You're Raising a Dog, not a Puppy.
I think we can all agree that puppies are the cutest thing in the world. Those little paws, sweet little faces, and warm, lap-sized snuggles are hard to beat. We want to keep them like that forever, but guess what? Puppies turn into dogs. I say this with mixed emotions. Puppy jumping is cute, but a grown dog doing that is annoying, and potentially dangerous. But what people tend not to realize, is the patterns started in puppyhood will not go away when your tiny little pup becomes a 75lb monster. And, if you ask me, encouraging that behavior for three months, and then getting mad when it happens isn’t just downright confusing, it is also a step in the totally wrong direction.
So maybe your dog is a little skiddish, unsocialized, or generally shows symptoms of anxiety or uneasiness in certain situations. Or maybe he doesn’t show any of these, but you just want to give a little boost to your furry best friend. But how do you build confidence in your dog? Here are seven ideas to get you started!
Your dog clearly loves you and your snuggles after work, your routine of giving her treats when you leave for the day, or playing with his favorite toy in the yard. You two are obviously BFFs, but you seem to find yourself frustrated at that same pooch when he wont come back to you at the dog park, jumps on your friends when they get to the house, or barks incessantly every time the wind blows or you see another dog. If these scenarios sound familiar, maybe your relationship could use a little TLC.
The dog training industry is very polarized. You have pure positive trainers teaching dogs using food, minimal consequences, and some will not even use the word “no.” On the other hand, you have balanced trainers using positive methods, but also providing consequences so that dogs can learn both sides of the coin, what we want from them (rewarded) and what behaviors are not acceptable (punished). Both prong collars and e collars are subject to debate from these two opposite ends of the industry.
Not Saying "No" is Saying "Yes"
I see many dogs with many different symptoms of behavioral issues and anxieties, but most of these varying symptoms are stemming from the same basic problem: the dog never gets told “no”. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these owners are catching their dog in the act and not doing anything about it, it means that what they are doing (or saying) doesn't mean anything to the dog. When dealing with an excited silly puppy that can't think about doing anything but jumping, biting, and scratching, you might find yourself saying “no” to that dog 100 times an hour. Does the dog stop? No! Because he has no idea what you are talking about, just that you got loud and gave him some attention, which is fun!
The truth is, if you aren't telling your dog “no” in a language that he understands, you are telling him “yes”. There are many situations where our dogs do things we don't like, but by not correcting it, we are allowing it to continue and become a patterned behavior. Without getting too sciencey on you, positive reinforcement is the act of adding something (such as a treat, attention, or physical affection) to help increase the likelihood that a behavior will occur again or continue. This is how we teach puppies tricks and basic commands. We ask them to do something, and when they do it, we give them a cookie! Sounds fun, right? Well, what happens when your dog is nervous about the delivery man entering your house and you decide to soothe him with lots of soft and sweet “it’s okay, you’re a good boy” as he's growling, or in an attempt to correct him, offer him a treat. What does the dog learn in this situation? When I growl at strangers, Mom or Dad gives me affection and cookies, I MUST be doing the right thing, I AM a good boy!
Why You Shouldn't Teach Your Dog to Stay
Stay. It is one of the most popular commands that owners teach their dogs when beginning training. They use it when they don’t want their dog to cross a threshold, when they want their dog to hold a certain position, or to keep away from a person, object, or other animal. Does it work? Sure, many people have had success with this command, but is it necessary? Definitely not. Why, you may ask? Because it should always be implied.
Curious about E-collar training?
Before I first got my hands on an E-collar, I was convinced that this contraption would do nothing positive for me, my dog, or our lifestyle. I was terrified that it would be painful and cause my sweet, silly puppy to turn into a robot dog, who was afraid to make any decisions on her own. Boy, was I WRONG!
Check out what E-collar training can do for your dog, I promise you, it will change your relationship in the absolute BEST way possible!
How to be a Great Handler
Getting training for your dog doesn’t just mean that a trainer works with your dog and just like that, all problems are fixed. Even if you were to take your dog to a board and train program, issues would be sure to resurface if the same standards were not held once he got home. Imagine sending your kids to school, where they learn math. But once they got home they were taught that 2+2=7. They would be confused. Since your dog is learning during every interaction with your family, that would be like doing math all night until bedtime. Imagine trying to take a math test after that!
Dogs that suffer from inconsistent commands at home cannot pass the test either. Training is about helping dogs to realize what the right choice is, and helping them consistently making that choice. So, although dog owners do not need to become dog trainers, being a great handler will make the training process much easier for both you and your dog!
Many balanced trainers focus on teaching the “place” command fairly early in the training process, but often when researching what you should be training your dog, this does not come up as one of the top contenders such as “sit” and “come.” As a balanced trainer and dog owner, I have learned that the “place” command is one of the most valuable commands that you can arm your dog with to allow him to lead a calm and well-balanced life.
Welcome to Everywhere Dog Blog!
Tips, tricks, and lessons learned from Everywhere Dog and their journey!
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