Know Your Dog: Train Him Well

QUESTION: “So, how long until he’s trained?”

ANSWER: “Expect a lifetime of learning.”

No matter how good your trainer is, nobody is capable of swooping in wearing a cape and tights (and maybe a snack pack) to save the day. Nor, can a trainer save your dog. It is you, the dog person, who is ultimately held accountable for your dog’s training success.

Dog training is often defined as a 6 to 8 week program. Or worse, it can be mistaken for a behavior modification crash course. Dog training is a lifetime commitment. One basic obedience class certainly does not mean that your dog is “trained.” Obedience means your dog has merely started their journey of understanding his world with yours.

The success of your dog will hinge on the bond you form with him. If you are committed to continuing the learning process by participating in activities with your dog throughout their life, you will strengthen your relationship with your dog. If you allow training to be enjoyable, your dog will be more open to learning. And, and he will be most willing to please you.

Dogs tend to train people:

1. Commitment

Your dog’s training success relies on devoted practice every day. Weave your dog into your life. Carve out two to three minutes each day to work with him. Your dog will be grateful for the time he spends with you, even if it is minimal. Quality versus quantity, in this case. Expecting to spend hours on end is unrealistic. Your dog will inevitably clock out.

2. Determination

Relentless efforts towards dog training stems from your desire to train. Train your dog without resentment. He will know when you are not having fun any more. Despite popular belief, nobody else can train your dog without you being present in their life.

3. Make Time

Timing is everything in dog training. Dogs live in the moment. Be in their moment. 4. Active Listening Your dog doesn’t listen to you? Try listening to him. Careful observation to how your dog learns will begin to resolve your individual behavior concern and help you find a positive solution to the problem.

5. Tough Love

Love is not enough. Any human relationship requires nurturing and a little work. The relationship you have with your pup is no different. Love him, but help him learn by remaining disciplined. Tough love means you might have to be stern in order to avoid over-doting on your dog, which often leads to undesirable canine behaviors. Missing a few puppy flaws is quite different than letting everything slide because of how cute he looks when he does something wrong.

6. Try Again

Expect imperfection and allow for mistakes. Permit an “opps” on occasion. Everybody has an off day once and awhile. A dog can only learn when you are willing to assist him. Be confident in his ability. Mark and reward what you want from him. Barking out orders does nothing for him—or you. Instead, showing calm, steady leadership provides a consistent pattern in his life.

7. Be playful

Have fun with your dog. Period.

8. Overnight Wonders Are For Night Creams

Dogs will be dogs. Celebrate each teachable moment. (You know what I mean.)

9. Confidence

Invest time in earning your dog’s trust. He may not completely trust you when he is new to your pack. Show him you are there for the long haul, yet don’t over rule the kingdom. Mutual relationships win. Always. With dogs, pack mentality is common. He is not the boss. But, either are you. Determine how your dog learns, expect mistakes, and always end on a high note.

10. Accept Responsibility

Gain your dog’s respect by believing in his success. And yours. Remember: your dog wants to please you. He just needs you to show him how.

Christina Bournias resides in Michigan with her 3-pack; three new beautiful adopted miracles. As her “Angelwriter”, Nicodemus (1997-2010) is the wisdom behind the stories she shares. Christina champions the magnitude of building the bond between a dog and their person(s) by means of respectful communication and enduring admiration.

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2013 © !woof Nicodemus™

June, 2013: American Pet Magazine | V2 Issue3, Page 18,19

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