My friend’s mother-in-law has been visiting recently. Now Rose is 64-years-old and has had dogs all her life. She has had numerous breeds and has trained puppies before, but not in a long time. Her age is not the barrier, because I have seen many people try and train their dog. Try being the key word here. Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t get the results they want?
There are a lot of reasons dog owners have a hard time training their own dog. Here are the top ones:
- Repetition. Dogs thrive on routine and repetition. They like to eat and sleep at the same time every day. They like to know when you wake up in the morning they will be let outside or go for a walk. They are creatures of habit. Getting them to even listen to “sit, stay and come” takes practice over and over. You don’t get to pick and choose the easy parts and avoid the challenging and critical work. Keep the sessions short because dogs tend to have short attention spans.
- Inconsistency. Many of us don’t realize we are being inconsistent in our messages to our dogs. We don’t want them to beg for food from our plates, but then we slip them the remnants when we are done eating. We don’t want them to chew our slippers, but we give them no new toys to play with. Your dog gets confused.
- Communication. Remember that your dog doesn’t speak your language so you have to learn to communicate with your dog on his/her terms. He will look to your voice tones and body language to know what to do versus just your commands. Many times he wants to please you – he just doesn’t know how.
- Bored. Dogs get bored and a bored dog is a mischievous dog. Are you away at work all day? If so, that is a lot of time for your dog to get into trouble. Every dog needs mental and physical stimulation. Consider some interactive dog toys that dispense treats that require your dog to figure out the toy. Rotate his or her toys so they don’t get bored.
- Lack of exercise. Even lap dogs need exercise. Depending on the breed of the dog, some dogs require more exercise than others. A Shih tzu will not need as much exercise as a German Shepherd.
- Socialization. This can be playing with other dogs – or just getting out of your house. If we don’t take our dogs for walks or car rides, how can we expect them to behave when out in the “real world”? Or maybe your dog would benefit from a supervised doggie day care.
We think the key to dog training is with the dog, when in fact it is the dog owner. Many behavior problems exhibited by dogs are stress-related and directly traceable back to the relationship between the owner and the dog. It’s always something the owner “is” or “is not” doing. That’s why I work with the whole family to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Remember that your dog will try and take charge if you don’t. Do you let him walk in front of you versus by your side? When you are walking out the door together, do you let him go first? If so, he has established himself as the “Top Dog.”
Dog training doesn’t need to be hard. However, start 2018 out right and get professional training for your dog, so you have a well-behaved dog in the future.