How to Maintain Your Love Affair With Your Dog: Part One - Training

Training Tips for a Happy and Healthy Relationship with Your Canine Companion

When I first laid eyes on my little ball of black fluff at an adoption fair, I knew there was no turning back. My husband and I had been looking for just the right dog for months, and all the research and networking had finally paid off. There was no doubt in my mind that we had found the most perfect, precious four-legged family member in the world.

As luck would have it, the adoption fair was right around the corner from our home, this gave us a great opportunity for a home visit at the end of the event. I ran home, scrubbed and cleaned and did everything I could to make sure our home was 'puppy worthy'. As soon as she arrived with her foster mom, the puppy made sure to let us know she was in the right place?but more about that later.

Because both of us had lived with dogs before, I was sure we knew everything we needed to start off on the right foot and have a loving and healthy relationship with our dog. I was only partially right. Through lots of hands-on experience and a great deal of patience and training, I've learned a number of ways to maintain that original love-at-first sight feeling.

Training and Behavior

* Train your dog. Whether you are 'dogs should always walk appropriately on leash,' type of person, or one who lets your canine companion cuddle up in bed with you, you will benefit from appropriate training. Not only do you want to potty train your puppy so that he understands the appropriate place to relieve himself (not on the new carpet!), you also want to establish and maintain a set of expectations early. Good training is based on positive reinforcement and takes into consideration the age and breed of your dog. You may find a trainer through referrals of friends and family, through your vet, or pet-specialty store. You can also read a number of excellent books on dog training. Some great books are, "How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend," and "The Art of Raising a Puppy," by the Monks of New Skete, "The Power of Positive Dog Training," by Pat Miller, and "The Other End of the Leash" by Patricia B. McConnell, PhD. (Any book by these authors are great places to start your self education.) A good place to look for more information about training your dog is the Association of Pet Dog Trainers.

* Be Consistent. According to Training through Positive Reinforcement, "learning consists of trying out new behaviors and seeing what happens as a consequence of those behaviors." If your dog has been taught to avoid jumping on people, allowing him to jump just this once on his favorite person is going to confuse him ? he'll think the behavior is okay. However, by withholding attention or treats from him until he learns to sit and wait for a stranger or his favorite person you are maintaining consistency in his training regimen. As long as your pet understands what you expect and you behave in a consistent manner throughout your relationship, you will have a blissful relationship.

* Learn a New Trick. Just because you and your dog have been maintaining your earlier training and sticking to the basics, doesn't mean that you can't find something new to do together. Clicker training and agility training are quite popular and are a great deal of fun for you and your dog. You can find local classes through your Parks and Recreation Department or visit The Dog Agility Page on the internet.

* Introduce Your Dog to Strangers. The time will eventually come when you and your pet will need to be separated ? at least for a short time. If you ever plan to vacation, travel for business or even attend to a family emergency, your dog is going to be under the care of someone other than you. Prepare for this by introducing him to many new people throughout his life. The simple act of letting your pet meet and greet new people will help socialize him in the event that you need to leave. Also, if you live in an adults-only household, you may want to take the time to introduce your dog to children. The more positive experiences he has around kids, the better off you are when your sister's kids come to visit. But remember ? never leave children alone unattended with dogs.

* Take A Ride. Teach your dog early that riding in the car is a fun way to go places. Take them on short trips in your car and always make the destination a fun or interesting place for them to be. Make sure you have proper pet-carriers for smaller dogs and appropriate seat belts or harnesses for larger breeds. You want your car rides to be safe and fun for both of you. If the only time your dog gets in a car they end up at a vet, it won't take them long to decide that cars are bad -- making it difficult to crate them or load them into the car when you need them to come with you.

* Establish Your Pecking Order. Your dog needs you to let them know where they stand in the family order. It may sound cruel to say that you are the Alpha or the Leader of the Pack. But the truth is if you do not set up a plan to show your dog who is boss, he will walk all over you. It may seem cute when your 8 pound puppy demands your attention by pawing you while you work, but when your puppy is an 80 pound dog who is demanding you drop everything to play with them, it can be distracting at best and dangerous if you are carrying a hot pot to the table or healing from a medical procedure of your own.

