Be proactive by teaching your dog to perform the behavior you want! We can reward any behavior we like and want to see more of, including being calm and gentle. The most effective way to squelch unwanted behavior is to ignore it. Why? Because giving any attention (even negative forms of attention, such as saying “no!”) for unwanted behavior is still seen by the dog as a good thing because he’s getting attention. You can immediately ask for another wanted behavior while ignoring what the dog has offered.
Taking treats gently from all human hands is a valuable lesson and, of course, dogs love practicing it. Hand-feeding a dog is a great way to raise the value, in his mind, of interaction with all people. This simple human behavior builds trust in fearful or shy dogs. For all social dogs, we can hand-feed while practicing all known cues.
Lure training & capturing
These are primary ways to train easily and quickly. In lure training, guide the dog with a treat or toy — the lure — into a sit, down, stand, or up (jumping or climbing up on something). You can use lure training to teach a dog to use his paws to touch an object. For example, you can have a bell on the door to the yard. Show new dogs that the bell ringing causes the human to open the door. Teach dogs to ring the bell to go outside, which is helpful once a new dog has been house-trained.
Use capturing to reward any behavior you like, such as sneezing. You can capture any behavior and cause the dog to repeat it by assigning a word to the behavior and rewarding the dog whenever she does the behavior. Give it a word right away and use the word every time they do the behavior. Many dogs may sneeze as a way to request things they want; this is preferable to barking as a way of asking for things. Teach “Speak” and give it that word (speak) from the beginning. However, be careful to only reward “speaking” (barking) when it is wanted. Otherwise, “request barking” can become a problem behavior; if a dog believes that barking will get her what she wants, it can easily be overused by the dog.
Teach every dog to wait. You can use wait at doors before going in or out, in the car, when I’m giving a dog a bowl of food, if you drop something you don't want the dog to pick up. A cue you can use is a hand signal: palm up, facing out toward the dog. Say “au auat” (a sound more than a word); using a tone that is firm but not harsh. The dog can be standing, sitting or lying down. If the dog tries to move forward, physically block him with your hand, trying not to touch him but clearly communicating that he needs to pause briefly.
Once a dog has learned to wait, it is easier to teach stay, which is used for longer periods of time than wait, times when you don’t want the dog to move. To start learning to stay, the dog should be in a sit or down position, since standing for long periods can be physically difficult, causing the dog to break position to get more comfortable. Start very close to the dog and reward often for non-movement. Build up the length of time the dog stays still before I start to move away. When you do start to move during the stay, take baby steps around the dog, not away from him. Many dogs want desperately to be near us, so go slow when teaching stay. If we cause a fear reaction, it is much more difficult for the dog to learn. Just like us, dogs learn best when they are enjoying the learning experience and aren’t stressed, emotional or distracted.
Teaching social skills with other animals
Most of us want to take our dogs out in public. Going places, of course, means that our dogs meet a variety of people and other animals, and they get to practice their social skills. Please protect your dog by not letting her have negative experiences. One way to help dogs learn to have more socially acceptable behavior is to have people meet you with their dog- friendly dogs to allow the dogs to have positive experiences. Some dogs require more management than others, but with our help they can go out safely and enjoy a bigger life than the house and yard offer.
Providing medical and dental care
All dogs need regular medical and dental care. They need a family doctor just like us -- one we trust to oversee their general health. Routine visits allow your doctor to see changes through examinations, blood tests and x-rays. Different parts of the country have different parasites, for example; your veterinarian will be able to keep your dog safe in your area. Please report any change in behavior to your family veterinarian. Often, changes in behavior are related to changes in the dogs physical health.
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