For a dog – training is never done. Learning is a life-long endeavor and a dog’s behavior is always in flux. Sometimes, they finally get what you have spent weeks trying to teach them, and other times, they seem to completely forget something they used to do with expert precision. It’s important to always continue to train your dog both new and old behaviors. Most of what we ask of our dogs is a bit counterintuitive for them — don’t jump on guests, walk in a straight line and keep my pace, don’t sniff everything or play with every dog may seem like a piece of cake to a human but to a dog, it’s pretty challenging. Keeping it fresh and exciting is the key to keeping your dog interested in your silly little rules. Another good thing to keep in mind is your dog doesn’t owe you anything. When I hear someone say “but he should know that” I am quick to remind them that he will always repeat what has worked for him in the past. If that is humping, pulling or barking, he is going to keep on doing it. It’s our job to teach our dogs what is expected and teach him that following our lead is more rewarding than not. That it’s an ongoing relationship builder. Now get out there and train your dog!
Check out the next episode of my web series Ruff Rules, where I teach techniques for crate-training your dog through positive reinforcement. This is useful information for anyone with a dog who fights the crate.
I conducted a seminar this week on preparing your dog for a new born baby. There are many things to cover on this subject but the going theme was to make a plan and stick to it.
Does your dog jump on guests? Does he bark at outside noises? Where these things may have flown under your radar until now, they will likely be a really big deal in a few months. Decide now what the rules will be and let your dog know what’s expected.
Will your dog be allowed to sleep in the bed? Will you allow him into the nursery? These are things that will be difficult to teach once the baby comes and you are overwhelmed. Teaching your dog that some nights he sleeps on the floor or waits for permission to come into the nursery and then goes to a designated spot like a dog bed, will be much easier to teach now over the next few months rather then all at once while everyone is confused and sleep deprived.
These are just two examples of things you need to be prepared for, but the first step is making the plan. No detail is too small. Bringing a baby home can be stressful on your dog, but it doesn’t need to be. Don’t wait for game time to practice the game.
In the next episode of Ruff Rules, Sadie learns to ignore distractions and direct her attention to her owner when being walked.
Check out my new video series Ruff Rules on Ulive.com! In the first video, Pet-icure Panic, I teach Hans how to overcome his fear of having his nails trimmed.