Training Your Dog To Have Good Behavior

To be a good dog citizen, Beans should behave the way you like your friends’ dogs to behave when you visit them. Naturally, you don’t like a dog who barks, snaps, or bites; who destroys property; who jumps up on people or furniture. So naturally you won’t want Beans to have such bad habits. Correcting these faults is the first step in teaching Beans decent dog behavior.

By this time, Beans will know his name. He will understand what “No” means, and the difference between “Good dog” and “Bad dog.” He will probably be housebroken. So you have already made a very good start with his ABC’s of good citizenship. The rest of his education should not be too difficult, if you begin by making sure he understands what it is you want him to do.

How to Make a Dog Understand What You Want him to do.

Patience is the first and last word of all dog training. Why is patience so important? Because without it, you cannot teach a dog much of anything. But with enough of it, you can teach him to do almost everything except read!

Beans has only a dog’s intelligence, no matter how smart you may think he is. He cannot reason, as a human being understands the word. He cannot understand words as you do. This does not mean that he cannot learn. But since you can’t talk dog language . . . (if there is any such thing) . . . the only way you can teach Beans the meaning of a word is by repeating it . . . over and over, patiently, every time you show Beans . . , over and over, patiently . . , exactly what that word means. For example, if you want to teach him the meaning of the word “down,” so you can order him to get off furniture, you say “Down” every time you lift him up from a chair and place him on the floor. Of course he will jump right up again. And again. And againl You have to be just as persistent as he is. Every single time you put him on the floor, you must clearly say “Down.” One bright day, you’ll say “Down” without touching him, and Beans will jump down all by himself. That’s a day worth working and waiting for! He now will understand what you want whenever you say that word.

With patience, kindness, and firmness, you will be surprised at how quickly Beans can learn what you want him to do. And the reason he’ll learn so quickly is because he is very eager to please you.

Secrets of Dog Training

Now we are getting close to a big secret of dog training. Once you have it firmly in your mind that Beans wants to please you, then all you have to remember is to show him you are pleased when he does something right. And show him you are not pleased when he does something wrong.

(1) Show the dog again and again exactly what it is you want him to do. (2) Say the same word for this act every time. (3) Reward him with petting, praise him in a warm, encouraging voice, or give him a bit of food the instant he does what you’ve told him to do. (4) Punish him with a scolding in a firm, cross voice the instant he disobeys you, not later. He can’t remember why you’re scolding him if you wait.

A few more points and you’ll be ready to ring the bell to call Beans for school.

Don’t expect a puppy to learn too much too soon. A pup is naturally playful and full of fun. You shouldn’t begin to curb this puppy spirit too early in his life. Except for paper-training and housebreaking, it is probably best not to attempt to teach a puppy too much more before he’s at least six months old. Until then, play with him. Give him a lot of love. By the time he’s old enough to learn his manners, he’ll have confidence in you and so will do what you want more easily.

When you do start training lessons, don’t make them too long. A dog cannot concentrate for more than fifteen minutes on any one thing. He will learn more, and faster, from several short lessons every day than from one or two long ones.

Don’t give Beans his lessons when there are strange people about or when it’s nearly time for him to eat. Choose a time and place when it will be quiet and he won’t have anything on his mind but you. One to two hours after feeding is a good time.

When you start to teach Beans one command, stick to this command until he learns to obey it. Don’t give him one order, then change your mind and give another. The poor dog will become so confused he won’t learn either. No matter how bored you get in those fifteen-minute lessons, see to it that Beans learns to obey your first command before you try to teach him the second.

House Manners

If you remember these general rules, you are now ready to begin to teach Beans his house manners. Now that he is housebroken, the next thing he must learn is not to bite, even in fun; not to jump up on people or furniture; to come when called; to go to bed when he’s told to; and not to whine or bark when he’s left alone.


