Dog Training or should that be owner training?

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We've always had dogs around ever since I was a kid, and even when our family was "between dogs" I adopted next door's Boxer dog as my own. Despite this, as a family we didn't have a clue how to correctly train a dog - as long as it didn't mess on the floor, chew up our slippers and finally came on the fifth yell of its name we thought things were just fine. 

Like many dog owners I didn't know the first thing about training a dog. Well, we think we do because the dog sits or offers us a paw when we have a treat in our hands but those are just party tricks. 

Then I bought my very own dog when I got a place of my own. As she grew she changed from loveable pup into a liability. She wandered off, never came when called and turned into the Tasmanian Devil whenever anybody called around. The final straw came when she tore into the room and scrambled up to sit on the shoulders of a visitor who had come to assess me for a voluntary position. He was not a dog lover and I can still remember the look on his face now... 

Trouble was, I had always treated dogs as furry friends, always giving in to those sad-looking eyes and never realizing that the dogs saw me in a totally different way. Dogs are pack animals and as such they are acutely aware of their position in the pack - and you and your family are its pack, even if there's just the two of you. 

Grasp that little fact of dog psychology and you are well on your way to a happier dog. From now on you are going to make it plain to your dog that you are the Alpha male or leader of the pack and what you say goes. See that furniture? That's mine. You lie on the floor or in your dog basket. Don't feed the dog titbits from the dinner table - in fact the dog should be in his basket while you eat, and he only gets fed after everybody else has finished. 

But isn't that just being mean and taking all the fun out of owning a dog? 

The leader of the dog pack eats first. He sleeps in the best spot. The Alpha male takes no notice of subordinate dogs fussing around him when he returns from the hunt. When you consistently act as leader you are communicating to your dog in a language he understands. 

When you come home, ignore your dog's frantic attempts at attention seeking until he calms down - then you praise him. It won't be long before your dog realizes he's gone down a few notches in the pack hierarchy and acts accordingly. You'll soon find that your dog greets you quietly and quickly settles down as he's worked out that is when he receives praise from you. 

 Still not convinced that training your dog makes him a happier dog? Look at it from the dog's point of view. He's living in a human world full of confusing things and behaviour he can't understand. By not teaching your dog his place in your pack he will feel it's his place to take charge. But this leaves him feeling stressed, resulting in an unruly and confused dog constantly trying to make sense of an overwhelming world it cannot understand. 

But when you assume command as leader of the pack, you take that responsibility off his shoulders. Just like a well-trained soldier, he will be happy knowing his place, his role in the pack and what's expected of him - and happy to defer to your leadership knowing you'll take care of the "big stuff".   


 The New Classiest Trend in Dog Housing 

True dog lovers always like to provide their canine familiars with the best treats available in the market. For the most dedicated luxury dog houses are one of the best and classiest ways for the owners to show their love for their pet. Luxury Dog houses are easily becoming a tendency among the classiest dog-friends. 

As they become ever more popular among the buyers, so does the offer of this product grows and luxury dog houses come as varied as the client's taste and wallet; If you are out to get one for your beloved dog all you need is a little market research and you will find plenty of places already selling and/or making you a fully customized dog house. 

If you don't know where to start looking, the internet might be just the perfect place to start looking for luxury dog houses, as there are already many websites dealing with this kind of specific product and the offer keeps getting more advanced and attractive. 

Some companies who offer custom dog house building even offer you the possibility to specifically choose all the type of materials involved in the building of the house. The available offer of custom features is immense and they range from actual wall paper, window covering, interior and exterior special wall painting , specific dog furniture- including beds, sofas and even some design pieces that serve also as dog toys- to lighting and air conditioning. The outside of the luxury dog houses have not been forgotten , and if you think your beloved dog deserves it, you can even manage to build him his own private dog house garden, with his own lawn , sand boxes and even a pool . The possibilities are truly virtually infinite. 

As long as you keep it functional in the dog's point of view, you can really build your hearts desire. It is important to keep the dog's perspective in mind when dealing with custom luxury dog houses. Some features are beautiful and look really good on human's houses but for the obvious reasons, just don't work with dogs. Remember you are trying to spoil your dog and make him as happy as possible, not making his life harder. 

