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Old 17.08.2012, 18:16
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What is the best way to train a dog?

We always had Golden Retrievers, and they were wonderful. However, we never managed to train them to walk well on a leash. Since it always occurred, I suppose I should admit, it was NOT the fault of our sweet pets.

And, since our family is planning to get another dog, I would like to educate myself,, in preparation of his arrival. The last time I went to doggie school, in Adliswil, the trainer put a metal collar (noose type!!!) around our dog, and YANKED him each time he did not behave to her liking. Well, I did NOT return...

Plus, sometimes I think the owners just want to show their dominance, over their "beasts". Okay, I hate this, as well.....NOT my way...

However, I am aware of the fact, it is NOT pleasant to walk with a large (or small dog) which pulls you down the street. And, it is NOT pleasant to have a dog jump on visitors, when they arrive at the front door. So, YES it may be a good idea to actually invest time into his education.

So, what are your suggestions and advice. Thank you in advance.
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Old 17.08.2012, 18:26
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Maybe put a metal collar (noose type!!!) around your dog, and YANK him each time he does not behave to your liking...
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Old 17.08.2012, 18:27
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

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Maybe put a metal collar (noose type!!!) around your dog, and YANK him each time he does not behave to your liking...
You are nasty.... but it made me laugh :P
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Old 17.08.2012, 18:29
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

You've said it 'TIME' and lots of patience - and consistency, just like children
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Old 17.08.2012, 18:38
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

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We always had Golden Retrievers, and they were wonderful. However, we never managed to train them to walk well on a leash. Since it always occurred, I suppose I should admit, it was NOT the fault of our sweet pets.

And, since our family is planning to get another dog, I would like to educate myself,, in preparation of his arrival. The last time I went to doggie school, in Adliswil, the trainer put a metal collar (noose type!!!) around our dog, and YANKED him each time he did not behave to her liking. Well, I did NOT return...

Plus, sometimes I think the owners just want to show their dominance, over their "beasts". Okay, I hate this, as well.....NOT my way...

However, I am aware of the fact, it is NOT pleasant to walk with a large (or small dog) which pulls you down the street. And, it is NOT pleasant to have a dog jump on visitors, when they arrive at the front door. So, YES it may be a good idea to actually invest time into his education.

So, what are your suggestions and advice. Thank you in advance.
Having had a couple of testy hounds in the family, you have to say that dominance is the key, although it should be "dominance" in the right way, i.e. with their compliance.

Rewarding is really great when they get it right and is probably one of the quickest routes to walking a dog on a lead. We always used the harness type lead so it doesn't put pressure on the dog's neck. I always thought anything leading them by the neck is really cruel.

A great tip I picked up when out walking with them (albeit on a cheesy TV programme where they train unruly dogs) is to randomly and frequently change direction with the dog. Practise on a field somewhere with no distractions. Just walk a bit then turn 90 degrees or 180 or 270 or just stop dead on the stop. Every time the dog follows your direction, give him a treat. Soon they are just waiting for your next move (or treat ) and taking your direction and they forget about pulling. Worked for two nut-job mutts that we had.
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Old 17.08.2012, 18:43
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

The more modern school of thougt is positive encouragement.

Fear training is thought not be healthy or as successful in the long term and can lead to other behavioural issues.

Each breed is different too. You have stubborn breeds, passive breeds, super intelligent breeds (tend to be stubborn) and for want if a better word dopey breeds. All trainable in the most part though.

I was very good at teaching my dog tricks, but on the surface my dog is equally very excitable and playful so one would assume untrained, but he is still less than 2 so, has that puppy energy.

For walking, although I haven't been the best at enforcing this myself, keep the dog on short leash at heel, and if they tug and pull circle back and wait for them to stop pulling before proceeding to take next steps. It might only be one or steps before pulls again, so you take 4 steps back and go again. It can be a painfully slow process, and you will look like a nutter, but the dog will soon realise.

Encourage with treats as it walks by your side and praise.

There are certain training harnesses for the snout or chest whereby if they pull the more the pull they will jolt their heads to one side or lose ability to use front legs as they are raised by the pulling motion. I used the latter for mine as he has no snout
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Old 17.08.2012, 18:46
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

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Maybe put a metal collar (noose type!!!) around your dog, and YANK him each time he does not behave to your liking...
Okay, I get it....and you are funny..

But, I promise you, I am even funnier....as the dog DRAGS me down the street...

