|Updated: 4/17/2007 12:08 pm
||Published: 4/17/2007 12:08 pm
To be most effective, the training process should begin as early as possible in your pet's life. You do not have to be a professional to train a pet, but you do need commitment and consistency. Failing to consistently reward or admonish a pet for behavior will give the animal mixed signals about what actions are acceptable. Be thorough, yet kind, in expressing to your pet what behavior will be tolerated. Never yell or use violence when training. If your pet does something undesirable, isolate it for a few minutes or give it a squirt from a water pistol. Verbal commands should be given in a clear, direct voice. Try to use the same tone of voice for all negative commands. This will differentiate negative commands from positive, rewarding praise. Immediately rewarding your pet with strokes, treats, and toys is usually effective to continue good behavior. However, give treats and toys in moderation so that they will not lose their appeal. Like humans, animals have different personalities and instincts. More effective training can be accomplished by devising a program specifically suited to your pet's traits. You can train your pet at home or at training meetings which are supervised by professionals who will instruct you in various training techniques. If you don't have the time to train your pet, there are many professional trainers who will do it for you. Make sure that the trainer's philosophy and method is something you are comfortable with and can continue at home. For more information, contact an animal care specialist.