We all know that dogs are separate species with their own needs and instincts, but sometimes we totally forget it when we expect our dog to behave like a human. “Why is it always pulling on the leash?”, “Why is my dog more interested in other dogs than me?”, “Why it won’t understand that toilet should be done outside, not inside?”, “He barks non-stop and has destroyed all my furniture!”– These questions and problems are so common and surprisingly the answer to them is very simple. Dogs do all the above things because they have not been taught otherwise!
When we bring a puppy to our home we want them to change their natural behaviour to suit our lifestyle. That is why we should be responsible for teaching our pooches what is expected of them and what behaviour is wrong. The puppy does not know that it should not pee on the rug, sleep on the couch or steal food from your plate.
Training is a very important part of any dog's life - it provides mental stimulation which helps to keep your dog happy, it ensures that you and your dog can co-exist harmoniously with each other and it can also be a lot of fun.
Training is not only teaching your dog to obey commands like Sit, Down, Stay and Come. It is also teaching your pooch how to properly walk on the leash, greet new people and play with kids. Trick training can be extremely fun and rewarding for both you and your dog as well. Why not teach your pup how to bring your slippers when you are back home from work, fetch a newspaper or tidy the toys?
All these things are possible through reward or positive-reinforcement based training when the dog is set up for success and then rewarded for “good” behaviour. Such training is a lot of fun for the dog and it also helps to build trust between you and your pooch.
Positive reinforcement involves ignoring unwanted behaviour. A lot of owners reinforce bad behaviour of their pets by getting angry or shouting – this is still attention in the eyes of your dog and your naughty pup will continue doing whatever it is that makes you angry as long as it gets your attention. For example, if your dog jumps up to greet people, it should be ignored and given attention only when he keeps his paws on the ground.
There are so many cases when dog owners do not even realize that their own reaction to behaviour of their pets makes the situation even worse and that is why professional advice can be so very important.
Ras al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre runs monthly dog training and socialization classes for both puppies and adult dogs where our qualified dog trainer teaches not only basic obedience, but can also answer any questions about specific behavioural problems you are facing.
The classes are run on every third Saturday of each month. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to book your slot.