The Basics of Dog Obedience Training

Obedience training is a must if you want your relationship with your dog
to be everything it can be. People do obedience training for exactly that –
obedience.

But good training does so much more. It makes you happy because you have a companion dog you can rely on to obey and behave –that makes it so much easier to have a positive relationship, in any situation.

It makes your dog happy because a properly trained puppy or
dog is confident, happy and productive.


As you and your dog work on the training together, you build a strong
relationship that confirms, with every command, that you are the leader of
this pack, and that’s a good thing for both you and your dog.

Finally, the obedience angle is, indeed, important, as it makes your dog a valued and beloved member of the family, instead of an untrained dog that is nervous neurotic, and possibly destructive or even dangerous.

GSD 1


Obedience training gives your dog something he very much needs – a leader (you) that he can follow. His background, clear back to the time
when he was a member of a wolf pack, means he is hard-wired to want a
leader he can follow. Without that leadership, the dog may take on the
dominant role, himself, and that is unhealthy for him, for you, and your
family.

Just the time you spend with your dog in obedience training does a great deal to let him know that, in this relationship, you are the leader.


Moreover, most dogs want to please their leader – their owner – and
training gives your dog a clear understanding of what your expectations
are, and how to please you.


The training essentially establishes for you and your dog the hierarchy of
the wolf pack. Again and again, as your dog works with and follows your
commands, he will be turning away from his own desires and impulses to
obey what you ask of him. It’s the same submissive response he would be
giving to the leader in his pack of dogs or wolves.


Working together, you learn to communicate with each other. While this
book covers a number of approaches to training, each is based on positive
reinforcement, an approach in which you win your dog over so that he
willingly cooperates with what you want him to do and be.

Going into this training, there’s one over-riding fact that is important for you to know: your animal’s respect cannot and will not be won through force, rough handling, or punishment. It can only be earned through time spent together in a positive environment, in which you, as leader, train with techniques based on praise and mutual respect.


At its simplest, obedience training teaches your dog what you want him to
do, and what you don’t want him to do.

It relies on a few basic commands that are covered in Chapter 3, that represent what you do want the dog to do.

And the training also encompasses the things you don’t want the dog to do, such as surging ahead when you walk with him, chewing your shoes and furniture, jumping on people, and generally being out of control.


And training is fun – or it should be – for both of you. It’s a real joy when
your dog realizes you are about to work together on further training, and
his response is a positive one. Training is an important gift you are giving
yourself, your family and your dog – it will make life more fulfilling,
easier, and safer, in so many ways.

It opens the world to your dog – yo can safely take him on walks, to the beach, or the dog park. You may be reading this book because you want to begin training with a
new puppy, or you may be training an adult or older dog. Whatever the
age of your dog, he can be trained successfully to obey commands and be
an enjoyable companion. It is true that it’s easier to train younger dogs –
they won’t have to un-learn bad habits or bad training first. But know that
even a dog with behavior and confidence problems can be retrained
successfully with the approaches found in this book.
The training of an adult dog is not the same as that of a younger dog. The
younger the dog is, the shorter is his attention span. The younger your dog
is, the shorter your training sessions will need to be to keep the training
engaging and positive for your puppy or very young dog. Balanced with
training is socialization – you should be taking time to socialize your
puppy, as well as training him, as was covered in Chapter 1.
You may want to seek out obedience training classes for support and
structure in training your dog. For puppies, especially, kindergarten and
puppy training classes give structure and provide an opportunity for
socialization as well.

You may be reading this book because you want to begin training with a
new puppy, or you may be training an adult or older dog. Whatever the
age of your dog, he can be trained successfully to obey commands and be
an enjoyable companion. It is true that it’s easier to train younger dogs –
they won’t have to un-learn bad habits or bad training first. But know that
even a dog with behavior and confidence problems can be retrained
successfully with the approaches found in this book.
The training of an adult dog is not the same as that of a younger dog. The
younger the dog is, the shorter is his attention span. The younger your dog
is, the shorter your training sessions will need to be to keep the training
engaging and positive for your puppy or very young dog. Balanced with
training is socialization – you should be taking time to socialize your
puppy, as well as training him, as was covered in Chapter 1.
You may want to seek out obedience training classes for support and
structure in training your dog. For puppies, especially, kindergarten and
puppy training classes give structure and provide an opportunity for
socialization as well.

Effective Discipline


Far too many people assume that to discipline a dog, they need to smack
his nose or yell at him or tie him up alone in the yard or rub his nose in the
mess he made. The truth is, none of these tactics work as effective
discipline for any breed of dog. In fact, you could be making his behavior
even worse.

German Shepherd Breed


To administer effective forms of discipline, it’s important to understand a
little bit about dog-language and then modify your disciplinary measures
to suit something your dog will understand. Keep in mind that a dog is
happiest when he can make his pack-leader happy. Hopefully, he views
you as his pack-leader.
Never hit any dog, for any reason. In dog language, this is seen as
unprovoked aggression. He doesn’t understand why you’re lashing out
and could develop an unhealthy sense of fear of you. That fear could
quickly turn into depression, anxiety, aggression or other psychological
issues as your dog tries to figure out why you’re violent toward him when
all he wanted to do was play with you.
Always remember, an adult German Shepherd has teeth and powerful
jaws that could easily crush every bone in your hand. He just chooses not
to. As a dog, he usually has unconditional love for his owner, regardless of
how he’s being treated.


If you’ve learned how to convey your pleasure with good actions, then
you should already realize that your dog craves your approval, your
attention, and your affection. In order to show him that you’re not pleased
with something, simply ignore him for a few minutes. Turn your back on
him, fold your arms across your chest and look away. In dog language,
this is a severe reprimand.
When he modifies his own behavior and is doing the right thing, lavishly
praise on him with a happy, high-pitched tone of voice. Give him an
affectionate pat as you say ‘good dog.’ He’ll quickly learn that you’re
happy when he behaves well and he receives none of the things he wants
most when he’s acting badly.
It’s also possible to modify bad behavior into good behavior fairly easily.
For example, if you catch your dog chewing something of yours, remove
the offending item and give him a short ‘ah ah’ and then replace it with
one of his own toys. Praise him for playing with his own toy and he’ll
soon get the idea.