This being the outset of a new and exciting venture, it is a great opportunity to start at the beginning.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of which training equipment is worth the money and how to deal with specific behaviour issues, let’s begin by talking about the basic expectations we have when we begin a relationship with a dog.
I want to talk about what causes problem behaviour and, of course, what it takes to get the dog you dreamed of.
Care for ALL of your dog’s needs.
Your dog needs:
- Good food and fresh water
- Physical stimulation
- Mental stimulation
- Time spent with people
- Time spent learning how to listen to people
- Time to act like a dog, including: running, digging, chewing, hunting, sniffing, and playing with other dogs.
Provide these needs… or suffer the consequences!
People who recognize that their dog needs to gnaw on something for a couple of hours a day will end up with a happier and better behaved pet.
One of the wonderful things about dog training is that it taps into many of your dog’s needs.
It provides that mental and physical stimulation that so many pets are missing from their daily lives, and it gives them that time spent learning and playing with their favourite person.
Even better, most “tricks” that we can teach our dogs to perform also tap into some of their favourite dog behaviours, like retrieving, chasing, and tugging.
Teaching your dog skills, tricks and using consistent obedience isn’t just about impressing your friends and neighbours.
It helps to create an ever-increasing vocabulary, a language between you and your dog. This communication will strengthen your bond beyond belief.
Talk to your dog about everything, and take him everywhere you can. Make sure your dog gets out there and runs and jumps and plays. This is the very first and most important remedy for every single problem anyone has every had with a dog.
Your dog barks too much? Get him out to run and play more to burn off some of that nervous energy.
Your dog jumps on people? Get him out to run and play and when he’s so exhausted that he can’t possibly lift a paw, it’s the perfect time to practice meeting people.
If your dog is pulling on your leash, digging, whining… it all comes back to that first question:
“Are all the dog’s needs being met?”
Before you even think of addressing the behaviour specifically, we need to be sure their needs have been met and they are set up to succeed.
That’s always the first step, whatever comes after, and at Wag the Dog, we will help you get there.
And then, oh, the places we will go!
–Amelia Fellenz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and a graduate of the assistance dog training program at Bergin University in Santa Rosa, California.