I think I had better go to school and just want to inform myself about the different methods...but I shall remember you clever advice...
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Old 17.08.2012, 18:59
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Susan, the Hundeschule we go to is in Wollerau, at the Sportplatz Erlenmoos next to the Tennis club - so not too far from you:

http://www.kurse-fuer-hunde.ch/index2.html

I absolutely love our Familienhund classes - Hooligan and the Belltie have been going for years now.

The Hundeschule is run by Jeanette Schuler-Ponte - she has been such a support to me over the years. Her philosophy is based on positive reward-based training, on learning how to motivate your dog as an individual, on fostering the bond between owner and dog - and on having fun in the process.

The goal of Familienhund is for the owner to learn the skills to help the dog learn all the things he needs to be a good canine citizen and family member. Emphasis is on 'real life' situations, not just marching around an obedience ring. Lots of games, intro to various dog sports, outings, etc. Again - training should be fun - for both the owner and dog.

Jeanette is qualified to do the SKN, btw. (Which you will need to do with your new four footed friend. )

----

It's so sad that there are still some 'old school' trainers around - despite all the advances in canine behavioral science. Pain, fear, punishment, have no place in dog training. None whatsoever.

As you are thinking about how you want to train your new dog, may I suggest this very important book, one I think all dog owners should read:

'In Defense Of Dogs', by John Bradshaw

http://www.amazon.co.uk/In-Defence-D...5218670&sr=8-1

This is not a training manual but rather an overview of current research. But don't worry - it's highly readable. Bradshaw talks about how the science has shaped new ideas, created a better understanding of canine behavior, leading to better ways to train our best friends. Bradshaw also discusses (and debunks) many of the persistent myths and memes around dogs and dog training. I recommend this very highly.


It's good to be thinking ahead - so much has changed in training, and in our understanding of the dog/human bond.

Wishing you and your future friend all the best.

Last edited by meloncollie; 17.08.2012 at 19:34.
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Old 17.08.2012, 23:30
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Our dogs are Basset Hounds and a characteristic of this breed is how stubborn they are.

The ONLY thing that ever worked for training is positive reinforcement and lots of treats.

We only use harnesses and a fixed length leash, not one of those retractable lines.

As none of our dogs were puppies when we rescued them, I think we faced an even bigger challenge. It took a lot of time, effort and patience, but it has been worth it.
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Old 18.08.2012, 01:48
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

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Maybe put a metal collar (noose type!!!) around your dog, and YANK him each time he does not behave to your liking...
Are you talking about a dog or a husband?
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Old 18.08.2012, 01:58
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Love is better than fear when it comes to dogs, we put our dog when she was a puppy in a rucksack on our backs whenever we went out, this encouraged her to stay close to us at all times when she got older…

Being a great dane boxer cross we could not do this for long but she learnt very quickly, we never put her on a lease (naughty here) she stayed at heel always..
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Old 18.08.2012, 11:49
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

On the subject of dominance...

As this is a subject near and dear to my heart, I won't apologize for the length of this post... but I do suggest pouring yourself a cuppa first.

Please read this article by Dr. Sophia Yin on the dominance controversy:
http://drsophiayin.com/philosophy/do.../dominance.php

And, this statement by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior on their concerns over the use of dominance in dog training:
http://www.4pawsu.com/dominancestatement.pdf

The University of Bristol study, and the paper 'Dominance in Domestic Dogs - Useful Construct, or Bad Habit?'
http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2009/6361.html

Given that the science of canine behavior does not support the notion of dominance (as seen on TV), and that most respected canine behavior scientists and practicing behaviorists no longer adhere to the theory and absolutely reject the methods used, why does this myth persist in the popular imagination?

David Ryan talks about the power of memes, even in the face of science to the contrary:
http://www.apbc.org.uk/articles/why-wont-dominance-die

"The final and probably most important reason for the persistence of “dominance” is because the debunking of the myth is relatively new. It is generally said to take twenty years for new science to permeate the public conscious, but now its time has come. More and better research is being conducted and more practitioners are, like Keynes, changing their mind as the facts change. More members of the public are actually seeing that there are better alternatives, and more and more people are realising that whilst the meme might be “catchy” it isn’t actually very satisfying."

