Advice For New Dog Owners
Are You a New Dog Owner?
Advice for the new dog owner? Everyone has some, and much of it contradicts. Here are some simple, non-controversial things you can do to train the new dog in your life.
The first piece of advice would be start early. If your new dog is a puppy, excellent! You can start training as early as eight weeks. If your new dog is older, he can still be trained, but it might take a little bit longer. Regardless, start your training as soon as the dog arrives at your home!!
The next advice I would give is to be very consistent. The dog needs to know, predictably, how you will react with every behavior he exhibits. Help him out - don't confuse him - be completely consistent. You and everyone that has regular contact with the dog needs to be predictable - think of anything you might do that's OK for you, but not OK for a stranger?
The dog needs to be rewarded for behavior now! When you're offering feedback to the dog, it must be done immediately after the event - not more than a few seconds later. If you wait longer than that, he'll forget why he's being rewarded.
Speaking of rewards - there is basically two camps in dog training - positive feedback (things like "attaboy", patting and treats) and negative feedback (shouting, "bad dog", hitting). Use only positive rewards. Negative doesn't work, and produces bad dogs.
If the problem with the dog is simply barking, then you might try anti-bark collars for small dogs (big dogs too). These simple devices emit a small, irritating electrical impulse in the collar itself whenever the dog barks. It's feedback urges the dog not to bark because they associate the uncomfortable feeling with barking. Not sure if this is positive or negative feedback - I'd say it's neutral.
The last piece of advice is to see out a professional training class - your local community center likely sponsors them. In addition to offering basic training, you'll also find specialized stuff, like aggression dog training and off leash training. I would say that this route not only teaches your dog faster (professional advice and feedback), but it's less expensive in the long run - when you factor in all the energy, time, dead-ends and false-starts you'll have if you go it alone. Think about it - faster and cheaper!
So there you have it - some really simple advice and tips on training that new dog!