It is commonly known that Vancouver is a dog-friendly city. Here are 10 tips on how to train your dog and live comfortably in this urban jungle we call home.
You can easily implement new boundaries, clearly communicate your expectations and begin to see behaviours that you like, occur more often – by being aware of how you and your dog, and even puppy, co-exist.
Here are the top 10 tips on how to train your dog.
Whenever you ask your dog to do something, do so with conviction, it is much easier for your dog to respond if you are calm and confident. Stay cool and collected can also help with problems like separation anxiety.
If you are patient, your dog is more likely to respond to you, try to avoid getting frustrated when training. You can do so by moving your body position, giving them a more exaggerated cue, taking a few steps forward or back, or removing distractions.
Make sure you are consistent with everything you do so your dog does not get confused. Coach friends and family on rules around your dog to ensure there are no mixed signals or opportunities for your dog to learn bad habits!
Set Realistic Expectations
Practice skills in easy environments such as your home, then progress to public places like sidewalks and lastly buffer these skills by adding small distractions incrementally – before ever practicing the skills where you truly need them to be effective. For example, training your dog to ring a potty bell.
Understand Your Dog
Dogs learn primarily through association and consequence, but they also spend a lot of time reading our body language! Being aware of how you carry yourself & what you indirectly teach your dog most definitely affects the success of your dog’s behaviour.
Use Management Options
In some situations, managing your dog can set them up for success rather than giving them too much freedom and hoping for the best. Try helping your dog with reliable recall.
Catch Your Dog Getting It Right
Paying attention to the things your dog does that you do not like, only feeds into the negatives. Catch your dog getting it right and reward with praise, play or food. Reward independent, calm or positive behaviours and ignore OR interrupt/ redirect the negative ones, like barking.
Interrupt & Redirect!
When learning boundaries, you will need to interrupt behaviours that you do not like with a sound (clap your hands or say “ah-ah”) and immediately redirect your dog, showing them what you want him/her to do instead.
Ensure your dog is receiving plenty of mental and physical exercise. Most dogs require at least 45 minutes – 1 hour of physical exercise a day. Once their energy is properly expelled, you can practice basic skills or tricks.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Take 30 seconds to 5 minutes a day to practice setting boundaries, practicing manners and buffing up obedience skills. This is not time-consuming, but requires awareness! Training opportunity ideas include mealtime, before going through doorways, before being let off-leash, before food bowl or toy delivery, between every throw of a ball and before greeting strangers. Ask them to do something before receiving any of the above life rewards!
Use all of these techniques and incorporate each of them in your day to day routine. You will be pleasantly surprised by what you can accomplish with awareness and small practice sessions each day.
Also, learn how to teach your dog to close the door behind you!