How to Train An
Many people who’ve adopted older dogs, especially
stray dogs or
dogs from the animal shelter, assume that their dog has been abused in
So, how do you
train an abused dog?
Let’s get right to the heart of the matter and
state that in
order to learn how to train an abused dog, we need to first
define what an abused dog is:
Of course, there are all types of different abuse.
from a dog being hit with a hammer to a dog simply being left
and ignored in the back yard for months or years can constitute
But for the purposes of this article, we’re going
to define an
abused dog as any dog that shows specific signs of extreme timidity in
response to regular behavior by you. i.e., petting, grooming, feeding,
These are what you might call "high-functioning"
In contrast to dogs that have been used (for example) in laboratory
experiments. Or dogs that have been physically scarred and wounded.
Working with such dogs is (or should be)
clearly outside of the scope of this article.
So, how do you work with a "high functioning"
abused dog? And
how do you teach your dog to relax and enjoy life?
The answer can be found in starting obedience
the lines of the principles I’ve outlined in my book (which you
can read more about at): http://www.dogproblems.com/secretsbook.htm
I can hear it already, 'But Adam, you advocate
using a leash and
training collar when you train a dog, and my little, shy "Muffy"
already wets himself when I bend over to pet him.'
[ALERT: I’m about to make a broad GENERALIZATION:]
In general, most "high functioning" abused dogs
display timid behavior because they are unclear as to when
they’re doing the RIGHT thing and when they are doing the WRONG
If you follow my approach to dog training, your dog
learns-- or more specifically, you learn-- how to communicate
with your dog in a way that will make him relax and know when
he’s doing something wrong and when he’s doing something right.
And what I’ve found with these dogs is that they
to become much more confident and self-assured through the
process. Why? Because when you use intelligent dog training
techniques, your dog is now clear about what’s going to happen
and when, in a world he formerly had no guidance or clear
leadership. He learns what is good behavior and what is bad
behavior—instead of having to guess!
You read that right: The #1 Reason That Dogs Who’ve
In The Past Continue To Show Extreme Timid Behavior Is Because
They Are Confused.
Once your learn how to communicate with your dog,
and take away
the confusion, you will see all the extreme timid behavior
disappear! And the way to do this is to start intelligent
'But should I use the leash and collar to correct
my dog, if
he’s got such a soft temperament?'
The answer is: Yes.
Which begs the question of how firmly you should
dog, which is something that differs from dog to dog.
Here’s a hint: You’ll figure it out by practicing
dog. (If you haven’t already, please review the: Three Keys To
Successful Behavior Modification chapter in my book). However,
the issue is not "Should I correct a dog that has been abused
in the past", but rather "When I’m communicating to my dog when
he’s done something incorrectly, how firmly should I correct
And the answer to this question is: Only firmly
extinguish the unwanted behavior and communicate to the dog
that he shouldn’t do it again. Like I mentioned: You’ll learn
this by practicing with your dog. If you employ the concepts of
timing, consistency and motivation, you’ll have nothing to worry
about and your dog will gain confidence and self-assuredness
from your efforts.
About The Author: Adam G. Katz is the author of the
"Secrets of a Professional Dog Trainer: An Insider's Guide To
The Most Jealously Guarded Dog Training Secrets In History."
Get a free copy of his report "Games To Play With Your Dog"
when you sign up for his free weekly dog training tips e-zine