As pet owners, we’ve always celebrated our pet’s birthday. National Dog Day is no different. We go to the local pet store and pick up some toys and healthy treats and spend extra attention on them. After all, they deserve it!
National Dog Day is a good day to dust off some old tricks that you and your canine buddy used to practice or brush up on his obedience drills. Here are a few tips:
- Understand the basics of how your pet learns - Behaviors that are reinforced are more likely to be repeated, and behaviors that are ignored are more likely to be stopped because they bring no benefit to your pet.
- Your dog cannot understand detailed human speech - Dogs “speak” to each other using body language and various types of vocalizations so learning to understand what your dog’s signals mean can lead to a stronger relationship.
- Always be positive when working with your dog - Dogs enjoy learning if they don’t feel unduly stressed and you want to focus on building a positive relationship.
- Keep your training sessions short and train in small increments throughout the day - Dogs learn best in small increments, and by making sessions shorter it becomes more likely you’ll find the time to train your dog every day. Your dog will get bored fast so that’s another great reason to train in short sessions.
- Teach your dog new behaviors in quiet, low-distraction areas - Once your dog is behaving well, slowly add in distractions. Don’t be surprised if you have to go back to square one with some behaviors after distractions are added in.
- Make training part of your daily routine - Ask your dog to sit before going in and out of doors, have your dog do "down stays" while you’re watching TV, etc. By asking the dog to do these behaviors as part of “daily life” the dog will learn to offer these behaviors without prompting.
- Make sure everyone in your household is on the same page – This is very important because your dog can learn bad habits from a roommate or family member when you are not around. Make certain everyone is on the same page. Be sure everyone uses the same words and hand signals that you use with the dog for each behavior. Being 100% consistent helps your dog to learn faster and find training less confusing.