There are many areas pertinent to dog wellness but the one that is beneficial to having an obedient dog is obedience training. Obedience training is an essential ingredient to a good dog-human relationship, and creates a happy, healthy relationship between dog and owner. Before we get into the secrets let me share with you the positive aspects of training.
1. Training will establish a safe and non-confrontational way for you to establish control. This is especially necessary for a dominant dog personality.
2. Pushy dogs that get on the furniture or nudge their owners for affection or petting are less dominant but still need to obey rules. Training keeps them under control and lets them know their owner is the dominant one.
3. Dogs descend from wolves, which live by rules and have a social structure. The pack operates under a single leader, with clearly defined lines. Although dogs have allowed themselves to be domesticated by man they still hold the natural instinct to test their position. Training lets your dog know that you are the single leader and he must respect and obey your position in the pack at all times. No matter the breed or how small your dog is he is still a dog, and must know his place in the family. This understanding is what makes for a happy owner and dog wellness.
4. Training will strengthen and build a healthy relationship between you and your dog.
5. Opens a clear line of communication between you and your dog.
6. Sets rules and boundaries that educate your dog on becoming a dependable member of your family and society.
7. Prevents the growth of unwanted unacceptable behavior such as nipping, growling, jumping up, chewing, and digging to name a few.
8. Eliminates confusion because your dog will know his place and will come to respect yours.
9. Obedience training gives your dog the crucial needs of exercise, mental stimulation and a bonding relationship with his owner. Another vital component to dog wellness.
10. A dog or puppy with obedience training is a much safer dog.
11. Gains trust and mutual respect with your dog.
12. Well behaved when you have visitors to your home or take him out.
13. Helps to avoid stress and anxiety in the dog and the owner
14. Reduces the risk of becoming locked in a dominance struggle with your dog.
15. Training promotes a happy, healthy, confident dog eliminating problems such as separation anxiety which is serious and very common, often causing pet owners to give up their dogs.
It is important to remember that obedience training is a step by step process that you build over time with your dog. It doesn’t happen overnight. Begin training your dog as early as possible, even as early as 3 months of age.
Secrets For An Obedient Dog
Never under estimate the power of positive reinforcement. In the work place we aware of 2 types of managers. There is the manager that uses fear, loud vocals, and threats to get his employees to perform, and then there are managers that use a positive, good natured, calm approach. I personally have worked for both types of managers and let me tell you – there is no comparison! A positive approach is not only less stressful but creates a happier, more productive employee, not to mention, an employee that will sincerely give more than 100% productivity and feel good doing it. Positive reinforcement in obedience training contributes massively to dog wellness and has a high success rate.
Your dog acts as your employee, and offering a positive environment with positive reinforcement will get you faster, more productive results, while at the same time building a strong and trusting relationship.
Giving your dog a treat for his good behavior is a great idea but the timing of it is most important. If you wait too long, your dog is not able to associate the treat with his good behavior, which means your efforts are lost. This same understanding applies to punishment for poor behavior; The punishment needs to be immediate or your dog will have no idea why he is being punished, and too of this can cause you other problems later on. When it comes to punishment, you must catch your dog in the act for the scolding to have a positive effect on his behavior, otherwise the punishment will not work toward your intended desire.
Dr. Nicholas Dodman (a wonderful veterinary behaviorist) gives us these principles toward effective training:
1. Training should not involve any negative or punishment-based components. There should be no yelling, no hitting, no chain jerking, no hanging, and absolutely no electric shock. Each session should be upbeat and positive with rewards for jobs well done.
2. Remember that the opposite of reward is not punishment; it is no reward. If you ignore unacceptable responses, your dog will not be rewarded for his failed response. Most dogs want to please their owners or, at the very least, to obtain highly valued resources such as food, toys, or attention.
3. Reward good behavior immediately. The reward needs to be immediate so the dog associates the reward with the behavior.
4. If praise is used as a reward, deliver it in high singsong tones, which are most pleasing for the dog. Use an enthusiastic voice. If petting is to be used as a reward, it should be in a way that the dog enjoys, such as stroking the dog’s hair on the side of his face in the same direction that it grows, or scratching him on the chest.
Methods and Consistency
There are several approaches to obedience training.
1. Only Trainer and Dog. You can hire a professional trainer who will house your dog, train him, and hand him back to you. The pet owner will be taught the commands and the basic rules around the commands in order for the owner to carry out the consistency of pattern that the trainer has used and so your dog knows that you are now the one he must obey. But the hard work and time is taken up by the trainer.
2. Private or group training – dog and owner. You and your dog can attend private or group training classes in which you, along with your dog, learn the different commands and the owner learns how to handle his dog. Most of these training courses go on for 4-6 weeks; however take note that a dog is not fully trained in this frame of time and still requires that you further his training at home when the sessions are finished-especially if you are training a puppy. This method is a great way for you to also get your dog socialized around other people and other dogs which is another major area to dog wellness. A well socialized dog makes for a well rounded dog and a happy owner and contributes highly to dog wellness.
3. Just you and your dog. Nowadays there are plenty of wonderful pet sites that will guide you through the individual commands, and give you tips and tricks on how to best handle your dog. Pet owners can also investigate this same method by the breed of dog they have in order to get tips on handling that particular breed. This is also effective because different breeds have different personality traits. Many of these sites give free information – all you have to do is follow the method and be consistent.
Whichever method you chose it is important and pertinent to your success that you remain consistent and on track. If you have older kids, it can be very helpful if you train them on the procedures and allow them to help you out when you are busy or overwhelmed with other responsibilities. The other benefit of this is that your kids will learn how to conduct obedience training, get closer to and earn respect from your dog. It is vital that everyone in the family knows the command being taught and practice with the dog. This will build a good relationship between the dog and other family members.
Obedience training with positive reinforcement, along with timing and consistency are keys to having a well behaved, happy, healthy dog which means your life as a pet owner will be much enjoyed and well worth the work. Remember that obedience training does not happen overnight and is a continuous process over a period of time. Start training as early as possible. Puppies are not too young to start learning the rules and in fact, they should begin their training as soon as possible, with age appropriate measures that will expand and grow with age. These tactics will contribute highly to your dog’s wellness and will have you as a dog owner barking to a happy tune.
TIP: Did you know that patting a dog on top of his head is usually disliked by most dogs?