All About Police Dogs

Police dogs are specially trained to be part of the force. They’re referred to as K9s, a shortened version of the term “canine.” Police dogs may sniff out criminals, drugs, bombs or other items, and different dog breeds may serve different purposes on the police force. For example, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers are often used for protection, and retrievers, hounds, collies, schnauzers and beagles are frequently assigned to search and rescue or drug detection missions. Moreover, Sound Off Signal explains that there are single and dual-purpose service dogs. Single-purpose dogs primarily track scents and provide protection. Dual-purpose dogs serve those functions and also detect narcotics or explosives.

PetPlace is committed to teaching pet owners around the world about how incredible their animal companions are. Today we’ll be filling you in on everything you need to know about police dogs.

How Do Police Departments Obtain Their Dogs?

According to the National Police Dog Foundation, most K9 units do not take in dogs from the public. They often get them from specialized breeders in Europe. This tradition has been in place for decades. Unfortunately, many police departments don’t have a budget for K9 units. As a result, in many areas, agencies raise funds to acquire police dogs.

Police dogs must be intelligent, have a strong sense of smell and possess a willingness to work. Dogs that are innately shy or anxious don’t make ideal police dogs. However, intensive training that begins at an early age can help foster certain traits in a dog. Socialization and obedience training are also important since dogs in K9 units must follow challenging and complex commands in demanding and stressful environments. Some police departments acquire dogs with basic obedience training and then assign them to more intensive training to bring them up to speed. In other cases, the police purchase dogs that have already undergone police dog training.

Regardless of how the dog was trained, it’s important for the police handler to develop a relationship with their canine. Once both the dog and its human partner are adequately trained, they are certified to work in the field.

How Are Police Dogs Named?

A police dog’s name will be called out loudly and repeatedly throughout the course of its career. Most training facilities and K9 units agree that their dogs should have names that represent their aggressive, rough nature. After all, criminals should be intimidated when the handler calls out a police dog’s name. Yelling out “Daisy” isn’t likely to scare anyone. Names like Bomber, Kujo, Attila, Fury and Blade are more appropriate for police dogs.


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Are Police Dogs Trained to Be Aggressive?

Bite sleeve training teaches police dogs to attack people who threaten the dog’s partner. During this type of training, an aggressor will wear a bite sleeve and act in a threatening manner toward the handler. When the handler gives a command, the calm dog will bark viciously and attack the sleeve. Dogs in the K9 unit are also trained to read their partner's’ body language. If the officer is relaxed, the dog will most likely be relaxed. But if the handler shows signs of fear or tension, the dog will react by intimidating the source of the threat.

It’s worth noting that police dogs are trained not to engage in active aggression unless they are given a command. Attack commands are usually given in German. This is partly tradition and partly to ensure that the dog only responds to the handler’s orders. Although police dogs can be aggressive on demand, they usually make great pets. These loyal, obedient and intelligent animals can become great additions to any family.

What Happens When a Dog or Its Handler Retires?

Police dogs usually retire between the ages of eight and ten. They then become the handler's’ family pet. If a handler retires, the dog might retire with the officer. Depending on the dog’s age and health, it may also be re-trained to work with another partner.

Retired police dogs may also be adopted, but this process is more difficult than the regular dog adoption process. The police station or adoption agency will have a long list of requirements to make sure that the dog’s needs are met. Some agencies will not place retired police dogs in a home with other small animals. Because police dogs usually live with their owners, you may have to get on a waiting list to adopt a police dog. It may be easier to adopt a military working dog or government contract working dog.

Training a Guide Dog — How Does it Work?

Guide dogs are an essential part of many people’s lives, and the tasks they can perform are nothing short of amazing. But these dogs aren’t just born that way. Training a guide dog is a long and tedious process, and it requires a lot more work than training a family dog.

Most guide dogs are Labradorsgolden retrieversGerman shepherds, or a mix of these breeds. Sometimes boxers are used as well. Dogs are specially bred for gentleness, good health and even temperament to make sure they’ll be able to perform for their humans and make their lives easier. Guide dog organizations usually breed their own dogs to ensure these traits so the dogs they raise will be the ultimate companions.

