Training tips

(excerpts from the Training Manual provided by the North Shore Animal League of America)

Establish Yourself as Pack Leader

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Teaching Commands and Correcting behavior

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Crating

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Housebreaking

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When living with more than one dog….

When considering a second dog, your first concern should be compatibility with the existing dog. Most dogs find it easier to accept dogs of the opposite sex. This does not mean that dogs of the same sex can’t get along. Introducing a dog properly is an important factor in the success of the relationship. Remember that dogs are pack animals. People should always be at the top of the hierarchy. The dogs will have their own pecking order under the people. Trouble starts when there is confusion as to who is in charge. The owner can help by maintaining position as the pack leader and supporting the dominant dog. This may not be the one that was there first, the older one, the male, female or the one you want it to be. It is not always immediately apparent which dog is more dominant.  Watch the dogs’ body language as they interact. The more submissive dog will back off when corrected by the dominant one and may display submissive behaviors such as avoidance, exposing his belly or licking the underside of the other dog’s muzzle.

Supporting the Dominant Dog: The dominant dog will be referred to as dog #1 and the submissive one will be dog #2.

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Aggression

When experiencing aggression between two dogs living together, it is important to maintain a strong leadership role through everyday interactions and formal obedience training. Obedience training gives the dog clear information that you are the authority figure and teacher. This helps the dog to understand his place in the hierarchy of your household by opening the lines of communication and establishing clear rules.

Practicing obedience provides the dog with both mental and physical exercise as well as time alone with you away from the other dogs. Make sure it is truly aggression rather than rough play before interfering. Dogs growl when they play. Yelping or crying indicates things are too rough, and it’s time to tell them to take it easy using a noise correction.

Aggression is typically marked by stiffening of body language, showing of teeth and consistently inappropriate bite pressure causing injury. A “Spray Commander” citronella collar or a “throw chain” are excellent corrections that will only affect the aggressor.

Asserting yourself as the pack leader through everyday interactions and obedience takes time. There are things you can do in the mean time to help prevent bloodshed. ~ Support the dominant dog.

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Preparing for a new baby….

Dogs are creatures of habit. Do not make any major changes before the baby arrives. Get the dog into a routine of feeding, exercise and play at the same time everyday. This should be the dog’s special playtime for interacting with you. This gives him something to look forward to each day and provides stability when everything around him is changing.

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