Even as a pup, Beans will nip at your fingers when he’s playing with you. Very seldom does a puppy bite in anger. Biting and chewing are two of his greatest pleasures at this age, and he simply does not understand that what’s fun for him may hurt a person or another animal. The way to get him to stop biting is to make him realize that his teeth can hurt.

Starting when he is several months old, you can teach him this fact in this way: every time he nips you, press his cheek in between his teeth and jaws with your thumb and first finger. Then hold out your other hand and tempt him to snap at it. When he does, he will bite down on his own cheek instead. If you do this faithfully, saying “No! No biting!” in a firm but not a loud voice, he will soon learn that trying to bite your hand only hurts him and makes you cross. Being sensible, he’ll stop biting every time you tell him to.

He Chewed Up Mother’s Nylons!

Next to housebreaking, the problem of a puppy’s chew. ing up valuables seems to worry parents the most. But compared to housebreaking, this really is a simple problem to solve.

From the very first day you bring Beans home, give him his own toys. These need not be expensive. A rag stuffed with smaller rags and knotted together makes a fine doll. An old leather belt, with the buckle removed, makes a good pulling toy.

Don’t give him old socks or shoes to chew on. He will find it hard to tell the difference between the old ones you allow him to play with, and your new ones which he must not touch. A hard-rubber ball or a chocolate-scented bone bought at a pet shop or ten-cent store will keep him busy for hours. And this is just what you must do . . . keep him busy with his own toys in his own pen. This will keep him happy during the time when he is left alone. It will also keep him away from the temptation of your Dad’s hat, your sister’s gloves, or your Mother’s nylons.

When you let Beans out of his pen to play in the living room or in your room, bring one or two of his own toys with you. If he then starts to chew up a nice fat pillow or your favorite catcher’s mitt, take this away from him with a sharp “No!” Give him one of his own toys immediately, and pet him when he chews that. You’ll have to watch him, of course, no matter how many toys he has. A puppy that is teething will sink his teeth into anything he can find. So it’s up to you to see that those little teeth can’t find anything valuable-at least until Beans is grown-up enough to know the difference between a bone and a bedroom slipper.

One important thing to remember about his toys: do not give him any soft-rubber or sponge-rubber toys. It is too easy for Beans to chew o$ a piece of such rubber and swallow it. This sticks to the inside of his stomach and call make him very sick. Give him only hard-rubber toys, and then only when you’re playing with him. And be careful of toys with “squeakers” in them. He might swallow the little whistle.

Jumping Up on People and Furniture

Maybe you don’t mind it when an affectionate pup jumps up to lick your face. After all, this is a dog’s way of greeting someone he loves. And maybe your Mother doesn’t object if Beans curls up on the sofa for a snooze. But whatever the rules in your house about these matters, Beans should be taught not to do them for the sake of other people who may not like them. Once you have taught him to obey when you tell him to get down, you can then let him do what you like in your own home. But at least you’ll know he will mind you in the homes of other people.

There are several ways of teaching him these particular manners. But none of them will work unless you are very strict. If you let Beans jump up on you one day, then punish him for jumping up on you the next day, he will never understand which you want. So once you start to train him not to jump up on you or the furniture, stick to your guns until he obeys.

One method of teaching him is to see that he understands the meaning of the word “down,” as explained on page 50. When he understands this command, you can use it if he jumps up either on people or furniture.

Another method is to teach him the meaning of the word “sit.” To do this, put Beans on a leash in the house. Walk a bit, then stop, holding the leash in your left hand. With your right hand, press down on Beans’s back near his tail, saying “Sit:” He may resist, but push firmly until he is sitting. If he stays there a few seconds, that’s very good for the first lesson. Pet him for this, and praise him.

Now start walking again, repeat the stop, say “Sit,” and push down on his back until Beans sits again. Keep repeating this until he sits each time you say that word, without your having to push him down. Don’t let him lie down. If he tries to he down, push up his front feet until he’s in the sitting position, and repeat “Sit.” He should stay seated as long as you stand beside him.

