Owning a Dog. Training a DogPosted: September 27, 2012 | |
So, you decided you’re ready for some companionship. You’ve decided to invest in the ultimate wingman. You wanna buy a dog. I can’t even begin to tell you how great it is having a dog. I’d honestly recommend a guy getting a dog WAY before he has a kid. And by having a dog, I mean raising one from puppy through its entire life span. There are a few considerations before getting a dog. Does your apartment allow dogs; do they have breed/size restrictions? All factors to consider.
First off- rescue or purebred? A rescue is going to obviously be cheaper and make you feel all warm and fuzzy and altruistic. Good for you. You’re a Saint. I chose purebred. Why? I wanted to know EXACTLY what I was getting in a dog. I ended up dog sitting for a friend and KNEW I was going to get this same breed when I could. I settled on and English Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Never did like the small toy breeds. But, I couldn’t get a really large dog since I’m military and move around a lot. The ESBT is absolutely the best breed I can think of for a single man. They’re relatively small, don’t weigh much, and have GREAT temperaments. Want to go jog for 2-3 miles, your ESBT will run right next to you. Want a dog that’s NOT all hyperactive and crazy in the house. Brody sits right beside me when I get home. ESBT are also quite easy to train, which I feel is a requirement if you going to own a dog. Nothing fancy. Just: sit, come, stay, down, and move. I did manage to teach one trick, but it was VERY easy to do. Oh and he picked up “shake” on his own. More on that later.
First I will explain what I did and what I learned in venturing into the Dog-owning world.
I already knew what breed I wanted and I decided on a female (ESBT bitches make better watch dogs and are more wary of strangers- Brody loves everything that walks on 2 legs). So I found a breeder and when I got back from Japan on 1 month of leave I called the breeder and drove to her house; 4 hours away. Most dog breeder and people who know dogs in general will tell you, “The dog picks the owner”. My mom used to breed shi-tzu’s, so watching people buy her pups I can verify this.
As I sat among the 3 pups (1 bitch, 2 dogs), the female wanted nothing to do with me (like most women. lol). I’d pick her up, she’d lick my face, I’d set her in my lap and off she went. Right off my lap and into something else. Same goes for the other male. A white pup who was the biggest of the litter. He too didn’t give a shit I was there. Brody however, walked up to me, crawled into my lap licked my arm, sniffed me, then walked away. However, he approached me 3 times. The other two never walked onto my lap or even bothered with coming to me. The rest is history. Brody cost me $1200. And I don’t regret the money I spent.
Brody sat silently in my lap for the entire 4 hour ride home. He didn’t whimper or bark. When he got home, he sniffed the new environment and had the typical puppy curiosity. He was six weeks old, and had just been whelped. The first 3 nights I had him he slept beside me. I usually toss and turn, but for those 3 nights; I slept and brody stayed in a small ball against my chest. We had bonded. This bond is CRUCIAL. Now it was time for his next lesson: crate training. This is best done during puppyhood as it tends to make a more even tempered dog later. I placed his crate beside my bed and slept. He’d whimper and cry and I’d place my hand down, let him sniff and lick me, then remove my hand. After 2 nights he slept without crying. After he had slept two days without crying; I moved his crate downstairs. The first night he howled, and cried, and howled. When my mom woke, she’d let him out. After 3 nights he quit crying. Crate training complete. It’s important to remember, wild dogs live in dens. The crate should NEVER be used as punishment. The crate is your doggy’s personal dog retreat.
Next up, collaring. Do yourself a favor and buy 2 cheap ones; you’re probably going to need them as a puppy DOES NOT WANT TO WEAR it. And they paw it and mess with it. I had to replace Brody’s first collar. After a few days, he was fine with it. I NEVER took it off either. He ALWAYS has a collar on.
Next stop: leash training. Buy a simple leash and put it on the collar. Here comes the fun part: watching your puppy fight the collar. It DOES NOT LIKE IT. Keep it on for about 10-15 minutes until the pup gives 2 shits that it’s on. Then start applying it when you take him outside for brief periods, take 7-8 steps, turn around and take 3-4 more steps (don’t forget to praise him when he walks beside you). Eventually he’ll get it. Leash training complete.
Puppies poop and pee. No getting around that. But here’s a tip I got from mom: mother dogs teach their litter to poop after she feeds them. So to make things easier on you….keep doing that. Lol. I can’t begin to tell you how important it is to provide structure and stick to routines with puppies/dogs, they STRIVE on consistency. I fed brody in the evening. ALWAYS. After he ate, I’d take him outside and stay with him till me “made potty”. I ALWAYS said, “make potty” when he started to poop. To this DAY, if I look at Brody and say, “make potty”, he’ll walk to the door id he has to go. Once the puppy has poop’d: PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. Got it. NEVER scold a dog pooping or peeing inside. If you see them start, pick them up and quickly run them outside. DO NOT LET THEM BACK IN TILL THEY POOP/PEE. When the go, praise them. Rinse repeat. You can typically tell when a puppy as to pee by him circling a certain spot a few times, turning in small circles, then they’ll squat and pee (even male pup pee squatting until they reach doggy puberty. So if you notice him sniffing and making small circles, he probably has to pee.
