The first and most important obedience lesson for many dog owners is housebreaking. Puppies should begin housebreaking at approximately 7 ½ to 8 ½ weeks old. Ideally, puppies should not be separated from their mothers until at least 8 weeks of age so you should not be faced with a puppy younger than this anyway. Sometimes older dogs need to be housetrained too when they are rescued from a shelter or rescue organization, housebreaking an older dog involves the same process as housebreaking a younger dog.
Anxiety, it's not just for humans. If you've ever wondered: Does my dog have anxiety? It's important to know that pets can get anxious too, and there are some signs to watch for so you can help Fido feel better. Just like their human parents, dogs can develop anxiety, with separation anxiety being the most form of anxiety in dogs. What's more, certain breeds of dogs are more prone to anxiety than others, according to PetMD.
As mentioned above, some dogs begin to feel anxious while their guardians get ready to leave. For example, a dog might start to pace, pant and whine when he notices his guardian applying makeup, putting on shoes and a coat, and then picking up a bag or car keys. (If your dog doesn’t show signs of anxiety when you’re preparing to leave him alone, you can just skip to step two below.) Guardians of dogs who become upset during predeparture rituals are unable to leave—even for just few seconds—without triggering their dogs’ extreme anxiety. Your dog may see telltale cues that you’re leaving (like your putting on your coat or picking up your keys) and get so anxious about being left alone that he can’t control himself and forgets that you’ll come back.
During desensitization to any type of fear, it is essential to ensure that your dog never experiences the full-blown version of whatever provokes his anxiety or fear. He must experience only a low-intensity version that doesn’t frighten him. Otherwise, he won’t learn to feel calm and comfortable in situations that upset him. This means that during treatment for separation anxiety, your dog cannot be left alone except during your desensitization sessions.
Thank you for pointing out that my pet has limits and that there are things that a younger dog will not be able to pick up on as compared to an older dog. I do not know the age of which I can tell it is perfect for my pet to learn new things. I do not want to force him if he isn’t ready either. Because of this, it might be a better idea to let the professional train him. At least, that way, he is sure to receive the training appropriate for his age.
We are certified Therapy Pets Unlimited evaluators! Is your goal to make your dog a certified therapy dog? We would recommend our Therapy Dog Development Course. This is our 8 private lesson course which includes the 4 basic obedience lessons (5 commands outside/off leash) followed by 4 lessons specifically tailored to you and your dog passing the Therapy Dog Certification. At the conclusion of this course, we can test you and your dog for certification. Upon passing the Therapy Pets Unlimited test, you and your dog will be awarded the Therapy Pets Unlimited certification and ID.

Crate training can be helpful for some dogs if they learn that the crate is their safe place to go when left alone. However, for other dogs, the crate can cause added stress and anxiety. In order to determine whether or not you should try using a crate, monitor your dog’s behavior during crate training and when he’s left in the crate while you’re home. If he shows signs of distress (heavy panting, excessive salivation, frantic escape attempts, persistent howling or barking), crate confinement isn’t the best option for him. Instead of using a crate, you can try confining your dog to one room behind a baby gate. 