Basic Obedience

Basic obedience and socialization training begins around 8 weeks of age, often conducted by a volunteer puppy raiser. The dogs — either male or female — are showered with affection to nurture their ability to bond. The volunteers will usually take the guide dogs everywhere they go to get them accustomed to being around people they don’t know and other unique situations. Some college campuses have programs where students can take guide dogs in training to classes and around campus to get them experience in the real world.

At a year-and-a-half, after the dogs have been cleared as people friendly, the dogs begin their training to be guide dogs with a sighted instructor. The tasks guide dogs are taught fall into three primary skills:

  • Changes in elevation, such as an upcoming curb, stairway, edge of platforms, etc.
  • Locating objects, such as exits, elevators, seats, or specific destination
  • Obstacle avoidance, such as navigating around obstacles and hazards

The Keys to Training a Guide Dog

The human partner makes most of the decisions for the team. When crossing a street, for instance, the person listens for the right time to go. Dogs cannot tell when a light turns green, so he or she relies on the person for the command.

They are also taught how to disobey a dangerous order. Called “intelligent disobedience,” the dog will refuse a “forward” command when it is unsafe. The dog is carefully conditioned to disobey during certain situations, because they do not necessarily understand the inherent danger they are avoiding. The person must reinforce the behavior with praise; otherwise, the dog may forget.

When training a guide dog, the individual is taught the commands that the dog knows, as well as health care and grooming. They’ll also learn the access laws governing guide dogs. The training process takes several weeks, and when it’s finished, the guide dog and individual are a team. The two are able to navigate the world together and the bond they’ve created is typically very strong.

Though the dogs are trained to handle diverse situations, such as busy city streets, airports, subways, and other populated areas, the dogs require periodic retraining when situations change.

Besides being legally disabled, eligible individuals must be in good physical and mental health, a minimum of high school age, able to provide adequate care for the dog, and also show a need for a guide dog. Most programs offer the dogs free of charge or for a nominal fee. Some organizations will pay for all expenses, including travel and room and board, if it’s necessary to help the individual afford the guide dog.

Training a guide dog is a long process, but in the end, people with disabilities are able to work with an incredibly well-trained pup to help them live their lives in an easier way. It is an exciting and rewarding process, especially when a newly graduated dog is finally matched with his partner.

Let Them Work

When you see a guide dog,, your first instinct should be to stay away. Unlike seeing someone walking their dog and asking to pet him, seeing a guide dog is like seeing someone doing their job. It’s important that you leave the dog alone so he’s able to help his partner to the best of his ability. If you’re distracting him, he might miss a cue from his owner and put them in a tough spot.

The next time you see a guide dog — look but don’t touch. Respecting the training that the guide dog went through to be so well behaved will help you avoid a difficult situation.


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Tips and Tricks for Training an Older Dog

It’s never too late for your dog to learn good behavior. Training an older dog doesn’t have to be a difficult task as long as you have an open mind.

Whether you’ve just adopted an older dog, or you have a dog that’s a few years old who never got proper training, there’s a way for your dog to learn and understand what’s right and wrong.

The first thing you need to keep in mind before you start training an older dog is that you need to have a good understanding of where your dog is at. Depending on how old your dog is, if he was adopted, and what he’s been through, your dog could have developed negative behaviors that could take a little more time to reverse. Also, your dog’s age can affect how much he can do and the length of time he can do it.

You also have to understand that training an older dog mainly applies to how he interacts with your family. You’re going to be teaching him basic commands so that he can be a better part of the family, but you’re not going to be changing his personality. Dogs who are dominant or anxious are likely going to remain that way for the rest of their lives, but good training can help them be better in stressful situations.

Once you’ve figured out how much your dog can handle and how much work you need to do, starting your training with an older dog will be much easier.

Training an Older Dog

The best way to focus your goal of training an older dog is to use reward training. Older dogs aren’t going to learn as fast as puppies, so teaching them that good behavior results in a treat is an easy way to help them understand, and doesn’t require a ton of effort on your end.

