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Training your dog to get along with other dogs:

Believe it or not, you can train your dog to get along with other dogs at just about any age. While it may be easier to train your dog on your own when he’s puppy, with the help of a professional dog trainer, you could very well be on your way to breaking your adult dog’s bad habits when it comes to his behavior around other dogs, people that may come into the home, and his behavior in places such as dog parks and on the street.

While professional dog trainers have the superior knowledge and skills needed to successfully train your dog, typically in a short period of time, in some cases a trainer may not be financially feasible. If you have to train your dog on your own, don’t worry – it can be done. What you will need, however, goes beyond just books about how to train your dog. The most important things you will need in order to successfully train your dog include:

  • Plenty of time
  • Lots of patience
  • A positive attitude
  • Rewards (treats, praise, affection, etc.)
  • A firm, but non-threatening tone

To socialize your new or older dog, it is important to begin by establishing that you are the leader. You can do this by using a leash and making sure you walk through doorways first with your dog behind you. If he runs ahead of you, gently pull him back, and walk through the doorway again.

To get your dog to obey your verbal commands, you should first establish eye contact. You can use treats to coax your dog into making eye contact when you’re speaking. Once you have trained him to look at you when you’re speaking, always make your dog “sit” before feeding him, and when playing with him, always ask him to drop his toy or bring the toy to you if he wants to continue playing. Your dog should get used to this type of interaction fairly quickly.

Once you have established that you are the “boss” and your dog is obeying your commands, you can begin taking him to busy places such as dog parks, downtown streets, and open air markets to get him used to being around people and other pets. Let people pet him and reward your dog with treats when he behaves appropriately. This positive reinforcement is considered one of the best methods of training. By using positive reinforcement, your dog’s interest in learning is enhanced because he knows that if he does what you ask, he will receive a treat, praise and/or affection as a reward.

When you take your dog to the dog park or the dog beach, keep your dog on a leash at first and allow other dogs to come up and introduce themselves. This usually entails lots of sniffing and walking around your dog to check him out. There shouldn’t be much barking or growling during the introductions. Once you feel that your dog is comfortable with the other dogs and vice versa, you can let him off of his leash. Continue to give commands and use positive reinforcement to get your dog used to obeying you during one of his most exciting activities of the day.

Unless you have a troubled or aggressive dog, the techniques mentioned throughout this article should work well. It may take some time, but in the end you will be rewarded with a well-behaved pet that you can take almost anywhere without worrying about his safety or the safety of other people and pets.

If you have an aggressive or troubled pet, it’s best to hire a professional dog trainer, if at all possible.

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