By Stefani Fortney, ABCDT
January 2016 is “National Train Your Dog Month”. Taking the time to train your dog is the most important thing you can do to build a stronger relationship with your canine companion. A foundation of basic obedience cues can build confidence, minimize frustration, and increase your enjoyment of your dog. While it can be amusing to watch a naughty dog from time to time, sharing a home with a wild child beast is exhausting.
When you train your dog, there are two things that are absolutely necessary to remember:
Consistency is key
Have you ever been in a relationship with a person who seems to expect something different from you every day? Every time you think you’ve figured out what they want from you, they change the rules. It’s frustrating, to say the least. When you train your dog, it’s important to be consistent in what you expect from him and how you communicate that expectation to him. If you allow him to jump up to greet you, he’ll assume it’s also okay to jump up to greet your toddler and your elderly mother. If you reward him for good behavior by feeding him treats, then slip him table scraps when he begs, he’ll assume that begging is a good behavior. Consistency. It’s really important.
Patience makes perfect
When you train your dog, it’s similar to teaching English as a second language. You can say the words over and over again, as slowly as you like, but the person won’t understand. You have to give physical examples. Maybe you have to play charades. It takes patience. Our dogs don’t have a spoken language. To expect them to understand us immediately is unfair to them. We have to maintain our cool, take the time to show them what we expect, and reward them every time they get it right. There are times that our dogs make us want to send them to boarding school. It’s okay to get frustrated. Take a breath. Take a break. Take it from the top.
Take these tips, take some treats, and take some time to train your dog!