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Picking out the dog for your family to training

When deciding on a dog or puppy for your family try to remember you can find many that need homes in shelters and at the ASPCA.  You would be surprised at the types of dogs you can find at these facilities.  from pure breed to mutt.  I have a friend that trains dogs for a living.  He has shown me some new tools to add to my tool box. 

The first tool he gave me was on choosing a dog for my family.  Not only did we want a dog that would fit our families activity level but, we needed to find one that would take well to training.  He said the puppy that is curious and searching is the one you want because it will be the one you can train.  Well that is great if you have a lot of time and are active.  But, what if we don't have an active life then an older dog would be a better option than a puppy.  Breeding is also important, from grooming to possible health issues you should be ready. 

No matter if the dog is a mix breed it is good to know some of what is in your dog.  This will help you get to know the activity level.  Some breeds do best when trained to do something other than fetch a ball.  Pit Bulls are the most misunderstood breed I have met but, they are also the smartest and eager to please.  They will take to about any training put forth just to please their owner.  They are actually good family pets.  I have a range of dogs in my home.  We have a huge Cane Corso to our tiniest miniature Chihuahua. We also have a terrier and three mix breeds that call us their forever home. 

Take your time and research what you are looking for in a dog and look at your lifestyle to ensure you get the right fit.  You wouldn't want an Irish Wolfhound living in a 1 bedroom apartment just like that toy dog may not fit so neatly in a life that is very active. 

Training a dog should be done on a regular and consistent basis.  These are basic commands that can be taught to any breed of any size and any mix.  They are universal commands.  Now I will mention that I do not like the Stay command.  The reason for this is that Stay means to sit for 3 min or down for 5.  Last I checked the dog doesn't have a watch.  So I use sit and down as concrete demands.  That means the dog must sit or down until the command is released.

Fred Russell wrote this quick guide up for me and now I am sharing it here.

Heel: Verbal-Dog should be walking on the left side, his right shoulder to your left knee.  Silent-Tap left leg with left hand.  The dog should sit every time you stop walking. (I use the ASL sign for come)

Sit: the dog should sit anywhere you give the command verbally.  Silent from side tap your left leg with left hand, then in front of the dog raise your hand turning your wrist clockwise with palm of hand upwards.  (I use the ASL sign for sit.)

Down: the should go down when and where ever you say it.  Silent from side lower left arm and hand at a 90 degree angle.  From front have palm facing the dog.  (I use the ASL for down which is palm out flat and lower slowly)

Come: The dog should come and sit directly in front of you about 1 inch away.  Silent-hold right arm out from body and bend elbow so your hand with palm facing you touches your chest making and inward motion.

Stay: Dog should stay put in any situation he may in and not move until another command is given. Silent I use the ASL for stop palm facing outward and hold it there.

Stand: Verbal say Stand while you place your right hand palm down and knuckles under dog's chin and move it away in a level smooth motion.  This also works for the silent command.  The dog will stand on all fours until you give another command.

No: This is a verbal correction for any unwanted action the dog is doing.  This is a hard command to give Silently.  Use this command when teaching all the other commands to stop unwanted movement or if the dog goes from sit to down without your command.

Some dogs have a tendency toward either sit or down.  You will learn this quickly.  Though the dog prefers this to the command correct and put back into the position of the command.  Then put the dog in its preferred state.

Training collars are very helpful when walking the dog.  I know the spikes look scary but they do not harm the dog.  What the pincher training collar does is mimic the mothers scruffing. (When she pulls at the skin just behind the head at the neck to correct the puppies.)  Choker collars are not suggested as they can cause serious damage to the wind pipe. 

Keep a journal that is available for the family to see.  Write in detail how long you trained and what commands you trained using and how the dog did.  This will help the next family member to know what commands to keep working and if they should add a new one.  Everyone in the family should work with a family pet.  Remember dogs are pack animals and your family is the pack.  It should understand they are always in command. 

A usual reminder to spay and neuter your animals and make sure they have all their shots and tags.  I strongly suggest the microchip to implanted in your beloved family pet.  This could be the difference between them getting home or not.  Tags can be removed or fall off.

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