Clicker training is another good way to teach your dog what you want him to do. Your dog will be able to associate the sound with good behavior, and he’ll be able to understand what you want him to do in response to that sound with a command.

One word commands are the best to use because they’re easy for the dog to comprehend and remember. When you’re working on training an older dog, it’s important to keep the time between your dog doing the requested behavior and your reward as short as possible. The longer you take to reward your pooch the more difficult it will be for him to learn.

Working with a dog trainer can be beneficial for training an older dog if you’re not extremely familiar with training or you’ve never done it before. A trainer can help you work with the best practices to train your dog, and make sure you’re doing everything correctly so your dog can have the best learning environment possible.

Older dogs might have a harder time understanding commands or hand signals, so you may have to adjust the way you teach commands to accommodate whatever struggles he’s having. For example, puppies can learn commands that are as subtle as a flick of a finger, but older dogs may have trouble recognizing this, so a more pronounced hand motion might be needed. If your dog is hard of hearing, hand signals can also come in handy to help him learn basic commands. Rather than using a clicker, treats would be a better solution to help your dog understand the intended behavior.


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There Are No Limits When Training an Older Dog

There is nothing that an older dog can’t learn, as long as he has a patient and understanding trainer. If you want to house train your older dog, you would use the same method as you would with a puppy, but using a crate makes the process much simpler. Pick a crate that’s the right size for your dog, so you’re sure he’s comfortable. Most dogs will try very hard to hold it when they’re confined, but don’t let your dog suffer. Then give him bathroom breaks at the same time each day. If your dog struggles with incontinence issues, more frequent trips might be needed.

Obedience Classes for Dogs — Is it Time For Your Pup to Go Back to School?

Stealing food from the table, refusing to listen, jumping on visitors, barking incessantly, etc. Does any of this sound familiar? If your dog is starting to drive you up the wall because he just won’t listen, it might be time to look at obedience classes for dogs.

It doesn’t matter how old your dog is, he can still learn good behavior. Of course, it’s easier for dogs to understand right from wrong when they’re puppies and they’re still figuring out how the world works, so the earlier you can start obedience training the better.

Obedience classes for dogs are a great way for your dog to learn good behavior and basic commands so he can be a better canine citizen. Your dog will get to learn with you AND a professional dog trainer. You’ll learn the smartest way to teach your dog, and how to avoid making common mistakes.

Trying to figure out training on your own can be difficult and arduous. It’s also easy to get frustrated when your dog won’t listen, or isn’t picking up what you’re trying to teach him. Obedience classes for dogs help you avoid all of those problems because you’re working with someone who understands dogs and can show you the best way to solve any behavior issues you’re having.

Obedience Classes for Dogs Can Help Your Pup Live a Happier Life

Puppies are the perfect candidates for obedience school because they haven’t yet formed habits, but don’t count out your older dog just because of his age. Every dog should receive some form of training because it helps them adjust better to society and being in public.

A dog that’s well behaved and knows basic commands is able to spend more time with their families and gets to do things that untrained dogs can’t. It’s highly beneficial for dogs to learn how to behave well, and obedience classes for dogs help you do just that.

If you’re taking your puppy to an obedience class, they’ll learn the basic commands that will help make their adjustment to their new environment easier. Your dog trainer will help your puppy learn commands like sit, stay, come, and down, and show you how to properly demonstrate those commands to your pup.

Your trainer will also make sure your dog is reliably responding to these commands so when you leave class, everything he learned doesn’t go out the window. A key to this is making sure you practice. The more times you practice with your dog, the better he’ll remember what you want him to do and how to respond.

Basic obedience classes also help your dog with socialization skills and dealing with new environments. This is a huge part of dogs’ early development, and can impact them for the rest of their lives. It’s best that your dog is able to act the same around strangers as he does at home, and your trainer will put your dog in simulated situations to get him used to having new people or other dogs around.

More advanced training classes teach dogs more difficult commands that build off of the ones they already know. These advanced classes are typically used to train dogs who are going to compete in dog shows, but they can also help you to teach your dogs to respond to commands from far away, or learn off-leash training and hand signals.


