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While training your dog can sound daunting, and after trying to convince my own dog that my bed is not in fact, her bed, or that squirrels are not plush chew toys she should eat, I realize that it’s also sometimes frustrating.
But it doesn’t have to be a challenge.
For some dog training tips, Task & Purpose reached out to Mike Dowling, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War, and a former military working dog handler. Dowling also does work with Hounds and Heroes, a nonprofit that provides service dogs to military veterans, and is the author of “Sergeant Rex: The Unbreakable Bond Between a Marine and His Military Working Dog.”
Dowling explained that training actually starts the moment you meet your dog.
“You immediately want to build trust with your dog and be positive with them,” said Dowling, who added that a strong bond between a dog and its owner or handler is an essential pillar in training.
And the foundation is obedience.
“Everything spawns from obedience, because if they won’t sit when you tell them to sit or heel when you to tell them to heel, they won’t do anything else,” said Dowling. “In a human to human relationship they’re equals. In a human to dog relationship you're the alpha, and that’s important because they rely on you for protection and guidance.”
Additionally, Dowling explained that there’s no set timeline for training your dog.
“It starts when you feel the dog trusts you, and you have a good enough rapport and strong enough bond that they will listen to you, and there’s really no timeframe for it,” said Dowling. “It’s really just dependent on you and your dog.”
If your dog is getting on in years or came to you with a number of bad habits, and you’re worried they’re too ingrained, Dowling insists that the adage “old dogs can’t learn new tricks,” is just that, old and out of date.
“Every dog can learn no matter what age,” said Dowling. “Dogs, like human beings, are continuously learning.”
While it’s one thing to understand the importance of obedience in training, it’s another thing to put into practice.
You need to do three things when training your dog, explained Dowling: Be consistent, positive, and patient.
1. Be consistent
First, you need to find the right place to start training.
“You don’t want to train your dog in your living room, or a public crowded place,” said Dowling. “You want to bring them into an environment where it can be just you and your dog. Whether it’s in a park, or some place where you know you’re going to have limited distractions. Preferably in a fenced in area.”
Once you’ve found the right spot, you need to return there so your dog comes to understand that this is where you go to train.
“When you go there every day, or every other day the dog is going to understand that in that area, it’s time to train,” said Dowling, but adds that it can’t feel like a chore for your dog, he or she has to enjoy it.
2. Keep it positive
When you enter the training area, you should start off by letting your dog run around and play, you know, be a dog.
“You enter the area in a really lighthearted way and let them run around and be a dog,” said Dowling. “Then you slowly and gradually bring them into the training.”
One of the ways to keep it light, is to find out what your dog wants.
“To keep it positive, you find out what your dog likes as a reward, whether it’s a kong or a toy,” said Dowling, who adds that he would discourage food, because if you run out of treats, not only are you not rewarding good behavior, you’re not being consistent.
You also need to end the training session the way you started, on a good note.
“When you leave the training session, make sure you end on a totally positive note.”
Dowling explained that you should “never ever end on a negative note,” because it undermines the work you’ve been doing with your dog, and could cause him or her to be become anxious or confused.
Which leads us to the last tip.
3. Be patient.
The worst thing you can do is to lose your cool or take a bad day out on your dog, explained Dowling, which is why patience is so important.
“Don’t overreact or take it out on them,” said Dowling. “It’s just going to cause stress or anxiety and that can develop into worse things down the line.”
Training your dog is going to be gradual, and isn't going to happen overnight.
“It’s going to take you a while for your dog to learn,” said Dowling. “Some will learn quick, some will learn slow, but if you’re consistent in rewarding them and how you give them commands and what your expectations are of them, then your dog will eventually pick that up, whether it’s within days, weeks or a month, whatever it is.”
Ultimately, your dog will learn so long as you remain consistent, patient, and positive, because really, all they want is to please you.
“Dog’s like to have a purpose, they want to please their handler, they want to please their owner, but really above all of that, what they really want is your love and affection,” said Dowling.
“In a lot of ways a dog-human relationship is like a human-human relationship but with less words,” said Dowling. “The only key difference is that you want to make them feel like they're part of the pack.”
If you’re patient and consistent with your dog, he or she will eventually learn, said Dowling
Mike Dowling explains the powerful bond between handlers and their military working dogs in the video below.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico has deployed almost 15,000 soldiers and National Guard in the north of the country to stem the flow of illegal immigration across the border into the United States, the head of the Mexican Army said on Monday.
Mexico has not traditionally used security forces to stop undocumented foreign citizens leaving the country for the United States, and photographs of militarized police catching Central American and Cuban women at the border in recent days have met with criticism.
Mexico is trying to curb a surge of migrants from third countries crossing its territory in order to reach the United States, under the threat of tariffs on its exports by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has made tightening border security a priority.
Packages containing suspected heroin were found in the home of the driver charged with killing seven motorcyclists Friday in the North Country, authorities said Monday.
Massachusetts State Police said the packages were discovered when its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section and New Hampshire State police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, at his West Springfield home. The packages will be tested for heroin, they said.
Zhukovskyy faces seven counts of negligent homicide in connection with the North Country crash on Friday evening that killed seven riders associated with Jarhead Motorcycle Club, a club for Marines and select Navy corpsmen.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.