Dog Training for Your Pet's Well Being, and Also Yours!
February is Dog Training Education Month, which logically comes after January’s Train Your Dog Month!
Training your dog simple commands builds a lasting relationship between you and your pet, as well as defines boundaries with you and within the home. Dog Training establishes roles between you and your dog that will help keep them safe and feeling a part of the pack. When a dog understands the social structure they live within, they will feel more secure and exhibit less anxiety or unwanted behaviors.
Consistency is key!!! Take as little as 15 minutes a day (but no more than 45 minutes) with high-value and nutritional treats to work on established commands and to start new ones.
Remember not to over feed your dog. You can also have them lick the treat with a few accomplished tasks, and feed after the 4th or 5th successful response (depending on the dog), or only give them very little pieces as a reward.
Do not reward or punish unwanted behavior.
Set your dog up for success by beginning with simple, repeated behaviors, then gradually progress to more complex tasks. Simple commands that are important for their safety and your peace of mind include sit, stay, place, and leave it.
Training in a distraction-free environment is also important to successful training. Taking your dog outside to learn the same commands with more distractions is considered advancement.
Basic hierarchy household commands include teaching your dog to sit and wait at regular feedings before you “release” them to eat. This shows them that you are in control of one of the most important things to them: food.
When you are going for walks, have your dog sit and wait to let you go outside first because you are the leader.
During your meal time, teach your dog to “place” on a raised bed so they do not disturb your eating time or beg for food.
Leash obedience produces polite and socially confident dogs and reduces your anxiety during walks! Teaching a dog to heel on a leash will reduce lunging and reactivity to other dogs.
Walk your dog, don’t let your dog walk you. Many trainers agree that having your dog behind you gives your dog the confidence that you will protect it from any oncoming threat, and therefore will not feel the need to bark at everyone and every animal that crosses your path.
References and Further Reading