Dog training is as much about training you as it is teaching your dog. It's up to you to ensure that all boundaries are reinforced with positive reinforcement and rewards. It's also up to you to reward your dog for good behavior, like lying quietly at your feet, coming when called, or sitting when greeting people. A great approach is to praise your dog when he does something right. For example, if you ask him to "stay," you should praise your dog while he is remaining in that position. Here are a few dog training basics to help you get started. To build up and improve your methods, you can always consult a certified trainer or behaviorist.

The basics:

By using humane, positive, voluntary and reward-based training methods you and your dog will create a relationship of mutual respect and trust. Introduce and practice such cues as "sit," "down" and "come" daily.

Help with bad habits:

Dogs don't find these behaviors rude; these are normal dog behaviors. Teaching polite behaviors will help them learn new options:

Issue: Barking at visitors
Alternative: Sitting when visitors arrive
How to: A positive alternative to help welcome visitors is to redirect your dog to a "sit-stay" or a "down-stay" position before answering the door. While you are training, provide visitors with plenty of treats to have ready to give to your dog while he is sitting politely. This will help your dog associate visitors with polite behavior as well as with delicious treats. Also reward for quiet behavior. Once your dog is quiet, even for a nano-second, provide him with a reward. Your dog will quickly learn that treats are earned for quiet behavior.

Issue: Jumping on guests
Alternative: Sitting when greeting a new friend
How to: Cue your dog to sit before and while greeting someone. Have plenty of delicious treats ready to reward your dog for polite behavior. Your guests should ignore your dog until he has all four feet on the floor and is sitting politely. If your dog jumps up, instruct your guests to turn their backs and leave.

Issue: Licking
Alternative: Redirect with a toy or treat
How to: If your dog begins to lick you, get up and walk away or redirect to something else. Give him a toy or treat when they stop licking.

Issue: Pushing through doors
Alternative: Cue to sit and stay

How to: A dog bolting out the door can be a dangerous habit as they may dash into danger. Always put your dog's leash on before you go to the door. Train your dog to sit and stay while you open the door. Invite them to follow you or walk outside when both of you are ready to do so.

Issue: Chewing
Alternative: Redirect with appropriate toys

How to: Provide plenty of chew approved and safe toys for your puppy or dog. If you see your dog beginning to chew your favorite shoes, redirect to an approved chew item and reward your dog for finding a positive solution. Chewing is a normal behavior, especially with puppies. Providing a lot of approved chew toys and 30 minutes of exercise per day will certainly help, as this provides physical and mental stimulation.

Issue: Me! me! me!
Alternative: Redirect the attention seeking behavior

How to: If your dog is offering "attention seeking" behaviors, ignore him and them. Turn your back and find something else to do until your dog offers a different behavior. Reward your dog for good behavior.

Issue: Digging up the yard
Alternative: Stop the digging

How to: Dogs love getting their paws in the dirt to bury food or make a cool place to lie in the summer. If it's a problem, try set aside a "digging allowed" area. If possible, designate a small area and encourage them to dig there. If this is not possible, supervise your dog's outings in the yard and distract him from digging with approved toys and activities. Taking your dog for a 30 minute walk will help burn off some of the energy they are expending on digging in the yard.

Issue: Counter surfing
Alternative: Redirecting this behavior

How to: Remove anything and everything off the countertop, and your dog will figure out there is nothing worth "counter surfing." If your dog is a persistent surfer, crate him when you are not able to supervise him or when you have a lot of food items on your counters—as you might when you are preparing for a party or for a holiday gathering.

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