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Common Beginner Questions About Dog Training

Dear Adam:

[Note to readers: These questions are follow ups from issues discussed in my book, 'Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer!' which you can read more about at: http://www.dogproblems.com/secretsbook.htm]

1. What age should I start using the prong collar?

[Adam replies] Generally speaking, at about four months of age... when you see the adult teeth begin to come in.

2. What should I be teaching, obedience wise, with 8 month puppy?

[Adam replies] At eight months of age, there really isn't ANYTHING you can't teach the dog, obedience-wise.

3. When you say pop, when teaching the down command, do y u mean I should pop the prong collar? So for example if the dog gets up from down/stay position and walk away, you said to say NO, pop the leash, then say NO all the way back to manhole, then pop the leash again? Do you mean to pop the prong or to guide him into down/stay position?

[Adam replies] When I say 'pop' I mean to tug on the leash. Make sure you're starting and ending with slack. So, you say, 'No!' then go to the dog and give a pop on the leash, then walk him back to the spot and reissue the 'down' command... and then 'pop' downward (or to the side) on the leash and put him back into the down position.

5. What's the difference between obedience training and sport training (i.e. Schutzhund)? Why do they say you shouldn't train your dog in obedience if you want him to be in Schutzhund? (I just want to know for my own knowledge)

[Adam replies] Schutzhund is a dog sport the incorporates an obedience routine, as well as a protection and tracking routine. The obedience exercises are mostly route exercises, and are not trained in a street-smart context. As for why you supposedly shouldn't train your dog in obedience if you want him to be in Schutzhund... this is a myth. Some macho types will consistently over-correct their dog in the obedience phase... and this will kill drive. But anyone with even a shred of common sense will avoid this predicament.

6. What do you think of raw diets for dogs? Worth it??

[Adam replies] Not worth it. Feed the dog a high quality dog food and your dog will be fine.

7. What order should I teach the dog the commands? (first sit, then down then come?? How should I do it?)

[Adam replies] I like to teach the 'Walk on a loose leash' exercise first, followed by the curb/street/boundary training, as this teaches the dog what a correction is (if he doesn't know already). Then you can teach exercises in any order you wish. To be honest, the order of basic exercises is largely irrelevant. It DOES become relevant in later training, when you begin chaining behaviors together, such as 'Go to the fridge, open door, retrieve beer, then close door.'

8. To teach the dog to not run out of the house, when I slam the door I'm afraid it is going slam on him too hard and hurt him. How do I go about doing it? Do I shut it softly or will he be fast enough to stop?

[Adam replies] You're thinking too much. Just slam the door shut. Assuming it's not a toy breed, it's not going to kill him. If it is a toy breed, keep your hand on the door and guide it shut. The idea is that the door slams on the dog... not to injure the dog, but to be uncomfortable so that he waits and watches you for the 'release' command before walking through. You are the alpha dog. You walk through first. It is your job to make sure it's safe for him to leave the property, and he needs to look to you for the 'It's Okay' cue. If you don't give the 'A-okay' cue... then bad things could happen. Like the door suddenly slamming shut. Ever sit on a dirty chair and ruin a clean pair of slacks? Once it happens to you, you'll always check first. It's the same concept with the dog.

That's all for now, folks! Adam

About The Author: Adam G. Katz is the author of the book, 'Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider's Guide To The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History.' Get a free copy of his report 'Games To Play With Your Dog' when you sign up for his free weekly dog training tips e-zine at: http://www.dogproblems.com

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