So you have decided that a having a dog for a pet would make a wonderful addition to the family. Dogs are probably the best choice as compared with a cats, hamsters or goldfish. A dog will become a real member of your family. You and the rest of your family can play with it, run around with it, and generally interact with it, and a dog has the added bonus of being a watch dog or guard dog and will give your family a feeling of security. However its important to choose the right dog carefully. Above all think about the commitment you and the rest of the family will be undertaking. Animal centres and dog rescue homes are full of pets that were bought as small cuddly puppies, but are now just unwanted and unloved strays. Dogs can also be expensive to keep, food and vets bills are not cheap. Accept that dogs need regular exercise, and lots and lots of your attention, including proper dog training.
Your new pet, especially if its still a puppy will be full of energy and excitement. Jumping up on everything and everybody, chewing anything it can get its teeth into and toileting everywhere. Dogs do not automatically know how to behave, just like small children they have to be taught right and wrong. Generally dog training can commence from about two month old. If you are new to dog training it may be worth your while taking dog training classes, and although they are affordable, there is plenty of free information on the internet, or you could invest in one of the many very good books or DVD's.
You will find that dog training is divided into two categories. The collar or leash technique, also known as the 'hard' method. Which is becoming outdated as it involves physically restraining the animal. It controls the dog by the various actions through the leash around he dogs neck. As training progresses and the dog grows bigger, increasing amounts of force is used to control the dog. This a very effective method for controlling the dog and letting it know who is in control.
The reward method is a gentler, kinder and some would argue a more humane way of training your dog. Every time your dog shows progress and obeys a command they are rewarded with praise, love and little treats. This positive method of reinforcing your commands, by rewards for obedience is highly recommended. Dog training is all about communication, and the reward method is considered the positive method. As opposed to the leash method which is considered negative. Most dog breeds will only learn through positive reinforcement as its their nature to rebel or ignore negative things. Correct timing is important and can make all the difference. When you see your dog sniffing and circling around a certain spot. Immediately give him a firm 'no' and then lead him to a designated toileting area. If you wait until he has finished his business and then reprimand him, he will not understand. Dogs, like small children have a short attention span, so try and end your training sessions before they lose all attention. Puppies are hyperactive and some can be over stimulated.
Dogs, although domesticated over many centuries still have deep basic instincts. Just like their wild cousins the wolf, they are naturally pack animals and in their eyes there will a hierarchy. As such they will look to you for guidance. You will have to establish your role as pack leader, the 'Alpha Male' to gain control over your dogs behaviour. Pack leaders will always control the food supply. An excellent way to establish your leadership is to make sure that you only feed your dog, after you and your family have eaten.
Dogs are like people, they are all individual and as such some will learn faster than others. Always stay calm and patient when your dog makes a mistake. Believe me, your dog will make mistakes, but there is no point in shouting and yelling. Give your dog time to understand each command. Use the same command and hand signals so that you don't confuse him. Consistency and patience are the key words.
House training puppies can be hard work especially if its the first time you've owned a dog. One very good technique to stop your dog from toileting all over the house is to take him outside for 5 -10 minutes after you have fed and watered him. This gets him into the habit of doing his business outside the house. As your puppy grows this training can be extended to when you take him for a walk. If you do find your puppy toileting in the house a loud firm 'no' and then take him outside will do the trick.
In recent years modern technology has found its way into dog training with the advent of the 'dog training collar' There several different types of collar, the one most people are familiar with is the electric collar which emits a low electric charge to get the dogs attention. There are other models which work using vibration and also buzzing and click trainers. Depending on what you purchase the effective range can be from 20 feet to I mile ( 1.5 kilometres) There is a GPS option that allows you cover greater distances. Modern day dog collars should not be confused with the old type of electric shock collars. To days products have a wide range of variability and strength of pulse. Some people feel that these electric dog collars are cruel and painful. But its only a tool to help train your dog. In fact, there is no evidence to show that dogs suffer any adverse effects, physically or mentally.
Another popular method of using the electric dog collar is in conjunction with what is commonly known as the 'invisible fence' This is where a thin electric wire is placed around the outside of your property. When your dog tries to cross this invisible fence it sets off a small electric shock in the dogs collar. The dog soon learns to stay within the fence.