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What did we do to deserve dogs? When they aren’t obsessing over a favorite toy, napping adorably, or shooting longing looks at distant dinner plates, dogs are putting in the work. That “man’s best friend” title isn’t for nothing. Nearly every week, there’s a new story of doggy heroism, like Spenser, a San Jose dog that alerted his owners their truck had exploded in the driveway and was folly ablaze. Spenser’s humans say he’s the reason they got out safely as their smoke alarms had all failed to go off.
Spencer may be one aspirational pup among many, but how do you get to that point? If your dog habitually misbehaves, are they just a “bad” dog? How do you start training your dog and building the kind of relationship that could lead to a happy life with a well-mannered and content pet (if not quite getting to the point of life-saving heroics)?
There may not be common dog commands like “let me know if the truck explodes,” but whether you’re training a puppy, starting basic dog training with an older adoptee, or trying to correct a behavior your pet’s had for a while, you can still foster that connection. The Complete Guide to Puppy & Dog Training Bundle is one way to get your dog’s training started. And, hey, maybe you can teach your dog, to not turn on the stove.
Embarking on basic dog training
You’re not just training your pet to get the newspaper or be a hound of convenience. Done right, dog training can help you build a strong relationship with your pup, while teaching him convenient cues and downright cool tricks.
You might not even start with commands for your doggo when training begins. Some of the most important parts of basic pet training are getting them used to certain boundaries and standards. It’s not a toy; it’s a leash. It’s not a punishment; it’s a crate. It’s not a call for alarm; it’s just a squirrel.
The eight courses in the training bundle can help you learn all sorts of things, from how to ready your home for a new puppy to what to do when he just won’t stop barking. A key element of training is understanding how to “communicate to your dog in a language they understand,” which does not mean yelling commands your dog doesn’t know or physically punishing them. Focus only on positive reinforcement methods and use that as a foundation for all cues and rules.
What your dog (and you) will learn
For your dog, training means more time with their favorite person in the world. The Complete Puppy & Dog Training Bundle has a course all about leash training, which is as good a place to start as any. While teaching your dog how to walk without pulling and stop chewing leashes is nice for you, it means more time outside for your dog. Walks can be longer if you aren’t constantly fighting against the tail-wagging reason you’re out there in the first place.
Another area you’ll want to tackle as soon as possible is discussed in the Puppies: AZ Guide to Puppy & Dog Training class: separation anxiety. You should do everything you can to prevent your dog from becoming one of the 40% that develop separation anxiety. That whining, scratching presence behind the door every time you leave is heartbreaking—and obviously not good for your pup’s mental and physical health. Once you’re gone, if their panic causes them to be destructive, not only can you have a big mess on your hands, but your dog can also get seriously injured.
There are other behavioral issues that you should focus on before launching into teaching your pet cool tricks, tempting as that may be. Aggressive behavior can be dangerous for you, your family, your neighbors, and, ultimately, your dog. Aggression from fear and anxiety is among the most common types of aggression in dogs, so helping them through it is almost like you’re showing your dog how to be brave.
Even if your dog’s bark is worse than their bite, you probably don’t want to deal with that either. Dogs barking and getting a little rough with each other is natural, but it’s also important to learn the reason your dog is barking or acting out. That’s where the Stop Dog Barking: Easy Dog Training Methods and How to Stop Dog Attacks classes come in.
In these two one-hour courses, you’ll learn to gently stop your dog from barking and see how you can integrate an aggressive dog with others. One important note is that, for dogs, unlearning these behaviors can be extremely difficult. Approach this type of training with kindness and patience—so much patience. Don’t be discouraged by little progression or regression; Some dogs will need to take it much more slowly than you’d like them to. When you’re getting frustrated, just take a beat and stay calm. You’re better off ending the training session on a positive note and picking things back up another day pushing than it too far. Keeping all sessions positive is a key element of successful dog training, or you may unintentionally teach your dog to dislike training!
Your dog might be your best friend in the world, but that doesn’t mean they start off knowing how to behave. With proper training, you can show your dog what types of behavior are acceptable and what types of things will land them in the metaphorical dog house.
Becoming a dog trainer
If, as you go through the beginning stages of training your dog, you find you’ve fallen in love with the art (and, really, that’s what it is), you don’t have to stop there. The Become a Dog Trainer course can help you learn how to turn that passion into a job.
Learn how to run a dog-training business, including how to answer simple client questions, like “What type of food should my dog eat?” and point clients in the right direction for answering the bigger questions like, “Why can’t my dog get along with others?” There’s even an hour-long course on which natural remedies can help inspire health and healing in dogs, as well as how to create a natural first aid kit customized to an individual dog.
Each of these courses is taught by Sharon Bolt, a canine expert. She was the featured trainer in the BBC documentary Britain’s Most Embarrassing Petsand has been addressing listeners’ doggy dilemmas on BBC Radio since 2008. Work hard, and you could be the next Sharon—and maybe your dog will be the next Spenser.
Start learning puppy and adult dog training with this 12-hour guide, on sale now for $29.99.
Prices subject to change.