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“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles Schulz

That statement is true. Unless the puppy chewed on your new running shoes and peed all over the bed. Then it’s only cuteness saving the pup from a trip to the shelter.

Having a dog is really one of life’s pleasures. There’s just no comparing the friendship and loyalty a dog can provide.

Unfortunately, dogs (pretty much like husbands) do not come into the world trained and housebroken. Famous “dog-whisperer” Cesar Millan said, “Good behavior from our dogs begins with good habits from the humans.”

So if you’re planning to get one, or already has one you don’t know what to do with, the following tips should come in handy in breeding those good habits (husband use is optional.)

#1 Know, and Listen to Your Dog

Know your dog. If you don’t know what makes your dog happy or what makes her tick, you’d likely find yourselves out for a walk but suddenly chasing an angry mailman or fending off the pissed-off hotdog vendor.

You can train your dog to eventually calm down and be less anxious, but until then, it’s a good idea to find out what you need to avoid.

If your dog appears uncomfortable, then there’s a reason. And just because the store-bought dog food proclaims “all dogs love it” doesn’t mean your dog will.

#2  Dogs Love Affection

Be generous with your affection. Let him know if he’s done something good. Let him play with you. Take walks. People don’t usually hold back when a dog does something bad, but rarely appreciate the good things when they happen. Don’t make that mistake.

#3 Tell Him What to Do

Dogs by nature are pack animals. And a pack always needs its alpha. In your house, that would be you.

Be firm when you tell your dog “no”. And be clear with your instructions. A jumping dog when told no can interpret it as he needs to jump higher or maybe jump to the left or maybe jump on you. Telling him to “sit” meanwhile, just tells him no more jumping and it’s time to settle down.

Dogs also cannot be allowed to walk ahead of you. They take it as a sign that they’re the boss and would more than likely start behaving like an entitled cat from then on (sorry, cat lovers. You know it’s true.) A better way of handling the situation is to have him walk beside, not in front, of you.

#4 Be Consistent

Dog training can be tricky. If your dog lives with your family, you have to make sure that “no” means the same to everyone. Saying “off” or “down” could mean the same to humans, but dogs may confuse it.

You also get what you reinforce, not what you want. So think twice before throwing that chew toy just because you need Buster to stop barking.

Dogs are good pets to have. And more than just being pets, they have a knack for making themselves parts of the family.

You don’t really appreciate a stubborn, hard-headed relative. You certainly won’t like an unruly canine. So take time to learn how to train them. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised how well they fit in your life.