16 Golden Tips to Strengthen Your Bond With Your Canine Companion
One of the best ways to bond with your beloved pet is training time. Learn to train with consistency, patience, teamwork & more. -by Ragini Bhandari
1. House rules in place
Create house rules before your puppy even comes home. This way you’ll be letting your puppy know right from the beginning, what is and is not acceptable for him to do – if everyone in the family is consistent and on the same page, works wonders.
2. Consistency is the key
If you’re not consistent, you’re not going to get results. Or, at least, not the result you want. Without it, you’re going nowhere fast. Be consistent with the routine so that your pet gets used to it.
3. Training is teamwork
In this relationship there are two parties – the trainer and the trainees (you and your pet are on the same team). For training to be successful both parties play a significant role. It is not an event; make it a part of your daily routine.
4. start training early
Remember that preventing problems is easier than solving them. Dogs are quick learners, so it is important to teach them good habits early in life. Start obedience training the day you bring home your pet. Don’t wait for the pup to be 6 months or 1 year old because by six months of age, almost all behaviour problems are already in place.
5. Dogs learn through association
If he does something good – heaps of praise and reward him with treats/toy, if he tries to jump on guests at home (unwanted behaviour) – ask them to ignore him and you can redirect his behaviour to do a ‘sit or lay down’ – only then ask the guests to pet and give attention. Never reward bad/unwanted behaviour; it’ll only confuse your pet.
6. Every interaction you have with your dog is training
Every time you interact with your pets you are training them, whether or not you intend to. Relationship-based training is a lifestyle — a constant dialog with your pets will give every opportunity to arrange your pet’s environment to reinforce the behaviours you want.
7. Behaviours are driven by motivation
Understand that all kinds of behaviour whether good or bad are solely motivated by consequences. Your pet doesn’t desire to be the “alpha’ or ‘leader of the pack’.
8. Keep your teaching sessions short
Instead of having one long session in the day, it is preferable you break it down to smaller sessions multiple times a day. Say each session is of 5 minutes, but have five or six sessions a day. Train your pet in different environments; expose them to new sounds, objects, textures. Remember that socialisation is about positive exposures and experiences, not negative ones.
9. Pets do talk, you need to listen with your heart
Pay attention to what your pet is expressing with his ears, eyes, mouth, tail, and body posture. There is immense value in learning how to understand those signs, the ability to read and react appropriately to their body language not only keeps you safe, it greatly enhances your relationship with your pet and even other canine friends you might have.
10. Promise yourself to never use aversive methods
Use of excessive force, threats, fear, intimidation, pain or dominance is not okay. Training based on such aversive methods damages any sort of trusting relationship you might develop with your pet. It can jeopardize both the physical and mental health of your beloved pet and you wouldn’t want that.
11. Keep your pets mentally engaged
It is unfair to say that a physically tired dog is a happy dog. Fulfilling their mental needs is also very important. Try mental enrichment DIY games, interactive puzzles and food dispensing toys that encourage problem solving, licking, make meal times more fun by scatter feeding, creating scavenger hunt in your garden.
12. Don’t punish your pets for coming up to you
Never punish your pet for coming to you and don’t resort to intimidation and threats to make him come to you. You want them to think that “Come!” is the best thing in the whole world.
This can be done by creating a positive association with the come cue, and by making sure that the consequences of coming are always positive.
13. Eyes that speak: Don’t take eye contact for granted
Any time your pet is choosing to look at you instead of something else exciting, reward that with praise, a treat, or even a toy. Let your pet know you’re somebody worth attending to and they will be all eyes on you.
14. Patience is the key to every lock
You can teach any dog to respond to basic commands and learn new tricks, regardless of age, breed as long, as you are patient and willing to put in the necessary work. Give your pet time and see the magic happening.
15. Make training enjoyable and humane
A lot of pet parents hire a professional dog trainer because they feel they can’t train their pets themselves. If you choose to hire a dog trainer, make sure he/ she is a qualified professional and chooses a positive reinforcement and force-free method to teach your pets.
16. Happy ending: Positivity goes a long way
What a good girl! Good job, Buzoo! Adore them with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, or five minutes of play. This guarantees he’ll show up at his next class with his tail wagging—ready to learn yet have fun!
(Ragini Bhandari is a certified dog trainer and pet baker at Just Pawsible, Surat)