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5 Ugly Truths about Dog Training

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1. It never ends

You can't train your dog to 'roll over' on command and then wait a year to give him the command again. You must re-enforce his training by using what you've taught him frequently (say, every other day at least).

The commands that protect him from harm, such as 'sit' and 'leave it,' must be reviewed every day. Not for long periods of time, but use the commands at least once a day.

2. No state licenses dog trainers

If I want to call myself a dog trainer, no one can stop me! There are organizations that provide programs and certifications, but it's one thing to test well on the theory of dog training and quite another thing to actually train a dog.

It's not unheard of for people to read one or two dog training books and then hang up their dog-trainer shingle. Always sit through a class without your dog before you enroll him in one.

3. Some people are born trainers, some aren't

Popular Cesar Millan is one of the people who are honest about the fact that he was able to communicate and train dogs even as a child.

Some people are good at this just as some teachers instinctively know how to maintain order in a classroom while others don't.

That's one reason why some dogs do well in classes and then turn back into unruly canines when they go home with their owners.

You may or may not be lucky yourself. If you're looking for a professional dog trainer, this innate quality is worth more than all the theory and certificates in the world. That's another reason why you should sit through a class before you enroll.

4. First time's a charm

If your dog isn't doing better after the first training session, you aren't following what the trainer said or the 'professional' dog trainer doesn't know what s/he is doing.

Dogs should improve after the first session - period. Go to someone else if your dog isn't making progress or all you're getting is the theory of why the dog should be getting better.

If you're doing the training, use a firm voice, remain in control, be consistent and practice for 10-minutes every day.

5. Prevention is worth a pound of cure - in fact, there's rarely a cure

Don't let your dog get out-of-control. For example, make your dog 'sit' before you give him anything, from his food to your attention. Your dog needs to understand he must please you to get any of the good things in life.

It's next to impossible to regain your role as leader of the pack if you lose it. I know that sounds harsh, but if you knew how to maintain control to begin with, you wouldn't have the problem canine now.

Sure, you can hire Cesar Millan and he'll be able to rehabilitate your dog, BUT, then Mr. Millan will move on to the next dog.

Do you have the time, fortitude and patience to continually practice the behavior required to control your dog? Be honest about how much time and commitment you can bring to your problem dog.

If your dog is aggressive or if you've become afraid of your dog, get rid of the dog. Yes, this is harsh but it's based on 30-years of watching real-world dog owners.

Please don't let it come to that. Start training your puppy as soon as he's carried in the door and never stop. Maintain control from day one and you'll never be faced with this horrible choice.

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