Build a Better Relationship with Your Dog!
Guide dogs learn a very specialized set of skills and commands, but any dog’s life (and their human’s) will be improved by some basic training. Here are a few tips to get the most from your relationship with your dog. Please share them with anyone who may need them!
1. Reward good behavior
It sounds simple, but it’s key to training: Don’t take your dog’s good behavior for granted. Reward the behavior you want to see with healthy treats and affection.
2. Don’t punish bad behavior
Dogs don’t really understand physical punishments like a smack on the head. They can’t make the connection between that and their bad behavior. Instead, figure out what your dog is trying to gain through the bad behavior (often, it’s attention) and withhold that “reward” until you get the behavior you want (such as ignoring the dog until he or she calms down).
3. Give it time
Some dogs catch on to a new command immediately. Others take longer. Some learn it immediately but forget it under stress. Pay attention to your dog’s individual learning speed and stress level.
4. Give your dog a job
A bored dog is trouble waiting to happen. Plenty of healthy exercise is essential, but so is mental stimulation. Learning new tricks, playing games, or having to perform tasks to “earn” food and other rewards can help your dog stay out of trouble.
5. Don’t ignore the physical
Some bad behaviors have their roots in physical problems. If you’re having a persistent behavior challenge, schedule a vet visit to rule out illness or pain as the cause.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a dog who wants to be bad. Problem behaviors are always a sign that something is wrong in your dog’s world. With a little patience, persistence, and consistent training, you can figure out what that is and find a solution that works for you both!