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Everyone appreciates a well-behaved dog, but not many realise that the onus to good dog etiquette lies mostly with the owner, not the dog. Here are 10 simple ways you can help your dog be the best that it can be!
This may seem like a colossal waste of money, but I assure you, it is worth the investment. Many friends adopt or buy dogs feeling fully confident that they are able to train the dog on their own, only to fail miserably, allowing the dog to develop bad behaviours that become hard to correct over time. Professional trainers can also give first-time owners advice on how to care for and train dogs.
Is there an area in the house your dog isn’t allowed in? A list of food that it is allergic to? A recommended diet to follow? Elderly family members or children it should be gentle around? Having a list of rules or desired behaviour will help you stay on track. Also get everyone in the family involved so they know what behaviours should be encouraged and what needs to be corrected.
It’s hard for an exhausted pup to display bad behaviour if all its energy has already been expended. Plenty of walks, runs, playing fetch and even training the mind will keep your dog healthy and active. The same goes for humans too!
Dogs thrive with routine. It helps them stay calm and feel secure. Set one so they know what to expect - Breakfast, walk, back home. Dinner, walk, back home, play time. This is especially important if you are introducing a new dog to your home, or if your dog is exceptionally nervous or excitable.
Dogs love to please their humans, so rewarding good behaviour reinforces that this behaviour is desired and should be repeated. Start by being excessive with praise and reasonable with treats (you don’t want an overweight dog!). Over time, once that behaviour is firmly established, you can do away with rewards.
The guilty dog look has been proven to be amyth - dogs can tell when their owners are upset and the ‘look’ is simply an attempt to pacify. If your dog does something undesirable like peeing on the couch and you only find out much later, the best thing you can do is stay calm, clean it up, and move on. However, if it is caught in the act, correct it immediately.
This can be a hard one to follow if your dog has pooped on the mattress, chewed up your designer shoes, or tugged on its leash so hard you fell over and scrapped your knees. Know that good etiquette takes time to develop and that anger and frustration does nothing for you or your dog.
It’s super important to socialise your dog with other dogs, people, or even cats early so it does not become anti-social and aggressive. Other dogs can also ‘train’ your dog by setting boundaries through physical cues on what is acceptable and what is not. Plus, you don’t want your dog barking or attacking other dogs or humans!
One of the best things you can do is to join a community of dog owners who can share experiences, give advice, or just have fun. They can be a valuable source of support during emergencies and most importantly, a community for your dog to socialise with other dogs.
Dogs are super sensitive to our emotions. They can tell when we are upset, stressed out, or happy. Have fun with your dog - that’s really the best way you can love and care for them.
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