When he’s learned this much, take off the leash and let Beans walk around by himself for a minute, then say “sit.” If he doesn’t, go to him and push him down. Repeat the command until he sits whenever you order him to. Then walk around him while he’s sitting. He will want to follow you, but keep telling him to sit, until he stays seated.

After he’s learned this, you can walk farther away, ordering him to sit. Finally, he should stay seated no matter how far away you go nor how long you stay away. Give him a reward of a bit of food when he does this. He will soon learn to stay seated until you say “O.K.,” or whatever word you will use to tell him he can move again. But remember . . . patience.

Once he understands them, you can use the words “sit” and “down” to stop him from jumping up on people. If he still persists in this bad habit, you might try the following: As soon as he jumps up on you, quickly raise your knee under his chest and push him off balance so he falls down. Do this very fast. It won’t hurt him. But he won’t know that you have done it. He will only know that something unpleasant happens to him every time he jumps up on you. And soon he’ll stop jumping.

If he persists in sleeping on the sofa in spite of your commands to get down, you can try one of two things: If he is a large dog, ask one of your parents to set a mousetrap. Place this in the chair or sofa he likes. When he jumps into this, the trap will go off with a noise that will scare him, although the trap itself won’t hurt him.

If he’s a small dog, the trap might catch a paw. So instead of setting a trap, balance a large tin pan on the edge of the chair, so that when he jumps into the chair, the pan will fall with a clatter. One or two experiences with this horrible noise, and Beans should be cured of chairs for life.

The most effective way to break him of these two jumping habits, as any other bad habit, is your firmness in never letting him jump up on you or the furniture. This means never. It also means never let your friends permit him to do this. Later, after he’s learned his lessons, you can permit him to do these things if you wish.

Here, Beans!

Beans must learn to come when he’s called, whether he wants to or not. This is not only fundamental good manners. It might also save his life someday if you saw him in danger and knew he would come to you promptly. To teach him this important lesson, here’s what you do.

This is one form of training you can start when Beans is only three or four months old. Tie a long string to his collar, hold the other end in your hand, and let him wander away from you. Then call, “Here, Beans,” and pull him toward you gently. When he reaches you, give him a bit of food. Let him walk away again, then repeat, always saying, “Here, Beans,” each time. Then try calling him without pulling on the string. If he comes, take off the string. Now repeat the calling, giving him a reward every time he comes to you, making a fuss over him. He should soon learn that coming when he is called is a pleasant thing. This is the reason why you never call a dog to you to be punished. When you want to scold Beans, you must go to him. If you don’t, he’ll stop coming when he’s called.

Go to Bed, Beans

A well-trained dog goes to bed when he’s told. To teach Beans to do this is fairly easy. Let him watch you put his dinner into his food dish. Let him follow you when you carry that dish of food. Walk toward his bed with the dish, saying “Go to bed:” Place the dish in his bed and let him eat there. Do that far a few feedings, being sure to say “Go to bed” every time you put the dish in his bed. Soon he will go to bed whenever you say those words, even without the food dish.

Stop That Barking!

The time to begin to teach Beans to stop needless barking is when he’s still a pup of three or four months. If he thinks he hears a noise in the bedroom, and begins to bark, don’t scold him. Carry him into the bedroom and show him there’s nothing wrong. Talk to him calmly. Don’t jump yourself every time the doorbell or the phone rings. The dog learns from your reactions that this sound is exciting. Say a firm “No!” if he persists in barking.

By the time he is full-grown, Beans will have the idea that you don’t want him to bark. If he keeps on for no reason, in spite of scoldings, he is probably a very nervous dog and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

If Beans barks or whines when he’s left alone, the cure is to get him used to being alone while he’s still a puppy. Give him a bone to chew and close the door, leaving him alone for a short time at first, then for longer times. If he still barks or whines, try this trick: Put on your coat and hat, as if you were going outdoors. Put Beans in his pen alone, say good-by, and close the door. Now open, then loudly close, the outer door, as if you had left the house. But really, you stand quietly by the door to Beans’s room. As soon as he barks or whines, bang on that door roughly, and say “No! Stop barkingl” in your angriest voice. He will be startled. Believing you had gone out, he will now think that you can see him wherever you are and punish him for whatever he does, even if he can’t see you.

