You think to yourself, “Oh, just this once, Fido looks so cute. I’ll let him [insert behavior here]…just this once.”
Fess up…how many of you are guilty? And how many of you were aggravated the next time Fido repeated that behavior?
You know what I’m going to say, right?
As a dog owner you must present your dog with clear and consistent communication and defined boundaries. Inconsistency in your training will lead to inconsistent results. Period. Unclear communication will lead to confusion and frustration for you and your dog.
Consistency in your emotions is important as well. Training can be fun, but it can also be very frustrating. Just as the application of training needs to be consistent, so do your emotions. Losing your cool with Fido will diminish your dog’s confidence and trust in you. Repeat after me: Calm, consistent and clear communication.
Our dogs are members of our family, so it’s very easy to humanize them. To put our emotions on them or believe that they are feeling a certain way. But you must remember how a dog learns and what motivates a dog to be obedient. First of all, as most of you know, your dog is a master manipulator. Your dog will absolutely do something if he will get something worthwhile in return. This is a survival instinct ingrained in them. Think of their brain like a constant stream of If-Then statements. “If I do this, then I get this.” Fido doesn’t realize that you had a bad day at work and wanted to cuddle with him on the sofa just that one time. Capisce?
And I hope it goes without saying that every member of your family should have the same set of rules and boundaries for your dog.
This also goes for the words that you use for commands. “Down” for laying down and “Down” for jumping down off something is going to send a mixed message. Chose clear and concise words for each of your commands.
In a dogs world, consistency is a sign of a leader. Who wants a leader that says one thing one minute and another the next? Remember…clear, consistent and calm communication is the key!