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This article is courtesy of Grandparents.com.
By Phoebe Assenza
Training your dog early is the best way to raise a happy, well-adjusted companion. When you're ready to start teaching your dog basic commands and tricks, whether with a professional trainer or by yourself, there are a few behaviors of your own to keep in mind:
1. Be consistent. Dog owners shouldn't let some behaviors "slide" every now and then, based on their whim. For example, if you don't want your dog jumping on the couch, a consistent "No!" and distraction with a toy on the floor should always be the rule. Letting the dog climb on the couch only on Mondays while you're watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey will confuse him.
2. Keep it short. Training sessions can be frequent, about three times a day, but should also be short in duration. Dogs grow tired and weary of sessions any longer than 10 to 15 minutes, and if you don't give them a break, you'll notice them start to regress, as if they never learned the lesson to begin with.
3. Train before food. Try to squeeze in a quick training session before mealtime. This creates a positive connection between obedience and rewards in the puppy's mind.
4. Don't let yourself get impatient or frustrated with your dog. And don't punish him for what seems like stubbornness. If you're growing impatient with a dog who seems to be learning at a slower rate than you'd like, it's probably time for both of you to take a break.
5. Every positive action deserves a reward. Treats, belly rubs, a scratch behind the ears, and general cooing of approval sends the message that your dog has done something right. It's in his nature to make you happy, so he's sure to repeat behavior that yields a positive reaction from you.
Image: Henry Tseng / via Flickr
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