Patient Training Results in a Happy well Mannered Dog
A dog is a long-term investment. Buying the dog, doggy accessories, food and veterinary care are just the beginning. In order to be well-mannered and happy, a dog requires a substantial amount of focused attention from his human family on a regular basis. A dog is not a toy to be played with whenever it is convenient and ignored the rest of the time. A dog is an individual with physical and social needs.
Dogs are pack animals. They need to know who is in charge. If that is not obvious to them, confusion breeds behavioral problems. A dog who is calm and submissive will happily allow his alpha (that’s you!) to make decisions about where to go, how to relate to other animals, and even when it’s time to defecate. A dog who thinks he is in charge will create endless problems for himself and his humans.
Some dogs are more dominant than others by nature, and will require more effort to train. Some people enjoy the battle for dominance. Others would prefer to believe that holding out a treat while cooing “nice doggie!” will persuade the dog to do the right thing. It is helpful to match the personality of the dog with that of the handler. Others who come into contact with the dog must be cautioned to reinforce the edicts of the primary handler. It is cruel, not kind, to change the rules “just this once”. Dogs don’t understand the concept of exceptions to rules. They become confused if they have to deal with inconsistency.
Dogs are addicted to human approval. When they understand how to behave in order to be praised instead of shamed, they are comfortable. Letting them do whatever they want will not make them happy. Knowing what is expected of them gives them security and contentment. When they know their place in the family pack, all is well, and their behavior will show it.
Dogs need to run with their pack every day in order to be healthy and well-adjusted. One walk per day is good; two are better. This is a great opportunity for family bonding.
If you are thinking about getting a dog, learn the basics of obedience training before you bring your new family member home. If you already have a dog, perhaps it’s time to assess the situation. If you and your dog are happy with each other and there are no problems, don’t slack off. Invest time and energy in fine-tuning and upgrading your dog’s training. If your dog’s behavior is not all you would like it to be, both you and your dog will be happier if you take steps to improve it. Be patient; be persistent; be consistent, firm, and positive. In many cases, training the dog’s human family is more challenging than training the dog!