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Obedience Classes for Dogs Can Help Older Pooches Learn New Tricks

If your dog is a little older, a good trainer can still help your dog learn. If you’ve recently adopted an older dog, obedience classes can be especially helpful for creating a bond and helping your dog adjust to his new home.

A dog that’s a few years old is still able to learn basic commands and can even be socialized, it just takes a little work. Unlike a puppy, you can’t walk into an obedience class and expect your 3-year-old dog to pick up everything the same way. Older dogs have already developed habits and ideas of what they think is right and wrong, so it’ll take more time to change that.

5 Dog Training Products You Need in Your Home

Training your dog is an imperative part of their early development, and while it might seem like a daunting task to tackle on your own, our top choices for dog training products will make life easier on you and your dog.

Dog training products play a big role in helping your furry friend better understand what you’re trying to teach him. Using sounds, like the one a clicker makes, to associate with good behavior is an excellent and efficient way to teach your dog what you want him to know.

It is possible to train your dog with no dog training products whatsoever, however, it might be more difficult than you expect. Your dog can take longer to learn good behavior, and it could end up being mentally exhausting for you. Training your dog doesn’t have to be a chore. Good dog training products guide your dog on the path to success no matter what style of training you use.

When used correctly, dog training products can help your dog learn good behavior much easier. Training your dog is a great way to bond, and will help your pooch be a great canine citizen. Using dog training products to assist you in your efforts makes the process of training your dog much easier, and will quickly have your pup on the road to obedience.

A well trained dog can ultimately be ensured a better life because they’ll be able to be involved in your daily activities more. A dog who’s able to interact socially with other dogs and people is an easy thing to gain with the right training — and the right dog training products.

Want to start training your dog but unsure where to begin? Check out our list of awesome dog training products to help you get started.

5 Dog Training Products That Make Learning Simple and Fun

1. Clik-R

The new wave of pet animal training focuses on positive or reward-based training only, and clicks made by small plastic clickers (“frogs”) are probably the best and most consistent way of marking the successful accomplishment of a behavior. Designed by the world famous clicker trainer Terry Ryan, the Clik-R makes sure you won’t have to worry about missing a chance to reward your pup. The ergonomic design makes it easy to quickly respond so your dog can learn.

2. Head Halter

Does your dog have problems walking on a leash? This head halter is the perfect solution for dogs that pull too much or lunge on their leashes. The halter comes in six different sizes so no matter what breed of dog you have, there’s a size that will fit. The comfortable straps also won’t cause a problem for your dog, making it incredibly easy to train him while you’re walking.

3. Housebreaking Bell

Forget about the traditional way of training your dog to scratch at the door when he has to go out. This bell makes housetraining easier for your dog to understand, so it’ll speed up the time it takes for your dog to be housetrained. Not to mention how impressive and smart your dog will look to friends when he rings the bell on his own! This bell is made of brass so the sound can clearly be heard from a few rooms away.


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4. Training Collar

If you’re looking for a collar to aid you while you train your dog, this one is the perfect choice. This collar has three settings, a warning beep, a vibration, and a static shock. The collar is intended to only be used for beeps and vibrations, and users have said they have never used the shock setting because their dog was able to learn quickly without it. The collar also has a LED light to help your dog see in low light situations.

5. Chewing Deterrent Spray

Have a puppy that loves to chew? This spray will help keep your puppy from chomping on the furniture, door frames, or anything else in his sight. It can even keep your dog from chewing his fur. The spray has no scent and isn’t visible, but it leaves a bitter taste that will keep little teethers from coming back for more so you can continue to focus on training.

How to Train Your Dog 101

Though obedience training provides your dog the necessary skills to be a good canine citizen, have you balked at the idea of formal obedience training? If so, perhaps it is because you feel that your pet is your precious companion, an important member of your family — a friend, rather than a creature to dominate and control. This sentiment, while admirable, should not inhibit well-meaning owners from pursuing training for their furry companions.

