How a person teaches a dog to behave is important (for large dogs, it’s also a requirement of being a responsible owner), not least for when your pet needs to interact with other people or animals. To guarantee that your dog learns to behave in the right way, there are some basic techniques that when followed, should make the time with your pet even more special.
1. Pack mentality:
It cannot be emphasised enough, but your breed (or its canine ancestors) used to go around in a wolf pack. Within that pack each dog knew its place and there was always the head of the pack. While the dog has been domesticated, it is really important that owners project on to the pet the owner’s position as the head of the pack. Some dogs are pack-leaders by birth (this can be problematic where a big dog is concerned!) while others are happy not being the leader, but – because owners do not let them know their position in the pack – end up trying to be the pack leader. These situations can be very stressful for both the dogs and their owners. Therefore consider your role as owner as the head of the pack, and ensure that your behaviour with your dog reinforces this position when you spend time together.
2. Walking Style:
The owner should walk in front of the dog. This is position in which the dog is made to understand that you are the boss not he/she. Creating this order in the mind of the dog will make it understand better its role within your domestic situation.
3. Short Lead or Long Lead?
A short lead is better for walking your dog. You will have more control with a shorter lead and this means that it is easier to communicate with the dog through the lead. It is important to guide the dog through the lead when walking, so that your dog learns which is the correct and incorrect way to walk.
4. Exercise is key:
Nearly every dog needs good exercise and anything from half an hour upwards of two hours (depending on your breed) will ensure that you dedicate the right amount of time to your dog, and that you build a relationship and understanding together. An early morning walk does both the owner and dog a world of good.
5. Positively Reinforce:
As an owner you should reward great behaviour even when just out walking. This form of positive reinforcement will help your dog understand that it is behaving in the right way. A treat could also be a little longer running around to explore the new smells it has found, or a snack. Feeding a dog after returning from a walk also tells the dog that if they behave well, when they get home it will be feeding time!! Irrespective of your techniques a constant through any kind of dog training is that you, as the owner, are the head of the pack. This should be your main take away from reading this post and which will have the greatest positive impact of the time you spend together.