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Old 08-13-2012, 01:24 AM   #1
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Default Dog Training. Where do I start?

My family just adopted a 10 month to 1 year old husky mix from a shelter- I think she is either part beagle or border collie but we can never know for sure. See Exhibit A:

We met the dog through a program run by a friend of ours, Miles and Mutts - a program that takes runners and shelter dogs and pairs them so that once a week the dogs get out and run in the open air. It's based in Shippensburg, PA and I think ours was the second adoption as a result of that program.

She's very gentle with all the kids - even the 3 and 1 year olds that run around causing constant bedlam all day. She eats well and hasn't had any issues with turning our house into a bathroom or destroying anything except the odd clothes pin.

We have had her for a week and she is finally shaking off the shelter zombie dog effect and she is starting to play with us and does fairly well on runs with me.

I grew up with border collies - dad even had some sheep we used to train them. But training a dog on a farm is a lot different than training one in house with only a 1 acre unfenced yard.

I don't know where to start. I want to train her to obey my voice commands, not some clicker thing, and have no desire what so ever to use an internally spiked collar for leash training.

anyone on here point me in a good direction?

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Old 08-13-2012, 06:33 AM   #2
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looks like beagle, but like you said, hard to say for sure.

i would just start out by researching it and reading what you can find online and see if something sticks. i think the general idea is to wear them out with play and then work on obedience with positive reinforcement (treats). i would definitely start with the easy ones and don't be shy about showing them what it is you want them to do (not in a mean way or anything). just be sure to be diligent about it and it should start to reap rewards after a few weeks. most people just get lazy about it and get upset that it didn't work... also, check amazon and search for obedience training books and check out the reviews, there's gotta be a few good ones out there.

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Old 08-13-2012, 08:20 AM   #3
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If you have no experience with dogs it is well worth the money to go to obedience classes. They will train you and the dog. If you cannot find a good kennel near you, Petsmart has classes.
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:39 AM   #4
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I started with a book called "Water Dog" by Richard Wolters when I first started training labs for hunting. It is a retriever training book for hunters but starts with obedience for the house dog as his retrievers are also family pets. I highly recomend the book. Check amazon. Nice looking dog by the way. Good Luck. P.S. If you can find a retriever club nearby any member would be glad to offer some basic obedience tips.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:37 PM   #5
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Find a good trainer, the pet stores are not usually the best places. Look into puppy classes and if you like the way the trainer works, take some advanced classes too.
Don't write off clickers. The sound is used as a marker to exactly pinpoint the action you want to reward. The sound means that the dog did the right thing and a reward is coming. The dog is not obeying the clicker. It takes a bit of practice but with my dog, the things I've taught him using a clicker seem the most ingrained.
First thing to teach is recall. Always and forever reward the dog for coming to you, no matter what you called him away from.
Glad to hear you've given the dog a good home, and congrats !
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Old 08-13-2012, 01:33 PM   #6
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Quite often a local kennel club will either offer training classes or know of good training facilities in the area. Start with a "puppy kindergarten" to socialize the puppy to be around other dogs and experience new situations.

A prong (spike) collar should never be necessary for a dog of that type, although a choke collar and proper use of it will be appropriate. I'd stay away from any trainer who believes in "time outs" and prefers the use of a harness to a choke collar. BTW, never do training with a flexi-lead, train it with a standard 6' lead. Use the flexi-lead on a run if you want, but you can't train a dog effectively if he doesn't feel a correction on the lead.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:00 PM   #7
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step by step, do a lot of reading.

Work on the basic commands. Most important being recall (coming to it's name). The clicker helps with this, you teach the dog to learn that the clicker is for good behaviour and means a treat is coming, you then work in voice commands or hand signals along with the clicker, to the point you no longer need the clicker.

It's all about positive reinforcement. Get some training treats, and keep 'training' sessions short 15-20 minutes every day. moving onto a new command once the dog fully understands the previous one.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:09 PM   #8
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x2 with Barnzy

Short, DAILY sessions keep your dog's desire to train peaked. It's all about keeping him interested in the trainin to maximize effectiveness.

Posiive reinforcement FTW. Punishment is a complete waste of time and hurts your dogs confidence and desire to train/learn.
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Old 08-13-2012, 02:15 PM   #9
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Beyond basic command training, I'd like to mention kennel/crate training.

Now, a lot of people dismiss this as "I don't want to cage my dog, you monster", and I think they're missing the point.

Crate training will give your dog a place to call their very own. It's not just a corner of YOUR house, it's a room that they can always go to when they're upset, frustrated, or afraid, and nothing is ever allowed to happen to them when they're in there. It's a safe zone.

Moreover, it helps you to set boundaries- if what is inside the crate belongs to the dog, what's outside of it belongs to the master. Dogs instinctively understand being dominated by their alpha- a kind "alpha", ie the human master, doesn't even need to show off the power, it's just a quiet confirmation that a stronger being is there to protect them and give them guidance, and in return, they will be the best pack member they can be. The crate allows you to give them something of their own, a den into which they can keep their toys, hide treats, and sleep with confidence that they have done well to deserve their own space.

I suggest crating the dog at night and telling them how happy you are with them- let it shine through in your voice if they don't understand the words "good dog" yet. In time, you can allow the dog free run at any point- first at night while you're home, then during the day when you're gone, after you're sure they're not going to destroy anything or overstep the boundaries you lay down during obedience training. If you have a relapse, that's fine, just go back a step in the crating- if they chew slippers at night, they need more time in their own bed.

Remember never to treat the crate as a punishment, but I believe using it as a time-out/cooling off is appropriate- and when you let the dog back out, you remind them of the boundaries again, and let them know they are loved.

I crated my dog (a chocolate lab, now almost 9 years old), and she thinks of her crate as her home. I recently even had to transport it, and didn't bother to put the door back on when I returned home with her. She's not the best behaved dog in the world, honestly, she gets a little big for her britches now and then, but she is loving and listens to me when it's important.
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Old 08-13-2012, 03:04 PM   #10
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+1 on the crate training, our 8 week old pup was in his crate the first night and it only took a couple nights of the most heart breaking noises before he has never made a peep, now hes almost 2 and the crate is his home. he doesnt sleep on the bed and if we are taking a shower or getting ready in the morning he stays in his crate until he knows we are done in that room. we dont even close the door anymore its a just a simple in and out for him but he feels safe in his house.

also timeouts have been used by us to correct his pawing at the couch and jumping when greeting. Mark the behavior with our no no word haha but we dont take him to his crate but to the hall bathroom and close the door for 2 min or so and then come back and get him. two weeks was constantly back and forth from where we were to the bathroom but he knows now that if he hears our marking word hes doing something we dont like.

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