Everybody says dogs are a man’s best friend. They love you unconditionally, they don’t judge you or argue, they are good for emotional support, and so much more. They really have a special place in your heart just like a human. Once you bring your sweet baby home, there is a bond created that lasts a lifetime.
BUT there is a side to having a 4-legged best friend that is often overlooked when thinking about adding another member to the family. Training a dog is a lot like teaching a baby. They don’t know what they can or can’t do. As “Mom” or “Dad” it’s your job to teach them. Nobody wants to walk down the hall and step in a puddle surprise or walk in the door after a long day at work and find your new shoes…… well….. An old chew toy. Training your buddy is essential.
Here are five ways to encourage good habits without instilling fear:
Who doesn’t love treats? They are yummy! But they can also reward good behavior. When your cuddly buddy goes potty outside or chews on a chew toy,
show them you are proud of them by giving them a small dog treat. You can even buy “training treats” at the store. Your dog interprets this as “If I do this,
then I get something tasty! If I do it again, I will get another one!” After rewarding good behavior with a treat, he or she will catch on and learn to do it all the time.
Showing Dogs Dominance
Dogs either need or are a pack leader. Typically, a dog will think of its owner as the leader because he or she looks to you for food and shelter. When I say show dominance, I don’t mean yell or spank your little (or big) housemate or put them in time out. Positive ways of showing dominance would be to set rules or limits. An example would be not letting your Toto on your bed or having a specified area for them to lay when relaxing. This shows him or her stability and that you are in charge.
Dog Love and Affection
Dogs need attention. You know how you have your own welcome party every time you walk in the door? They are sitting at home all day waiting for you to come back. Giving them attention helps with emotions they don’t know how to handle. Sometimes dogs will act out when they don’t get the attention they need, you know that chewed up shoe I was talking about earlier? Yeah, that can happen because he or she needs some cuddles. (que my next point.) You can never over cuddle, hug, or pet your fur baby.
Don’t Encourage Bad Behavior In Dogs
Have you ever seen one of those youtube videos where somebody gets home and the dog has made the couch vanish into balls of stuffing? Or the pictures of a hole in the door where a dog has scratched and chewed through? A dog can feel anxious or depressed because they want attention or to get extra energy out and they handle it in a way that helps them at that moment. But encouraging this action only leads to it happening again. You might not even realize you are encouraging it. Here’s an example- If your puppy dog sleeps in a crate at night and starts crying, going over and getting on to him or her and telling them to stop encourages them.
If your rascal wants attention, he will take negative attention over none (even though this is definitely not the time for loving). The best thing to do is to just ignore the whining. Once they see it isn’t working, the whining will stop and not be repeated. And of course, common sense tells you not to give in. It’s easier to give in- but leads to some very hectic bad habits.
Doggy Play Time!
I had a dog once that would get aggressive if she didn’t go to the park or for a walk every day. She had bottled up energy that she didn’t know what to do with. Playtime got the uncontrollable energy out so she didn’t try to handle it in less than preferable ways.
Dogs are great and they are all different, but every furry companion needs your guidance. Just like humans, bad habits are easy to pick up and hard to break. Encouraging good habits is important for your baby and your sanity.