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7 Great Tips for Training Your Dog

7 Great Tips for Training Your Dog

Your dog is your best friend and can quickly become a member of your family. Dogs are affectionate, loving pets who will stay by your side no matter what, and they deserve happy and healthy environments that are conducive to their well-being. Just like humans, pets need boundaries and are happiest when they know what is expected of them. Dogs are very smart, and with some patience, repetition, and sometimes some special tools, your best friend will learn new skills and be an even better companion.

1. Give Your Puppy Tons of Affection!

Your dog will respond best to love and affection and praise. Yelling or punishing your dog will make them afraid of you, and that is the opposite of what you want. Positive reinforcement is considered worldwide to be the best way to train your dog for any situation, and will also aid you in having a positive relationship with your pet.

2. Be Consistent and Patient!

Consistency is the key to teaching a dog anything. Once you pick how you are going to train, you must do it the same way every time, so that your pup will know what is expected of them. You may get frustrated if your pup doesn’t pick something up right away, so be careful to stay patient and don’t let your dog see you get frustrated or annoyed.

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If you are clicker training your dog, consistency means giving your dog a treat every single time you click, even if it was an accidental click. That wasn’t your dog’s mistake, and he is recognizing the sound for a treat!

3.  Teach Your Dog to Sit by Letting Your Dog Sit!

In this technique, instead of trying to command your puppy to sit, you simply SAY the word “sit” whenever your dog’s butt touches the ground. What this does is teaches your dog to associate the word “sit” with what he is already doing. This is opposed to commanding “sit!” and pushing the dog’s butt to the ground. This will feel less like a training session to a dog, as they are already performing the action! You are simply telling him what he is doing and praising him or giving him treats.

4. Give a Command Once & Keep Training Time Short!

Continuing with positive reinforcement, give a command one time only, let the dog complete (or try to complete) the task, and then be generous with praise. Giving a command multiple times before he even attempts it will confuse your dog, and neither of you will get the right result. Even if your dog does not perform the command exactly, make sure you give your pup a treat, praise, and some pets.

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Don’t spend more than 5 minutes at a time in “training mode.” Dogs have short attention spans, and a lot of extra time won’t give a better result. A couple positive results in a short span of time is much better than a couple decent tries followed by 10 bad results.

5. Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon!

Work on one overall command at a time, and allow your pet to really learn that one first. Once your dog has mastered one skill, incorporate that into your daily routine so that the skill becomes natural and second nature, and your dog always responds to it correctly. Once you and your dog have a specific skill mastered, move on to the next. Don’t confuse your dog with too much too fast, as he will get frustrated and so will you.

6. Use Training Tools!

There are special bark collars that can help with behavioral training to keep your buddy from barking incessantly. Whether your dog is a yappy breed or is barking because he is excited, scared, or stimulated, a bark collar can help you retrain your pup.

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There are many tools that you can use to help you in your training. A properly fitted harness will help you leash train your dog by applying even pressure on his shoulders and chest turning him back towards you, so pulling on his leash is not productive for him and doesn’t get him anywhere.

Small clickers that will click-train your dog (as opposed to hand signals, voice commands, etc) are a valuable and inexpensive tool! Clickers are easy to use and your dog will very quickly pick up that a click equals food, which is the first step in recognizing training commands. You click when the dog does the right thing, then give it treats.

Remote training is a longer-range tool that allows you to push a button that will cause your dog’s collar to emit a stimulation such as a spray, vibration, ultrasonic, or a tone, which alerts the dog to your command. These can be used both to teach your dog new behaviors or to stop bad behaviors, like chasing or digging.

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These are just some of the more popular and affordable training tools, and there are more out there so do some research and find out what will work best for you and your pet. Be patient, you may have to use more than one type of training or training tool to find what is best for you.

7. Have Fun with Your Puppy Buddy!

It doesn’t always need to be a training session. Remember that training times should be kept short so that your dog doesn’t get too distracted, and make sure you and your dog do things together outside of training. Go for runs, play fetch, take your dog to the park, give him belly rubs, and spend time hanging out.

You don’t want to get so caught up in training and obedience that you and your pup forget to have fun together. Dogs are a huge responsibility, as well as an emotional and financial commitment, but lots of love and some consistent training will make sure you and your new best friend are happy and healthy.

Featured photo credit: Happy pup via static.pexels.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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