Expert Author Val Heart

Bringing a dog successfully into your household and lifestyle consists of a lot more than just buying dog food, letting them run in the backyard, giving them an occasional bath and a place to sleep. It requires patience and an understanding of appropriate ways to discipline your dog, which provide boundaries, rules and stability, making them into model K9 citizens. Your dog should be a true joy to have in your life, and if they're not, take steps now to remedy the situation.

Many dog parents don't prepare properly and they don't take the time to learn how to train their new canine friends. They often wind up getting into serious trouble very quickly. The problems can become so overwhelming that they get rid of their dogs.

To easily and successfully discipline your dog, incorporate these tips and your dog training will be a lot more fun and rewarding, for both of you.

1) Tell your dog what you want. To create a healthy working relationship, start by setting the ground rules, what you like and will tolerate (the reward), and what you won't (the deal breaker). Like us, dogs are creatures of habit and their behavior depends greatly on how we expect them to behave.

By observing your reaction to their actions, they discover what behavior they can or cannot get away with. The sooner you let your dog know what is and is not acceptable, the sooner he will know right from wrong according to your rules.

2) Dogs respond to clear and consistent leadership. Show your dog that you know what you are doing. Be calm and confident, and don't forget to give a positive reinforcement by immediately rewarding them for good behavior. And, take immediate action so your dog understands that that kind of behavior is not tolerated.

3) Behavior that persists does so because it is being rewarded in some way. When you are too slow in the way that you recognize and reward your dog's actions, you actually wind up rewarding the very things that you dislike. And even worse, wind up ignoring the behavior that you love and want to encourage. So, if you are giving the wrong signals at the wrong time, you will just confuse your dog.

4) Feeling so hopeless you just want to hire a professional to do it for you? That's a mistake. Many dog owners feel so powerless with their dogs they resort to hiring a professional to train them instead. That approach usually backfires because as soon as your dog is back home, they slide back to the old, unwanted behavior -- because it's your lack of consistency and clarity that caused the problem with your dog's discipline to begin with.

Good training habits on your part will result in happier, better behaved and more fun-loving pets, and your dog will be a joy for the rest of their life.

The hidden benefit of becoming a better dog trainer also makes you a better human being. The concepts you learn can be applied to all other relationships as well, because the insights, clarity and ability to communicate what you truly want are priceless skills and will serve you well.

So decide right now to learn how to train your dog properly and you'll reap the rewards for many years to come.



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