Archive for September, 2009

Have you ever seen a well trained dog and thought, “I wish my dog could do tricks like that”?

It is probably the dream of most dog owners to be able to teach their pet to do some of the tricks they see other dogs doing, but there is one thing they must remember above all others before starting down the path of teaching tricks. The dog must have at least some basic obedience. There is not much chance of teaching it to do tricks if it is a badly behaved dog in the first place.

The basic commands such as sit, down, heel etc, should be known by your dog before trick training starts, as this will make life so much easier later on. Once these have been mastered you can begin to build on them and your dog will soon be amazing your friends with the following three simple tricks.

Begging

To start teaching this trick it is best to have your dog sit in a corner of the room with his back to the wall and you standing in front of him. The walls will support your dog and give him the confidence that he won’t fall over if he raises his front legs off the floor.

Take some small pieces of food and hold it above your dog whilst enticing him to reach up for it. Each time he takes the food, praise him and repeat the procedure slowly encouraging him to reach higher each time.

Whilst encouraging the dog to reach up for the food, you must make sure that he is keeping his haunches on the ground. This is achieved by moving the food back over his head slightly making the dog shift his weight back over his haunches and teaching him to keep his balance.

Once the begging trick has bee mastered in the corner of the room you can gradually begin to move away from the wall and practise the trick where the dog has no back support. You must expect at this stage that the dog will seem to go backwards in his learning, but this is to be expected until he can perfect it just using his own body weight.

Shaking hands

There are two parts of this trick for your dog to learn. A verbal part and a non-verbal part which both work together to give the dog a cue that you want him to perform the trick.

Firstly the dog should start off in a sitting position. Give him a single word verbal command such as ‘shake’, whilst at the same time reaching out with your right hand until it is just a few inches from your dogs’ right leg. Your outstretched hand is the non-verbal cue.

Initially your dog will probably just sit motionless unsure of what to do, so with your left hand, gently push or prod his right leg forwards until it rests in your right hand. When he has done this, praise him so that he knows he has done what you wanted him to do.

Practice this trick several times; praising after each successful result and gradually reducing the amount of left hand prompting until only the verbal and non-verbal cues are all that are needed.

Shaking the head: ‘No’

Before you can begin to teach this trick to your dog, you will need to find something which will make him shake his head naturally. Some things which may help are blowing gently on the ear, tickling the ear with a feather or even lightly attaching a paperclip to the ear – remembering that you should not cause the dog any pain.

Once you have found the method which makes him shake his head you will then have to decide on which verbal and non-verbal cue you want to use. A single word such as ‘head’ along with shrugging of your shoulders is just one idea.

Again your dog should start in a sitting position when first teaching him this trick. As in the shaking hands trick, use both cues together, along with the prod (tickling his ear, etc) in an effort to stimulate your dog to shake his head. Once he does, reward him, even if it is just a small movement.

This trick is best learned in short sessions with momentary breaks in between, so don’t try to repeat the exercise more that five times in one session or the dog will become confused and not learn.

Gradually reduce the amount of prodding so that all that are needed are the verbal and non-verbal cues. Once your dog has mastered the trick, he can be progressed to learn it in standing position and laying positions as well.

The main thing with training dogs to perform tricks is for the owner to learn that patience is a virtue and that the dog will learn in his own time. Do not scold the dog if he does not seem to be learning, it is always better to be patient and encourage him more.

Everyone is surely going to get excited when trying to adopt a dog. Truly a man’s best friend, you can rely on your pet dog in giving you company, cuddling up together and some can even guard your house. You need to review your personal lifestyle and needs when adopting a dog. It is a major decision whether or not you would choose to have a puppy or an adult as a pet. Before deciding on which dog to adopt, here is some useful information that might help you decide.

On Puppies

* Bringing up a puppy is an advantage because this means that you would guide its growth and well being. You would have the chance to raise it up according to what you want. This means you can ensure that it is properly nurtured with the right dog food, ensure that necessary dog shots are given and prevent heartworm at this early stage. Having your puppy personally trained is also a plus since you can teach him exactly what you want.

* You should adopt a puppy when it is at least 10 weeks old. Puppies need a lot of time to be cared for by their mothers. This is a crucial stage for them. They somehow gain a psychological advantage for both puppy and for the mother dog as well.

* A puppy can easily adjust to new surroundings as compared to an adult dog. Although most puppies may cause minimal to major damage to your personal stuff while they are in the stage of teething. They need to be housebroken and house training needs a lot of time, effort and patience from the owner.

* There is no assurance of what a puppy would look like when it gets old; especially it is a mixed breed. Also, his temperament might change too when he grows up.

* Most pet owners love how puppies can be entertaining. They are very cute and adorable pets that is a hit for both children and grown ups. Puppies can be easily regarded as one of the family.

On adult dog

* You would have less of a fuss taking care of an adult dog. They already have this established behavior that you can easily adopt too. By being with the dog more often, you would have more or less an idea of what its temperament is.

* You need to get as much information that you can when adopting an adult dog. Take note of its habits and mood swings. You can acquire these valuable data from the previous owners of the dog. Some adult dogs may have some behavior issues. It is important to take note of them.

* It may take some time and effort for an adult dog to be completely comfortable with a new owner.

* Take note that you need to introduce an adult dog to your children and other household members. This would help the dog be familiar with them and helps them refrain from biting or barking thinking that they maybe strangers.

* Adult dog may not need your full attention unlike puppies need and would require lesser trips to the veterinary.

* For a fully grown dog physique and behavior is basically not a variable anymore. What you see is basically what you get.

* Most dogs are housebroken already so they would cause lesser damage to your belongings and don’t wake up at night like most puppies do. They have over grown the impulse of chewing things he has his eyes on.

* An older dog can easily adapt to other pets, like other dogs or cats, if you have a group of them at your household.

Adopting a dog is not an easy task and choosing which one to adopt can be a little tricky too. Everyone loves sweet looking puppies, but not everyone can stand up to the tiresome house training. Though most would appreciate the bonding shared with them. Adult dogs need no great amount of guidance but can still turn out to be a lovable pet. Whichever you think is the right pet for you, just keep in mind that taking care of them needs a lot of time and effort. In return, they would always keep you company and has ready smile with an excited wag of tail waiting for you everyday.

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