There are dogs who are completely trained, but still refused to listen to their pet parents. Why? Do you think your dog’s not listening to you because he is moody? What and where are such pet parents going wrong?
As I trainer, I do not look at training dogs for ‘obedience’ as it simply underlines the reality of the situation that what I am using is kind of an enforcement, a means of going against the will of an animal. So I would rather use words like ‘work alongside’. We should work with another species to create an intangible bond that helps each one understand the other.
Training to be around each other should start as young as two and a half months of puppy age. Pup at this age too is genetically backed with adapting to his new environment. One must always do a proper research on breed specific nature and requirements before bringing the puppy home.
Communication is the key
Communicate with each other and hence training means training people to relate, to speak a language of a different species. Explain a bit of ours to them and understand a bit of theirs too.
When you start working alongside your pup, start with something as simple as a ‘recall’. Recall means to call your dog. Use your dog’s name first in a very encouraging happy tone of voice and suffix the command ‘come’. Initially start with a very close distance inside the house and gradually over time when you are sure and you get full response all the time, increase the distance. Start with a visual recall first; later call your dog from different rooms. Once you got this perfect, it’s time to practice it outdoors. When your dog comes to you encourage with loads of praises and treats. Rewards could range from praises, food upto toys.
Never call your dog when you are angry
Certain things to remember in recall trainings are, try not to use your dog’s name and command ‘come’ when you are upset with them as this creates a conflict in a dog’s mind as to whether coming to you would fetch them a praise or a reprimand.
Trainings should be fun
While teaching your dog, be alert to articles that the dog perceives as exciting then use them while working. This not only gives you an excited and eager dog, it also makes the earning faster with a happy dog at hand. Don’t train when you are stressed. Our energies reflect directly on our dogs. Never work with them when you are stressed.
End on a happy note
Always end trainings where the dog feels he has learnt something. End it on a positive note.
Build a bond
It’s lack of influence that your dog doesn’t listen. Build on influence, practice your basic commands, play on daily basis, groom your dog, and spend quality time with them to build a bond that they long for your time and company.
Let them sniff around
Stimulate them by physical exercise and mentally stimulate them by ensuring long walks in open areas where they can smell the world. Once you develop a bond with your dog, you sure will be blessed with a true canine companion. Happy training!
(Priti Chauhan is a canine behaviourist cum trainer who runs K9 Companions in Pune. She is passionate about training and behavioural correction to help pet parents build a better bond and understanding with their dogs)