Training your furry friend is a priority for any dog owner, especially if they have only recently joined your family. While the training process gets a reputation for being challenging and time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be with the right techniques. When it comes to training and disciplining, positive reinforcement will get you further than old-school punishments, encourage positive behavior in your dog, and solidify your relationship at the same time. Here are four tips to help you encourage this positive behavior to help you get you the best out of your dog.
Build the foundation with easy, one-word commands
Before jumping into a full-on training routine, it is important to ease your dog into it by learning one-word commands first. One-word commands such as sit, stay, come, etc. are easy for them to understand and provide you with the basics, teaching your dog how to behave. This training will transfer into certain places and situations and ensure that your dog listens and behaves at dog grooming, for example. Each time they follow your command, make sure to treat them with one of their favorite treats, as well as verbal praise for positive reinforcement. One-word commands provide a good foundation for encouraging positive behavior in your dog while also ensuring that your dog learns to follow any subsequent commands much faster.
Spend some quality time together
Like all relationships in life, whether human or canine, for them to be positive, they need to be properly nurtured. Good relationships take constant time and effort, so it is also important to make sure that you spend some real one-on-one time with your dog, and regularly. Your dog will then see how much you care and love for him and will reciprocate these feelings back. They say that to a dog, you as their owner are their whole world, and that couldn’t be more true. Therefore, the more time you put into your relationship by going for long walks, playing, and having cuddles, the more loved they will feel, making them more likely to listen to you and display overall positive behavior.
Don’t turn to harsh punishments
Using old-school methods such as a whack on the butt, yelling, or leash correction isn’t useful for encouraging positive behavior in dogs. In fact, they are often detrimental and can ruin your relationship and make the situation much worse. While it is easy to get sometimes frustrated and tempted to dish out an old-school, traditional punishment that you might have seen your parents give your childhood dog, the best thing you can do is stay calm and take a deep breath. Dogs are excellent at picking up human emotions, so it is important that you show forgiveness and stay patient.
Dogs are incredibly smart creatures, requiring physical activity as well as mental stimulation to stay content, just like humans. If you are experiencing any behavioral problems, especially chewing, digging, or frequent barking, the chances are high that it could result from boredom. That is why it is important to keep your four-legged friend active, mentally as well as physically. Keep them mentally occupied by teaching them new tricks, hiding things around the house, or going out for a long walk in a new area. If you want some peace and quiet and mentally stimulate your dog at the same time, invest in some activity toys to hide treats in, and they will be kept busy for hours.
Photo by Josh Hild