A word of warning about barking: once Beans is trained not to bark unnecessarily, let him bark a few times when the doorbell rings, then tell him to stop. He is obeying his natural watchdog instinct, which you do not want to stifle entirely. Also, pay attention if he should bark a long time at strange hours. He may be trying to tell you that there is a burglar in your house, or a fire, or gas leaking from the stove. Many families owe their lives to such warnings from alert, loyal dogs.

Outdoor Manners

Beans already knows how to walk on a leash and, if he’s a city dog, he uses the gutter for a toilet rather than the sidewalk. But there are other outdoor manners he should learn before he can be considered a good dog citizen. These include heeling; not eating food he may find; not chasing cars, chickens, or other dogs; and not biting or bothering people. Heeling is the key bit of training which will help Beans learn the rest of these manners.


To heel means for Beans to walk at your left side with his nose near your knee. Whether you want to enter Beans in a dog show or just take a pleasant walk with him, he must learn to heel. Nothing is more irritating to you and to other people on the street than a dog that pulls on his leash or zigzags from one side of the sidewalk to the other.

You should start to teach Beans to heel in the house, where it is quiet. Put him on his leash and hold it short until he is standing in the correct position by your left leg. Start to walk slowly, saying “Heel.” When he pulls ahead of you, pull him back to position, repeating “Heel.” Pat his head or give him a bit of food if he walks there a short while. If he lags behind you, pull him up to position, saying “Heel” every time. Don’t let him walk ahead or behind you for a single minute.

Keep him in the heeling position as you continue to walk. When you gradually walk faster, or circle around chairs and tables, Beans should keep up with you at your side. When you stop, say “Sit:” Beans should sit immediately at your side, facing forward. When you start to walk again, say “Heel” and keep him there. If he does this of his own free will, without tugging at the leash, give him a reward of food. When he has learned to heel all the time on the leash, try taking off the leash and teaching him to walk at heel with you. This is called “heeling free:” Heeling is not easy to teach. If you find that Beans doesn’t learn after several patient lessons, you might try one of two things:

(1) Tie a rope around his stomach. Run the end of this rope up through his collar to your hand, so you hold it like a leash. Teach the same way as if he were on a regular leash. Pull him back firmly every time he goes ahead of you, or pull him ahead every time he falls back. The rope will tighten around his stomach. Pat his head when he heels without pulling on the rope. He will learn that pulling means some pain, while heeling means a pat on the head or a bit of food.

(2) Or you may hold a light switch in your right hand as you hold the leash in your left. When Beans pulls ahead, touch his front legs with the switch until he moves back into the correct position. If he falls behind when you walk, touch his back legs with the switch until he moves up into heel position.

Once Beans heels fairly well in the house, try teaching him the same way out of doors on his leash. This will be harder, because there are so many more interesting things for him to smell and investigate. But with patience and firmness . . , never letting him run or pull ahead of you or lag behind you . . . you can teach him to heel. It is a pretty sight to see a well-trained dog walking by his master’s side in this way.

You should teach Beans to heel outdoors without a leash only in a secluded place away from traffic, and only after you are sure he heels well on the leash and will come the instant you call him.

Don’t Eat That!

Never allow Beans to eat scraps of food he may find in the street. Such garbage can be poisonous or it can contain dangerous bone splinters. The trick is to watch him all the time when you have him out. The instant you see him pick up a bit of food, yell “No1” in a loud voice. Pry his jaws apart and take the food out of his mouth before he has time to swallow it. Scold him crossly while you do this, saying “Bad dog! No!” Then make him walk right next to you for a while.