Obedience training is, in fact, critical when it comes to nurturing a healthy human-animal relationship and creating a socially compatible pet. The basic elements — sit, down, stay, come, and heel — help produce a good canine citizen. In a practical sense, obedience-trained dogs have an easier lives, and are easier to live with, than their untrained peers. If dogs desist from jumping up on strangers, sit or lie quietly when asked, and walk politely on lead, they’re bound to spend more time with their owners going to picnics, ballparks, and other public places, and will spend less time alone at home.

Dogs taught to lie down on the arrival of visitors — after barking a greeting or alarm — are more likely to be included in the dinner party and less likely to wind up isolated in the garage or basement. Obedience training is an education in good manners that, almost literally, opens many doors for otherwise confined dogs. Rather than thinking of obedience training as a series of pointless rituals, think of it as a tool to help dogs cope in the real world.

How to Train Your Dog With Different Training Methods

Some people seem to possess a natural affinity for training. Perhaps because of some innate gift of timing (of reward and punishment), perhaps through tone of voice or body language, or perhaps through some uncanny ability to know what the dog is thinking, these individuals can train a dog faster and better than most regular mortals. Trainers, whose unique abilities transcend species, are themselves a breed apart.

There are two completely different schools of thought for training dogs. One is referred to as “gentlemen’s training” and the other as “ladies training.”

In the past, for gentlemen wishing to train sporting dogs, the approach was more physical and coercive, entailing a significant amount of correction (punishment) for commands not followed. Punishment, though interspersed with praise, was nevertheless instrumental in the technique.

Ladies training, however, presumably for lap dogs and other purely companion dogs, entailed none of such brutish behavior and was based almost exclusively on what is now known as positive reinforcement (that is, reward-based training).

Click-and-treat training is not new. Discovered many years ago by psychologists, Breland and Breland, “clicker training” faded into obscurity for the best part of a century before being rediscovered by dolphin trainers who, for underwater acoustic reasons, often used a whistle rather than a clicker. As anyone who has been to a dolphin show will know, the tasks that dolphins perform during shows are complex, and they are executed with a high degree of accuracy. Look around the next time you go to such a show and you will not see a choke chain in sight.

Regardless of whether you implement formal obedience classes or opt for an independent training effort, there are a number of general rules to keep in mind. These include:

  • Training should be an enjoyable experience for you and your dog.
  • Every dog should be familiar with basic obedience commands.
  • Training should not involve any negative or punishment-based components.
  • Ensure that your dog’s motivation for reward is highest during a training session.
  • Make sure the reward you offer in training is the most powerful one for your dog.
  • Once training has been accomplished in a quiet area, you can gradually begin to practice in environments with more distractions.

How to Train Your Dog to Be a Good Canine Citizen

Ultimately, you can convert a disobedient dog into a well-mannered member of your family by utilizing effective training strategy, consistency, and persistence. Your dedication and discipline will rub off on your eager-to-please canine.

Start with consistently rewarding your dog with a small treat for eliminating outdoors in order to achieve house training, and with teaching your dog that his crate is his safe haven. After these fundamental techniques are in place, divert your attention to instilling basic commands by applying a similar rewards-based approach. With any luck, you’ll soon be able to tackle more exciting elements of training, such as teaching your dog to perform tricks.

National Train Your Dog Month

January is all about training dogs because it’s National Train Your Dog Month!

National Train Your Dog month was started by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT), who in 2010, felt it was crucial that the benefits of dog training were recognized. All month long, APDT is holding community events across the country so people can get involved and learn more about what it takes to train a dog. The events are designed to show dog owners that training needn’t be a long and arduous process. They also provide other important information on choosing a groomer and finding the right kennel for your dog.

So whether you’re welcoming a new puppy into your home, or have an old dog that needs to learn some new tricks, it’s always a good time to practice and reinforce proper training and obedience. National Train Your Dog Month is a great reminder of how important it is for your dog to have some form of training.

