I am and always will be a dog lover and have had many dogs over the course of my life. Dogs are fun, provide a good way to exercise, are great for kids, and can be excellent companions. One of the most difficult things about owning a dog can be the training process. Teaching a dog to sit, stay, and roll over are a thing of the past. We’ve come a long way in our understanding of animals and can now train them to do many things. Here are 10 tips to help aid you along your dog training adventure.
1. Listen to Your Pet– Many people think that a dog should listen to the commands of the owner but this is a two way street. Don’t pressure your friend into doing anything that they are obviously uncomfortable with. For example, if playing with other dogs seems like too much, don’t insist that he stays around them. Forcing these issues is inviting problems later down the line in the training process.
2. Praise– You may have no issue showing your dog praise for the things they do correctly and when they behave perfectly, but don’t forget to praise the little things too. Most people know to scold their dogs when they’ve done something wrong but many forget to show praise each time they do something good. This reinforces the concept of good and bad in their mind and shows them you care about each action they make.
3. Be Specific– Dogs are much smarter than the average person gives them credit for. However, many dogs do not take generalized statements as well as we would like. If scolding don’t just tell Fido no, also point out what they did wrong.
4. Consistency– When training a dog it’s important to be consistent with your goals and actions. Each time they do something good make sure they are rewarded and the same goes for when they misbehave. Letting things slide “just once or twice” will reverse your training progress and set you back weeks or months.
5. Be Realistic– Changing the way a dog behaves takes time, patience, and hard work. Don’t expect your pet’s behavior to change overnight from a wild beast to a calm lapdog overnight. Some behaviors, often the innate ones such as barking or jumping, take the longest for them to unlearn. Remember that behavior problems can be corrected, some just take longer than others.
6. Protein– Choosing the right food is key for keeping your dog in the right mental state ideal for training. If your pet is inside sleeping all day while you work, he doesn’t need the high protein diet of an animal that spends the day being active. Feeding the appropriate type of food will lessen the chance of medical issues down the line saving you money, time, and worry in the process.
7. Lead By Example– Show your dog what you expect by exhibiting good traits of your own. Dogs will pick up on your sense of security, well being, and right or wrong over time. Dogs pay attention to everything we do and if we break the rules they will feel like they can too.
8. Train When Calm– Train your dog when they are at the right energy level. It will be much easier to deal with your pet when they aren’t bouncing around like they have springs attached to their feet. To calm your dog before training, take them on a walk or play with them and then get to work with your training.
Use any or all of these when training your dog to see results. I have implemented each of these in my own dog training routine and my dogs still act perfectly to this day. For more complete training check and see if your local pet store has a program you can enroll in. Good luck!
ASPCA- Training Your Dog
For more pet care information and reading from this author, check out:
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Five Tips for Raising Your Turtle Right
5 Great Ways to Deodorize Your Stinky Pet