Dr. Ian Dunbar and Jean Donaldson have put out a very interesting DVD, one I highly recommend - 'Fighting Dominance in a Dog Whispering World':
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Fighting-Dom...5280056&sr=8-1


This from David Mech - the biologist whose study of captive wolf populations in the 60s has been co-opted by dominance theorists is required reading:
http://www.davemech.org/news.html
Dr. Mech himself now no longer uses the notion of the alpha wolf - his later work has shown that hierarchy is far more fluid and complex - and he does not agree with the extrapolation into canine behavior:
More from Dr Mech:
http://www.4pawsu.com/alphawolf.pdf



And these articles, from Dr Stanley Coren and Lee Charles Kelley talk about the shift in thinking:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...lpha-dog-valid
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...ning-is-flawed
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...sitive-program

And again, I would urge all dog owners to read John Bradshaw's book linked in my previous post. An article published in the Guardian is here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/20...imal-behaviour


Further reading on the subject of dominance in canine behavior and dog training:

http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/iss...s_20416-1.html
http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose/myths.aspx
http://www.apdt.com/petowners/choose...ancemyths.aspx
http://www.4pawsu.com/DebunkingDomMyth.pdf
http://www.dogstardaily.com/training/macho-myth
http://www.clickersolutions.com/articles/2001/macho.htm
http://www.aspca.org/Pet-care/virtua...r-dog-dominant
http://lifeasahuman.com/2010/pets/do...of-alpha-dogs/
http://www.dogster.com/forums/Behavi.../thread/553729
http://www.time.com/time/health/arti...007250,00.html


Finally, I think James O'Heare says it all, really:
http://www.cleardogtraining.com/comp...-research.html

"O’Heare best sums up the situation when he states “By setting up a paradigm or model in the owner’s mind that someone should be the leader, we imply that someone else should not be, and it can simply sow the seeds of an adversarial relationship that can cause damage to the relationship between owner and dog…My preference is to simply focus on behavior, avoiding any talk of dominance…They are not necessary and they can lead to misunderstandings. (Owners) should be advised to take every opportunity they can to train the dog, using the principles of positive reinforcement for desirable behavior and preventing reinforcement of unwanted behavior. People who impose a power-struggle view on their relationship will see exactly what they impose; this is a no-win scenario. Simply train the dog” (O’Heare, 2007)"

Here's to helping all our dogs to become good canine citizens - kindly.
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Old 27.08.2012, 09:04
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Meloncollie, I hope you are a professional, as the world of animal lovers needs you FULL TIME. xxoo
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Old 27.08.2012, 13:10
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Aw, shucks Sue... Thanks for the kind words.

No, I'm not a professional - far from it. Just an amateur with a keen interest, born out of desperation.

(And after the Belltie's full-blown meltdown today, I'm feeling particularly amateurish. But tomorrow is another day...)

Years ago, chance led a severely damaged collie to me. Healing his broken body was the easy part; trying to figure out how to help heal his broken psyche led me to start reading about canine behavior. I made so many mistakes, but we muddled on together. Psychocollie then led me to get involved in rescue... many years and mixed-up doglets later, my library has grown quite a bit.

There are so many great resources out there - one doesn't need to spend a fortune, one can find lots of info online.

But even with 'normal' dogs who have been well bred, who have been given the socialization, early stage training, the physical care and emotional support necessary to give a dog the right start, we owners owe it to our dogs to learn as much as we can to help them become good canine citizens. Society expects so much more of dogs and dog owners today. Especially Swiss society.

Besides, a well-trained dog is a joy to live with.
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Old 27.08.2012, 21:41
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Hi Susan,

I actually am a professional animal trainer, a lot more than just dogs and yes, I currently own a dog. Where to begin...

If you don't like the idea of having to dominate your dog, don't own a dog. Now let me expand on this. Clearly, you think dominating a pet is being an absolute brute about it and abusing said animal. This is not the case. Parents put their children in place every day, either by a look, a stern voice, etc, it does not require physical strength. Dogs are the same way. You must love them AND have respect for them, much like you would children. If a parent acts like a best friend instead of a parent to a child, that chid will walk all over that parent, so will a dog that is not taught basic manners.

You do not *need* to use a "choke chain" (as they are called in the US), to walk your dog. The dog will let you know if it needs to be needed. I don't like the name choke chain so I will henceforth call it chain in this reply. Chains are training tools, not abusing tools. Can people abuse this tool? Absolutely! Are people who use these properly brutes and jerks, NO!!! The chain is supposed to help you communicate to the animal when all other manners are not working. It is not for choking your dog. In fact, if all you are doing is choking your dog, you're doing it wrong! The correct usage is a quick pop. Many dogs do not respond to chains, why, because their owners have not learned how to use them properly. They abuse the chains and pop their dogs way too many times, that eventually the dog just ignores it.

