Steps to Having a Better Behaved Dog
Every dog owner dreams of having that “perfectly behaved” dog. It is possible? Yes and no, depending on the time of day, the breed, disposition and mood.
Almost sounds like describing a human, does it not?
I do not consider a dog, a four legged human, but I do feel their moments of good or bad depends on a series of things, just like it does for us.
One of the hardest things for a pet owner to realize is that a dog is a dog and not a small human.
Dogs were created with certain deep seated behaviors that no amount of cross breeding can siphon out. It is up to us to understand that dogs cannot always adjust to our lifestyles, there are times when we have to adjust to theirs.
Getting a dog should be a well thought out decision and not a flash in the pan thought that seems like a good idea at the time.
Dogs require supervision and training, along with time and money. If you cannot give a dog all four of these requirements do not get a dog.
What are some of the steps you can take to have a better behaved dog?
One of the first and I feel most important steps is socialization. A dog needs to meet all kinds of people, meet other dogs, see all kinds of sights and hear all kinds of sounds in order to make an adjustment into your world.
Next in importance is obedience training, every dog needs to know how to “sit, stay and come when called.” Training classes are great, but home training is also acceptable as long as you know the basics or have a good training book or video.
Understanding on your part is also a prerequisite. You need to understand that you do not get a dog to behave by yelling or beating it. Knowing when to give your dog attention and when not to is important knowledge for you to have.
When your dog is behaving in a manner that is pleasing to you That is when you give it treats, praise and pets. Reward good behavior and your dog will soon learn what reaps the rewards.
I realize ignoring bad behavior is almost hard as ignoring a car coming straight at you, but with a dog, ignoring is one of the best training tricks, hard as it may seem.
Incorrect behavior can be dealt with in several ways. A sharp “NO” and walking away from your dog when it jumps on you or a push with your knee to its chest along with a “NO” and walking away is an acceptable way to teach your dog that jumping is not appropriate.
Giving no more attention to the behavior than that, is what you need to do. Any scolding will just give your dog the attention it is seeking. Walking away and then giving attention after your dog settles down is the way to teach him/her that jumping does not reap rewards.
Distraction is also another way to slowly teach good behavior. If your dog is chewing on the table leg, again a “no” and then giving it a chew toy is one way of distracting the dog from the behavior and once it is happily chewing on the toy, give it treats, praise and pets. A dog will learn what is acceptable and what is not.
This does not mean while the dog is a puppy and going through the teething stages that you should leave all your valuables lying around.
Common sense needs to prevail. Would you leave a toddler loose in the house without supervision?
Another point of consideration is activity. Dogs get bored. A bored dog is one that goes searching for something to get into.
Humans can read books, watch TV, knit, do crossword puzzles, there are a zillion thing humans can do to entertain themselves. We have hands, intelligence and the means to change our environment. What do dogs have?
Dogs have mouths, paws, and four feet to carry them off to find interesting things to do. Bored dogs will dig, bark, chew and escape in order to have fun.
What can you do about it?
It is the human’s job to provide exercise in the form of long walks, runs, playtime at the dog park, chew toys, training and human companionship. If you cannot provide these things you should forget getting a dog. A tired dog, one that has been trained, played with and loved by its human is a good dog.
A dog that is left to its own devices is not misbehaving, but is only finding its fun the only way a dog can.
It may be a bitter pill for most humans to swallow, but most of a dog’s misbehavior can be traced to the dog’s human companion. You are the one that can set the example, provide the things necessary for good behavior and give of your time, love and companionship.
You are the brains behind the dog, remember that and do your part.