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Hi all!
I am trying to retrain my 3 year old Boston. She is potty trained (with the occasional slip up inside) and is free fed. She has absolutely no discipline in terms of listening and knowing what is right and wrong. I have researched quite a bit and seems like we are going the umbilical cord training route since i am home most of the day. I have questions such as, should I continue to free feed or set feeding times? Are there any other tips that I should know? Is umbilical training the best method? We are going to use a crate when she sleeps but other wise she will either be with me always or free running out in the yard. Anything and everything is greatly appreciated. I have never trained a dog before and am not sure where to start!
 

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Dogs are pack animals with a social hierarchy, which consists of a pack leader and followers. Your dog needs you to be leader and he should be the follower. In nature, when wild dogs wake up, they migrate. They hunt, and wait their turn to eat, then rest. They have rules and boundaries. They play, socialize and share affection. All of these are very important to keep the dog happy and balanced.
Or as you may have heard, dogs need: Exercise, Discipline, Affection.
In that order.

Walking a dog first thing in the morning before his breakfast, then having rules (such as sitting and calmly waiting before you put down his bowl), fulfills a dogs instinct to work for his food. Letting a dog "work" for or earn his food is much more satisfying, as it gives your dog a job and a sense of accomplishment. This fulfills exercise (walk), discipline (waiting at mealtime/following rules), and affection (food/petting, etc.). I believe this lifestyle for a dog earns you his trust and respect naturally, and that is what makes a dog obedient. So training becomes easier.

As for the best potty training method, it depends on you and your dog. We adopted a 1.5 yr old dauchshund who was not potty trained. I brought her outside to the same spot every few hours. When she went, I said "GO POTTY" and quickly gave her praise or a toy. (Some people use clicker training and a treat). If I caught her peeing inside, I picked her up, put her outside and said "GO POTTY." If she peed inside and I missed it, I just quietly cleaned it up, never scolding her. She was potty trained in 2 weeks. And she knows the command "GO POTTY."

I prefer no treats with training. We trained my beagle using food, which just made him excited and eventually caused problems. He needed to relearn that we wanted him to sit for US, not for SNACKS. We make training into games so it's fun!

You will come across lots of info, and soon you will know which training method makes sense to you and your dog. Enjoy the process!
 
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