Puppies – so cute yet so prone to jumping, nipping, chewing & barking. At Angels Eyes, we know of a few simple “dog training” techniques that can help you discourage undesirable behaviors before they become routine. These techniques, by the way, work well with adult dogs too! Guess that means older dogs can learn new tricks, so let’s get started.
First off, remember your pup is pure at heart, lives in the moment AND doesn’t know any better when he or she displays behaviors that might bother you. When you are patient, calm and consistent when training your beloved pet, you will reap the rewards of a sweet companion who is loved by you, your family and your neighbors.
Praise works wonders! When your dog displays a behavior, you’d like to stop – such as nipping at your hand while playing – come up with a command such as “no biting” and use it every time your pet nips. If he or she keeps nipping, gently remove your hand, repeat the command “no biting” and end playtime. Repeat the process everytime you play until he or she stops nipping (it may take several tries) THEN heap praise on your pet as a reward. Now that you’ve learned the “praise” technique – you can use it to change or encourage all types of behavior by devising simple appropriate commands such as “get down,” “no begging” – you get the idea.
Bribery is an option. At Angels Eyes, we know some behaviors can be harder to correct than others – like straining on a leash. When you get ready for a walk, carry a few treats with you and when your pet pulls on the leash, say “walk nice” or “heel” and when your pet slows down, offer the treat while praising the behavior. Because training with treats is so effective, it can be used as a reward when teaching your pet to sit, stay, roll over and more. On a side note, treats have calories, so we suggest you break them into tiny bites or use low-calorie blueberries or diced carrots to help your pup stay trim and healthy.
The Switcheroo. For behaviors like “chewing” – the replacement technique is touted by many pet lovers as a miracle worker. When you see your pooch chewing on a shoe or book, firmly say “no,” take the item away and replace it with a “chew toy!” When your dog starts chewing the approved item, praise your pet for chewing on the good toy. Soon, your pup will get the idea that your shoes or books are “off limits” and as a bonus, has gained a new toy! That’s what we can a win-win!
Just walk away. If your dog is displaying a behavior that other techniques have failed to correct, such as repeated barking, or constantly vying for your attention, simply move away from your pet and ignore the behavior. We know it may be hard to ignore that sweet little face, but when your dog fails to get attention, he or she will quickly learn that barking, jumping or whimpering does not result in attention. When your pet calms down, offer that attention as a reward and you and your pup will both enjoy yourselves.
Consistency Matters. Whether using praise, training treats, replacement items or walking away, remember to be consistent, always responding calmly and with the appropriate commands and training techniques. And always be effusive with your praise. At Angel Eyes, we believe you can never give your pet too much love. Also, one of the things we love most about our pets is that they really are eager to please, will lap up the praise AND reward you with lots of affection in return! No wonder our furry-family members are so well-loved.
Professional Training Requires Participation. If you are thinking about hiring a professional “dog trainer,” it’s important to note that a good trainer will actually be training you AND your dog. Go ahead and sign up for one-on-one or group training, but when classes are finished, remember that it will be up to you to continue with the techniques & commands your pet has learned for a lifetime of good habits, lots of snuggles AND tons of love.
A Word of Caution. Last but not least if your pet is displaying worrisome behavior such as over-zealous chewing, licking, whimpering or crying – don’t rule out the thought that it could be anxiety-related or caused by a medical condition. At Angels Eyes, we recommend a call or visit to your veterinarian if you suspect an underlying issue. We know you love your “furry family members” as much as we do ours AND we wish you both a lifetime of health & happiness. Happy Training AND Happy Life!