Popular among this new trend is to build the luxury dog houses in accordance to the dog owners own house, including matching the architecture and the design of both the interior and the exterior of the house, thus creating a visual harmony. 

The prices of such houses vary as much as the price of houses for human habitation. It will all depend on the level of luxury you are willing to offer your dog; nevertheless it is not an inexpensive business to build luxury dog houses. If you really want to bring something special home to your dog, you need to be ready to loosen up your wallet. This houses can be come a very expensive gift but they are also a great and classy way to show some love to your furry friend. 


Stopping Bad Behaviour 

Bad behaviour in dogs can consist of many problems. Does he bark all night long and keeps you from sleeping? Are you afraid he is going to keep biting? Does he chew everything except his toys? If the answer to any of these questions are yes you need to invest some time into a little bit of dog behaviour training. A little training will go a long way. 

Dogs that bark can be extremely irritating but the main thing is not to loose your cool, if you shout at him he will try to shout louder than you. Try and find out the cause of his barking. Is he barking because he is afraid? Is he happy? Is there someone out there? If you can't find the reason for the barking then he is doing it because he doesn't know it is wrong to bark all the time. This is where dog behaviour training comes in. There are lots of products available to help dogs with constant barking, there are special collars which gives them the tiniest of electric shocks so they know that it isn't good to bark. 

A biting dog is maybe one of the more serious behaviour problems, especially now that the laws are tightened and any dog that bites someone is more than likely to get put down. Teaching your dog not to bite is one of the most important teachings you can give him. This is where you have to be firm and stick to your guns. When playing with a young dog they will automatically nip and gnaw at your hand this is because when dogs play together they play with their mouths. When teaching your dog not to bite stroke him with one hand while offering something which is acceptable to be bitten with the other hand, something like a chew toy or a raw hide treat. Your dog will soon realize that hands aren't there for biting. This process has to be done repeatedly for it to take effect. 

Dog behaviour training is simple enough for the experienced dog lover but when it comes to beginners all the help available is needed. Accept help from friends and family and maybe even enrol in a dog behaviour training class, this will help you to meet other people, having the same problems with their dogs that you are with yours. You are not alone when it comes to having trouble with dog behaviour problems. Every dog will get them, it's just a matter of how you fix them. 


Simple Strategies To Stop Dog Barking 

Barking is normal for a dog, and a little bit here and there is ok. However a dog barking all day long can be annoying even to the most patient dog lover. 

 * Here are some simple ways to help stop excessive barking: 

 * Exercise your dog often. Tired dogs spend their time sleeping rather than barking. 

 * Give your dog some good chew toys. Chewing is a good stress reliever and is a great way to occupy your dog's time. Your dog will have a hard time barking if his mouth is full. 

 * Try to mask outdoor noises. This can be as simple as turning on the stereo or TV for your dog. You might even consider investing in a white noise machine. 

 * Acknowledge your dog's barking. Sometimes your dog is simply trying to tell you something, and if you acknowledge him, he will often stop barking. 

 * Teach your dog the "Quiet" command. If your dog keeps on barking after you acknowledge him, say "Quiet" sternly without yelling. If he stops barking, praise him. 

 * Make a noise shaker. Throw a few coins in an empty water bottle or soda can and tape it shut. If your dog is not responding to your quiet command, shake the can. Dogs really don't like that sound and will often stop when they hear it. 

 * Give him a squirt. Give your dog a stern "No," and give him a quick squirt with a water bottle. Remember to aim for your dog's body rather than his face. 

 * Try a trainer collar like the Gentle Leader. This collar is similar to the halters worn by horses. When your dog starts barking, pulling the lead will gently press your dog's mouth closed for the next few seconds. The nice part is that you don't have to scold your dog. All you have to do is pull when he barks. 


Kinds of Dog Training Leads 

Dog training is one fun activity that dogs and their owners can share. While it may seem convenient to hire a dog trainer to do the job, training the dog yourself also has its benefits. With the advancement of technology, you can actually learn dog training by just a click of the mouse. 

Another good thing is, there are quite a handful of training aids available in the market today. Among these tools are dog training leads. 

Dog training leads are what most people know as leashes. While each lead may seem the same, what most people don't know is that there are quite a few kinds of leads available. Among the more popular materials used are nylon and leather. 

