Training your dog is an important part of making her into part of your family. You don't want a "crazy" dog that's disobedient, mean to strangers and guests, or tears up your house's interior. When should you begin training your new dog?

As soon as possible. It doesn't matter if she's a newly walking puppy or a dog of several years in age that you got from a friend or the local animal shelter. The only thing to do before you begin training a new dog is to get him checked out by the local or your family veterinarian first, so that you're aware of any health complications that the dog might have.

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Essential Dog Commands Learn Basic Dog Commands Cesar's Way

Once you begin training your new dog, how should you proceed to ensure proper training sans abuse (accidental, of course)?

*Plan out everything that you want to train your dog to do. This is important to understand: you are not training your dog not to do certain things. Yes, there are certain things that you don't want her to do, like crap on your carpet or rip up the pillows on your couch.

But the way to train a dog is to teach her what you do want her to do in such a way so that she implicitly understands, in time, what unacceptable behaviors are. Write down what your training goals will be. Learn from books, DVDs, Internet articles, etc to understand how to approach dog training.

*Have realistic expectations. For instance, don't expect a puppy to never crap on the carpet again after one week of potty training and then flip out on him when he does.

That's not realistic. Potty training takes several weeks. Dogs are intelligent in their way, but they don't have the best memories, so they must have lots and lots of non-abusive, firm reinforcement. When you learn about how to approach dog training you'll learn what realistic expectations are for certain dog breeds and ages. If you still aren't sure, consult a local or Internet-listed dog trainer.