If your dog is nervous because of certain situations, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, or even is nervous about being in a crowd, then distraction can work wonders. Engaging your dog's brain in work will help him focus on you and things he knows, rather than on the unknown around him that's frightening him. While it isn't the time to begin new training, it is a great time to practice tricks your dog knows and can earn rewards for. Try rewarding your dog with treats for simple commands like sit, stand, lie down, shake, sit up, roll over and other tricks he enjoys. Another possibility, especially for dogs who are highly food motivated, is distracting your dog with puzzle toys like a treat ball or tug jug, or even a frozen Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. This can also help him associate frightening things like loud noises or strangers coming over with highly valued rewards, so that the event goes from being scary to being at least tolerable.
You must judge when your dog is able to tolerate an increase in the length of separation. Each dog reacts differently, so there are no standard timelines. Deciding when to increase the time that your dog is alone can be very difficult, and many pet parents make errors. They want treatment to progress quickly, so they expose their dogs to durations that are too long, which provokes anxiety and worsens the problem. To prevent this kind of mistake, watch for signs of stress in your dog. These signs might include dilated pupils, panting, yawning, salivating, trembling, pacing and exuberant greeting. If you detect stress, you should back up and shorten the length of your departures to a point where your dog can relax again. Then start again at that level and progress more slowly.
Dogs instinctually process their environments looking for danger. In an anxious dog, this behavior can manifest as excessive neediness — like wanting to be attached to you at all times — and destructive behavior when you're away from home. While dogs generally begin to develop anxiety between 12 and 36 months, it can happen at any age. Symptoms include trembling, hiding, reduced activity, and escape behaviors.
The Dog Obedience Club of Lee County offers monthly classes to show handlers how to track with their dogs. We meet at various locations to provide your dog with different scenting problems. Your dog will need a non-restrictive halter. Eventually you will need a 20 to 40 foot line, flags, flagging, inexpensive leather gloves, cloth articles and perhaps a GPS.
Finally, a visit to the veterinary office may make your dog feel leery and cause anxiety. Think about the conditions of the situation and why your pet may feel extra jumpy. Take him for a walk beforehand to get his energy out. Soothe him as you put on his leash or put him in a carrier. The more you remain by your dog’s side and let him know you’re there for the duration of the visit, the more comfortable he’ll feel.
If your dog is nervous because of certain situations, such as fireworks or thunderstorms, or even is nervous about being in a crowd, then distraction can work wonders. Engaging your dog's brain in work will help him focus on you and things he knows, rather than on the unknown around him that's frightening him. While it isn't the time to begin new training, it is a great time to practice tricks your dog knows and can earn rewards for. Try rewarding your dog with treats for simple commands like sit, stand, lie down, shake, sit up, roll over and other tricks he enjoys. Another possibility, especially for dogs who are highly food motivated, is distracting your dog with puzzle toys like a treat ball or tug jug, or even a frozen Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter. This can also help him associate frightening things like loud noises or strangers coming over with highly valued rewards, so that the event goes from being scary to being at least tolerable.
Separation anxiety in dogs is fairly common and can lead to a variety of behavior problems. If your dog is feeling separation anxiety while you’re at work or away from the house, he may urinate or defecate on the floor and/or tear up furniture or other items. This is a way for him to get your attention but also a way to deal with the increased level of anxiety. There are many ways you can deal with behavior problems to help the separation anxiety in dogs.
One treatment approach to this “predeparture anxiety” is to teach your dog that when you pick up your keys or put on your coat, it doesn’t always mean that you’re leaving. You can do this by exposing your dog to these cues in various orders several times a day—without leaving. For example, put on your boots and coat, and then just watch TV instead of leaving. Or pick up your keys, and then sit down at the kitchen table for awhile. This will reduce your dog’s anxiety because these cues won’t always lead to your departure, and so your dog won’t get so anxious when he sees them. Please be aware, though, that your dog has many years of learning the significance of your departure cues, so in order to learn that the cues no longer predict your long absences, your dog must experience the fake cues many, many times a day for many weeks. After your dog doesn’t become anxious when he sees you getting ready to leave, you can move on to the next step below.
The next option is called luring. Get down in front of your puppy, holding a treat as a lure. Put the treat right in front of the pup’s nose, then slowly lift the food above his head. He will probably sit as he lifts his head to nibble at the treat. Allow him to eat the treat when his bottom touches the ground. Repeat one or two times with the food lure, then remove the food and use just your empty hand, but continue to reward the puppy after he sits. Once he understands the hand signal to sit, you can begin saying “sit” right before you give the hand signal.
We can show our puppies how to behave in our homes without ever scaring or hurting them. It’s actually much easier to focus on teaching your puppy what to do rather than what not to do. You don’t have to back up your requests with threats. In fact, your puppy will bond with you and listen better if he’s not scared of getting it wrong (and what you’ll do if he does).
Whining on the other hand is something you should never reward. When your dog whines and you go to comfort him, you are just reinforcing the behavior and he will continue to whine so you will come and comfort him. In this case, you will need to ignore your puppy whines — yes, it will be very difficult, but you will appreciate it when the whining stops and you can finally get a full night's sleep.
Finally, socialization with children and other animals is a key reason people begin puppy obedience training. In order to invite people into your home and bring your dog out in public, you want to feel confident that he can communicate in a safe, social manner with his furry peers and people of all ages. Children often make pets very skittish, so showing them how to behave around children — even if none live in your home — is an integral part of training. Your dog may still come across children on a walk, and you want to know that their often erratic or in-your-face behavior won't upset or scare your pet.
The Dog Obedience Club of Lee County is located near the Fort Myers area. Founded in 1983, we are an AKC sanctioned, not-for-profit organization dedicated to making dogs better citizens through training. Whether you wish to compete in obedience or just want a well-behaved companion and best friend, we can help you train your dog. Our instructors have all raised and trained dogs from a variety of breeds and have achieved AKC Obedience titles on their dogs. They actively compete in AKC obedience, rally, agility, tracking and more.
One of the cornerstones of good health for your puppy is regular veterinary care. It is crucial that your puppy maintains a nutritional diet and exercise routine to stay healthy and balanced. Plus, your vet can advise on heartworm, and flea and tick preventative care. While a lot goes into keeping your puppy in good health, it all begins with the first visit to the vet.
Basic or beginner's obedience is typically a short course ranging from six to ten weeks, where it is demonstrated to the handler how to communicate with and train the dog in a few simple commands. With most methods the dog is trained one command at a time. Though there may or may not be a specific word attached to it, walking properly on a leash, or leash control, is often the first training required prior to learning other commands.
Fear is the instinctual feeling of apprehension resulting from a situation, person, or object presenting an external threat -- whether real or perceived. The response of the autonomic nervous system prepares the body for the freeze, fight, or flight syndrome. It is considered to be a normal behavior, essential for adaptation and survival; its context determines whether the fear response is normal, or abnormal and inappropriate. Most abnormal reactions are learned and can be unlearned with gradual exposure.
There are many factors that go into choosing the right training school for you and your dog. Certainly distance is a consideration; however, convenience shouldn’t be the only factor that influences your decision. Other things like training methods, appropriate classes for your needs, compatibility of the instructor’s personality with yours, and certifications of the instructor should also play a role.
Step 1: Have your dog lay down. Wait for him to stand up. When he stands up, click and treat. Repeat this action several times until he learns that he has to stand up in order to get his treat. Standing is so natural that it is likely that the dog won't immediately understand why he is being rewarded, so it may take more repetition than usual. (Initially, it's okay to click even if.............................................
Punishment is operationally defined as an event that lowers the probability of the behavior that it follows. It is not "punishment" in the common sense of the word,[40] and does not mean physical or psychological harm and most certainly does not mean abuse. Punishment simply involves the presentation of an undesired consequence (positive punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as a snap of the leash, or the removal of a desired consequence (negative punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as the trainer eating the cheese that would have been the reward.[41] A behavior that has previously been developed may cease if reinforcement stops; this is called extinction. A dog that paws its owner for attention will eventually stop if it no longer receives attention.[42]
Reinforcement can be anything your dog likes. Most people use small pieces of a “high value” food for training treats — something special — such as dried liver or even just their kibble. Lavish praise or the chance to play with a favorite toy can also be used as a reward. Dogs must be taught to like praise. If you give the dog a treat while saying “Good dog!” in a happy voice, he will learn that praise is a good thing and can be a reward. Some dogs also enjoy petting. Food is often the most convenient way to reinforce behavior.
Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying “down,” while someone else is letting him hang out up there, how on earth is he ever going to learn what you want? Consistency will be the key to your success.
Owning a dog can be really rewarding, but also really scary! There is potential that you will have to deal with stresses and anxieties that your dog has. Anxiety in dogs is a tricky thing to navigate through. It is important for you to recognize if your dog has anxiety and what type. Dealing with it then becomes much easier. There are steps you can take to help and we’ve put together a guide for you to find out how.
The way I learned how to train without treats was to use a collar and leash and depending on the way I tugged on the leash would help Sally know what to do. More specifically, I used a pinch collar on Sally, but I urge you to read the articles I’ve linked to and to conduct any other research before using this on your dog. It’s vital that you use a training collar you feel comfortable with and using it correctly.
Separation anxiety in dogs is fairly common and can lead to a variety of behavior problems. If your dog is feeling separation anxiety while you’re at work or away from the house, he may urinate or defecate on the floor and/or tear up furniture or other items. This is a way for him to get your attention but also a way to deal with the increased level of anxiety. There are many ways you can deal with behavior problems to help the separation anxiety in dogs.

