Whether you are considering a new puppy, or are a new dog owner, training is a responsibility you need to take the time to consider. If you have already owned a dog, especially one with behavior issues, then you know the importance of this topic.
Knowing the following 7 secrets to understanding your dog’s behavior will not only make the training process better but offer great rewards & enjoyment for years to come for both you and your new best friend that wants nothing more than to please you.
1) Let’s begin with where dogs came from. Their origins actually descended from wolves. Even though they have been domesticated for a number of years, they still hold on to some basic instincts. Namely, they are pack animals & are used to a social structure, therefore, they need an “alpha” to lead their routine & ensure survival. As a result, they are naturally social & thrive on interaction.
2) Dogs see you as a different kind of dog. Knowing this is essential so that from the beginning of your relationship you establish yourself as the “alpha” & lead the pack & ensures survival. Failure to do so will lead to instinctual behavior issues such as challenging the “alpha” role. It is not his fault- it is nature. You must be the one to establish this role by providing food, shelter, interaction, & correcting bad behavior. Doing so helps understand each other’s roles & place in the world.
3) Dogs need a routine. Just like humans, when they know what to do and when to do it they are less stressed, relaxed and comfortable. Training should be a routine. Decide when and stick with it. Doing so makes the training process more enjoyable for you both as you will be expecting it & looking forward to your time together.
4) Dogs have short term retention memories, but great associated memory. Meaning, they don’t remember things from a few moments ago, but when you associate something repetitiously they will remember it for years. Such as saying “sit” when your dog sits, reward him with a treat. he will then associate the command “sit” with sitting.
5) Dogs speak another language. This may seem obvious but it is important to understand this when choosing command words. Just like if you were being told something by someone speaking another language, it is essential to associate a word with an action & be consistent or how will you learn that language?
Avoid words that are too common such as “no” & “go” as they may be confused not to mention used too frequently in a conversation to use as an appropriate command. The tone you use is also important as they are learning to read your body language as well.
6) Dogs don’t have good eyes, but do have good ears & great noses! Knowing this can help you understand certain behaviors such as jumping at shadows or perhaps digging. It is wise to use these senses to your advantage whenever possible.
7) We have all heard of “the sixth sense”. This is another unique gift they have that we lack. It is the ability to know something is wrong when we can not see it. They may inform us with a unique bark which is their voice to communicate. Punishing him for this type of communication is a typical misunderstanding. While uncontrollable barking is not accepted behavior and should be corrected. it is important to understand their different barks as another form of communication & should be rewarded for doing so.
Training your dog can develop a great bond and understanding of each other. Puppies just like babies don’t know how the world works yet and need to be taught right from wrong. When they are healthy & happy they are full of energy to explore the world around them. Be patient and flexible & plan to spend time with a routine and you will be rewarded with unconditional love for hopefully the next 15 years.