What you need to know to train your dog – Part 2

It all boils down to canine psychology. It seems pretty obvious now that you’ve seen it in print doesn’t it?

I have three dogs. Actually it’s more like they have me, and they’re living the highlife. In years of work in veterinary clinics, as well as a lifetime of having a dog companion, I’ve learned a few things about molding a well mannered canine.

All creatures seek out positivity and shy away from negativity. A very simple concept really.

In the canine brain things are pretty uncomplicated and follow a logical progression. Dogs like good. You teach them how to be your version of good. Dogs slink and cower at bad. You let them know what you consider bad and they will make the association. Dogs are individuals and some will learn faster than others. Repetition and consistency will win the day.

How many times have I heard “stupid dog” uttered from the lips of someone that never tried to understand how the relationship works? Too many. In matter of fact, it is a relationship you’re attempting to create with your four legged friend. Think in terms of any other healthy interaction; do you want to spend time with someone that is always negative or upset with you? I’m guessing not. Would you like to hang out with someone that likes to pummel you for a reason that you don’t understand? I’d have to say no.

For the dog that doesn’t come when called, think about it. Do you take on a stern tone and raise your voice or demonstrate menacing body language when calling repeatedly without the desired result? That’s not a welcoming presence. At the height of frustration you need to collect yourself, squat down to a less threatening size and position, and call in a friendly tone. Allow the dog to make the choice to come to you and then praise him like you’re a blithering idiot. Let your dog know that at that very moment he is the coolest canine on the block.

Apply the same positive and approachable principles with every behavior you teach and you will be rewarded. The hardest part is keeping your cool when things are not going your way. When your dog likes you and wants to please you then training becomes much easier and less frustrating for you both.

If you truly want a dog that you will enjoy it takes some serious effort. But it’s worth it for the years of unconditional devotion you will receive from a well loved and well trained dog.

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