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Here are a few answers to some frequently asked questions which may help give you some ideas to get you and your dog off to a good start. If you have any further questions we can add to this section, please email me.

It is worth looking to get some basic training as this will help both you and your dog and will usually prevent most problems ever arising.

If you are having problems with your dog, you should consider getting professional help from a qualified canine psychologist or behaviourist. Don't t be tempted to leave the situation thinking that the problem will go away. It won't and will more than likely get worse, becoming more difficult to cure as the dog learns that it is acceptable behaviour.Click on a question to the right or scroll down to see the answers to the frequently asked questions.
 

Is it true that I must be seen as the pack leader?
Yes, always remember that a dog is a pack animal and therefore regards everyone in the home as part of that pack. It is important that your new dog learns his place in the pack as soon as possible, otherwise he could become confused in thinking he is the pack leader and this will lead to dominance aggression which will put a great strain on what should be the start of a lifelong friendship.

The only place for your dog in his new pack is at the bottom of the pecking order. This is easily achieved so long as certain rules are followed. These ground rules need to be implemented straight away otherwise the dog will only obey instructions when it wants to and ignore them if it does not like the idea. A dominant dog may respond with aggression when forced to do something it does not want to do.
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Where should my dog sleep?
Always ensure that your dog sleeps on the floor or in its own bed, never on the furniture or the bed that you sleep in. Ideally, place the dog's bed in an area where it can rest undisturbed.
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When is the best time to feed my dog?
Always ensure that the dog is fed after everyone else. In the dogs eyes, whoever eats first is the top dog so by following this rule the dog will look to you as the pack leader. This will also make the dog less likely to try and beg from the table. Feeding time is also an excellent time for some basic training such as making the dog sit before getting the food, leading on to making it wait until told when to eat. In a household with young children, let the children (under supervision) feed the dog. This will increase their social standing in the dogs eyes making it behave better with them.
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How should I play with my dog?
A dog will play games for fun, but it will also learn from games who is the strongest. To a dog whoever wins the game is top dog. This means that the most important game to win is any tug of war which to a dog is a direct trial of strength. Any item used in games must be back in the owners hand at the end of play. Otherwise the dog will see this as a canine victory and will become ever more possessive leading to problems.

Do not wrestle with your dog. It will invariably beat you. It also makes them very excited and can lead to aggression.
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How can I help my dog settle in his new home?
Many dogs will become excitable when introduced to a new home, others are scared by the sudden change. To help a dog adjust to its new surroundings, encourage it to be calm and relaxed. Do not force a frightened dog to do something against its will, gently coax it instead. If the dog becomes too excited, you should remain calm and speak calmly to the dog in soothing tones. If that does not help then do not give it any attention for a while, this should have the desired calming effect.
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I have small children, should I be careful?
Never leaver your dog unsupervised with small children. A child could, without realising it, provoke uncharacteristic reaction from the dog for example, pushing a toy car across its head, or accidentally stepping on the dog
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When can I take my dog off its lead?
Keep your dog on a lead until it has learned basic obedience and is responding to your commands. When you let the dog off the lead for the first time, do so in an enclosed space (preferably the garden or the back yard). If the dog does not come when you call it, do not chase it - the dog will only consider this a wonderful game. Instead just go indoors and leave it. When it comes to the door to come in, call its name and give lots of praise as it enters. The dog will soon learn that in order to get this praise it has to return to you.
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Should I hit my dog if he has been bad?
No doubt your new four-footed friend will occasionally be responsible for various misdemeanours that are unacceptable to you. Any harsh physical punishment will not and is often detrimental as it only frightens and confuses the dog. Correction and distraction training is a far better, kinder and much quicker method. Correction or conditoning of any type must only be used immediately the incident occurs. It is no use correcting the dog after the event. It is also imperative that you do not reward bad behaviour.
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If I am out all day and my dog does a bad thing, he knows he has done wrong as he hides, is this true?
This is definitely not the case. The dog realises that something is wrong because of the owners behaviour, body language or raised voice. The dog has no idea that he has done wrong or when. It is a waste of time using any form of punishment, distraction or corrective training at this time. It is too late to correct anything, you must always correct only when the incident occurs.
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How do I get my dog used to me not being there?
If it is unavoidable that you have to leave your dog alone at home, then build up the dogs confidence by leaving it only for a short space of time at first, gradually building the time up. Do not make a big fuss before leaving as this will excite the dog. It is much better to ignore it for a few minutes before departure. On your return, be a little aloof for a few seconds before making a big fuss. This will teach the dog that attention is only given when you decide, not necessarily on your immediate return home ad thereby helps to reduce separation anxiety.
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My dog gets sick when travelling, what can I do?
Most dogs take to travelling in a car without any problems, but there are a few who will be sick. Try putting the dog in the car with you sitting in the drivers seat, but do not switch on the engine. When the dog gets used to this, you can switch on the engine, but do not drive anywhere. When the dog is happy with this situation then drive only a very short distance, such as the length of the drive. Then over a period of time gradually build up the distance until you are able to take the dog for a short drive without any problems. If you are patient and do not try to move on too quickly then this method will usually work.
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I already have a cat and I would like to get a dog, what is the best way to introduce them to each other?
Adult cats take canine additions to the household in a variety of ways and it is not possible to predict how the cat will react. Many cats will be reserved and sulky at first but most will come to accept the situation and will soon share the home with the newcomer. Some preparations will help with a smooth transition. Well ahead of the dogs arrival put the cats litter tray and feeding bowls in a place the dog cannot reach. Provide a comfortable resting area for the cat at a high level so that it can escape the dogs attention if it wishes. When first introducing the two, have someone sit with the cat on their lap. The dog should be on a lead and taken up to the cat. If the dog behaves properly towards the cat then give lots of praise and even a tidbit. If the dog objects to its presence, threatens or tries to chase the cat, then it must be checked and told No very firmly. Continue with this training until both the cat and the dog behave properly towards each other and never leave the two together until you are sure that this mutual respect has developed.
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