Usually, what leads people to using the chain, is because their dog is not responding or has stopped responding to simple collar and leash training. Again, the reason for this is a loss of communication between owner and dog and the dog simply stopping from responding to the constant tugging of the collar.

Training any animal to lead properly is an art form, a dance almost. It takes the proper and precise amount of tension and release at the exact moments in time when it is needed. Screw that up, even subtly, and the animal becomes confused.

Dog training is so many things and it is extremely difficult for me to explain all the subtle things that are going on that people aren't even aware are happening. There's a lot of hidden communication that happens. Your dog picks up on a lot of things you may not be aware you are doing.

As for me, I went to a school that trained us to use positive reinforcement techniques. I clicker train my animals. I ignore the bad and reinforce the good. Have I used chains on animals? Yes, dogs, camels, zebras, and horses. Am I a terrible person? No, because I never used them to hurt the animals. Some animals are just stronger and need a little extra to help you communicate. Do I think there are dog trainers out there that are harsh with their training skills and use of the chain? Yes I do and I will stick to my own methods.

Training takes a lot of TIME, Patience, and especially, commitment. You need to be precise with the delivery of reinforcement (why I use a clicker). You need to know your goals ahead of time. You need to set the animal up for success and know when to stop. If something isn't working, you're asking too much and you need to take the training back a few steps.

If you're interested in positive reinforcement training, especially in dogs, I highly recommend checking out Karen Pryor. She is well known in this industry. http://www.clickertraining.com Yes, I've attended her Clicker Training Expos and yes, they are fantastic.

You mentioned briefly about not wanting a dog jumping on your guests when they arrive in your home. This is a two part training. One, the dog already needs to be trained not to jump on you when get home, if it does do this behavior, guess what, you're reinforcing the dog for jumping on you. Either by giving it love or speaking to it and so on and so forth. The second part to this training, is your guests need to not reinforce the dog when they enter your home. Your dog will always be excited to see new people and unless these visitors don't like dogs at all, chances are they are going to be full of smiles, baby voices and pets for the jumping dog. Tell your guests not to acknowledge the dog the second they enter the house. The more excitement they generate, the more excitement your dog will generate. It works in the reverse as well. When the dog is in a calm state, LOVE on it. Everybody love on it and reinforce the calm behavior.

Dogs aren't very stupid. They pick up on a lot of things fairly quickly. In our home, my dog doesn't get anything unless she is being calm. This usually involves sitting. When we are at a restaurant, I will give her treats when she is calmly sitting or laying down. I usually prefer handing her treats when she is laying down, because if she is sitting, she could be looking in a begging manner. I don't like a dog begging at the dinner table, so she has learned to instead lay down if she wants to be reinforced.

Though I train through positive reinforcement, my dog does have a negative command. If she is doing something I would prefer she not do, I have a very sharp "nah" command. This usually gets her to stop 99% of the time. If it does not and she is on a lead, yes, I give a pop to her collar (no she does not wear a chain, she does not need one) while repeating the "nah" command.

I fear I have gotten a bit long winded, but I wanted to convey that animal training is SO many things. Not just black and white. Not just simply holding a leash. There is so much going on that sadly so many people aren't aware of. Being able to communicate with animals, with your dog, is a very rewarding experience and it is not an easy job. I also wanted to convey that training with tools, such as chains, does not need to be frowned upon. Can it be abused by people? Sadly, yes. Are there good people out there that use these methods in positive ways? Yes, and I'd like to think I am one of them.

If you need any further advice or have a zillion questions, feel free to contact me. Anyone.

-N
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Old 27.08.2012, 21:59
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Another thought came to mind in regards to teaching a dog to heel properly, you can do this through target training. You can teach a dog that when it touches an object, in this case it can be a tennis ball on the edge of a stick, or simply just the edge of a stick, it will get a treat. Dog touches end of stick, it gets reward. Once it understands this game, you can use this training tool to help your dog heel. Bring out the stick during walks and keep it just in front of your hip. Encourage your dog to heel at your side and he will want to stay at your side in order to touch the target with it's nose. This is a very difficult process to explain through writing, but hopefully you get the picture. Almost like those classic cartoons of a mule being lead by a carrot dangled in front of it's nose? But the concept is different here. You don't want the dog to be chasing after the stick, but rather his proper heeling is reinforced with the opportunity to touch the stick and be reinforced. The only way he can touch the stick is by proper heeling. It's a self reinforcing cycle. You can even teach the dog to target train on other objects, like your closed fist for example.

