Training Your Dog is a Family Affair by Dorice Stancher, MBA, CPDT-KA


Make training fun for the whole family!

When puppies arrive home the first 48 hours are pure bliss, and then wham! The next thing you know there is a little shark running around the house with needle-sharp teeth chasing everything that moves, especially your youngest family members.

Here are some quick tips to get things under control:

  • Have all family members involved in training and use the LEADERSHIP PLAN having your dog earn every single item of value including meals, toys and treats.

  • If mouthing and teething is an issue provide appropriate chew toys and make sure your dog earns them. And if the little shark continues a 30 second time out is in order. When the time out is completed ask for a Sit and then resume play. It may take several times for Fido to realize that bullies lose their playtime with family members.

  • Provide plenty of exercise and make walks a time for learning. Instead of the ho-hum walk pump it up with some circles, turns and back up recalls. Walk at different speeds and be mysterious. You are more likely to get your dog's attention and you will wear him out mentally too.

  • Be sure to supervise interactions between dogs and children and come up with family rules regarding interaction including not dressing the dog up in baby clothes, poking or pulling hair, hitting, etc. Sometimes friends that visit may behave inappropriately and it may be easier to remove the family pet to a quiet place where they can settle with a chew toy in their crate.

  • Get your children interested in trick training and put on a family show. Tricks are a great way to train your dog and when dogs are focused on learning a new behavior they are less likely to get into trouble doing something naughty. And trick training not only makes obedience fun, children can earn national titles too.

Remember that when you train using the Leadership approach as we do at Canines Can Do you help to create a family-friendly dog. Punitive and harsh methods can often backfire causing aggression and fear. Modern vet-approved methods can get you where you want to go and make the journey fun!


Dorice Stancher, MBA, CPDT-KACertified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT), Consultant for Pet Therapy, Writer for AKC Family Dog and Gazette, Owner of Canines Can Do


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