When you get a dog, you understand how quickly you start to love them and how quickly they become irreplaceable members of your family. Playing with them is endlessly entertaining, but getting them to hear you can be hard and can become a substantial issue.
The best way to get your dog to hear from you is by encouraging positive behavior rather than constantly punishing negative behavior. Your dog will become more likely to do the good things you want them to through happy learning versus scare tactics.
They will rise to understand good manners and phase out the bad ones. We’ll discuss the five most direct ways you can encourage positive manners in your dog.
What Is Positive Reinforcement?
Before we jump in, you should know what we indicate by positive reinforcement. Dogs are the most adorable creatures on the planet, but they don’t see things the way humans do. You may have attended you should punish them if they do something wrong, so they know you did not like it.
However, punishing them harshly or scaring them will only yield negative outcomes. Not only does fear not work in the long term to prevent undesirable behaviors, but you are also very likely to traumatize your dog, which can generate even more behavioral issues down the road.
On the other hand, positive support is a much more impactful way to get your dog to engage in the correct actions. Instead of yelling at your dog to get off the couch, give them treats when they lay in their bed or on the floor. This will instruct them that doing the other actions means getting treats; therefore, they will do them more often.
Challenge Your Dog
Dog boredom can lead to bad behavior, so it’s essential to keep your dog engaged and challenged daily. Dogs are innately full of energy, especially younger ones. That means it’s important to take them for long walks or make sure they get lots of activity in the dog park.
Dogs are inquisitive creatures, too. Spend time training them new tricks or hiding things around the house for them to find. This can boost mental stimulation and will keep them more pleased overall.
Create a Routine
If you have a nervous dog who is prone to getting into trouble, one of the best things you can do is select a consistent routine. This means feeding them at the same time every day, going for walks at the same time, and keeping things as normal as possible.
Building a nurturing and consistent atmosphere is the best way to get your dog to trust you, and they will be better open to engaging in positive behavior when you are training them later.
Ignore Bad Behavior
If it’s not something dangerous, try to ignore your dog’s bad behavior. This means not giving them attention when they bark too much, or if they bite at you, turn and walk away. If your dog is chewing on something it shouldn’t be, don’t yell or punish them for it. Rather, replace the chewed item with a bone or toy.
That way, you’re offering them you don’t want them to chew something, but you’re also offering them something else to do instead. So there is positive support after all.
Only pay attention to and reward the good things they do — this will encourage them to stop doing bad things because there is more incentive to do the right ones.
Spend Time Together
Similar to challenging your furry dog, it’s crucial to spend quality time with them. Dogs do not like being left alone for long periods, so make sure you’re with them for as much time as you can every day.
Cuddle them if they come up to you, let them give you kisses, play tug of war, and bond with them in a way they enjoy. Making this kind of deep relationship with your dog is important in getting them to listen to you later on and engage in positive manners.
Use One Word Commands
This one is pretty clear. Make sure to use one-word commands during your training — sit, stay, come, eat. One word is the easiest for dogs to understand versus phrases. As long as you remain consistent with your one-word commands, your dog will learn fast and attach positive manners to them.
Try to use a calm, positive tone with your dog — they can pick up on slight mood shifts in your voice better than you realize, which can affect how they react.
Get Everyone Involved
The best way to promote positive behaviors in your furry dog is by getting everyone engaged in the home. Have family members help out by giving treats for the right actions, playing with the dog, and taking them for long walks.
Dogs are pack animals, and they will view anyone in their living space as their members, so they should have the right relationships. Also, if family members train them, they will listen to them when needed.
Your dog will succeed in your home if the directions are clear, consistent, and honest. Don’t get angry or punish your dog for making mistakes — instead, focus on rewarding the right behavior.