While the decision to own a dog isn't always an easy one, one of the things that most people over look is the commitment to properly training your dog. Owning a dog requires more than feeding and vet visits. It is a team effort (if you have multiple family members in your home) and requires dedication on your part.
Having a happy dog, and home, is easy once you know how to properly train your new dog. Hopefully by sharing some tips and advice I've learned over the years, you too can feel comfortable in your decision to bring home a new family member.
In the beginning trying to teach your dog even the most basic commands can seem the most frustrating time. With persistence you will find that training comes easier to your dog, and the amount of time spent training gets shorter. By starting training early, you develop a strong bond with your dog, you will show him that YOU are the leader, and he will be confident and happy in knowing that you will take care of him and give him proper instruction on how to behave. Start out with simple tricks such as sit, stay and down. Reward your dog often with lots of love and praise and even a few of his favorite treats.
Crate training is an important step that many people forgo. Crate training is an important form of training for you and your dog. It gives them a safe place to be when nervous or excited. It provides a sort of comfort and a sense of security for when you're not at home. You start crate training by placing your dog in the crate with the door open and letting them get used to it, praise them each time they enter on their own until they learn that the crate is their home inside their home.
Potty training may be one of the hardest training methods any owner undergoes. This is a full time commitment and requires patience and diligence. Watch for signs of restlessness and sniffing around and immediately take your dog outside, when your dog goes to the bathroom give them lots of praise and say "potty" or "bathroom" as you do so your dog can associate the two together. This task is harder with puppies and a new puppy owner must be 100 times more watchful as puppies don't always give signs.
Constant barking and destructive chewing are two behaviors that dog owners do not want to deal and worry about. Barking can be annoying not only for the owner but neighbors as well. You must understand that dogs bark to communicate, and learning why your dog is barking is crucial to stop unwanted barking. Chewing can be very destructive depending on what your dog has sunk his teeth into. You have to teach your dog what it is allowed and not allowed to chew on and be consistent. Stop unwanted chewing with a firm NO and replace the object with something the dog is allowed to chew on. Dogs chew when they are bored and teething so by offering appropriate chew items and by reprimanding unwanted chewing, and keeping your dog active he will be less likely to chew on your items and furniture.
Training is a full time commitment that requires patience and dedication. However, by training your dog correctly you will find that life as a dog owner is fun and rewarding.