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You might not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, as the cliché says, but you can teach almost any dog to obey basic commands, trainers and handlers agree.

It's best to begin training a dog at the puppy stage. Start when the puppy is about seven weeks old and keep the daily lessons simple and short, about five to 10 minutes long.

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The art of teaching obedience is overlooked by many dog owners and sportsmen, resulting in an unsatisfactory relationships and missed opportunities for years of pleasure.

Few will disagree that there is nothing more disturbing than an unruly dog that refuses the commands – “ here,” “ sit” and “heel.” Such disobedience often results in injury or death to a dog and confounds the peacefulness of a day afield.

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In dog training, we often say, "what you click is what you get," meaning the behavior you reward will be repeated again. This is true in humans and canines, yet people typically rely on punishment to control behavior in every day life. It may be unrealistic to eliminate giving tickets to speeders or time outs to rowdy kids, but what if we could use successful principles from reinforcement based dog training to increase desirable behaviors in people?

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Amy, this little piggy, goes to an obedience class at Family Dog Training Center in Kent twice a week, where she has learned to sit. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times) Amy, this little piggy, goes to an obedience class at Family Dog Training Center in Kent twice a week, where she has learned to sit. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Amy quickly mastered the teeter-totter on the agility course, something pigs would not normally do. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times) Amy quickly mastered the teeter-totter on the agility course, something pigs would not normally do. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times)

Amy, the miniature pig, has learned to sit just like a dog in obedience class. It’s not a skill pigs normally have. (Alan Berner/The Seattle Times) Amy, the miniature pig, has learned to sit just like a dog in obedience class.

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  • Photos by Steven Lane/The Columbian Joan Armstrong, center, trains dogs at Dog Days Dog Training. (/The Columbian)

  • (/The Columbian)

  • Joan Armstrong works with a dog at Dog Days Dog Training. (/The Columbian)

  • Joan Armstrong, center, trains dogs at Dog Days Dog Training. (/The Columbian)

  • Joan Armstrong, center, helps a dog owner train her pet at Dog Days Dog Training.

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‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’

 

Professional dog trainer Leslie Garbutt Vielma clicks her training clicker to get Goober to follow her commands at the RGV K9 Training Centre in Edinburg. He wags his tail as he intently waits for her instruction. 

A few months ago, Goober was just another face peering from the bars of a kennel at the Palm Valley Animal Center in Edinburg.

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I've gone on record before as saying I love dogs.

Like, I really love dogs.

But loving them and the ability to naturally form a healthy leadership relationship with them don't necessarily go hand in hand.

So, after months of jumping, chewing, generally ignoring my commands and family telling me "You REALLY need to take him to training," I begrudgingly decided it was time I bite the bullet and take my beloved black Labrador Zeke to school.

Read the full post here

I've gone on record before as saying I love dogs.

Like, I really love dogs.

But loving them and the ability to naturally form a healthy leadership relationship with them don't necessarily go hand in hand.

So, after months of jumping, chewing, generally ignoring my commands and family telling me "You REALLY need to take him to training," I begrudgingly decided it was time I bite the bullet and take my beloved black Labrador Zeke to school.

Read the full post here

Each year, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the largest professional association for dog trainers in the world, proclaims January “National Train Your Dog Month.” The goal is to promote the importance of training and socialization to all dog owners.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, between six and eight million dogs and cats are turned in to animal shelters each year, and about four million are euthanized for lack of good homes.

Read the full post here

Each year, the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), the largest professional association for dog trainers in the world, proclaims January “National Train Your Dog Month.” The goal is to promote the importance of training and socialization to all dog owners.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, between six and eight million dogs and cats are turned in to animal shelters each year, and about four million are euthanized for lack of good homes.

Read the full post here