Communicating with your dog is actually one of the main things that people DON’T do according to a dog trainer. Dogs pick up on so much more than we think, through the repetition of certain words and through the pitch and tone of our voice. Tell your dog calmly when they’ve done wrong, and enthusiastically when they’ve done a good job.
One of the most important things, as stated by a dog behavioral therapist, is to NEVER berate your dog. Don’t shout at them – they didn’t do anything to upset you on purpose. Hearing you shout will only make them more anxious and nervous and more likely to do it again. Positive reinforcement when they do something well is the only successful way to train a dog,
Hold your hands up…this is on you, not just your dog. If your dog has picked up bad habits then the likelihood is that you are a big part of the problem, probably the biggest part in truth! Our habits and the way we are with our dog often create certain undesirable behaviors so acknowledging this is one of the beginnings of retraining yourself.
Dogs descend from the wild and there’s still a ‘pack mentality’. When you allow your dog to enter the house before you, they see this as a kind of pack placement. They, who entered the house first are clearly top dogs! You, who had to follow them are lower down the ranks… This isn’t what we want them to think if we need to train them!
Don’t jump in too fast and think about all the cool tricks they can do like ‘chase their tail’ before you’ve even mastered the basics. Yeah, teaching your dog to ‘play dead’ can be a cool party trick but it won’t help you. Recall is the first and foremost thing you should master before anything else.
You really can’t allow yourself to get mad at your dog. Even if you walk into the home and see your new designer shoes on the floor in shreds, dog trainers specifically tell us to stay calm. Shouting and raving won’t teach your dog how to improve. And, chewing when you’re away from them is a sign of anxiety which you will make way worse by shouting.
In these situations particularly it can be VERY difficult to be patient. But think of your dog like a child, they need time to learn. You can’t tell them one thing and expect them to remember it. Dogs want to please you, so just know they;’re doing their best, and remember that even when they take a pee on the cream carpet!
Dog trainers tell us to get to the root cause of issues. Repeated patterns of behaviors are signs that we as dog owners have to look into. Why are they chewing furniture when I’m not there? Why do they get aggressive? Usually, root causes boil down to fear and anxiety which have to be tackled first!
Those puppy dog eyes are notoriously hard to resist. They’re so cute, just a little pet won’t hurt… It will, according to dog trainers. If your dog is receiving treats for behavior then, of course, they will mimic this again. So when you suddenly get mad at their begging, they’re just really confused!
One of the most frustrating dog behaviors is when dogs pull on the leash. But according to a dog trainer each time they pull, you stop, wait for them to stand by you, and then resume. Reward them for walking by you and repeat – it’s time-consuming! Yanking the leash releases hormones that tell your dog to pull more!
Physically punishing your dog by locking them outside or raising a hand to them is an absolute NO can do. Your dog needs to trust you, not be scared of you. The more fearful your dog is the more their bad habits escalate and they can even learn from you and become an aggressive dog.
Feel free to treat them as they respond well to your training and you’ll notice they become a lot more receptive! Use little training treats that you can use more freely. This will be the perfect way to tell your furry friend that they’ve done well and to keep up with the progress. And it makes it much more enjoyable for them too!
Your dog needs to know that food time isn’t at the table with the humans as this again tells your dog that they’re the boss. So don’t throw them any scraps from the table. And because you’ll never eat in peace again because they’ll be waiting by your side for the next!
When your dog starts yapping at you, don’t both shout NO – they’ll bark louder. Wait until they eventually stop, wait for a few seconds, and then reward them by saying clearly the word ‘quiet’. This takes serious patience but a dog trainer revealed that this is the way to conquer incessant barking.
Just like with kids, dogs too become more naughty when they; ‘re bored. Dogs need a lot of stimulation, both physically and mentally. Others their pent-up energy will come out in undesirable behaviors and bad habits. So if they’re acting up, maybe realize that you’re not playing with them enough or taking them out enough!
Combating your dog’s anxiety will help eradicate their bad behavior. When you have an anxious dog, it can be super obvious but also not obvious at all. You have to slowly reintroduce them to things and find out what it is that triggers them and makes them react badly.
Dogs with separation anxiety HATE being away from you. It’s very tempting to come home to them and see their excitement and reciprocate it. But dog trainers tell us that their excitement stems from relief. When you reciprocate their behavior it’s basically telling your dog that now everything is okay because they’re back. Walking in calmly showed them that everything was also okay when they were alone.
Once your dog has learned their new habits, don’t assume that the work is done. If you expect them to keep acting a certain way, you do too! You’re the most responsible for your dog’s behavior, so if you don’t act consistently don’t be surprised if they slip back into their old bad habits. It’s not their fault, it’s yours!
Our feelings can also affect our dog’s behavior. If you are stressed, your dog knows and it will react to the thing you’re stressed about as though your dog needs to protect you. For example, if you’re scared that they will be aggressive with a dog so you panic and pull them away, your dog then thinks they need to protect you from the thing you’re frightened of which may make them aggressive!
You’re not perfect, so don’t expect your pup to be perfect either. You can never achieve perfection, they’re a living being, not a robot. You love them for their quirks just as they love you for yours. So give them credit where it’s due and know when they are trying their hardest.
Try and redirect their bad behavior. So if you see a situation about to possibly arise, try and redirect it so that it doesn’t happen. If there’s a dog on the horizon that your dog hates and you know there could be a negative interaction, distract your dog and throw a ball in the opposite direction!
As we said before, finding out what triggers them is important. Once you know what causes bad behavior, you can then slowly start to reintroduce them to these triggers bit by bit. Each time give them lots of praise and remove them from the situation. The next time, you can stay a little longer!
If they could, our dogs would have our 24-7 attention, there’s no doubt about it. But the reality is we can’t give that to them because we also have other things to do! So when they; ‘re trying to get your attention, ignore it so that they know they can’t always demand it when they want.
Dogs are creatures of habit, they love a sense of familiarity which can make them feel secure. Feeding them and letting them out at the same time in the morning are all ways to help create this for your dog! When your dog feels secure and safe they don’t act out so much!
Keep a journal of your pup’s progress to see how far they come. Then, on those days when you feel like you’re getting absolutely nowhere you can look and remind yourself that actually…you’ve both achieved a lot and you shouldn’t be so hard on either of you.
Dog trainers tell us that positive experiences are the most powerful thing. Because negative experiences can shape your dog’s mentality, the only way to combat this is by having way more positive than negative. You need to create these for your dog so that they don’t have a negative association with a situation.
Sometimes your dog has bad habits because they have a real underlying medical issue that is hurting them or upsetting them. Getting them checked out thoroughly by the vet is a good way to be able to know if it’s medical or behavioral which is a good place to start!
Your dog learns from you, so they will copy your behaviors. If you act super giddy and excited for example, they do the same! So know that they are copying your emotions and replicating your behaviors. So don’t just focus on their bad habits, reflect on how you are acting around them.
Your fur baby should have a safe environment where they feel totally relaxed. If you have a busy house, you need to create a space that is just for them. Dogs need these timeouts to be able to rest, as if they are mentally exhausted or agitated it will show through bad habits.
You might be training your dog for weeks, making excellent progress together and then you have a guest who walks into your home and starts feeding them bacon from their plate or encouraging them to jump on the couch. This is undoing all of your hard work, so make sure they follow the rules!
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