive even the most caring and patient dog owner crazy. Good Dogs, Bad Habits gives you the insights and tools necessary to help your dog learn better habits. Straightforward advice, step-by-step instructions, and on-the-spot solutions will eliminate your dog's bad behavior -- not just for the moment, but forever. Included are Carlson's innovative calming massage techniques, which are incorporated into the training process; these unique methods all but guarantee success.
Using a quick A-to-Z format, the authors provide solutions for such problems as:
* How to solve housebreaking difficulties that have you baffled
* What to do when your dog's barking is out of control
* How to stop your dog from destroying your shoes, furniture, or yard
* What to do if your dog is shy, nervous, or overly excitable
* How to help your children and dog get along better
So before you send Fido to the doghouse -- get hold of this must-have compendium of excellent advice and watch your dog become the happiest, most mannerly, and best-behaved furry friend ever.


Chapter 1

Why Obedience-Train Your Dog?

Once you begin a structured obedience program with your dog, many bad habits will disappear on their own. Obedience training will give your dog a way to please you. It will also teach your dog to take you seriously. Training will help your dog develop a "conscience" -- which your dog will need if he is going to remember not to repeat the crime.

Formal obedience training is also vital for your dog's safety. It gives you and your dog a common vocabulary to work with. Teaching your dog the meaning of various commands before a dangerous situation arises may save his life one day. If your dog knows what "come" and "stay" mean, you will be able to control him when it is most necessary.

Obedience training is a form of quality time between you and your dog, and it opens the door to communication between you and him. It also helps to establish you as pack leader. This strengthens his allegiance to you, and a stronger bond develops as a result.

Some dogs have no idea how they fit into their human family, and they are visibly relieved once formal training begins, because they finally have a lead animal (you) to follow! On an exercise as simple as the sit-stay, the eye contact between you and your dog can take on a whole new dimension, as your dog suddenly sees you in a different light.

Dogs of all temperaments and personality types can benefit from structured training. It will help a wild, unfocused dog center his attention, focus his thoughts, and calm down. A dog who is very submissive and timid will gain confidence through obedience training. For a dog who thinks himself higher than his human in the pack hierarchy, obedience training is a kind and safe way to slowly change his mind about his perceived status and begin to view you as the lead dog.

The obedience lessons presented here are sit, sit-stay, heel, down, down-stay, and come. Read each exercise several times and visualize what you'll be doing.

Make the training sessions fun for your dog. Give him lots of encouragement and praise, and vary the command sequences to keep him guessing about what's coming next. Start each lesson by reviewing the commands he knows best. Practice heeling to wake up a lazy dog and to exercise an active dog, changing your pace and direction frequently. Keep his tail wagging! Speak in a whisper sometimes, as though you are sharing a secret together. Other times, be animated. If you are in a bad mood, don't train your dog. Just take him to the park and relax with him.

Each training session should contain three elements: focused learning, play breaks, and calming massage. The play can be as simple as throwing a toy for him to play with, and the massage can be done casually while he is seated by your side. Be sure to end each training session before your dog gets bored and after he has just done a good job following your instructions.

Dogs learn best in short, frequent training sessions. Practice, for example, three times a day for ten minutes each session, for a total of thirty minutes a day. Or hold two sessions a day of twenty minutes each, for a total of forty minutes. The younger the dog, the shorter his attention span will be; a puppy will be happy with two to five minutes of focused learning repeated three to five times a day.

Remember to give your dog the corresponding hand signal every time you give the verbal command. This will help him learn the commands, and eventually he will respond to the hand signals alone. This can be useful in noisy situations or when you need to be silent and subtle about giving commands (such as when your mother-in-law is asleep on the couch!).

Surprise your dog with quickie drills on commands that he knows fairly well -- for example: heeling with sits, a sit-stay followed by come, and then a down-stay. The entire sequence can take three minutes and can be done anywhere.

When you are training your dog, it is important for him to respond quickly when you give a command, but don't drill him over and over again to try to perfect something that is good enough already. If your dog chooses to sit casually on one hip while you chat with a friend, that's fine. As long as he is cooperative, pays attention, and is happy to respond to you, don't worry about perfection.

The basic obedience instructions here are not meant to be a substitute for the help of a professional dog trainer. There are other more advanced commands that your dog would benefit from and that you might enjoy teaching. If you are having problems, do some research and find a trainer whose methods you like and respect. A little help goes a long way. If you want to prepare your dog for competition in the obedience ring, you will need to enroll in a specially designed class.

Copyright © 1995 by Jeanne Carlson with Ranny Green

About The Author

Jeanne Carlson is a professional dog trainer who for twenty years has gone into people’s homes to help them understand their dogs better. She also operates a national phone consultation service, and her popular training video “Good Puppy!” has helped thousands of new puppy owners. She works in Seattle, Washington, and lives on an island with her dog, two cats, and two horses.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Touchstone (April 28, 1995)
  • Length: 256 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780671870775

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