Playing with your dog is fun and pretty easy. But, is getting them to follow your house rules? Not always. Fortunately, positive dog behavior training can help!
All human companions know this – no matter how much you love your pet, discipline will eventually become necessary. Dealing with negative behaviors should come with positive reinforcement whether working with a young puppy or adult dog.
Why is it Important to Train Your Dog?
No matter the age, all dogs can benefit from basic obedience training. Teaching your dog basic commands such as sit, stay and come makes you feel safer and in control of your dog. A well-trained dog will be easier to walk and introduce to family and friends.
Training is also the best time to bond with your dog. Canines love to learn new things! Training can be a great way to satisfy that curiosity.
What is Positive Dog Behavior?
Positive reinforcement techniques will never punish or frighten your pet. Fear only yields short-term results and may even traumatize your dog.
With positive reinforcement, you can reward your dog for good behavior and ignore him for undesirable behaviors. By doing this, you are telling your dog that some behaviors are acceptable while others are not. As well, It is always helpful if you can teach your dog the behavior that you want him to do. For example, if your dog is jumping and you shun the behavior, he learns he will not get a pet. If you ask him to sit and pet him, he learns that sitting gets a pet, not jumping.
Positive dog behavior techniques allow you to discipline your dog without scaring him.
How to Encourage Positive Dog Behavior
When training your dog, the key is to lavish him with lots of praise. If your dog enjoys treats, this can be a good way to motivate your dog to learn and repeat certain behaviors. Of course, eventually you will lessen the treats and praise more.
Reinforcing good habits in your dog will save you a lot of trouble as your puppy grows. Here are a few tips on how to raise your dog as a well-mannered member of the family.
· Spend time together
Dogs do not like to be abandoned or neglected so make sure you spend quality time together regularly. Dogs are also more likely to follow you if you are calm instead of using an abrupt voice.
· Give one word commands
Start positive dog behavior training with one word commands that are easy to understand: sit, come, eat or stay. Every time your dog displays appropriate behaviors, reward him with a treat and verbal praise.
· Challenge your dog
Just like humans, dogs require physical activity and mental stimulation to stay happy and fit. In fact, many behavioral problems can be attributed to boredom. When dogs are bored, they start to bark, dig, and chew on your stuff. Therefore, it is crucial to keep your pup active.
Dogs are full of energy and naturally curious. Teach them new tricks, play fetch, or hide things around the house for them to find. You can also take them outdoors and introduce them to new people and other dogs.
· Reward your pup
Every time your dog does something positive, tell him that he has done something well! Constant praise will encourage him to repeat good behavior. Most dogs like treats and praise so offer both to let him know that he did a good behavior.
· Discourage biting and nipping
Puppies that are teething tend to chew on everything to relieve the pain. Nipping is also a form of expression when dogs crave your attention. Discourage play biting on your hands as this can be dangerous for you and others. If your puppy starts nipping you, use an interrupter word to stop the behavior. Next, give him a bone or toy to chew on so he understands what behavior that you want. Always supply appropriate chew toys for your dog to chew on especially as he is in the teething stage.
Does your dog like chewing on your footwear or furniture? Be proactive and give him a toy or bone instead to keep him busy. As well, you can teach your dog the “leave it” command to let him know that footwear and furniture are inappropriate items to chew.
· Make positive dog behavior training fun
Training does not have to be strict or rigorous. You can teach commands such as sit, get, stop, or come while playing games. This way, your dog will associate training with outdoor fun instead of boot camp. As well, you can vary the times that you train with your dog so that he does not get bored. Often, more frequent short sessions will keep your dog attentive.
· Get the family involved
With positive reinforcement, you can involve your whole family with dog training. Your children and other household members can practice the same commands while you are away. This will also ensure that your dog responds to all family members.
Keep in mind that dogs are pack animals; and, your family is now their pack. They will thrive in a home where rules are clear and consistent.
If you have small children, it’s best to keep your dog on a leash during the initial stages. You can help teach your children appropriate ways to interact with your dog or puppy.
If you are finding it difficult to train your dog, we can help. Our experts at Positive Paws have provided obedience training to countless families in St. Charles and St. Louis. Together we can teach your puppy how to behave by rewarding them instead of punishing them.