The Importance of Training, Obedience, and Socialization

When you train your dog, you help strengthen your bond with him, but you’re also giving him the tools he needs to get through day-to-day life. Well-trained dogs have better lives simply because they can still be themselves without causing problems. And when dogs aren’t stealing foodjumping on visitors, or barking incessantly at other dogs and people, they’re easier to live with, too.

Just like we should teach our children how to act and behave in public, we need to show our fur babies what’s right and wrong. Good obedience training can help change the way people view your dog — especially if you have a breed that is surrounded by a negative stereotype — and you’ll be proud of how well he gets along with everyone.

Socialization and training in dogs is a huge step to making sure your dog lives his best life, and APDT wanted people to be more aware of not only how important it is to a dog’s development, but also that it’s relatively easy. Many people have an incorrect opinion of obedience training, but if done correctly, dogs learn quickly and basic training doesn’t take a lot of time. That’s why APDT shares information for dog owners so they can see how fast they can teach their dogs good behavior.

Many dogs are put in shelters simply because they have behavior problems that their owners can’t handle, but ones that could be easily solved with good training. In an effort to see this number decline, APDT promotes their training resources on their website, offering dog owners an easy way to have access to tips and instructions for training in a fun and simple way.


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National Train Your Dog Month Emphasizes Good Training Practices All Year Long

In terms of a timeline for training your dog, starting younger equals better results. How well your dog is trained will set the stage for the rest of his life, and if you put the time in when he is a puppy, it will only benefit him in the long run. National Train Your Dog Month stresses the importance of dog training so that more dogs can live better lives.

Training and socialization help your dog be a great canine citizen. Consider this situation: you’re taking your dog for a walk and you come across one of your neighbors. How do you expect your dog to react? If your dog is barking and jumping, it’s going to make for an uncomfortable situation. Your dog might be sweet and lovable when he’s with you at home, but if he doesn’t know how to act around new people and animals, it can reflect negatively on him and on you.

A well-trained dog is a friendly dog, and you won’t have to worry about how your dog is going to act in public or have to consider leaving him at home. Obedient dogs can experience so much more with their owners, because they’re able to come to public events and be more involved with the family. No one wants to have to shut their dog away when company comes over. If your dog is knows and understands good behavior, it won’t be a problem.

Training Adult Dogs — You’re Never Too Old to Learn

Some people say that training puppies is easy, if you know what you’re doing, but training adult dogs is nothing more than a lost cause.

Whatever they say about not being able to teach an old dog new tricks, it is patently untrue. Old dogs may not learn as quickly as they did when they were young, but with time and patience, most older dogs can be taught to do anything that a young dog can.

Maybe the adage about age and learning was intended to be interpreted less literally. It certainly is true that dogs’ personalities don’t change much after puppyhood. Anxious or fearful dogs tend to remain that way. It’s hard to persuade them otherwise. And you can’t make a dominant dog super-submissive.

What you can do is teach such dogs how to behave in a particular situation, how to remain calm in a threatening situation, and whom to look up to and respect as a leader. If a dog’s personality is a hunk of wood, learning is a veneer superimposed upon it. Is the wood mutable? No! Can the veneer be changed? You bet — and at any age.

Here are some tips on training adult dogs.

House-Training

There are several reasons why an adult dog might suddenly revert to soiling in the house. The cause may be medical, hormonal, managemental, or behavioral. The first order of business is to get your dog to a veterinarian. If the veterinarian can’t find anything physically wrong with your dog, the problem probably has something to do with mismanagement or the dog’s emotions.

The first step in re-training acceptable toilet habits is to observe your dog carefully in an attempt to establish a pattern to his/her behavior. Keep a diary of when and where accidents happen. Are you at home or away when the accidents occur? Also, keep a list of when your dog goes outside and what you were doing at the time. If you find a pattern to the behavior, for example, your dog seems to be going in the house only when you’re away for a long time, make sure you take him for a good walk before you go out and try not to leave him alone so often or for so long.

House-training an adult dog isn’t much different from house-training a puppy — in fact, your adult dog should be able to “hold it” for much longer than a puppy, making retraining an adult less labor intense. Dog crates can be useful for training adult dogs, because dogs generally will not soil in their immediate environment. However, if your dog has never been placed in a crate, take care to introduce him slowly. For some dogs that are crate-phobic or have been forced to soil in them in the past, crates will just not work.