This is all you need to do at first. I didn’t start “training” Brody until he was about 3-4 months old. During puppyhood, when I went to bed, I crated Brody and would say, “go seep” for go to sleep. You want commands to be quick and once you start using a command ALWAYS use the same command. Again, puppies need structure, consistency and routines. Changing shit up makes your job more difficult. Something I learned along the way, if you plan on being out the house when your pup is 2-4 months and he starts teething, he will chew EVERYTHING. Brody ate my kitchen table. Seriously. I didn’t want to crate him while I was at school, and I came home one day to see he chewed the legs of the table, and the sheet rock of my wall. OK. So I placed him in a pen in the spare bedroom. He ate the carpet all the way down to the foundation. OK. From then on he stayed crated until I got home from school. Now, puppies WILL NOT poop/pee in their den, so I took him out IMMEDIATELY when I got home. This helped TREMENDOUSLY. Still brody wasn’t “house broken” until he was 7-8 months old.
Once Brody was 3-4 months, his formal education began. ESBT learn VERY quickly. I started with “sit”. I’d utter the command and push him bottom down gently. Then praise him and offer a treat. We’d do this for 5-10 minutes at a time. Took him 3 days to get it. Then, did the same with “down”. Again, took about 3 days. Once he had “sit” and “down”, “come” was next. Place him in the sit position, walk about 5-6 steps away and say, “come”. Now I ALWAYS said Brodys name followed by the command during training. When Brody would come to me, I praised him. Again; 5 minutes session are perfect. But do not move onto a new command until you do LEARNS the command you’re working on. This is key. Es llave. Lol. The last command was “move”. I’d say, “Brody, move”. And gently push him away. As he walked away I praised him. I NEVER put him in the sit or down command then did move. I didn’t want to confuse him. By the time he was 5 months. He was fully trained in all 4 commands.
Next up was walking. I started “walking” training around 3 months as well. I’d leash him and start walking. If he pulled on the leash, I’d stop, and make him sit. Then I’d walk again. These sessions lasted for about 5 minutes. Then the walks got longer. Then once he quit pulling the leash (also called “leash leading”), I stared training him to sit when I quit walking. During the walk, I’ll stop, look down at Brody and give him the sit command. Then take 5-6 steps and do it again. Rinse repeat. Eventually, I’d stop walking and he’d sit on his own. The first 15-20 times he did it I praised him. To this day, if I’m walking him and I stop to chat to someone, he’ll stop and sit.
This was all I needed to do. His last trick was pretty easy but looks impressive. I’ll throw a ball and he’d fetch for me to throw again. Simple enough. Well, I’d put him in the sit command throw the ball and when he went for it, I’d make the noise I make to indicate I didn’t approve. Eventually he got it right. Then I’d mix it up by throwing the ball WITHOUT him in the sit command and have him fetch, then sit him and throw it. When I said, “god boy”, this was his cue to go for the ball. When he brought it back praise. Keep doing this until the dog realizes what you’re doing. And trust me, eventually, if you’re consistent, he will.
Oh, a few other things. Brody is not allowed to walk out the house first if he’s coming with me. I sit him; open the door, walk out the door, then say “good” boy. Same thing with walking INTO the house. Sit him, open door walk in, look at Brody, “good boy” and in comes Brody. You see, for dog’s, you’re the alpha of his “pack”, so the alpha walks in and out the den first. The alpha doesn’t walk around anything, things move for him. If Brody’s laying on the floor, in my way, I just walk over him. I don’t step on him of course, I just walk over him.
Brody’s not allowed in the kitchen either. You see, once you train a dog they will follow you everywhere you go in the house. A dog can walk beside you but NEVER directly in front of you. If Brody trips me up, I just stare at him and he knows he fucked up. Now, he knows NOT to get in front of me. If I’m in the kitchen and carrying a pot full of something, I can’t have him at my feet. So I trained him NOT to go into the kitchen.
The best website I know of is Dog Breed Info.
Now, one mistake I made was in not socializing him. I read that dogs should be socialized AFTER they’ve received their shots. This usually happens around 6-7 months old. Well, it’s actually best to let pups socialize with pups. I’m talking 2-3 months old. Pet’s Mart usually has pens where puppies can play. See Dogs at that age aren’t alpha/beta pack members. They’re pups, so they socialize as puppies do. However, once they turn 5-6 months, they begin puppy puberty. They know all too well what alpha a beta behavior is. Well, ESBT (actuallyAll bull breeds), tend to be dog aggressive. If ANY dog tries to assert itself over Brody…….FIGHT. And Brody has NEVER been beaten. I had a VERY large Presa Canario rush Brody and Brody held his ground. It lasted about 20 seconds and the Presa’s owner had to rush over to control his dog. THIS is why Brody is trained, he WILL NOT leave my side when I have him out. Around humans I’ve NEVER seen him get aggressive. He’s actually VERY protective of women and kids. Seriously. I was wrestling with a gf and when I pinned her down, she acted like she was scared and Brody grabbed my wrist and tried to pull me off her.
I looked at him and sternly commanded, “NO.MOVE”, and away he walked, head down…..in complete submission. BUT, I knew what he was doing. He was trying to protect the gf. Talk about impressing the shit out of the gf. I told her, “If ANYONE comes in here or get rough with you; he’s going to eat their face.” She said she NEVER felt unsafe in the house while I was at work and that she’d definitely be slightly worried if he wasn’t in the house.
This post went on kind of long, so I’ll wrap it up tomorrow with “WHY woman tingle around guys that own dogs” and how it related so well to game.