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Rescue Dog Training – How to Become the Alpha Dog of Your Home
When you first bring a rescue dog into your home – especially an older one who may be very set in his ways – your first responsibility is to get to know your dog. This requires constant and careful observation. You must spend time getting to know your dog, learning how to read him so that you will understand which training techniques will work best with your dog. For instance, if your dog has quickly assumed the role of “Alpha dog”, your task at hand will require immediate and influential action. However, if he is demonstrating tentativeness, he may be simply in the “role confusion” stage and only needs to see signs of leadership from you to learn where he belongs in the family hierarchy.
So job one is observing your dog’s behavior to determine what type of training will be required and in what doses. If your dog tries to “lead” you or other members of the family, he is trying to take charge. More specifically, if your dog exhibits some of the following behaviors, then you would do well to take the appropriate steps to assert yourself as Top Dog. It’s in everybody’s best interest – including your dog – that he learn from the get-go that he belongs in the lowest place in the family’s pecking order.
To determine if your dog thinks he is “leader of the pack”, look for the following behaviors:
Shows teeth, snarls, or even attempts to bite when you try to remove a toy or bone from him
Always has to be out in front – pulling on the leash, rushing out the door ahead of you
Challenges your authority, from simply ignoring your instructions to outright disobedience
Eats food on his schedule – that is whenever he feels like it – and not on your schedule
Is always trying to control his territory – like sitting in the middle of the hall – forcing all to walk over or around
Pushes his way onto your bed despite your commands to the contrary
The recommended techniques required to establish you as “Alpha Dog” may at times seem harsh. But asserting yourself as leader will be doing your dog a huge favor. For a dog to assume the role as leader in a human environment can become very stressful for your dog. This could lead to anxiety, nervousness, constant barking or even aggression. Dogs simply want to know their place in the family pack and what is expected of them. Oftentimes, an “aggression” problem is really attributable to “role confusion”.
So, how do you go about reversing roles? Start with these four general rules:
Rule 1 – go slowly. In fact the more aggression your dog has exhibited, the slower you should go. You do not want this to become a challenge to your dog to compete with you, but rather a life lesson.
Rule 2 – no more “something for nothing”. Teach your dog that all the good things in life must be earned including play time, treats, walks, petting, even meals.
Rule 3 – do not tempt bad behavior. No more dashes out the door unfettered. No leaving food on easy-to-reach counters. No more treats simply because you looked down and saw two soulful eyes beseeching you.
Rule 4 – Make your dog totally dependent upon you. Become the provider of his every life-sustaining necessity and his every life-enhancing nicety.
Here are some tips and techniques to help you achieve role reversal with your dog:
When taking your dog outside, be sure to walk through the door BEFORE your dog
Always request and get a trick, even if just sitting, before receiving a treat or when you place his food bowl in front of him
When you dog occupies space that he shouldn’t – like the middle of a walkway or on your favorite seat or your bed – gently nudge him until he moves. If necessary, lead him to where you prefer he rest
Never give a command that you don’t intend to enforce. Don’t beg or yell. Help him to obey if necessary, like gently pushing his rear to sit. Once he obeys, reward him with praise
Feed your dog afterthe family eats. And, give him ample time to finish, but do not allow him to “graze”. If he doesn’t eat in a determined time frame (15 to 30 minutes), remove the food
You determine play time
You determine which games to play. Avoid games of strength and resolve like tug-of-war and even rough housing. Hide and seek or fetch are more appropriate (if you play fetch, insist that he return the toy to your feet). Do not allow him to play keep away
Provide your dog with affection, but in moderate doses and preferably as positive reinforcement for good behavior
During this role reversal period, always remain on a higher level than your dog – literally. Be sure to administer praise and even petting from an elevated position. Avoid sitting down to play with your dog. When your eyes make contact, maintain your eye contact until he averts his stare. After you gain the dominant position in your home, you will be able to relax these silly techniques
Do not allow jumping up on people or furniture during this period. This is a dominating behavior. Either ignore the dog or use a command such as “off” or “no” while gently pushing the dog to the floor
Do not allow your dog to pick favorites among family members. This can be accomplished by having everyone involved in the “role reversal” training. Allowing the dog to dominate just one person will defeat your purpose
Do not hesitate to introduce crate training. It will be a safe haven where your dog can escape the stress of trying to be a leader until he learns his rightful place in the home
Be diligent, patient and persistent and your dog will eventually understand that he relies upon you to satisfy all of his needs and wants. This is a happy place to be for your dog, for you and your family. Now enjoy the wonderful benefits of dog ownership.
