• Practice taking resources away from your dog starting his first day in the house. Don’t limit this to food. Work with bones, rawhides, kongs, paper products, anything that comes to mind. I have seen dogs that are fine when people take away their food and have sent people to the hospital who tried taking away a tissue. Keep this up lifelong. Your dog is not mentally mature at six months so you cannot stop practicing this when they are still a puppy. Sometimes people ignore this because they think a dog should be left alone when he eats. That may work for a while but it will cause trouble later on. What if you don’t know something is on the floor and lean towards your dog as he goes to pick it up? What if your dog has something potentially poisonous in his mouth and you can’t take it away from him?
  • Don’t bring your dog inside every time you call him. He will soon realize that come means his fun is over. Practice calling your dog and letting him go after he listens.
  • There is an exception to every rule. Dogs are living breathing creatures and each one is different. Trainers typically speak in generalities until they truly know your dog.
  • Pick a dog that suits your temperament. 90% of clients that come to me with issues with their dogs should have picked a different dog in the first place. This doesn’t just mean to pick a breed you think fits with your lifestyle, evaluate the particular dog to make sure that it is a match.
  • Be careful of creating habits with your dog. If you have a set habit and never break it you may have trouble stopping it later on. When your dog has figured out that you always let him on the bed it is hard to stop the habit if your lifestyle changes. At least one day a week break any habit just to make sure that you can.
  • Don’t assume that your dog will outgrow a behavior. Teach him that it isn’t allowed and be consistent.
  • If you always train with a certain collar or tool spend one day a week practicing with a different one to make sure that you can control your dog in any situation.
  • If you want your dog to listen around distractions make sure to practice training around distractions. Seems like common sense, but I frequently hear from people whose dog didn’t listen off leash around other dogs but had never specifically trained off leash with other dogs.
  • Walk your dog every day. This is an easy habit to get away from and walking our dogs is one of the easiest ways to keep them happy.
  • Know why you are training your dog.  If your dog is too excitable make sure that the training is calm.  If you dog is shy and withdrawn make sure the training is exciting.
  • Pick the right collar or tool for your dog.  Don’t put a pinch collar on a scared dog who doesn’t pull, and don’t put a harness on a wild young puppy who loves to pull.
  • Understand that dogs are animals.  They can become very obedient and are great companions but respect the fact that as animals they will never be perfect.  Funny enough that applies to people also.
  • Dominance is not aggression.  Dominance can most clearly be defined as being enough of a leader that you can calmly take over a situation.  The dominant one controls what he wants when he wants.  To become dominant over your dog you don’t need to be mean, rough, or loud.  Practice controlling new situations.