Lena Abu-Arafeh, K9 Master Training:
Lori Hamilton, Lori Hamilton's Dog Training:
Hope Verbon, Hope for Dogs:
Angela Wadley, Pawzercise:
The Humane Society of Silicon Valley gives free advice to dog, cat, or rabbit owners. Their website also has a lot of useful information about animal behavior. Visit their website to receive advice or read over online behavior information.
Petco offers free seminars that dog owners can attend. Their seminar topics include: potty training, puppy socialization, behavior and manners, loose leash walking, adoption/shelter dogs, canine communication, and puppy playtime. Click here for more information.
Teaching the Basics
Clicker training is a great way to train your dog. It is used to train dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, dolphins (usually a whistle is used, but it's the same concept), basically all animals! The advantage of using clicker training is that it gives you a way of telling your dog exactly when he's doing something right (the click marks the good behavior). If you simply say "good boy" while he's doing the behavior, you might miss the moment or say it too late. Clicker training is not used in the descriptions below, but is highly recommended. Please refer to a trainer or clicker training book (like Karen Pryor's Clicker Training for Dogs) to learn how to train with a clicker.
The "sit" command is great to teach your dog as a first command--it is easy to teach and will be used to teach harder commands later on.
The down command can be a little tricky to teach. Once your dog has learned the "sit" command, you should start teaching "down".
Stay and Come
Teach the "stay" command after your dog knows the "sit" command. That way he'll be more inclined to stay since he's sitting.
If your dog doesn't get up early and you are ready to call him, say "[Dog's Name] Come!" with a happy and enthusiastic tone. If he doesn't seem like he wants to come to you, try clapping your hands or squatting down so you're at his level. You can say words of encouragement, but do not repeat the command. Doing so will cause him to ignore you and only come if you call him several times.
Note: It is best to teach the "come" command on leash at first. Place a long leash on your dog so that you can reel him in if he refuses to come. Once he masters the command on leash, you can start calling him when he's off-leash. If he absolutely refuses to come, calmly walk towards him. When you reach him, hold his collar and say the "come" command again. Walk backwards and gently pull on his collar to get him to follow you; then reward him. Never punish your dog if he comes to you (even if he was taking a long time) or when you catch him. It may be frustrating, but punishing him will only make him not want to come to you even more. With a lot of patience and practice on your part, your dog will master the "stay" and "come" commands.
Walking on a Leash
How to House Train Your Puppy or Dog
We recommend house training your puppy with a crate, because it is much easier than without one. Your dog should see its crate as a den--dogs avoid spoiling their den at all costs. However, in order for crate training to work, you never use the crate as punishment, or your dog will not see it as its den. The crate should also be small enough so that your dog can't eliminate on one end and sleep on the other. If you have a puppy, buy a crate big enough to fit him when he's fully grown. Then block off the excess space with a makeshift divider (a box or laundry basket will do) so that your dog doesn't have enough room to sleep on one end and eliminate on the other. You can move the divider as your puppy grows.
For crate training to work, you need to take your dog outside very often. You should either always be watching your dog for signs that he needs to eliminate (circling, sniffing, etc.), or he should be in his crate. Beware: If you leave your dog in his crate for too long, he will still eliminate in it even though he doesn't want to spoil his den--he has no choice. The younger the dog, the more often he will need to eliminate. You might have to get up several times during the night to take your puppy out if he's young.
Crate training is very convenient--when you need to leave your dog alone, you can put him in the crate and he will usually not eliminate unless he is left for too long. Of course, take him outside right before you leave him and right when you come back. It usually helps to pick up your dog (if he's a puppy) so that he doesn't eliminate while walking to the door.
If you find that your dog has had an accident in the house, only punish him if you catch him in the act. Many animal behaviorists say that dogs won't connect the accident with the punishment unless you punish him while he's eliminating or just after he has eliminated (a few seconds after). Never hit your dog as punishment. Saying "no" in an angry voice will usually be enough; if not, try making loud noises by slapping the floor or picking your dog up to get him to stop eliminating. Take him outside immediately and praise him if he eliminates outside.
If you set a consistant feeding time, housebreaking will be easier since your dog will develop a schedule. Always take him out after he's eaten and remember that excercise will increase a dog's need to eliminate. It may help to limit water at night (so your dog doesn't have to go in the middle of the night), but only do this if he's had enough water to drink and it is not too hot.
Introducing Dogs and Cats
Step 1: Choose the proper location for the first meeting
Step 2: Separate the animals
Training Tip: If the dog stares at the cat or the door separating the cat, try to distract him and get him to look away with treats, a happy voice or by gently guiding the dog away on a leash. Once the dog is away from the cat, try offering a treat. If he takes it, repeat this process until he is no longer focused on the cat or door.
Petco Dog Training
Pet Food Express Training
Pets In Need
Petsmart Dog Training
San Francisco SPCA
Humane Society of Silicon Valley
Sirius Dog Training
Clicker Training for Dogs by Karen Pryor
Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor
Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson