Thursday, March 5, 2015
Training your dog
Most dog owners are good at letting their dog know when he or she did something wrong. Don't forget to be generous with your affection when your dog does something right. Being generous with praise and attention can reinforce good behaviors. That is, the dog will associate the act with something positive and do it more, to experience the positive again.
Connected to the above is that dogs will respond to what you reinforce, and this isn't necessarily what you want. Say, for example, that your dog becomes rambunctious in a certain situation and you give them a treat or a chew to calm them down. This will teach the dog that being rambunctious leads to treats. Ask your dog to do something for you before giving the treat. It doesn't have to be something complicated - sitting is fine.
It is also important to have realistic expectations. If your dog has done something for a long time, it will take time to undo the behavior. It's never too late to change a behavior, but it might take time. Typical dog behaviors are the most difficult to change; dogs naturally bark, dig, and jump.
It's tempting to say no when your dog does something you don't want. The problem with that is that it doesn't give the dog enough information. If your dog jumps on someone and you say "no" they might jump higher, lower, or to the side instead of stopping. If you tell your dog what you want them to do - like "sit" - you have a better chance of success.
~ Maria Sadowski ~