Whether you're training a puppy or an adult dog, there are a few small things you can do that will make a big difference.
Here are five tips to make training, or even re-training your pooch a little easier:
1. DO: Make sure you're giving your dog plenty of daily exercise and stimulation.
An under-exercised, bored dog is an unhealthy, unhappy dog. A great many destructive and aggressive behaviors stem from a lack of exercise and stimulation.
2. DO: Be consistent.
This is one of those common-sense pieces of wisdom that just about everyone knows but not quite so many of us practice. When you're working with your dog, it's crucial to be consistent- both in praise and in discipline.
Praise good behavior and/or correct bad behavior the same way EVERY time.
Consistency is key.
3. DON'T: Do anything with, for, or to your dog until he is calm and relaxed.
That goes for everything from clipping on his leash, to putting his food down in front of him, to giving him the go-ahead to jump into the car. When you engage with him while he's in an excited or nervous state, you're simply rewarding and reinforcing that energy.
From a training standpoint, nothing productive happens until your dog is calm and relaxed.
A Quick Tip for the Humans:
Don't get frustrated or angry when your dog doesn't respond to your attempts to calm him down. Learning new behaviors, especially when you're working to break old habits, takes time and patience. An extra few minutes now will pay off handsomely in the long run.
Try closing your eyes and taking a few slow, deep breaths. You will feel calmer, be calmer, and as a result, your dog will respond to the more relaxed energy you project.
4. DON'T: Allow your dog to sleep in your bed with you.
This is a tough one for a lot of us, since pets are family. However, letting your dog sleep in your bed gives him mixed messages about his role in your world.
Allow him to sleep with you and he will see you as his equal, not as his boss. Once that happens, he will see no reason to respect and obey you.
If you're still dead set on allowing your dogs on the furniture and in the bed, make it by invitation only. Let him know he is welcome, but only when invited.
5. DON'T: Allow your dog to pull ahead of you on the leash.
When you allow him to lead, in his mind, he's running the show (and that attitude can translate to the rest of your interactions with him). When you walk your dog on his leash, he should be either even with, or slightly behind you.
When it comes to training your canine best friend, hard work, consistency, and patience will make all the difference.
Training is a great way to bond with your dog, and with the right attitude, you can both have fun with the process!
How do you train your pup? Tell us in the comments!
This article was originally published June 30, 2017.