Your dog loves you unconditionally. He is excited when you get home, can’t wait for his walk and leaps on the sofa the minute you sit down.
Chances are your dog also jumps on guests, pulls and lunges on the leash, and does not come when he’s called. This behavior leads to frustration on the part of many dog owners. The frustration too often results in yelling — and maybe even hitting.
No one, neither you nor your pet, is happy.
Time for Training
It’s time to train your dog. You can do this yourself or take him to an obedience class. Regardless, the onus is on you to work with the dog to let him know who is in charge and what his place is in the family.
Training your dog requires enormous patience and seemingly endless repetition, but the end result is well worth it. You and your dog will be a lot happier and your day-to-day life together will be rewarding and calm.
Equally importantly, you will be proud of your trained dog. Your life together will be far more harmonious than it would be with an ill-behaved dog.
Remember, dogs don’t actually understand our language. They can be taught to sit, stay, lie down, and come, but just saying the word does little good. Yelling it harshly accomplishes even less. Hitting a dog is harmful and counterproductive. He will come to mistrust you.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Have you watched dog trainers closely? Even at the world-famous Westminster Dog Show, trainers constantly appear to slip their beautifully trained charges doggie treats. (In fact, they are not actually doing so, but the dogs were trained this way and the motion itself rewards them.)
Your dog will learn best if you reward him with a small treat (a dog cookie or biscuit) when he performs. Accompany the treat with praise and petting. As the dog learns, you can cut back on the treats and rely more on the praise and petting.
Never give a dog a treat for no reason. At the very least, make him sit or lie down for it. He should know what the treat is for.
A calm voice and demeanor is also required. Raising your voice only threatens the dog and smacking him across his hindquarters or on the head can turn a happy dog into a cowering one. Keep this in mind.
Never Stop Training
Once you train the dog, he will need occasional refresher courses. For instance, when walking him, you might let him roam on the end of the leash. When this turns to tugging, pull him back and make him heel. Concentrate on heeling for a several blocks or several walks and the aberrant behavior will reverse itself.
Dogs are part of the family. Just like every other member, they like to know their role and please those they love.