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Starting the dog training early is the most effective way to raise a well-adjusted and happy canine companion. If you feel that you are ready to start training your dog in the basic tricks and commands, whether on your own on under a professional trainer, you need to observe certain guidelines:
- Be consistent – Pet owners should make sure that they make no allowances for unacceptable behavior. Your whim should never dictate the schedule. For instance, if you want to make sure that your dog does not jump up on to the couch, you should always say “No!” and distract him by throwing the toy to the floor. If you let your dog lay down on your couch every once in a while, it is going to be really confusing for him.
- Keep it brief – Since you need to have frequent sessions for training your dog throughout the day, you need to make sure that individual sessions are never prolonged beyond a particular point. Your dog will get tired and flustered if the session lasts for more than 15 minutes. If you are stingy with the breaks, you will begin to notice that they start to go back on the training as though they were never trained to start with.
- Get a training collar – Make sure you get a good quality training collar that fits snugly around the neck of your dog and gives you control. A buckle collar would be the simplest. The “choke” collar or chain training is the most common collar. The pinch or the prong collar is also rising in popularity. Although it looks scary, it is a milder corrective measure and is extremely effective on over-excited dogs if you use it properly. You can also choose to go for the head or the halted collar, which will fit the whole of your dog's head and focuses more on the ability of the handler to turn the head of the dog rather than apply pressure to the neck.
- Train before the meal – If possible, squeeze out a training session before your dog's mealtime. This creates a strong positive reinforcement as the puppy's mind will start associating obedience with rewards. It's just highly effective basic operant conditioning. Thank Pavlov for that!
- Don't get frustrated or impatient – Do not punish your dog if you think that he is being stubborn. If you find yourself getting impatient and your dog seems to be learning at a much slower rate than you would expect him to, it is high time both you and your pet take some time off.
- Reward your pet appropriately – Belly rubs, treats, scratching the ear, and an approving coo sends a message across to your dog that he has been doing things the right way. He is hard-wired to satisfy you and make you happier. So if it yields an affirmative reaction from you, he is sure to repeat the behavior.