Why it is important to educate your dog to have the correct manners and behaviors? Many of us consider our dogs to be members of our family. In many ways, they are. We form a special bond with dogs that few other animals share. Learning how to communicate leadership in a way a dog understands is key. The lesson for dog owners is to take control by communicating leadership – and to do so consistently.
When you begin training your dog doing so in calm, distraction free environments are key. You need to teach your dog the basic rules and the simple lesson of right vs. wrong. Once your dog knows what he should be doing it is time to add in distractions. Getting your dog to sit and stay when it is just the two of you is great, but not real life. Life is full of distractions. Now have your dog sit and stay and add in a leaf blowing past in the wind, kids running by or another person walking their dog across the street. Does your dog still know how to behave? Have you taught your dog the same rules with these distractions or do you expect your dog to “just know” what to do?
We are human and sometimes we don’t cover all our bases. This is nothing to fret over as long as we realize our training shortcomings and take action to rectify them.
If you know your neighbor walks her dog every day at 5:00 pm, then teaching your dog to walk past calmly needs to be practiced at that time. If your dog barks out the window at the kids getting off the bus, then you need to teach your dog at that moment to not bark at the kids. If you are not able to educate your dog in the moment or you decide to avoid the distraction, then your dog will never learn to have the right manners with distractions.
As you increase the level of distraction make sure to teach your dog the appropriate behavior. And of course, lots of praise when he behaves.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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