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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 July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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