What to Avoid When Training a Dog

When a dog comes to live with you, it might have the best intentions of fitting in well, but the reality is that it’s an animal. It doesn’t play by the same rules as a human, and it needs to learn that your poker tables are not branches to gnaw on and your toilet paper wasn’t designed to use as a toy to string through the house. Fortunately for house owners, most dogs thrive on social structure. Once they learn the rules, they are happy to be part of the family and follow the family’s rules. Dogs are relatively easy to train once you put your mind to it. They can learn to sit and stay among other tricks. They just need regular attention and practice. There are also some actions you want to avoid when training a dog.

Barking can be a real issue with dogs. You want them to protect your house and family, but sometimes it gets to be too much. For example, your dog might bark when someone knocks at the door, but they refuse to stop barking even after you tell them to be quiet since the person is a friend. Avoid yelling at a dog when it barks. In the dog’s excited state, it could perceive that you are playing the barking game, too. This will just excite the dog more. Instead, train the dog to stop barking by praising the dog once it quiets, or shake coins in a metal can to distract the dog when it’s barking, then praise it immediately when it quiets.

If your dog is chewing something it shouldn’t, then slip it a doggy chew toy and praise the dog when it chews that rather than the original item. It won’t understand if you yell or hit, so avoid those actions. You want to reward the dog and teach it by using positive reinforcement rather than negative reinforcement.

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