PS, teaching an animal to target train is also very useful in teaching it a number of other fun behaviors. Like laying down, rolling over, sitting and circling in place, to name just a few.

-N
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Old 28.08.2012, 14:34
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

Feel your pain. We have a schnauzer (supposed to be one of the most intelligent, stubbornest dogs). Love her to death and she does learn quickly but we could NEVER and still can't get her to walk on the leash. She pulls and pulls until she pants to death and is all other the place. Been through the training, did the change directions, stop and let her pull until she becomes frustrated, treats to follow the heel....all of it spent in time. She just doesn't care. She will stop and sit if I tell her, but we start moving again and she pulls to the point where she pants. Change directions same thing. The trainer told us to stop and pull back gently on the least where she stands and will eventually sit. No go. She stands on her hind legs jumping around. We have tried to train every day for 5 months to no avail. At this point I've given up, but I still have to take her to walk everyday, which is unpleasant for me. The trainer couldn't understand it either as we did special sessions also. She is just stubborn as hell. Strange as most everything else she obeys us.....
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Old 28.08.2012, 14:46
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

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Feel your pain. We have a schnauzer (supposed to be one of the most intelligent, stubbornest dogs). Love her to death and she does learn quickly but we could NEVER and still can't get her to walk on the leash. She pulls and pulls until she pants to death and is all other the place. Been through the training, did the change directions, stop and let her pull until she becomes frustrated, treats to follow the heel....all of it spent in time. She just doesn't care. She will stop and sit if I tell her, but we start moving again and she pulls to the point where she pants. Change directions same thing. The trainer told us to stop and pull back gently on the least where she stands and will eventually sit. No go. She stands on her hind legs jumping around. We have tried to train every day for 5 months to no avail. At this point I've given up, but I still have to take her to walk everyday, which is unpleasant for me. The trainer couldn't understand it either as we did special sessions also. She is just stubborn as hell. Strange as most everything else she obeys us.....
I know you've probably tried everything but have you tried a different type of lead/collar? There are some pretty good harnesses which go over their shoulders (whitters?) which takes the pressure off the neck and distributes it around the chest. If she's insisting on pulling, maybe you have to give into it and just take measures to make her more comfortable.

We had such a dog (aforementioned) and she was like an angry wasp on a string whilst outside but we solved it with the direction changing.
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Old 28.08.2012, 14:51
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

I like to use a metaphor. Good pet training shares a lot of parallels with good parenting. I imagine your parents didn't use fear and abuse to raise you, nor should you use these on your dog. However, I imagine, as a child, you believed your parents were in charge, which is exactly what you want your dog to know. Positive reinforcement does work well in this manner- your authority stems from your position as "reward-giver."

There are a lot of good ideas here on this thread on how to go about that, and like others have said, it varies from animal to animal.
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Old 28.08.2012, 14:58
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Re: What is the best way to train a dog?

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We always had Golden Retrievers, and they were wonderful. However, we never managed to train them to walk well on a leash. Since it always occurred, I suppose I should admit, it was NOT the fault of our sweet pets.

And, since our family is planning to get another dog, I would like to educate myself,, in preparation of his arrival. The last time I went to doggie school, in Adliswil, the trainer put a metal collar (noose type!!!) around our dog, and YANKED him each time he did not behave to her liking. Well, I did NOT return...

Plus, sometimes I think the owners just want to show their dominance, over their "beasts". Okay, I hate this, as well.....NOT my way...

However, I am aware of the fact, it is NOT pleasant to walk with a large (or small dog) which pulls you down the street. And, it is NOT pleasant to have a dog jump on visitors, when they arrive at the front door. So, YES it may be a good idea to actually invest time into his education.

So, what are your suggestions and advice. Thank you in advance.
German channel Vox (which you should get if you are in Switzerland) has a series called "Der Hundeprofi", mostly on saturday. About dogs education and stuff. Something like BBCs "Barking Mad" long ago.

Just an addition to the advice you already got here.
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