Pet Care

6 Powerful Dog Training Tips

by David Silva

Dog training should be an opportunity for you to build your relationship with your dog, to create a better bond, and to have some fun in the process. Unfortunately, it's often a little more challenging than that. To help you in the process, here are a few dog training tips that can make your experience a positive one for both you and your dog.

Sizing A Training Collar

It's relatively easy to determine the proper length of the training collar that's right for your dog. The appropriate size of the collar is the distance around your dog's neck, plus 2-3 inches. Since training collars are usually made in even sizes, it may be necessary to round up to find the right size. The training collar should fit snugly, but not too tight. And make sure the pressure on the training collar is instantly released whenever the leash is loosened.

Boredom Can Create Problems

If house training accidents have started to happen and you're having a hard time figuring out what the problem seems to be, don't overlook the possibility that your dog is bored. A bored dog will often drink excessive amounts of water, which naturally results in a need to urinate much more frequently than normal. If you notice your dog consuming large amounts of water, you'll want to increase his visits to the established toilet area. But before it ever reaches that stage, make sure he has plenty of toys and activities to keep him busy during the day and minimize his boredom.

Desensitizing Your Dog To His Fears

Desensitization is a highly effective way to deal with phobias and fears in humans, and it can be very effective for dogs as well. Desensitization involves introducing your dog to small doses of whatever frightens him. For example, if he's afraid of thunder, try tape recording your next thunderstorm then playing it back at a slightly softer level while he's relaxed. Reward the dog for not responding fearfully. If he does demonstrate some fear, do not comfort or soothe him (that will simply reinforce the unwanted behavior). Instead, just ignore him.

Back And Forth Recall Game

A great game for you and another family member to play with your dog is the back and forth recall game. This is an excellent exercise for teaching your dog to come whenever he's called by a member of the family. Dogs often learn to only respond to one person. A well trained dog must learn to respond to whoever is in charge.

In the back and forth recall game, two or more people stand approximately ten yards apart, in a safe area, such as a fenced yard. One person calls your dog, then commands him to sit and stay. Once he's followed these commands, the next person gives the come command. When your dog responds properly, he's rewarded with a treat. Most dogs love playing this game. Just make certain that the person who calls your dog is the only one who gives him a treat.

You Don't Want Your Dog To Be A Chaser

Before you expose your dog to a situation where he'll likely be tempted to chase after a car or another person, you'll want to have him thoroughly trained to respond to your commands. The command in this instance, would be, "Off!" As with all training, make sure the training area is controlled and safe. Your dog will need to be able to focus on you without any outside distractions.

Try starting this training indoors. Your dog should be on leash. The two of you start out standing together at one end of the hallway or room. Show your dog a tennis ball, but don't allow him to touch it. Next, roll the ball down the hallway, while using the command, "Off!" If your dog starts out after the ball, repeat the command, and give the leash a firm tug. If your dog returns at your command, reward him with a treat and plenty of praise. As with all training, repetition is the key.

Using A Head Collar

Recently, the head collar has become an increasingly popular dog training tool. Two of the most popular brands on the market are the Gentle Leader and the Halti, though there are many other brands that do an equally good job. Many people find the Gentle Leader easier to fit than the Halti. The advantage of the Gentle Leader, which fastens around your dog's neck, is that even if your dog is somehow able to wriggle out of the muzzle, he's still wearing a collar. This safety feature can be very important, especially during outside training or in new and unfamiliar situations. On the other hand, the Halti offers better control of your dog. For this reason it's often preferred when working with aggressive dogs.

While dog training tips can help you work with your dog, if you need help with other dog challenges (such as biting, barking, housetraining), check out these top dog training courses: Dog Training

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