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Dog Training: Pro Versus Self-Trained, Which is Best
by Allen Shaw

Now that you have your new pooch, you need to train him. Yes you do, don’t argue with me. 

He’s not a human. He doesn’t get to do whatever he wants to do. He can’t poop where he feels like pooping. He can’t chew up whatever he wants. He needs to be trained, for your happiness and his. But should you do it yourself or should you have him professionally trained? The answer really depends on how much time you are willing to invest.

No matter the training (protection, behavior, search and rescue, tricks), you will invest a LOT of time training your pup…even if you have a professional do the training. If you have a professional train your dog, you will still have to follow up after he finishes basic training. 

You have to be consistent. You have to have patience.

And you have to know what you’re doing, which is the mistake a lot of first-time dog owners make. They equate loving a new puppy with knowing how to take of and train a new pup. That’s where they make their first mistake.

If you’re going to train the dog yourself, there are a few basic commands every dog should know regardless of what type of training you give your new best friend. If Fido knows these commands and no other, and you work with him every day, he will be a well-behaved dog.

Come – this is the most important command your dog should understand (next to, “Don’t poop there!”). If Fido won’t come to you when called, he’s not an obedient dog.

Sit – Another important command is “Sit.” A dog that will sit when commanded is under the direct control of the owner.

Stay – “Stay” is often used in conjunction with “Sit.”

Down – All dogs need to know what it means when their master says “Down.” “Down” is often used for the over excitable pup who’s constantly jumping on people.

Go to bed – especially as pups, dogs tend to sleep when they want to. But if you don’t get your dog used to sleeping when you want him to sleep, you’ll deal with the “terrible twos” his entire life. If he knows what “Go to bed” means, he’ll sleep when you want him to. And if you’re smart, that will be when you go to sleep.

Drop it – “Drop it” is one of the most useful commands for your dog to know. Dogs tend to pick up everything in their mouths…remote controls, hats, sunglasses, little children. If you dog understands “Drop it,” you can make him drop your little brother whenever he’s using him as a chew toy.

Leave it and Take it – “Leave it” and “Take it” are used to teach dogs to pick up after themselves. Both are hard to teach, but very useful when you need a beer out of the fridge.

Heel – “Heel,” also “Close” or “By me,” is used to keep a dog right at the handler’s leg whether standing still or walking.

Okay – and “Okay” is your dog’s favorite command. Okay releases the dog from sit, stay, heel and so forth. “Okay” is also used to release the dog from training and lets him begin his favorite part of the day…playtime.

But most people want even more training for their dogs, whether it is for protection, sport or fun. For most advanced training, especially if you are a first-time dog owner, it’s best to let a professional handle it.

They have the equipment, they have the know-how and they have the time. Most advanced training, especially personal protection training, requires spending hours upon hours with your dog on a daily basis. And let’s face it, most of us don’t have that kind of time.

But just remember, no matter what kind of training you decide on, simple behavior training, protection, search and rescue or tricks, you will have to reinforce the training on a daily basis.

If you’re not willing to do this, you won’t be a very happy owner…and it will be your fault. As corny as it sounds, a well trained dog equals a happy dog.

Allen Shaw is a successful author who provides information on dogs, dog training and puppies.


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