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Training Your Puppy

Let’s look at your young dog like a teenager.  He may be still trying to dominate you from time to time.  He’s no different than a teenager who can’t be told anything, and may need reminding of his place.  A small reprimand may not do the job any more, so you may have to get just a bit more firm.  I’ve been using the term "him" throughout.  Now this is where we can get into gender. 

The young dog will respond to you differently depending on whether it is a male or female.  The male dog will be more intent on being the boss, not to say the female won’t.  This may depend on several factors.  The male is always the leader of a pack.  He is supreme. 

The female will be in second place.  She will dominate other males within the pack.  Think of it like this: a king and a queen - everyone else is just a subject to them.  This is not to say that a female will be easier to train than a male, but there is a good chance that she will submit to you sooner.  She will be more likely to let you dominate her just as she will submit to any male who works his way to the top. That’s why a male will put up with a lot more from a female than he will from another male.  The female will tolerate just about any male, but another female, and you may have trouble.  The female will choose the strongest male in the pack.  Again, this is the one that fought the last strong male for his position. 

As you can see it’s this way so only the most fit will reproduce.  The domestic dog will breed with just about any other dog that comes along.  This is brought on by man’s intervention over the centuries.  If a female is given the choice from a group of males who are left to work it out on their own without human interference, the female will take the male who can fight off everyone else.  That is just the way it is, every time. 

Let me make this very clear.  You can come up with any excuse you can think of to dispute what I’ve been saying, but if you think like a dog it’s all very clear.  Never forget that the dog knows how it goes for him, and if you can understand it everything else is easy.  Put yourself in the dogs position.  You know your will must be placed on every other pack member or you’ll be at the bottom of the pile.  What would you do?  Would you resist or fight for your place?  The dog will fight until he is made to yield.  The point here is if you make him or her yield, they then must take their place in the pack and tow the line, or they will be reprimanded.  They fully understand this.  We seem to be the ones who can’t figure it out. 

Training your young dog gets easier as time goes on.  There is no second chance.  Try always to make sure that your dog understands what it is you want.  If you do this you won’t have to try and fix a mistake.  I guess what I’m getting at is, if you keep making the same mistake the dog will learn the mistake.  It’s really hard to undo a mistake, because your dog has learned it to perfection.  You always have to make sure that when putting the dog through his training, as soon as the dog starts to make an error, say "NO" and start again.  Keep stopping and re-starting the exercise until he is doing what is expected of him.  At this time it is extremely important that you remain in control.  Before you start your training, try to refrain from getting the dog excited.  Be relaxed.  Do not speak to the dog unless you want it to respond to you.  The more excited you are, the more excited the dog gets.  Keep a commanding voice.  Remember, the dog responds to the way you say it not what word is being used.  Keep training session short, be consistent. 

Most of the books on the market today will tell you the basic commands to use in training your dog.  I’ll run through them for you - sit, come, stay, down, heel.  The most used command when both you and your dog are new to this will be "NO".  This word should be used every time the pup messes up the command given.  There are a lot of commands that can be used to teach your dog to respond.  You’ll figure these out as you go.  I can’t tell you what to teach your dog, I’m just trying to show you there is an easier way to do it.

Just as the dog responds to you in a form of submission, he also responds to kindness.  This is also a very important part.  It cannot be left out.  He needs to know when he has done the right thing as well as the wrong thing.  Remember be patient.  He’ll need to be run through the exercises a few times and when he gets it, don’t go nuts with the praise.  This will only excite the dog.  You don’t want him thinking it’s play time.  A pat on the side behind his front shoulder and a "good dog" is all he needs.  Always make sure the dog completes the command.  Do not let him get away without finishing what he’s started.  If you do, every time you get to that step, he’ll screw up, and the more he screws up the harder it gets to get him to do it right.  Remember, he must complete the command.