Also, consider that your dog may define “home” differently than you do. To you, home may be a multi-story house, but your dog may see everything beyond the kitchen (which he has kept spotless) as “outside.” By restricting your dog to a smaller area for a while, and then gradually extending his home area, you can help him learn the ropes.

Keep Calm and Welcome Guests

Does your normally well-behaved dog lose his mind when guests come to your home? From your dog’s point of view, you can certainly understand it. Guests are a break in the normal routine. Depending on your dog, the guests might be perceived as friends or as trespassers, but in both cases they are a change; something different. In either case, it’s important to teach your dog what you want him to do. After all, your guests aren’t going to appreciate being jumped on or otherwise mistreated by your dog.

Your ultimate goal will be to have your dog sit at the door while you answer it. When you invite your guests in, he should not jump on them and, ideally, should greet them calmly.

First of all, if you haven’t been practicing your dog’s obedience skills, do some training. A tune-up will get the two of you working together again. Make sure you spend some time working on the sit command. Remember that the sit command means self-control, so spend some time practicing in different situations; especially at the front door.

The second step helps teach manners at the front door (or any door where guests enter your house). Practice teaching your dog not to dash through open doors as this will also help teach your dog to be calm at doors. Practice the “watch me” command also, so you can gain your dog’s attention when he’s distracted.

5 Benefits of Positive Behavior Reinforcement for Your Dog

There’s no doubt about it — positive behavior reinforcement provides an excellent foundation for the development of a well-mannered dog.

There are many steps that dog owners can take at home to help shape a dog’s behavior. The best approach to take is one that involves positively reinforcing a dog who engages in desirable behaviors. Training should be an enjoyable experience for you and your dog.

That being said, if you are not in the right mood for training, don’t even start. When you are ready, keep training sessions short (5-10 minutes) to maintain your dog’s motivation. If your dog doesn’t respond appropriately to a command after several attempts, don’t reward him. Resume training a few seconds later using a simpler command. Return to the more complex task later.

The benefits of positive behavior reinforcement are numerous and are well supported by scientific research.

Here’s a look at the key benefits of positive behavior reinforcement for your dog.

Key Elements of Positive Behavior Reinforcement for Your Dog

Positive behavior reinforcement involves the use of praise or a treat to reward a dog for exhibiting good or desirable behaviors. Positive reinforcement for a job well done is increasingly recommended over punishment or negative reinforcement to promote good behavior in both puppies and adult dogs. The underlying principle of positive behavior reinforcement is to steer your focus away from negatively responding to attention-seeking behaviors and toward the development of positive behaviors.

Top 5 Benefits of Positive Behavior Reinforcement

1. Scientific studies support the use of positive behavior reinforcement with dogs. Perhaps the best advantage of positive behavior reinforcement over other behavior shaping strategies is the many scientific studies that support the use of positive reinforcement. The field of animal behavior is constantly evolving and research is increasingly supporting the effectiveness of positive reinforcement in shaping the behavior of dogs.

2. Reinforcement of positive behaviors builds your dog’s confidence. Dogs that are repeatedly punished for misbehaving can develop poor confidence and can begin to suffer the effects of a broken spirit. This is especially the case if punishment repeatedly occurs without any positivity from the dog’s family. Positive behavior reinforcement gives your dog’s confidence a boost by making him feel good about learning new behaviors. The result is a happier, more spirited dog that approaches learning with eagerness as opposed to fear.

3. Everyone in your household can provide positive behavior reinforcement. The simplicity of positive behavior reinforcement enables your whole family to take part in rewarding your dog’s good behavior. Even small children can learn how to spot desirable behaviors and reward your dog with praise or treats. In fact, children can learn a lot about the importance of displaying good behaviors when they participate in positive behavior reinforcement strategies.


