By Dr. William Fortney
Among the many important responsibilities dog owners have, training a dog is among the most important. Well-trained pets are easier to care for and love, cause less damage to your home (and theirs), and live happier lives. In this article, we cover many of the basics of dog training. But we also cover some important facets of dogs themselves -- which you need to be familiar with in order to communicate with your pooch.These include how dogs communicate to you through body language and noises. Dogs send myriad messages with their bodies and their voices -- this is one reason why they're so fascinating and beloved. The more you understand their messages, the more you understand them and how your own messages are being understood. Read this entire article carefully -- there are three sections after this one -- and then put the wisdom into practice. Here's what we'll cover: Understanding a Dog's Body Language
Dogs use their entire body to communicate. Their eyes and ears are especially dynamic, and they give sure-fire clues to dogs' emotions and impulses. How dogs tilt their heads, move their legs and torsos, wag (or raise or drop) their tails -- all these things contribute to the messages being sent. In this section, we cover many of the silent messages your pooch will give you, from his nose to his tail. Interpreting Dog Barks and Noises
Dogs are probably the most "verbally" expressive of all domesticated animals, and this only adds to their charm. From the whine of a puppy to the angry growl of an adult, dogs mean what they say. The more you understand these signals, the happier you and your dog will be. At the same time, it's important to know which noises constitute an annoyance, and how to train your dog to stop making them. We'll offer suggestions on teaching a dog to stop barking in this section. Dog-Training Tips
It's important to know not only how to train a dog, but what to train it to do. Puppies have no sense of correct behavior, so they offer a million things you could correct; which should you address? In this section, we'll cover what to correct as well as how to train a pooch. We'll also discuss dog obediences classes -- also known as puppy kindergarten -- and specific thing you can teach your dog if you plan on traveling with it. Life tosses up myriad challenges to a dog's sense of obedience, and the more he's trained to understand, the happier you both will be. Finally, for fun and practical benefit, we'll cover a few basic tricks you can teach your dog. They're a wonderful way to bond with your pet and to entertain the both of you, while teaching it how to behave and react to your commands. Everybody wins! Understanding a Dog's Body Language
By Dr. William Fortney
Okay, we all know a wagging tail means a dog is friendly, right? Not necessarily. Dogs say lots of things with their tails -- and not all of them are nice. A dog who is wagging her tail might be happy, interested, or confident, but she also may be scared, confused, or ready for a fight. In this section, we'll tell you how to understand a dog's body language. If you learn this skill, it will make communicating with a dog much easier. And that, in turn, will make training a dog much easier. When you see a dog whose tail is wagging wide and fast, the message is almost always, "Glad to see you!" This is a happy, excited dog. On the other hand, a dog holding her tail loosely but horizontally wants to know a bit more about you. She might not be ready to welcome you with a big lick, but she's not going to challenge you either. The same is true of a dog whose tail is wagging slowly. She's still deciding whether you are a friend or foe. Watch out, though, for a dog whose tail is bristling or is held high and stiff, wagging fast. This dog is agitated and probably aggressive -- and boy, does she mean business. The position of a dog's tail tells a lot about her, too. A dog with her tail erect is...