how to train your dog yourself

Stop Puppy Barking - Restore Peace to Your Home - How to Train

When we first brought Westin into our lives, he was... well... a bit of a menace. He has always been a good dog –I believe all dogs are inherently good- but he was far from obedient. No, obedience is something that all dogs have to learn. And it's more difficult for some than others. To be honest, it wasn't long before we started thinking about hiring a dog trainer. But it was quite a while before we actually went for it.

Why So Many People Try to Train Their Own Dogs

It's easy to watch a few episodes of a dog training show or read a few chapters of a book and think you can handle the job. Reality is quite different, and that's something we learned the hard way. Westin came to us at a time when we had to be a little mindful of our spending, and we weren't exactly eager to invest in what we thought would be expensive obedience training. So, we bought a few books, DVR'd a few episodes of the Dog Whisperer and thought we had it covered. That is, until we realized that Westin was six months old and still gnawing at the couch like it was a leg of lamb. The allure of the DIY approach to dog training was just too good to ignore – until we figured out we were actually doing more harm than good.

The Consequences of Training Your Dog Yourself

The biggest drawback of do-it-yourself dog training is the potential lost time. If you are among the small percentage who can successfully train your dog without help or intervention, you don't have to worry about lost time. But if you are fumbling through and trying to figure it out as you go (as most of us are), you stand to lose valuable moments in your dog's life that could be spent reinforcing good behaviors instead of sending mixed and inconsistent messages. Yet again, we learned this the hard way.

Westin was a youngin' when we started training, and we gave it six months before we decided that what we were doing wasn't working. By that time, he was almost a year old and had made some, even though we thought we were working to correct them. Just like with humans, the first year of a dog's life is extremely formative. It's not that you can't teach an old dog new tricks; it's just that it's not as easy. So, my advice to anyone with a new dog is to get it together sooner rather than later. If you have dog training experience, by all means, go for it. Otherwise, bite the bullet and hire a dog trainer. You'll be glad you did.

Danger of Hiring an Amateur

Do you know someone who claims to be a dog trainer? Maybe they'll train your dog for free or give you a discount. There aren't many situations in which this works out. It is imperative that you find the right trainer for your dog, and that isn't always a family friend or relative.

When you hire someone you know, you're less likely to ask the hard questions because you don't want to offend them. Do they use choke collars? You would assume they wouldn't, and asking could be offensive, right? Well, what if they do and you didn't ask!

Learning About Different Types of Trainers

When we set out on our journey to find a trainer for Westin, we thought it would be as easy as Googling the closest dog training professionals and comparing prices. Boy, were we wrong! Imagine hiring a personal trainer or a nutritionist for yourself. How many different methods and schools of thought could there be? You could find someone who is really into cross training or someone who believes that vegan is the only way to eat. It's the same when it comes to dog training! There are many different methods and types of trainers, but here are the basic categories of training you'll have to choose from.

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