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4. Positive behavior reinforcement helps prevent your dog from “freezing up” due to fear. Training methods that involve the use of punishment or negative reinforcement can cause your dog to freeze due to fear of engaging in a behavior that may be punished. This can ultimately delay a dog’s development and learning of positive behaviors. Because positive behavior reinforcement strategies only focus on rewarding your dog for exhibiting good behavior, the tendency to experience freezing or stage fright is eliminated.

5. Your dog will look forward to training sessions. Your dog will look forward to learning new commands and behaviors when positive behavior reinforcement is used in training. Whether the positive reinforcement arrives in the form of a treat, a click and/or verbal praise, your dog will approach the learning process with anticipation as opposed to trepidation.

Bonus: Check out these five great training tools that will help with your positive behavior reinforcement strategy.


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Sit! Stay! Read! Our 5 Favorite Training Tools for Dogs

Is your dog unruly and obnoxious? Doesn’t listen to a word you say? Or, have you just adopted an adult dog that seems to have either forgotten previous training or missed out on training all together?

Don’t worry, you can change your disobedient dog into a well-mannered member of the family. Puppies are not the only ones who thrive on direction and guidance.

Depending on the breed, however, your dog might be more stubborn than others about following commands, and sometimes the same old tricks don’t work on every dog. But you surely can’t give up on training, or your dog will think he’s in charge and there’s no finer way to define chaos.

If you feel like you’ve tried every tip in the book, check out five of our favorite training tools that you will not only love, but will help to transform your misbehaving dog into an obedient little treasure.

PetSafe Treat Pouch Sport

A crucial part of training is the reward for positive behavior. When your dog is aware he’s going to get a healthy treat for listening, it enables you to teach him nearly any command, while shaping his overall behavior. The Treat Pouch Sport by PetSafe is an awesome accessory for on-the-go training. It comes with divided pockets that stay open, so you can train with different treats, and numerous clips and loops that allow you to hook other training mechanisms to the pouch. It even has a front pocket for your keys or phone!

Starmark Pro-Training Clicker

Training with a clicker means you’re using a “secondary re-enforcer” that signals that the primary re-enforcer (a treat) is due. Clickers are probably the best and most consistent way of marking the successful accomplishment of a behavior. The Pro-Training Clicker from Starmark is easy to hold, with a raised button to prevent missed clicks. It's stainless, so it won’t rust, and it comes with a step-by-step training guide. A deluxe model that features a wristband is also available.

Walk Your Dog With Love Harnesses

Do you walk your dog, or does your dog walk you? There are several ways to train your dog in the art of leash walking so that there’s no pulling, and one of the best ways this is accomplished is with a good harness. Walk Your Dog With Love Harnesses lead your dog from the front to give you better steering and control. Because it is not rear-attached (like a collar, choker, or old-fashioned harness), you don’t trigger your dog’s natural “dog sled team” pulling instinct. And, it’s not around your dog’s throat, so you don’t hurt your dog as you teach them.


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Doctors Foster and Smith Cotton Web Leads

Want to train outdoors? Training on lead allows you to test your dog’s recall and work on the “stay” command without the worry that a squirrel, dog, or passerby will have your dog running off to play. Even if your dog is well trained and normally well behaved, he may still occasionally become distracted by outdoor goings on, forget his training, and wind up in a dangerous situation. In these cases, a leash (or lead) may be a better option than a harness. These leads from Doctors Foster and Smith are available in six lengths (6 feet, 12 feet, 15 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet, or 50 feet), are durably stitched, and are made with a comfortable cotton web that resists chafing. They come in black, green, or red.

Belly Bands Housebreaking Bands

Without the right advice, owners can flounder around trying to house train their puppies for months and, in some cases, years. Besides having the right know-how, you have to have the right tools. Belly Bands are designed as a training aid to teach dogs not to mark in the house. Used with a disposable pad, they prevent your dog from leaving urine on carpets and furniture. Since dogs don’t like wetting in the bands, they are a constant reminder not to mark in the house. Belly Bands are also great for incontinent dogs. They have cool designs for male dogs, and sleek, stylish options for female dogs, and can also help control the mess associated with female dogs in heat.