A Dog Trainer’s Expert Advice to New Dog Owners

When you first get a dog, you generally experience some of the best feelings. For example, when you are seeing your dog at its most wondrous, you feel alive, can’t imagine living a life without your dog, and want to show everyone just how great your dog is. All too often, however, this initial experience passes away (sometimes rather quickly, especially if you are a new dog owner) and is replaced by anger and frustration. The choice then seems to get used to the idea that your dog no longer wants to bond with you.

It is my belief and experience that a moment of bonding with your dog begins when you get your dog to listen and to obey. If you want to start bonding with your dog, the best advice I can give you is the following:

Have house rules. This is a simple concept, yet is foreign enough to most new dog owners. For instance, allowing your dog to chew on your furniture because you think your dog is being playful. If you don’t start teaching your dog from day one that is not OK to chew on your furniture, the dog will think that is OK to do it. In addition, once you decide what you want your dog to do, or not to do around the house, enforce those rules consistently.

Don’t force your dog. Here’s one version of how this looks: You try to encourage your dog to go for a walk, but it doesn’t want to go for a walk. As you try to slip your dog’s head through the harness, it growls. So you try again to slip your dog’s head through the harness, but this time your dog begins to bark at you. This behavior doesn’t mean that your dog is aggressive. It means that your dog is fearful because it is not used to taking walks. If you continue to push your dog to do something it doesn’t want to do, it could end up biting you. When your dog starts barking or growling at you, back off.

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