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Guide to Havanese Training
Having a dog as cute and playful as the havanese will surely bring lots of excitement and fun to your household. But having a dog such as the havanese is more than just excitement and fun. Along with being a dog owner is a number of responsibilities that must be carried out in order to have healthy and happy four-legged member of the family. One of the responsibilities is training, specifically havanese training for your havanese.
Though the havanese is considered to have high degree of intelligence, that does not necessarily mean that training is not needed anymore. Regardless of the breed’s intelligence, training is always an important part of a dog’s life. It is best to start your havanese training the moment you bring Fido home. Start off with introduction and familiarization. The new family member must be introduced to other members of the family including other pets if there is any.
In order to make training less difficult, understand communication from your pet. A confused, stressed, nervous, distracted or excited dog is not able to learn efficiently so it helps if you understand the signals he is trying to show. A dog may also show signals such as sniffing, circling or squatting every time he needs to urinate or defecate. Understanding these signals is helpful during potty training.
Breeders should have already socialized the puppies before sending them to their permanent homes. But if that is not the case, it is not yet late to socialize your pup. Social investigation and playful fighting must be allowed during this period so as to help them develop social relationships.
Regardless of the training technique used, it must be known that physical punishment should not be used as a mean to train a dog. Hitting the dog or rubbing his nose in the spot where he committed accident will only result to behavior problems such as aggression.
Havanese training may seem so challenging when you will just look at it but with consistency, patience and determination, you will eventually reap the fruits of your labor.
Tips on House Training a Dog
One of the most important areas of training a dog is house training. However, this can be a very frustrating task. One of the best ways to succeed is use the dogs own instincts. By nature, dogs are usually very clean animals. They prefer to keep the areas where they eat and sleep clean and free from soil. Dogs also like a routine and like to know where they are supposed to urinate and defecate. For instance, if they are taught to do their business on gravel or concrete, they will look for gravel or concrete to do this. If they are taught to go on grass or dirt, they will look for grass or dirt. Take advantage of these habits.
First, you must set up a training area. You will need a place that is small and confined, like a bathroom or kitchen. A crate will work for small dogs or puppies but larger animals need more room. You need to spend some time with your pet in this area playing with him. Your pet will also eat and sleep in this area as well.
You should put together a special bed for your dog or purchase one. Don’t fret if your pet soils in this area at first. He will soon learn that this is where he eats and sleeps and stop eliminating there. Once the dog figures out the bed is for sleeping, you can move it to different locations in the house. Make sure you do this only when you are home. If you are not there, move the bed back to the training area.
Next, you will need to set up a bathroom area. Find a location for this purpose, probably outside. But, it needs a to be a place the dog can go whenever he needs to go. You should go with your dog to give rewards for good behavior. Feed the dog at the same time everyday. If your dog is fed at the same time everyday and establishes a schedule for eating he will also establish a routine for eliminating. Once you get a feel for those times, it will be easier to guide your dog to the designated location. Your dog should have easy access to the bathroom area; that way accidents are less likely.
Now, you can continue the house training. When your pet is in the habit of urinating or defecating in the toilet area and not in his eating or sleeping area, you may extend the training area to include the rest of the house. Don’t start to fast. Go slowly at first. Add one room at a time. Don’t go into new rooms until you are sure your pet has good control of his bathroom habits. Do this only when you are present with the dog. If you are not home, keep your dog in the original training area. You can speed the process up, but do so with caution. It is advisable to go slowly rather than have to retrain your pet at a later time. If you do choose to speed things up, make sure you are there to reward your dog. Remember, it is important not to punish for accidents. This will only slow the process down by confusing the dog.