The old adage that you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not entirely true, but as with most platitudes, it does contain at least a kernel of truth. The ideal time to train a dog is in “puppy-hood”. Puppies, like children, are primed for learning – their brains at this age are like sponges, soaking up new information about how to behave in and react to the world. It’s much easier to train a puppy on the proper way to compose himself than it is to train out an already established inappropriate behavior.
The training basics – “sit”, “stay”, “come”, “lie down”, and “leave it” are your basic building blocks for further training. And the process of training these commands is just as important, if not more so, than the actual result because not only are you training your dog to respond to a specific command, you are also training him/her to listen and divert to you (or humans in general) when seeking guidance about how to navigate the world. “It’s the journey not the destination.” Basic training teaches dogs patience and trust. A patient and confident dog is a calm-submissive dog. And a calm-submissive dog is a polite and balanced dog. Balanced dogs equal happy humans. Wag more. Bark less.
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