Small pieces of food or a favored toy can be used to motivate your puppy to perform most tasks. Provided the reward is sufficiently appealing, the puppy can be prompted to give the desired response by showing the puppy the reward, giving a command, and moving the reward to get the desired response. For example, food held up over the puppy's nose and moved slowly backwards should get a 'sit' response; food drawn down to the floor should get a 'down' response; food brought back up should get a 'stand' response; food held out at a distance should get a 'come' response; and food held at your thigh as you walk should get the puppy to 'heel or 'follow'. By pairing a command phrase or word with each action, and giving the reward for each appropriate response, the puppy should soon learn the meaning of each command.


You want your puppy to be able to respond to you in various situations and places, so be careful not to limit training to one room of your house or corner of the yard. Practice commands in your home, backyard, front yard, surrounding neighborhood, woods, park or in any other location you visit with your pet. There are different distracting smells and noises in new areas, and you want to be sure your dog can still perform what he knows in different environments.
Enroll in a reward-based training class to increase your dog’s mental activity and enhance the bond between you and your dog. Contact a Certified Professional Dog Trainer for group or private classes that can give you and your dog lots of great skills to learn and games to play together. After you and your dog have learned a few new skills, you can mentally tire your dog out by practicing them right before you leave your dog home alone. Please see our article, Finding Professional Behavior Help, to locate a CPDT in your area. 

Help him relax when he comes home. When your puppy gets home, give him a warm hot water bottle and put a ticking clock near his sleeping area. This imitates the heat and heartbeat of his litter mates and will soothe him in his new environment. This may be even more important for a new dog from a busy, loud shelter who's had a rough time early on. Whatever you can do to help him get comfortable in his new home will be good for both of you.
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