Author: Allen Brown
Training a dog can be difficult, it can be hard to figure out if you’re on the right track and instilling good behaviors in your pet. You may also struggle to come to terms with certain behavior and are unsure how to best deal with them. If you find yourself in this boat, don’t fret, this is completely normal and in fact, demonstrates how much you care for your furry friend. Here are 6 things you wish you knew sooner.
1. Separation Anxiety Is Real
When your dog feels anxiety due to separation this can often occur in the form of chewing, inappropriate urinating and defecation, vocalization, and being destructive. Of course, these can all occur due to other reasons so what counts as actual separation anxiety? The first is that as you’re preparing to leave, your dog begins to exhibit anxiety. Around 15-45 minutes after you’ve left, they may begin to misbehave.
They may also try to follow you around as much as possible, and constantly try and touch you whenever possible. But how can this be remedied? Especially when you cannot cognitively make them understand, and soothe their anxiety. They will need committed training, desensitization exercises, and if very severe, medication may be required.
2. Avoid Confusing Your Dog
If you live with others, be sure to make it clear that only you will be training your dog. Your dog may become confused if certain behaviors are acceptable to others and not to you, and vice versa. Even if you’re doing a great job at training, the confusion and mixed messages they receive can mess all that up, and lead to bad behaviors instead.
3. Use an E-collar To Communicate
An e-collar provides electric stimulation, with ranges in intensity. These work in training because they provide negative reinforcement. Another way to think about this is that when you’re in a car and that irritating sound is going off because you haven’t put your seatbelt on yet, once you put in, and the sound stops, this is a negative reinforcement as the negative outcome has been removed.
E-collars are another way to communicate and help you to correct bad behaviors. Of course, when using an e collar for dogs, you want to ensure you use it correctly. If you don’t, you may end up causing more behavioral problems. It is often vital to correct them as soon as they act out, as this way you can quickly and easily deal with it getting out of hand. Dogs have short memories so you need to react to their behaviors in a timely manner. Whether this is positive or negative reinforcement, to encourage or deter behaviors.
4. Train In Different Environments
Even if your dog is being newly trained, it is important to train them in various environments. You may find that at home or familiar spaces, they act perfectly but when they go to the park, their training goes out the window. Don’t expect too much, especially in highly stimulating situations. For example, when going to the park make it clear that they will receive a big reward for good behavior. The different environments will help reinforce good behaviors and will lead to less bad behaviors the second they get somewhere new.
5. Understand Body Language
The more you get to grips with their body language, the easier it will be for you to respond to, provide, and react to their needs appropriately. They cannot communicate with us with words, but they do communicate in other ways. These include eyes, posture, stance, and the position of their tail. A happy dog will have a relaxed posture, open and wide mouth, smooth hair, normal shaped eyes, and a wagging tail. On the contrary, a worried dog might present a standing posture but with a low head position, the tail may be tucked with the ears back.
6. Treat Them The Way You Would Want To Be Treated
We saved the best till last. This is the most important rule of all. Just because they are a different species does not mean they deserve any less respect, love, and care. Never do, say or act in a way that you would not enjoy if you were in your pet’s position. Making mistakes is normal, and you likely have made and will make plenty of mistakes in your life. You certainly would not want to feel terrible following a mistake, instead, you would want correction, and the opportunity to do better next time.
Use these 6 tips to help guide your training, and understand them better. The more mutual understanding and respect you have with your dog, the better the training process will go. Know that disappointments will occur and that they may not always act the way you want. They do not mind readers, and so you need to train them with clarity, communicating your thoughts openly.