Nylon lead may be cheaper than a leather one, but because leather is more durable, it can actually last longer than the nylon lead. Plain or braided, leather leads are more often the wiser choice. 

The lead you choose will have to depend on the size and breed of your dog. Bigger dogs require a long-wearing lead, so you must choose a leather lead. If your dog is small and of the smaller breed, a nylon lead may be sufficient. 

Leads also come in different lengths, the most common ones are 2, 4 and 6 feet. While a 6-feet lead is usually used for training, a shorter length will enable you to control the dog's movements, since it keeps the dog relatively closer. However, these shorter leads are ideal if you are merely training the dog to walk. If you are training the dog to fetch things or for tracking, then longer leads are for you. 

Leads can extend for up to 12 feet, 24 feet, even 50 feet. If you are undecided on the length, you may purchase extending or retractable leads instead. 

Lastly, consider your comfort as well. Choose leads that won't cut through your skin when tugged. It must also be constructed in such a way that you are able to remove it from the collar with ease. An efficient snapping system should do the trick. 

To further narrow down your choices, ask help from a professional dog trainer or any knowledgeable person. 

Not all puppies may wear a lead. He must be at least 8 weeks old before he may experience wearing a lead. But before this, he must first be exposed to wearing a collar. Wearing a collar may take some time to get used to. Remember also that the collar must fit the dog's neck perfectly to make training as fun and enjoyable as it can be. 

Dog training leads are important aids in dog training. You can purchase them by visiting your local pet or dog shop, or through the internet. Websites for dog lovers often feature some leads for sale. Take note of the instructions which come with the product to ensure proper handling and maintenance of the lead. 

When used properly, dogs can actually be taught to follow your commands. The key lies in choosing a good training lead, and in using it well. Training may seem difficult and may take some of your time. But time and money spent would not be a waste, since after some time your dog should be as behaved as you want him to be. 


Caring for Your Senior Dog 

Your senior dog has given you many wonderful years of companionship. Don't you owe it to him to make sure his later years are easy and comfortable? 

How do you know if your dog is approaching his golden years? Different breeds of dogs mature at different rates, but a good rule of thumb is the larger the dog, the faster they mature. Based 

on this if your dog is seven he is probably experiencing, or at least approaching, his senior years. When your dog hits this stage in his life it's important that he receive the right amount of exercise, nutrition, and veterinary care. 

Signs of an Aging Dog 

How does your dog show the signs of age? A healthy senior dog will most likely have a decrease in energy level. He may nap more, or become tired more easily. Your senior dog may also be stiff after play or upon getting up after a rest. How do you know the difference between normal wear and tear and arthritis or an injury? If your dog loosens up after mild activity he's probably just showing some signs of age. Dogs who seem to feel worse as the days go on should be seen by a vet to rule out other possibilities. 

A senior dog can benefit from comfy sleeping quarters. There are several companies out there that make bedding for dogs designed to take the pressure off of aging and aching joints. These are often made of memory foam or eggshell foam, and have removable covers that can be machine washed in case your senior dog has an accident. 

Exercise 

A good exercise regimen can help your pet avoid problems common in the senior dog such as weight gain and arthritis. Exercise also improves digestion and circulation. Just make sure you don't overdo it! A leisurely walk or two a day plus some low-key playing should do the trick. And always make sure that your dog stays well-hydrated. 

Nutrition 

As your dog ages, his dietary needs will change. Be sure to choose a food that is appropriate for you dog's needs and conditions! As a general rule of thumb, a good senior dog food will have fewer calories, enough protein, and vitamins and minerals that help your dog's coat and teeth stay strong and healthy. 

Weight gain due to slowing metabolisms is a common problem with senior dogs. How do you know if your dog is overweight? Try this simple test. Put your hands on his backbone and feel for his ribcage. If you can't feel it, chances are your dog needs to shed a few pounds. Since this is a common problem among older dogs there are a number of foods on the market with lower fat and calories. 

Veterinary Care 

Your dog will be experiencing lots of emotional and physical changes as he ages. Because of this, it is important to keep up on his health! In addition to his regular check-ups and shots, ask your vet about twice-annual geriatric screenings. 

Give your senior dog the right care, and he'll really enjoy his golden years! 

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