Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Good Dog and A Good Dog Owner

Received the same email today from 2 animal lover friends and would like to share with everyone out there. It was extracted from a book by Steven Covey titled "7 Habits Of Highly Effective People," and the person who initiated the email thought that a great title for the book would be "7 Habits Of Highly Effective Dog Owners." This is because he has worked with dog owners that were highly effective dog owners and all of them followed the same basic steps.In Order To Have A Good Dog You Have To Learn To Be A Good Dog Owner.

Here are the seven habits all good dog owners have in common. Follow these steps and you'll be a highly effective dog owner too.

1. Training
All great dog owners spend some time training their dogs. Training is the best way to communicate with your dog. Your dog has no idea that they are not supposed to pull on leash, to not jump on guests,or to come back when you call them.

2. Exercise
Our dogs spend a lot of time waiting around for us. We go off to work, we're busy, we have appointments to keep, and our dogs are just hanging out waiting for us to do something with them.Dogs are extremely social and want to interact with us. Every dog needs two forms of exercise - mental and physical.

3. Good food
Not all dog foods are created equal. Feeding your dog a good diet is very important. Look at some of the labels on dog food. Some of them are loaded with chemicals, dyes, sugar and low grade products.A poor diet can result in bad behavior and poor health.

4. Leadership
Dogs are social pack animals. They survive by living together in packs. In order for that pack to survive they need to develop a social structure with a leader. When you dog comes into the house,you need to become the pack leader.By becoming the pack leader your dog will know where they fit in. Becoming the pack leader does not mean that you have to be forceful. It simply means that you need to control the activities that are important to your dog which are sleeping, eating, playing, and social contact.

5. PlayDogs live to play
Ever watch a group of puppies together? It is one of my favorite things to do. A group of puppies will jump, run, tug, and have a great time together. Playing with your dog is a great way to exercise and bond with your dog. It will also fulfill an important need in your dog.

6. Management
Good management skills are crucial. When a dog is young they usually get into a lot of trouble by chewing, stealing, jumping,etc. The owner, as the leader and teacher, needs to manage the dog's behavior when they are young. As the dog gets older and learns how to live with us humans, we do not need to manage as much.

7. Patience
Some of the best dog owners I know are the ones who are patient. Having a dog, especially a young one, can be very trying.

Here are some good tips to training your dog....

Dog Training
Dog training really boils down to influencing your dog's behavior. Reward your dog for doing the behaviors you want to increase such as sit, down, stay, walk and come, and punish and or manage behaviors you want to decrease such as jumping, barking, stealing, digging and biting.Some dogs seem to be easier to train than others. If your dog does not seem to be responding to your training program, try applying some or all of the nine tips outlined below

Tip #1: Make a commitment -Make a commitment to spend at least ten minutes every day training your dog. Some dogs don't get trained because the training program is composed of fits and starts. A few minutes of training on Monday, nothing until Thursday, and then maybe bba few minutes on Saturday. That type of training schedule will make it difficult for the dog to learn.

Tip #2: Follow basic management principles -A big part of dog training is managing your dog's behavior. We need to understand and apply basic management skills. Dogs do a lot of their bad behavior when we are not around.Chewing, housetraining, and destructive behaviors tend to happen when we are not home. It is a good idea to use a crate (only when you are not at home). Crates are excellent management tools. They allow you to leave your dog alone without the opportunity to get into trouble.

Tip #3: Don't free feed -Food can be used as a very strong motivator. If your dog is allowed to eat whenever it feels like it, it will be difficult to use the food to reinforce behavior. Food can also be used to establish leadership which will be discussed later on in thisarticle.

Tip #4: High powered rewards -Dogs have different tastes just like we do. I have worked with dogs that didn't like hot dogs. It's rare but it has happened.If you are trying to train your dog using rewards that he doesn't like, it will be difficult to get your dog motivated. Experiment with some different types of treats to find whichones really get your dog excited.

Tip #5: Get your dog's attention -Spend some time teaching your dog to look at you when you give a command. Most dogs fail to perform a command because they were not paying attention to the owner. Always make sure that you have your dog's attention before you give the command.

Tip #6: Establish leadership -Dogs are pack animals that respond to a social structure. If we really want our dogs to respond to our training we need to establish leadership. The better you are at being the leader the better your dog will respond to you. If your dog does not view you as the pack leader why would your dog respond to your commands? Establish leadership and your dog will listen to you much better.

Tip #7: Exercise -Dogs are active animals. Many of them were bred work long hours in the field. Most dogs do not perform the tasks that they were bred for in every day life. I have a German Shepherd and a Shetland Sheepdog, both herding dogs. They have never had to herd sheep or any other type of livestock.I have had to make sure that they get exercise in other ways such as retrieving games, tug games, hiking, and swimming. I learned long ago that the only good dog is a tired dog, and that when your dog is properly exercised it is easier for you to live with your dog and it is easier for your dog to live with you.

Tip #8: Timing -Timing is crucial when you are training your dog. You have to communicate to your dog what you want her to do and what you don't want her to do. This requires excellent timing.By punishing your dog long after the behavior has occurred, you are only going to confuse your dog. Likewise, rewarding your dog five to ten seconds after the behavior has occurred is not effective either.

Tip #9: Understand consequences -Whatever it is that you are trying to teach your dog has to have a consequence. If you are teaching your dog a behavior that you want to happen over and over again, start to rewardthe behavior. If you want to decrease a behavior then you needto apply a negative consequence. You need to apply the type of consequence for the behavior.

Conclusion - By following these steps you will start to get the training results that you are looking for. It is also important to remember that you can train your dog.

Quote from W. Clement Stone "If you think you can or if you think you can't your right."

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