Learning how to turn your dog into a perfect companion takes time and effort but is well worth it to create a harmonious living environment for you both. If approached the right way, the training process can even be an enjoyable way for you to spend time together, leading to a well-adjusted personality in your dog, and decreased stress for everyone. Dogs like to learn and interact, so ongoing training and the reinforcement of learned behaviors can be a good way to prevent them from getting bored, as well as helping you develop effective communication.
Teaching your pet a number of commands is more than just a matter of having some clever tricks to show; it can be a matter of ensuring their safety and preventing the development of unnecessary bad habits. Learning obedience should not mean a dog can no longer show their personality, or engage in normal, natural dog behaviors such as barking, digging and chewing. Turning them into the perfect companion should, rather, require that you teach them the appropriate times and ways to act out these instincts, providing alternatives when their natural inclinations prove destructive. Provide appropriate items for chewing, places for digging, and rewards for obeying. Punishment is rarely an effective means of communicating with your pet, and in many cases simply serves to reinforce the negative behaviors due to increased stress, or a simple lack of understanding.
If the behavior is attention-seeking, negative attention is perceived as better than nothing, so once again your attempts to change the behavior are foiled. Try to catch your dog "in the act" so you can stop them the behavior, but don't give them a lot of attention immediately after. Wait until another time to show them the acceptable behavior, and reinforce it with a treat or praise. In some cases you will need to take steps to prevent the behavior, such as building barriers to fence-jumping, particularly when it is a behavior that takes place when you are not watching.
Use your best judgment, and do some reading on the subject to find out what other dog owners have done in similar situations. Once again, the best method of encouraging good behavior in your dog is to spend lots of time together playing, exercising, and engaging in activities that keep their minds stimulated. This will generally prevent the bad habits that can result from boredom, loneliness and neglect. Be consistent in your approach to training, establishing clear expectations and rewards for obedience, and your relationship should flourish.
Pets require a lot of love, and in return offer you incomparable loyalty and devotion. Take the necessary time to build your relationship and ensure that your dog is happy and well-adjusted; you will find it is well worth the effort. For problem behaviors that persist, consult with the many resources available online or at your local bookstore. There is plenty of advice, as well as training products to help you along the way.
Terence Young - For more dog obedience and training tips and ideas visit: http://www.obediencedoggytraining.com