How to Bond with Your Dog by Incorporating Obedience
Ahhhhh obedience! It is the age old struggle between canine and human.
Decades ago, we were told that our dogs needed corrections and an alpha.
Yank the leash up for “sit” to force the dog into the position.
Slap the dog in the face with your hand; use a hand signal and force him into a down, so that he will submit to your commands.
This kind of obedience isn’t exactly conducive to building a great relationship with your dog.
It also works around the concept of letting your dog adopt bad behaviors and then correcting them. Both ideals, I think, are ludicrous.
Bonding With Your Dog Through Obedience Training
Next came the reward based trainers, luring and rewarding good behaviors.
This is where “Dog Obedience” went from being tedious for the dog AND the person, to actually being a little bit of fun for both.
The dog enjoyed the training and being rewarded.
And, the human half of this situation began to enjoy shaping behaviors and “teaching” their dog in a way that was not unfair or abusive.
Avoiding Bad Behavior
This mentality also teaches the human and the dog to AVOID bad behavior.
Instead of slyly watching and waiting for the dog to make a misstep or mistake so that the human can swoop in and “correct” the dog, we are encouraged to avoid the misstep or mistake.
Let’s Take Counter Surfing
Old school dog training would tell you:
Use tabasco or hot pepper sauce so that when the dog steals the food his mouth will burn and he will learn to leave your food alone.
Attach a shake can (a can filled with pennies) to an item of food so that when the dog steals the food, the shake can of pennies will scare him.
Set him up to make a mistake: set food out close to the edge of the counter and then hide and wait, using a spray bottle, shake can or other means of correction when the dog steals the food, which should keep him from stealing in the future.
New school dog training would tell you:
Teach the dog that you keep the best rewards and that you reward him for the good behaviors of “sit” and “down” and “four on the floor”.
Set the dog up for good behavior by setting low level food at the edge of the counter for the dog to see/sniff.
Teach the dog that “leave it” or “sitting” or “down” will bring rewards from you; rewards that are better than anything that is on the counter.
By using jackpots and training, you can decrease the desirability of the item you are leaving on the counter with success.
Situation one waits for the dog to show the bad behavior.
Situation two teaches the dog to never steal food in the first place!
Positive Reinforcement Dog Training in and of itself increases the human/pet bond because it alleviates depraved feelings that come with bad behavior.
Add Some Fun
Now, how about you up the ante just a little bit and begin playing with your dog while you train?
My motto, and what I am known for in this business, is “having fun training”.
I find that if the dog is having a great time and playing games, the human, by default, is also having fun.
And, we are much more likely to do things that are FUN!!!
Dogs Can’t Train Themselves
Dogs can’t train themselves, no matter how badly they want their training!
It requires a human to teach them, and let’s admit that we will make more time for something if we find it enjoyable.
First make sure your dog can play and feels comfortable doing so with you.
And, devote at least a couple weeks trying to engage your dog in play!
Can you train your puppy without play?
But you will both get more out of it if you can play together. It just makes life more fun!
Take him shopping and find a toy and a game that you both enjoy.
Ask him to perform a task he knows.
When he performs this task with perfection reward him with a game of tug or throw his toy to retrieve (if he enjoys retrieving).
And, play for a moment or two.
Then, when you ask for him to release the toy, ask for another sequence of obedience.
“Watch me, Heel…….. Sit, Down, Sit”, then reward with another burst of the joy that comes from a game!
You see, positive reinforcement and communication will improve your bond with your dog. But adding a few games here and there will bring that bond and enjoyment down to a level that you will both adore as you get to know one another on another level.
Don’t believe me?
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.