WHY IS TRAINING IMPORTANT?

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Obedience training is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and your dog. It is essential to creating a healthy, happy relationship between you and your canine. Unfortunately, many owners don't realize the importance of training and behavior problems are now one of the most common reasons dogs are surrendered to shelters. Dogs aren't mind readers. They don't just instinctively know how their owners want them to act, or what the rules of the house are. Like children, they have to be taught what is appropriate and what is not. Owners who haven't bothered to teach their dogs the rules often find they end up with unruly dogs.

Things that are cute as a puppy, such as mouthing your hands and jumping up to play, are suddenly unacceptable when the dog is full grown. These are issues that could have been easily prevented had the owners taken the time to train their new family member in the first place. Even if you are adopting an adult dog who is past his puppy behaviors, training will help you establish yourself as the leader of your pack. Dogs are pack animals, and therefore social hierarchy is extremely important to them. If it isn't clear who the pack leader is, they will attempt to take charge of the household. This can lead to behavior problems like claiming resources such as the couch or your bed.c Most behavioral issues are often perfectly natural canine activities that are performed at the wrong time on the wrong things, such as chewing your shoes instead of a chew toy or going to the bathroom on your rug instead of outside on the lawn. Training teaches your dog the appropriate ways to exhibit his natural canine behaviors. Using physical dominance to achieve the status of pack leader is unnecessary. Your dog is showing his respect for you when he obeys even a simple command like "sit".

Dogs are a 10-20 year commitment, depending on the breed you choose. Time and effort put into training during the first few years will pay off in dividends later on in life. You can't enjoy being around your dog when you're constantly irritated at him. A well trained dog is fun and easy to live with. They know how to behave in public so they can be taken on more family outings. The dog can be trusted around children, strangers and other animals because he has been taught appropriate behavior. Friends and family will enjoy visiting your home rather than avoiding you because of your dog's rowdy behavior. By taking your dog to obedience training, you are creating a confident, happy dog who will get to live a fuller life. This improves your life as well as that of your pet.

 

CRATE TRAINING

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A crate is an excellent training tool for your new dog or puppy. The crate gives your newest family member a safe place to relax when you are gone or when you cannot supervise him. It makes housebreaking your new puppy an easy and pleasant experience for you both, and until your new dog has learned all of the house rules it will keep him out of trouble and save your belongings from being chewed or destroyed. When you properly introduce your dog to their crate, they will be happy to spend time there when you are at work, running errands or need to cook your dinner. Crate training your dog is a wonderful investment even after he's house-trained. Many dogs view their crate as a safe place to retreat to when the household is busy or stressful, and it makes stays at the vet's office much less stressful.

A crate is an excellent training tool for your new dog or puppy. The crate gives your newest family member a safe place to relax when you are gone or when you cannot supervise him. It makes housebreaking your new puppy an easy and pleasant experience for you both, and until your new dog has learned all of the house rules it will keep him out of trouble and save your belongings from being chewed or destroyed. When you properly introduce your dog to their crate, they will be happy to spend time there when you are at work, running errands or need to cook your dinner. Crate training your dog is a wonderful investment even after he's house-trained. Many dogs view their crate as a safe place to retreat to when the household is busy or stressful, and it makes stays at the vet's office much less stressful.

Depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences, the crate training process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Training needs to take place in small steps. The crate should always be associated with good things. You don't ever want to rush things, and it should never be used for punishment.

 

Step 1: Introducing your dog to the crate

Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Start out with the crate in an area of your house like the living room where your family spends a lot of time. Lead your dog over to the crate, speaking in a soft, happy voice. Be sure the crate door is securely fastened open so that it doesn't hit your dog and frighten him.
Drop high value treats likes fresh chicken or boiled hot dogs near the crate and in the crate to encourage your dog to explore it. If he refuses to go all the way in, don't force him. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog calmly walks all the way. Be patient. This could take a few minutes, hours or days.
 

