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3 Things to Never Accidentally Teach Your Dog: Easy Lessons in good pet behavior

3 Things to Never Accidentally Teach Your Dog Easy Lessons in good pet behaviorOwning a pet that is bossy and unruly is not any fun for family members or visitors.  Out of control dogs make for a very unhappy household, not to mention a confused puppy dog.

One of the most important things every dog needs to understand is the pecking order in the home family pack. Understanding their proper place helps your dog know what role they have been assigned to play. Roles are very important to dogs because they create stability and confidence as well as a way to be rewarded for their contributions to their loved ones.

While teaching your dog tricks can be an enjoyable way to bond, teaching them bad habits, even if done unconsciously or unintentionally, will take away from the fun and suck the joy out of your relationship.

Here are three things dog owners should be aware of when it comes to teaching your dog good pet behavior.

1.) Who’s The Boss
You likely have friends who have dogs that seem to run amok in the household. The dogs do what they want, when they want, tend to be very obnoxious and they pay very little mind to the requests of their owners. This is usually the result of teaching the dog to believe that it is the boss of you. Distinguishing hierarchy is an important part of enjoying a well behaved dog

Dogs crave structure, purpose and feedback for a job well-done.  This means they need to learn from day one that their Number 1 job is to please their person.  They should know  that YOU are at the top of their family pack hierarchy.  You are the leader, the rule maker, the source of good things.  They are your partner, and you want them to do what you’ve asked of them to the best of their ability.

Want three more simple ways to help your dog understand their place in the home?  First: always walk through a door first. The one that controls access points to an area controls the space.  Your job is to lead them by giving them directions and guidance.

Second: another easy way to display good leadership is to always eat before your dog eats.  In a wild pack, the lead dog always eats first.  This makes perfect sense to doggies.

Third: when you do feed your dog or offer them treats or toys, teach them to wait and have them do something to earn it first.

2.) Who Leads Who When Out for a Walk
There is nothing quite as startling as a fast paced dog headed in your direction dragging its owner from behind. I’m sure you’ve seen them, dogs that are literally hauling their owners. To a certain degree, this goes back to the hierarchy structure in the home, but also involves basic good pet manners. Walking your dog should be enjoyable and safe for both the dog and the owner.

When your dog is on its lead, the dog should be walking in a calm, controlled manner at your side.  They are your Escort.  They are not your Drill Master taking you on a 10 mile hike, nor are they your Sled Dog pulling you down the street. Teaching a dog to walk calmly without pulling is not as difficult as you may think. When they pull on the lead, correct them by simply stopping and say firmly “no!”  You can also stand on the leash easily and calmly anchoring them in place until they calm down.  Each time your dog walks properly, praise them well. If all else fails, check out the Walk In Sync No Choke Dog Harness.  Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, they will quickly learn what you expect of them.

3.) Who’s Okay to Chase
Sometimes it’s cute and even outright funny to watch a dog chase another animal, but only if it is in good play behavior. Some dogs are born and bred to chase, hunt or herd. Others simply love the fun of the chase, which can prove most inconvenient for any dog parent. Chasing another pet around the home may be in good fun, but if Fido is filled with large ambitions and heads out after a large animal who doesn’t appreciate the game, there could be serious consequences. Going after wildlife can lead to serious injuries or get them killed.

It is easier to train natural traits when dogs are young.  If you have trouble controlling your dog at any age, it is important you take the proper steps to simply condition them to not chase. Investing in a solid harness, like the Walk in Sync harness, is a very smart idea.  A regular dog collar can choke your dog, misalign their neck and collapse their trachea, and does nothing to teach them not to chases.

Other good approaches are to have them on a lead at all times. If he tries to pursue an animal, distract him by calling his name and offering a treat of food or his favorite toy, then walk him away from the animal. As you condition your dog to follow your guidance, test his obedience with a longer lead, preferably an extendable lead that can be quickly pulled in if necessary. The more your dog listens to you and behaves, the longer his lead can become.  You can then offer him more and more freedom as the trust and good communication between you develops.

The better your dog behaves, the happier he’ll be and the happier you will be too.

For more dog training advice, check out Dog Training for the 21st Century


Author: Val Heart is a leading animal communication expert, speaker, bestselling author & master healer. Val is often called The Real Life Dr Doolittle™ and Animal Communicator to the Stars. Author of the bestselling book Don’t Screw Up Your Dog!, she is also the Founder of The HEART System™ for solving problems with pet and the Heart Catalyst for underperforming show horses to achieve their true potential. Learn how to talk to animals yourself! Get your free Quickstart to Animal Talk Course.

Don’t Screw Up Your Dog!

Photo Source: courtesy of Vlado / Free Digital Photos

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