So you’ve had your dog for a decent amount of time. You might have taught him to sit. You might have taught him the signal for chow time. But if you really want to affect your dog’s behavior it might take a little more work than that. There might be some queues you need to listen to as well as nutritional and command tips that might help your dog to behave in the manner you want him to.
Today we’re providing you with ten great tips that will subtly alter your dog’s behavior so it’s a win win for the whole family!
Always be a Listener
Never force the issue with your dog. If your dog doesn’t want to talk to another person, dog, or child then he might be saying something to you. Listen to him. It’s only going to help you in the long run.
Affection goes a long way
It’s easy to scold your dog when he’s not doing the right thing. It’s easy to say “no.” But what about the opposite? When your dog is behaving well always be sure to follow up with affection. A “good boy!” or a big hug here and there can really go a long way.
Ask yourself if your dog really likes something
Remember that dogs can be extremely selective about what they eat. Just because the package says “all dogs love” doesn’t mean that at all. Pay attention to what your dog likes and dislikes. Before you know it, you won’t go wrong.
Don’t be afraid to Tell Him What You Want Him to Do
Saying “no” to your dog isn’t a bad thing at all. However, a simple “no” might not get what you want. For example, if your dog jumps and you don’t want him to, saying “no” might make him jump higher. Instead say “sit.” By being more specific your dog might be more specific in his behavior as well.
Keep the Consistency
Consistency means being on the same page about everything with everyone. If it’s known that your dogs responds to “sit” from you but “down” from another family member that can be confusing. Always be sure that people know the proper words that work for your dog.
Have Realistic Expectations
You need to have realistic expectations about changing your dog’s behavior as well as how long it will take to change behaviors that you don’t like. Often behaviors which are “normal” doggie behaviors will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.
High Quality Food has big upside
Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. But also be aware of how active your dog is. Consult a vet for proper nutrition for your particular dog breed and his daily activity.
Reinforcement is stronger than you think
If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. The solution is to ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.
Bribery versus Reward
The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions. So why does your dog continue to hang out? Because you reinforce him with praise, touch, games and walks. Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treat should not produce the behavior.
Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common error that many pet parents make is giving their new dog too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to accidents relating to housetraining and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or doggie safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.
Thanks to Petfinder for help on some of these tips