Step 2: Feed your dog his meals in the crate

Once you have introduced your dog to the crate, start feeding him his meals near it. This creates pleasant associations with it. If your dog is already entering the crate willingly, put the dish as far in as he will go. Each time you feed him, place the dish a little farther back until he is comfortably eating his meals at the back of the crate.
When your dog is standing comfortably in the crate for meals, you can close the door while he is eating. Open the door as soon as he is done. With every feeding, you will leave the door closed a few minutes longer until he is staying in for about 10 minutes without whining. If he whines, you have pushed the process too quickly and need to leave him in for a shorter period of time at the next meal.
Should he whine or cry while you have him in the crate, it is important that you don't let him out until he stops. You don't want to teach him that whining or crying will get him out of the crate. If he learns this, he will continue to do it.
 

Step 3: Conditioning your dog to the crate for longer periods of time

Once your dog is eating his meals in the crate comfortably, you can confine him there for short time periods while you are at home. Lure your dog into the crate with treats and close the door. Sit quietly in the room with the crate for five to ten minutes, then leave the room for a few minutes. When you return to the room, don't let him out immediately. Sit quietly for a few more minutes before letting him out of the crate.
Repeat this process several times a day for a few days. Gradually increase the length of time you leave him in the crate. Once your dog will stay quietly in his crate for 30 minutes with you out of sight, you can begin to leave him crated when you're out running brief errands.
 

Crating your dog when you aren't home

You should leave him with a few safe toys in his crate to keep him occupied when you are gone. Kongs are a great way to keep your dog entertained. They are available at any pet store. Click here for our Kong recipes and ideas. Nylabones, bully sticks or compressed rawhides are a nice treat to keep your dog occupied. Giving him a treat that he only gets when he is in the crate will help him look forward to being in there. Don't make your departures emotional or prolonged. Lure your dog in, give them their toy/treat and leave quietly. When you arrive home, don't make a fuss over him. It's important to continue crating your dog for short periods while you are at home. You don't want him to associate the crate with being alone.

 

Crating your dog at night

The crate needs to be located in your bedroom so that crating doesn't become associated with isolation. Young puppies will need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You will need the crate in the same room so that you can hear him whine when he has to go. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night in his crate, you can begin leaving the door open. Gradually, you can move him from the crate to his dog bed or to your bed at night.

The crate needs to be located in your bedroom so that crating doesn't become associated with isolation. Young puppies will need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. You will need the crate in the same room so that you can hear him whine when he has to go. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night in his crate, you can begin leaving the door open. Gradually, you can move him from the crate to his dog bed or to your bed at night.

Adapted from Denver Dumb Friends League

 

DOG TRAINERS

dog trainers in the Los Angeles area who use positive reinforcement.

Amante' Dog Training - Barbara Schwerdt, BA, 
CGC Evaluator, CPDT-KA, CNWI
http://www.safeathomepetcare.com/
818-752-4738

Animal Attraction Unlimited - Laura Bourhenne
www.clickertrainer.com
818-800-4818
Canoga Park

BADDogsInc LLC – Barbara Davis, CPDT, CDBC
www.baddogsinc.com
951-283-2101
Riverside and San Bernardino County, eastern Orange County, Inland Valley and San Gabriel Valley

BJK9's Positive Dog Training - Barbara Johnson
www.bjk9s.com
818-667-0696
San Fernando Valley

Crossroads Country Club Resort – Dan Tambourine
www.crossroadspetresort.com
1-800-8BEHAVE Orange/LA Counties

DogPACT – Terry Long
www.dogpact.com
562-423-0793
Long Beach and Orange County

Gentle Guidance – Nicole Wilde
www.gentleguidance4dogs.com
661-299-5704
Santa Clarita, Canyon Country, Newhall, Valencia

J9s K9s Dog Training – Janine Pierce
www.j9sk9s.com
818-989-7996
Valley Area

My Best Friend Obedience – Karen Taylor
www.mybestfriendobedience.com
(818) 996-3647
San Fernando Valley

Penny Scott-Fox Scott-Fox Training
http://www.scott-foxtraining.com/home
626-375 5550

Raise with Praise®, Inc. – Paul Owens
www.raisewithpraise.com
800-269-3591
Burbank

Valerie Pollard Dog Training – Valeria Pollard
714-771-8431
Orange County

To find a certified dog trainer in your area that uses the same humane methods, visit www.apdt.com.