© 2004-2005 by Peggie Arvidson-Dailey

Peggie Arvidson-Dailey, The Pet Care Business Expert, is author of "Surprisingly Simple Sales Steps: What Every Pet-Care Business Owner Needs to Know to Build Their Business in a BIG Way!" To learn more about her book and sign up for tips, hints and 'sneak peeks' at ways to run your pet-care business smarter (and make more money and have more time for your life) visit her site at http://www.peggiespets.com/wst_page9.htm

In The News:

Our Pets/ArPets  Virginia Connection Newspapers
Include pets in fire safety plans  The River Reporter
I LOVE TEXOMA: P.E.T.S & Texas Pit Crew  KFDX - Texomashomepage.com
Pets of the Week  Clarksville Now
Pet Talk  Star of Mysore
Quarrel over pet dog ends in murder  The New Indian Express
LETTER: Don't abandon pets  TheChronicleHerald.ca
Business Briefs: SF pet care provider pivots focus  Bay Area Reporter, America's highest circulation LGBT newspaper
Pet of the Week: Aleu  wausaupilotandreview.com
Adoptable Pets  Ponca City News
WATCH: Pet of the Day, Meet Nina  WIVT - NewsChannel 34
Pet Vet on Call (8/12/20)  KoamNewsNow.com
Pets  Anti Aging News

Hamsters Make Cute and Adorable Pets

Hamsters are soft, furry and small. They make wonderful pets... Read More

Health Concerns for Goldfish

Most of the diseases that threaten goldfish can be cured.... Read More

Alarm Clock Kitty, How to Stop Early Morning Meowing

Meow! Meow! Meow! I bury my head underneath my pillow.... Read More

The Importance of a Plan When Building a Reptile Cage

Would you put together a model plane without looking at... Read More

Feeding Your Pet Stingray - The Essentials of Maintaining a Varied Diet

Stingrays will eat a wide variety of foods. Maintaining a... Read More

Pet Identification Tags And The Internet

The greatest fear of most pet owners is that there... Read More

What Type of Cat Food is Really Best For Your Cat?

Which cat food should you feed your cat to be... Read More

Okay Lets Do A Poodle Again

My wife and I have been married for 32 years.... Read More

What Dog Owners Need To Know About Dog Crate Training

Why should you use the dog crate training method?Is the... Read More

So are you ready for a Boxer Dog?...

An easier and more pleasant journey with your chosen Boxer... Read More

Vet Check - Well-Bird Check Up

I know there are differing opinions on the subject of... Read More

Aquarium Supplies Part 1 -- My First Experience With Bettas

Keeping fish as pets takes more than just feeding them... Read More

How to Make Your Cats Life, and YOUR Life, Happier - Training Your Cat

Imagine that you are scolding your cat for scratching at... Read More

How To Save Money By Testing For Feline UTI Yourself

Do you want to save money, anxiety for your kitty,... Read More

You Cant Fool A Horse

By Jeffrey Rolocopyright 2004 AlphaHorseIn the dating world many men... Read More

Why Does My Cat Drink Dirty Water?

You know that cats should always have a supply of... Read More

Westie Pups - How to Prepare for Your Westie Puppy

Just like when you bring home a new baby, you... Read More

The Cure To Stop A Horse From Kicking

I get a lot of horse training questions about stopping... Read More

The One Dog Trick That All Dogs Must Know - The Hand Shake Trick

The first dog trick that is generally taught a dog... Read More

Caring For Your Pomeranians Teeth

Pomeranians have tiny mouths and itty bitty teeth, but not... Read More

What to Do When Your Puppy Dog Is Chewing Everything In Sight

A puppy wanting to chew makes you want to scream!... Read More

Here?s a Way To Make Your Dog Love Its Dog Crate!

A dog crate is a necessity for your dog, through... Read More

Make Your Home Cat-Safe - How To Keep Your Cat Happy and Healthy

* Lock things up that could cause harm* Keep the... Read More

Does Your Boston Terrier Want To Be With You?

This may come as a surprise...but if the tables were... Read More

Tips on Hamster Breeding

Hamster breeding can sometimes be confusing for a hamster owner.... Read More