Training - All great dog owners spend some time training their dogs. Training is the best way to communicate with your dog. Your dog has no idea that they are not supposed to pull on a leash, not to jump on guests, or they are expected to come back when you call them.
Exercise - Our dogs spend a lot of time waiting around for us. We go off to work, we are busy, we have appointments to keep, and our dogs are just hanging out waiting for us to do something with them. Dogs are extremely social and want to interact with us. Every dog needs two forms of exercise - mental and physical.
Good Food - Not all dog foods are created equal. Feeding your dog a good diet is very important. Look at some of the labels on the dog food you choose. Some of them are loaded with chemicals, dyes, sugar, corn, by-products and other low-grade products. Food can have an enormous impact on behavior. Think of how you feel after eating a big cheeseburger compared to a fresh garden salad. A poor diet can result in bad behavior and poor health.
Leadership - Dogs are social pack animals. In order for that pack to survive, they need to develop a social structure with a leader. When your dog comes into the house, you need to teach them how to adjust to your lifestyle not the other way around. By becoming the pack leader, your dog will know where they fit in. Being the leader does not mean you need to be forceful, it simply means that you need to control the activities that are important to your dog, such as sleeping, eating, playing, and social contact. Having your dog work for each of these activities will really help you succeed in training your dog and build a stronger relationship.
Play - Dogs live to play. Ever watch a group of puppies together? It is one of my favorite things to do. A group of puppies will jump, run, tug, and have a great time together. Playing with your dog is a great way to exercise and bond with your dog. It will also fulfill an important need for your dog.
Management - Good management skills are crucial when it comes to your companion. When a dog is young, they usually get into a lot of trouble by chewing, stealing, jumping, etc. The owner, as the leader and teacher, needs to manage the dog's behavior when they are young. As the dog gets older and learns how to live with you, you will not need to manage as much.
Patience - Some of the best dog owners I know are the ones who are patient. Having a dog, especially a young one, can be very trying. You state of mind and energy will very much dictate how your dog responds to you.
Follow these steps and you will be a highly effective dog owner!
Not Being Consistent Within the Family
Everyone in the family wants to be involved in the dog training process. Each and everyone come out with their own commands and methods. While this is understandable, this kind of training will confuse your dog. Proper planning such as specific routine, methods, responsibilities and rules should be discussed among your family members before the dog or puppy arrives home. In this way, everyone will understand their own role and the importance of consistency.
Training Too Much, Too Fast
Are you ever guilty of introducing too many new commands or tricks to your dog in a training session? Unfortunately, this is happening frequently among many dog owners and will usually cause your dog to be confused. Instead, you should focus on one or two new training exercise or command per training session. Dogs have a shorter attention span. Train your dog 10-15 minutes per session (less for puppies) each, 2 to 3 times per day. Having patience will also set up your dog to comprehend each command better and be more successful in the training process.
Not Praising or Rewarding Immediately
If your dog has performed a new desired action and you delay giving out immediate rewards, you will find the dog does not pick up on what you are looking for. A dog will fail to understand what it is doing right unless you teach them to associate the behavior with praise or food immediately after each action. Rewarding immediately also ensures that you are rewarding the correct behavior. You should only withhold rewarding in the event when your timing is late so that you won't unintentionally reward the wrong behaviors.
Training Your Dog When You Are In A Bad Mood
If you are having a bad day, do not train your dog. Your tone of voice will be different and you are more likely to get frustrated and display anger more easily. You should also discontinue training if you or your dog are finding it difficult to concentrate. Your dog will be more eager to learn and listen to you if they always have a positive training experience.
Do you pet your dog when they jump on you enthusiastically every time you come home? Do you allow your dog to greet another dog if they are pulling at the leash and barking to get to the dog? If you answered yes then you are unintentionally encouraging the behavior. Though it may seem harmless, these kind of unintentional approvals may lead to more serious behavior problems when they figure out that it results in increased direct attention from you or something else they find rewarding. Once a dog has learned a bad behavior or has developed a phobia, more time and effort will be needed to correct and retrain your pet again. Therefore, always be mindful of your actions and plan ahead on how you want to train your dog.
Giving Commands with Unpleasant Actions
Never give out a command or call your dog's name, only to be disciplined by you. Once the dog perceives any command or recall with an unpleasant experience, it will start to ignore and run away from you whenever you use that particular command. Always greet your dog positively for each command and action. Do not yell but use a stern voice when you catch them making a mistake and show them what you would prefer they do, praise and reward for this.
Giving Too Much Attention and Affection
Many dog owners start showering too much physical affection the moment a puppy arrives to its new home. This constant attention can cause your dog to be unable to cope whenever they are not in your presence, causing them to whine or cry whenever you leave the house. Help your dog earn your affection by not petting or praising them for no apparent reason. Train them to relax alone by leaving him in a separate room with its favorite toy.
Repeating Basic Cues When a Dog Fails to Respond
We know that a repetitive sound in quick succession actually excites your dog and a calm non-repetitive sound calms your dog. When you are repeating a command it shows your frustration and the dog becomes uncomfortable. Stay calm and do not show any frustration. Rapidly repeating a command will guarantee your dog will never respond to the first command. Your dog is looking to you to be its leader and good effective leaders stay calm. If your dog does not respond to your command you need to remain calm and make the dog do the command.