Every dog owner wants a dog they can enjoy spending time with. Dog training is an essential part of raising a great dog, whether you do it yourself or you seek out the services of a professional dog trainer. No one wants to struggle with their dog so here are 3 easy tips to follow to help you have the dog of your dreams.
- Don’t allow on-leash greetings with other dogs.
Just don’t do it. Learn to say “no, thanks” to people that want to let their dogs approach your dog when on-leash. Even if they assure you “he’s friendly”, don’t take their word for it. Also, being on leash restricts your dog’s ability to move naturally and communicate with the other dog using body language or move away from the dog if they are uncomfortable with the interaction. On-leash greetings lead to dog reactivity. The only time an on-leash greeting is appropriate is when it’s with a dog your dog already has a good relationship with and a history of enjoying their company. Save your dog’s hellos for known doggy friends and when they are both off-leash.
- Keep your dog on-leash until he is 100% reliably off-leash trained.
Don’t be one of those dog owners who lets their dog off-leash in a public space with only the hope that their dog will come when called. Not only does this infringe on the rights of the people and dogs sharing that space but it reinforces to your dog that your commands are only optional. This rule goes for your own backyard or any fenced-in areas, such as dog parks. (check out my blog on dog parks here) Letting your dog run up to people and other dogs you don’t know is rude and asking for trouble or a dog fight. Not all people like dogs (I know! The horror!) and the other dog may be fearful, aggressive or in training with their owner. Help your dog be a good canine citizen by training a rock solid recall and basic obedience commands when off leash. Almost every dog can be trained to be reliable off-leash. Need some help? Off-leash training is our specialty!
- Give your dog freedom at home when it’s earned.
It’s always easier to maintain rules and boundaries until your dog is mature enough and has earned more freedom than it is to reign in an unruly dog who is used to having free reign of the house. A common complaint I hear from clients, especially the ones who own young or adolescent dogs, is that their dog is getting into trouble when left home alone or outside in the yard by themselves or is just starting to develop bad behaviors when previously the dog was well behaved. Giving your dog too much freedom too soon is going to create problems and probably cause you a headache or two. Not crating a dog, especially a young dog, when home alone or when you can’t supervise them sets them up to develop bad habits and practice nuisance behaviors like chewing, digging, barking, and jumping. I tell clients that if you aren’t around to say “no” to something your dog is doing, your dog will automatically assume it’s a “yes”. A lot of people stop using a dog crate once their dog is potty trained and no longer having accidents but house training is more than just potty training. House training is teaching your dog to respect your things, your home and the house rules. Most dogs aren’t mature enough to have the run of the house until they’re 2 years old or even older. Don’t be in a rush to give your dog every freedom and privilege before he’s ready for the responsibility.
Are you having trouble with your dog? Give us a call to tell us about your dog so we can help!