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Good Dogs Bad Habits: The Complete A-To-Z Guide for When Your Dog Misbehaves Paperback – April 28, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jeanne Carlson is a professional dog trainer who for twenty years has gone into people's homes to help them understand their dogs better. She also operates a national phone consultation service, and her popular training video "Good Puppy" has helped thousands of new puppy owners. She works in Seattle, Washington, and lives on an island with her dog, two cats, and two horses.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

Why Obedience-Train Your Dog?

Once you begin a structured obedience program with your dog, many bad habits will disappear on their own. Obedience training will give your dog a way to please you. It will also teach your dog to take you seriously. Training will help your dog develop a "conscience" -- which your dog will need if he is going to remember not to repeat the crime.

Formal obedience training is also vital for your dog's safety. It gives you and your dog a common vocabulary to work with. Teaching your dog the meaning of various commands before a dangerous situation arises may save his life one day. If your dog knows what "come" and "stay" mean, you will be able to control him when it is most necessary.

Obedience training is a form of quality time between you and your dog, and it opens the door to communication between you and him. It also helps to establish you as pack leader. This strengthens his allegiance to you, and a stronger bond develops as a result.

Some dogs have no idea how they fit into their human family, and they are visibly relieved once formal training begins, because they finally have a lead animal (you) to follow! On an exercise as simple as the sit-stay, the eye contact between you and your dog can take on a whole new dimension, as your dog suddenly sees you in a different light.

Dogs of all temperaments and personality types can benefit from structured training. It will help a wild, unfocused dog center his attention, focus his thoughts, and calm down. A dog who is very submissive and timid will gain confidence through obedience training. For a dog who thinks himself higher than his human in the pack hierarchy, obedience training is a kind and safe way to slowly change his mind about his perceived status and begin to view you as the lead dog.

The obedience lessons presented here are sit, sit-stay, heel, down, down-stay, and come. Read each exercise several times and visualize what you'll be doing.

Make the training sessions fun for your dog. Give him lots of encouragement and praise, and vary the command sequences to keep him guessing about what's coming next. Start each lesson by reviewing the commands he knows best. Practice heeling to wake up a lazy dog and to exercise an active dog, changing your pace and direction frequently. Keep his tail wagging! Speak in a whisper sometimes, as though you are sharing a secret together. Other times, be animated. If you are in a bad mood, don't train your dog. Just take him to the park and relax with him.

Each training session should contain three elements: focused learning, play breaks, and calming massage. The play can be as simple as throwing a toy for him to play with, and the massage can be done casually while he is seated by your side. Be sure to end each training session before your dog gets bored and after he has just done a good job following your instructions.

Dogs learn best in short, frequent training sessions. Practice, for example, three times a day for ten minutes each session, for a total of thirty minutes a day. Or hold two sessions a day of twenty minutes each, for a total of forty minutes. The younger the dog, the shorter his attention span will be; a puppy will be happy with two to five minutes of focused learning repeated three to five times a day.

Remember to give your dog the corresponding hand signal every time you give the verbal command. This will help him learn the commands, and eventually he will respond to the hand signals alone. This can be useful in noisy situations or when you need to be silent and subtle about giving commands (such as when your mother-in-law is asleep on the couch!).

Surprise your dog with quickie drills on commands that he knows fairly well -- for example: heeling with sits, a sit-stay followed by come, and then a down-stay. The entire sequence can take three minutes and can be done anywhere.

When you are training your dog, it is important for him to respond quickly when you give a command, but don't drill him over and over again to try to perfect something that is good enough already. If your dog chooses to sit casually on one hip while you chat with a friend, that's fine. As long as he is cooperative, pays attention, and is happy to respond to you, don't worry about perfection.

The basic obedience instructions here are not meant to be a substitute for the help of a professional dog trainer. There are other more advanced commands that your dog would benefit from and that you might enjoy teaching. If you are having problems, do some research and find a trainer whose methods you like and respect. A little help goes a long way. If you want to prepare your dog for competition in the obedience ring, you will need to enroll in a specially designed class.

Copyright © 1995 by Jeanne Carlson with Ranny Green

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 5th Printing edition (April 28, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671870777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671870775
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By lagunalil@webtv.net on September 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
You don't have to read the whole book to solve every problem you have with your dog--just pick the problem and read that section. This is the best book I've ever read on how to deal with doggie issues. It also helped me understand my dog's mind and heart. The best chapter is the one on what to do if your dog sniffs people's crotches! The author's writing is entertaining, clear and quite funny. I have given this book to over a dozen friends who got new puppies and they all swear by it! Read this book!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Richard Silverstein on December 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you're getting a puppy or have a young dog who's causing problems, forget all the other dog training books you're thinking of buying. If you buy Jeanne Carlson's book you won't need any others.
In addition to buying her book & loving it, Jeanne personally trained our 2 yr. old yellow lab, Gede. Thanks to Jeanne's miraculous touch & training, Gede has grown up to be an almost perfect dog: mild tempered, calm, loving, etc.
Jeanne's book lays out every significant problem area clearly, consisely; and gives you easy to follow directions for how to correct them. She also points out the reasons for the problems & the reasons why the solutions will work in terms of your dog's psychology.
It may sound a bit silly, but Jeanne has learned to see the world through a dog's eyes & has profound empathy for the species. You can't go wrong w. Jeanne!
Richard Silverstein
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. K. Ogi on February 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was very pleased with this purchase. The information is terrifically organized so that you can easily find it, and I wasn't able to find one problem I have encountered with my two new pups that was not covered in this book.
What I most liked about this book is that it not only explains the problem, but why the dog is doing it in the first place. This has helped me to put their training in perspective and see what they are trying to do, or think they are doing. It just helps me be a better 'alpha dog' I feel.
I can easily recommend this book to anyone with a dog or with a notion of getting a dog. This will not be money wasted.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Don Priest on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Provides guidance and examples of basic obedience training using positive reinforcement training with variable rewards. Good basic techniques. Believes that once a dog has learned the correct command and knowingly disobeys, a verbal "no" is appropriate. Well indexed and cross referenced. 65% of the book is organized into specific problems, why your dog is doing it, what you should do or say, why the correction works and how to prevent the situation. Training methods recommend use of leash, collar, spay bottles, rattles, and lots of personal positive reinforcement techniques. A very good, stick to the facts, basic training book.
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