Monday, January 7, 2013

Puppy training and dog ownership

I recently acquired another family member. This family member may be small now, but she will soon grow to be larger than my kids.

I used to have two pugs and three cats. Now, I have an American Bulldog/Pit mix, two pugs, and three cats. It's quite the zoo in this house. The interesting thing is I don't really care for dogs; I never have, yet suddenly I find myself with a larger, "scary" breed of dog.

The new addition, Baby, is quite the character. She is very friendly, very smart and very loving. She has yet to meet a person or animal she doesn't life. She is about twelve weeks old so she is all puppy. Having a puppy means my life has been put on hold.

Puppies, especially those who will grow to a considerable size, need to be taught to listen and obey from the moment they enter your home. It's so much more than just housebreaking. A dog should be taught that he/she is low man on the totem pole in your home. They need to know who is in charge and to listen and obey. It is a lot of work! It is tiring, seemingly endless, bordering torturous work. It has to be done.

So many people purchase a sweet little puppy thinking everything will be rainbows and sunshine; then the chewing begins, the digging, the barking, the jumping, the accidents and suddenly puppies aren't so sweet. All puppies have the ability to grow up to be a happy, healthy dog with good manners, owners just have to put some work in. Unfortunately, not many people want to bother with the tedious training. This leads to potentially aggressive dogs, jumpy dogs, dogs who incessantly bark, and dogs who just drive you bat shit crazy.

Every dog should be taught the basics: house training (of course), sit, stay, lay down, come, NO and "leave it" and they should all be leash trained as well. A dog who knows these commands and respects the commands will be happier pup and the owner will face less problems and undesirable behavior issues. I personally believe training should go beyond that. I feel a dog should be taught not to jump on visitors,to immediately stop barking when someone their owner deems to be ok, enters the house, not to beg for food, and ask to get on laps or furniture (if you want to allow it).

Training beyond the usual commands and leash training is certainly far easier with a puppy in the long run. It's much harder to break an older dog of ingrained habits. This is why training should begin the minute your puppy or dog come into your home.

Each Monday, I am going to  write about my experiences with training my new pup. Baby has gotten the hang of sit and is catching on to walking on the leash. She pees consistently outside, but seems to like to poop in her crate at night. I have worked out a plan to stop this. I spoke to other dog owners and did a lot of research. I am hoping I can get this issues solved quickly! I will outline the plan and how it worked next week.

I hope by writing about my experiences with training a puppy, others may find info they need before adopting a puppy or get new ideas for their current puppy/dog. 

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