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    • Veterinarian Tips: Training a Dog

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      dog obeying sit commandAll dogs need an owner that accepts the responsibilities that come with training the animal to be socialized and obedient. A well-behaved dog reflects its owner’s commitment to having an animal that is enjoyed and a part of the family.

      Training a dog requires more than teaching verbal commands. When working with an animal, it is important that clients understand communication is key.

      Dog Training Tips

      These tips may help your clients train their dog:

      Tip #1. Training requires working in a fair and consistent manner that teaches the dog not only how to behave, but also that their good behavior is expected in all settings.
      Teaching the dog what to do along, with what not to do, will help them to better understand and recognize the behaviors you want from them. For example:

      • When working on a command of stay and the dog moves, don’t get upset; just put it back into the stay position and continue the training.
      • Later, when the command to stay is again given and the dog follows the command, make sure to praise the animal so it knows it did as you wanted and that you are pleased it has done its job.

      For the animal to understand what is expected of it, all family members should follow the same steps when working with the dog. Without consistency, the animal will become confused on what it is to do. For example:

      • If the rule is established that the dog is only to go to the bathroom in the far corner of the yard, then every time the animal needs to go to the bathroom, it should be taken to the far corner of the yard as part of its training.
      • Allowing the animal to use an inside potty pad on bad-weather days sends the dog a message that says it is okay to potty inside if it wants.
      • When the dog then goes to the bathroom in the house and receives correction, it will become confused on what you are expecting it to do.

      Training Tip #2. Learn to communicate by reading your pet’s body language.
      Owners often become frustrated when their pet behaves inappropriately. Before responding to the situation, take a moment to think about why the unwanted behavior occurred. Dogs use body language to communicate their wants and needs. When they behave improperly, there is a good chance that the signals for the unwanted behaviors were present but were overlooked or missed.

      The following offers examples of the way dogs communicate by body language:

      • Play time!
        • Running up to you
        • Barking
        • Backing up with a wagging tail
      • I need to go to the bathroom! 
        • Furiously sniffing
        • Going around in circles
        • Starting to squat
      • I’m being cautious! Or I’m nervous! Stay back!
        • Stiffly wagging tail that is moving slowly
        • Tail may be held very high or is hanging down
        • Animal may be leaning slightly forward, almost on its tiptoes
      • I’m friendly!
        • Happy, wagging tail
      • I’m afraid! I may be aggressive!
        • Stiff body
        • Tail tucked down and ears held back
        • Arched back
        • Hair may stand up along the ridge of their back
        • Cowering
        • Intense gaze
        • Low growl
      • I’m nervous! I’m timid!
        • Submissive urination - when animal gets excited and then squats and urinates
          • In puppies, this could mean that their bladder has not yet fully developed
          • In older animals, this reaction occurs when the animal feels it is about to be corrected or feels nervous if being approached by a stranger.

      To be successful, training requires clear communication between both owner and animal. While it is important to help the dog know what we expect of them, it is equally important that we pay attention to what they are trying to tell us.

      Contact your Henry Schein representative for additional client information about working with their pets.

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