In our pet healthcare series, we will take a look at the eight steps you should take to ensure your pet remains in prime health.
This week, we will take a look at the sixth step: Proper Training. There are so many benefits to having a properly trained pet, especially a well-trained puppy who then becomes a well-behaved dog. Whatever way you choose to train your pooch, keep in mind that training never stops; he needs to constantly be taught new skills and continue to perfect old ones. To have a truly well-mannered dog, you need to reinforce the behaviors you want during the course of your life with her. If a puppy or new dog is not trained properly, they can easily be banished to the backyard, put in a shelter, or worse, being euthanized.
These sad endings can easily be prevented by making the simple investment of training your dog; either through a professional trainer, a training school or from your own hand, training your dog is the best way to maintain a healthy, happy life together.
So where does a pet owner begin the process of training? The majority of us are not professional animal trainers but there are some simple “real life” training practices you can implement into your daily routine to assist in the training process.
Take your dog with you when you run errands
When you are in the store, have your puppy walk nicely on a leash, sit politely for petting, practice no jumping, and even remaining under your chair or table if you are sitting and having a cup of coffee. This is a great opportunity for socialization (getting them accustomed to external stimulus). By properly introducing them to new experiences early on, you’re setting him up for a successful life dealing with all sorts of situations! Be careful not to force your puppy into situations. Allow him to set his own pace, encourage him and reward him for being calm and sociable.
Take your dog on car rides
Even if you have a quick errand to run, such as to the bank or picking up a food order from a nearby restaurant, take your dog along! This gives you the opportunity to practice with the dog getting in and out of your car, and going out is always a good socialization opportunity for your dog.
Practice sitting politely
Train your enthusiastic puppy to sit calmly when guests come over to visit. Be consistent with training your dog to sit politely when they hear the doorbell ring because there’s nothing more unbecoming of a dog then when they bark and howl every time the UPS man drops off a delivery.
Teach your dog to entertain themselves
During times when you are busy, need to work, cooking, helping the children with homework or just want to relax, your canine companion should learn to be quiet and relaxed during these times when you can’t pay attention to them. They should be able to sit quietly while you work or entertain themselves with chew toys in their designated play areas.
Bring your dog with you when you pick up the kids from school
A highly distractive atmosphere like a school playground or campus is a great opportunity to train your puppy to stay and reinforce recall commands. They will be tempted to want to run, jump and chase the children but be firm in teaching them to sit politely and remain calm. These encounters will further strengthen your dog’s obedience skills and lay a foundation of trust and safety between you and your dog.
Everything is a learning opportunity
Use all of your dog’s behaviors to earn him “what he wants.” If your dog wants to go out, he has to sit for his leash to be put on, or lie down at the door, or do a trick instead. Do the same when your dog wants his dinner, or to play, or be petted or get attention. It doesn’t really matter what behavior you ask for, as long as you ask the dog to do “something” in exchange for a valuable “life” reward.
There are a lot of fun activities you can do with your dog but ill training will prevent you from bonding with your four-legged friend. It is essential to provide positive reinforcement when training. Wouldn’t it be easier to praise your dog for what they should be doing rather than constantly having to correct him for things you don’t want? The key to training is to make it fun for you and your dog. When you make it fun, you are keeping it positive and this creates a successful, long-term bond. A well-trained dog is a cherished and fully participating member of your family.
For more information about proper pet training, please visit our website at www.myranchobernardopethospital.com or contact our hospital at (858) 451-1700 to set up an appointment to talk to our veterinarians.
By Yasuko Stephens, DVM
At Rancho Bernardo Pet Hospital, it is our mission to be the most reliable, responsible and respected providers of veterinary services to pets and their owners. It is through continuous education of our staff that we are able to better provide the care your pet needs to live a long healthy life.