Beans should also be taught never to accept food from a stranger without your permission. This is not only to prevent him from overeating, but also to prevent him from possible poisoning. The way to teach him this lesson is fairly simple: When you feed Beans his meals or offer him a reward, you should always give him the food with your left t hand. Now offer him some food in the palm of your right hand, with your fingers held straight out. When he starts to take it, say “No!” in a firm voice and push his nose hard with your outstretched fingers at the same time. Then give him the same food with your left hand, let him eat it, saying “Good Beans. O.K., Beans,” while you pat his head with your right hand. Keep offering him food first in the right hand, then in the left, until he refuses to take it from your right hand.

The reason behind this method of training is that since most people are right-handed, the chances are that anyone who offers food to Beans will offer it in his right hand. If Beans is taught to eat only from a left hand, he will not eat the food from a stranger. Aside from being a sensible thing to teach Beans, this is a trick that will amaze your friends.

Passing People on the Street

The polite dog citizen goes his own way on the street. He does not run to or jump up on people who are passing by. He does not bark or snarl at them. And of course he does not bite theml It is up to you to stop him with a “No!” and a jerk of the leash if he shows signs of doing any of these bad things.

When you stop to talk to friends, you should tell Beans to sit. He should sit quietly beside you until you start to walk again, with the command “Heel:” Hard as it is to believe, there are people in the world who don’t like dogsl They will appreciate it if you have trained Beans to keep his place.

It almost goes without saying that Beans must never bite anyone. It also almost goes without saying that it is up to you to see that he doesn’t. Strange things may frighten a dog into biting. That is why you must keep him on a leash whenever he is out on the street. You must stop him with a firm “No!” if he snarls at passers-by. The reason for this firmness is not only to protect other people, but also to protect Beans. The law in many states allows a dog to bite a person once or twice. If he bites more often, the police can take him away from you and destroy him.

If Beans persists in snarling or snapping, in spite of your training, you must put a muzzle on him whenever you take him out.

Other Dogs

It’s difficult for Beans to pass another dog on the street without saying hello. But hard as it is, he should be taught to stay at your side and pay no attention even to the most attractive dog. You must keep him at heel so he does not sniff at or start to play with strangers. This is good manners, but it is also good sense. The other dog may have a disease which Beans could catch, or he may snap at him.

Beans Chases a Car

Some dogs, especially those brought up in the country, love to chase cars. Of course this is a serious habit which must be broken, both for the sake of your dog and for the sake of the people in the car who might have an accident as they try to avoid hitting the dog.

If Beans has been given good training, so he comes when you call him, you can probably stop the car-chasing habit before it starts. Call Beans to you every time he begins to run after a ear and give him a scolding. He should soon learn that this is something he must not do.

If he still runs after cars, however, try this: Ask one of your parents to have a pail of water next to an open window of the car. When they drive slowly past Beans and he begins to run alongside the car, your parent should throw the water over him. If this is repeated several times, he should become convinced that chasing cars is not as much fun as he thought.

Another method of breaking this dangerous habit is to attach a long rope to Beans’s collar. When he starts to chase a car, let him get almost the full length of the rope, then yell “Stop!” and pull hard on the rope. This jolt, repeated whenever he starts after a car, should make Beans behave.

And a final way of stopping car-chasing is this: Get a short piece of broom handle, from twelve to sixteen inches in length. Carve a notch in the middle and then hang it by a cord to Beans’s collar. It will hang across his front legs. When he starts running after a car, the stick will bang against his legs and trip him.

Beans Chases a Chicken

Chasing or killing chickens or other pets is one of the worst habits a dog can have. You must teach Beans to respect property, and that includes living things. If he chases a chicken, for example, try to catch him in the act. Grab him by the collar, shake him, and scold him in a strong voice. You must try as best you can to make him understand that he must not chase or harm chickens.

Puppies that are brought up in the country with other animals around can quickly be taught to play with them without chasing or otherwise annoying them. But the city dog who visits the country will need to be watched and disciplined so that he doesn’t harm other pets.


Once a year, in those states or cities that require it, every good dog citizen gets a license. Upon request at your local ASPCA, or your town or city hall you will get an application to fill out. For a small fee, you receive a metal plate with a number on it. This you attach to your dog’s collar. If he is ever lost, the number will show that you are his owner, so he can be returned to you.


While tricks are not nearly so important for a dog to learn as manners, they can be a lot of fun. Now that you are familiar with the general principles of training a dog, you will find it easy to teach Beans some tricks.

Let It Alone: Place a toy in front of Beans. When he starts to pick it up, hold him and say “Let it alone!” When he learns to sit by the toy without touching it, pat his head and gave him a little reward. This is a useful command to keep him from chewing up slippers or digging in flower gardens.

Kiss Me: This is easy. Pick Beans up in your arms. Hold his face close to your cheek and say “Kiss me.” Even though he won’t understand the words at first, he will automatically lick your face.

Catch It: Toss a bit of meat or dog biscuit toward Beans, calling “Catch it!” When he gets used to catching food in the air, then toss a small ball or other toy that won’t hurt his mouth.

Bring It to Me: Most dogs naturally like to retrieve. Throw a ball for Beans, and when he runs to it and picks it up, call “Bring it to me:” If he doesn’t come right away, call “Here, Beans:” This is a command that he should know by now, so he will come to you with the ball. Repeat the lesson until he also obeys the order, “Bring it to me: ” Later, when he understands what the words mean, he can then be taught, “Bring me my slippers,” or “Bring me your leash.”

Drop It: After Beans learns to retrieve, he should then learn to drop the toy at your feet when you tell him to.Teach him this by saying “Drop it” while at the same time you gently open his jaws and take the toy away from him, letting it drop to the floor. This is a useful command when he starts to eat something he shouldn’t, or when he picks up something he might hurt with his teeth.

Stand Up: Hold a bit of food high in your hand and say “Stand up, Beans.” He will naturally rise to his hind legs in his effort to reach the food. If he wobbles a little, hold your other hand under his front legs, saying “Good Beans. That’s right.” If he falls down, hold the food in the air again and repeat the command to stand up. Don’t reward with the food until he does stand up.

Sit Up: This is taught much the same way as stand up, but you hold the food lower, about the level of Beans’s nose when he sits up. Cover the food with your fingers so he won’t get it as you hold his front legs steady while he tries to sit. Little by little, he will learn to keep his balance and sit up alone.

Roll Over: Hold a toy in one hand, down close to the floor. Say “Roll over” at the same time that you roll Beans over with your other hand. Then give him the toy at once. Or you can use a bit of biscuit, but don’t let him eat it until you have rolled him over. Soon he will learn to roll over by himself whenever you hold a toy or a bit of food near the floor, and give the command to roll over. Always reward him by giving him the food or toy as soon as he obeys.

Dead Dog: Place Beans on the floor so he is lying on his side. Hold him there firmly, saying “Dead dog.” Walk away from him. If he starts to get up to follow, say “No!” Push him down again, repeating “Dead dog.” When he stays there after you have walked away a little, give him a reward. He will gradually learn to stay there even when you leave the room, until you call him.

Shake Hands: Get Beans to sit down on his hind legs. Have a bit of food hidden in your left hand. With your right hand, tap under Beans’s right wrist and lift up his paw from the floor, saying “Shake hands:” As soon as he lifts his paw and puts it in your hand, give him a reward.

Shut the Door: Take Beans to a door that is open a little way. Lift up his front paws until they rest on the door, As soon as the door begins to close, say “Shut the door.” Repeat this, praising and rewarding Beans whenever he shuts the door.

One final word to remember about teaching any commands: Always use the same words for what you want your dog to do. For instance, if you want him to learn to shake hands, always say “Shake hands” and don’t confuse him by saying “Hello” or “Howdy.”